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L.A. Armistead

L.A. Armistead

Confederate (CSA)

Brigadier General

Lewis Addison Armistead


(1817 - 1863)

Home State: Virginia

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY

Command Billet: Brigade Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Armistead's Brigade

Before Sharpsburg

He attended the US Military Academy at West Point, but was dismissed in 1836, reportedly for breaking a plate over cadet Jubal Early's head. He was commissioned Lieutenant in the 6th United States Infantry in 1839 and saw service in the Mexican War.

He resigned from the Regular Army in 1861 and was made Major, and soon after Colonel, of the 57th Virginia Infantry. He led them in the Western Virginia campaign and was appointed Brigadier General in command of Armistead's Brigade in Huger's Division in April 1862. He was at Seven Pines, Seven Days, and Second Manassas.

On the Campaign

At Sharpsburg

Armistead saw limited action. In early September, while serving in the Confederate division commanded by Major General Richard H. Anderson, Armistead was appointed Provost Marshal of the Army of Northern Virginia. He served on this assignment until September 26, 1862, and from all accounts, his brigade remained with him as his guard for the task.

Brought in at Sharpsburg, his brigade arrived on the field on the morning of September 17, but instead of joining their division near the sunken road were held back in support of McLaw's Division near the Dunker Church. Here the troops of the Union Second Army Corps had been beaten off, and Armistead's men were needed to shore up the Confederate defenses in the area. Uncomfortable at being held in reserve, Armistead stood in front of the brigade anxiously awaiting the call for battle. Incredibly, a stray cannon ball rolled over the hill and struck him on the foot, thereby putting him out of action. Although not seriously injured he was compelled to relinquish his command to Colonel James G. Hodges and leave the field.

The rest of the War

He continued in command of the Brigade at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and was at its head as part of Pickett's Division in the great charge on the third day at Gettysburg. He there reached the cannons on Cemetery Ridge before being wounded. He died of wounds while a US prisoner in Gettysburg two days later on 5 July 1863.

References & notes

His service and bio basics from Warner.2 His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph at the Virginia Historical Society, online in company with his bio in the Encyclopedia Virginia.


02/18/1817; New Bern, NC


07/05/1863; Gettysburg, PA; burial in Saint Paul's Burying Ground, Baltimore, Maryland


1   Thanks to Teej Smith for this reference.
Motts, Wayne E., Trust in God and Fear Nothing: Gen. Lewis A. Armistead, C.S.A, Gettysburg: Farnsworth House Military Impressions, 1995  [AotW citation 98]

2   Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1959, pp. 11-12  [AotW citation 29818]