Norristown Native Honored in Gettysburg Monument
The Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial statue honors the brother-like bond between Union soldier Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, of Norristown, and Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead.
Everyone knows the Civil War is often credited with pitting brother against brother, and a monument at Gettysburg is a tribute to that notion, though the subjects weren't actually brothers.
According to The Washington Times, Union soldier Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, a Norristown native, and Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead, of New Bern, North Carolina, didn't share a mother, but did share a close bond of friendship "that had gone back for many years." That is until the impending Civil War forced them to choose sides.
The two were "brothers" in the Masons and the "Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial" statue gives testament to the story of the two men who met again on the battlefield and in remembered their bond.
According to the story, both men were seriously wounded – Armistead mortally so – and when the Confederate soldier gave out a Masonic distress call Hancock's longtime aid, Captain Henry Harrison Bingham, heard the cry and rendered aid. Hancock had already been transported from the battlefield, but Armistead implored Bingham to give Hancock a message and deliver his personal effects to his longtime friend so they could be returned to his family.
Accounts of the story vary, but the facts of the friendship, the battle and the message and personal effects have all been verified according to The Washington Times.
Read more about the men, their bond and the creation of the statue here. You can also see more photos and learn more about the monument at GettysburgSculptures.com. You can also learn more about Norristown natives' constirbutions to history at the Historical Society of Montgomery County.
Photo provided by GettysburgSculptures.com