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tv   The Civil War Former Friends - Union General Hancock Confederate General...  CSPAN  November 10, 2021 12:37pm-1:27pm EST

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so, not only is picketing the white house incredibly common. this is an image from the summer when there were so many black lives matter protesters that they started adding their name to the fence at lafayette square. what are these women doing? they're making a message go viral. this is the 1917 equivalent of a tweet, right insure, it reaches the people standing in front of the white house but it reaches many more people in a picture in the newspaper. that's why that banner is on really easy to read, dark against the white background. that's all about how it's going to reproduce. >> watch the full program and thousands more at c-span.org/history. tom mcmillen. he is a life-long student of history and civil war. up until this year, he had
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previously published two books. "the legacy of american courage on 9/11" and "gettysburg rebels, five native sons that came back to fight soldiers." we unveil his newest release which is "behind the gettysburg legend of two friends at the turning point of the civil war." and this will be the foundation for his presentation today. this book is hot off the press. not officially released until july 15th. you can get it here first now. guaranteed first edition. in addition to tom's writing career, he has -- he served on the pittsburgh history center. sorry. and previously served on the board of directors of the flight
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93 national memorial. and recently retired two days ago? very recently retired from after 43-year career in sports media and communications. without any further introduction, i'd like to present to you, thomas mcmillen. [ applause ] >> second day of retirement, first ever standing room-only crowd. big day for me. thanks to tammy and the heritage center. this is a such a great place. my favorite little civil war book store in the country and great to be with a group of pretty distinguished speakers. i'm going on a battlefield tour tomorrow. pretty excited about that. you can probably guess where the book is going a little bit. i want to start by saying i love the movie "gettiesbering." it's got me into studying the battle as an adult.
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i saw it in a theater in pittsburgh, drove here three nights later and i've had the illness ever since. i did it backwards. i saw the movie before i read the novel it was based on "killer angels." which won the pulitzer prize for fiction. key words, folks, for fiction. based on a foundation of gettysburg history, certainly. and it really has -- you know, the novelist did it so well that you often can't separate the fact from the fiction. it really effects the way we look at these stories. there were so many great stories. the one that always stood out to me was armistead and hancock. two friends, almost brothers, served together in the u.s. army, torn apart by the civil war. a teary-eyed farewell in 1861
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and meet here, where armi stead's men attack hancock's men and both fall wounded. i wanted to learn more about that and there wasn't much out there. i wanted to read a book on armistead and hancock and there wasn't one. why there's one now. i thought okay, i'll go back. you folks may have gone through the same sort of things as you're digging through the movie. i thought there has to be a lot written about the confederate general who achieved the deepest penetration. 158 years and one book. 64 pages and -- no, it's done by william mauts, now the ceo of the gettysburg foundation. and another one with a few more armistead anecdotes.
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a lot more about hancock. he lives for 20 years after the war, runs for president in 1880. a lot of books until a few years ago but some barely mention armi stead and some don't mention him at all. as i started to do research, i talked to some of my other friends who were serious students of the battle and some of you are in the audience. almost to a person what they knew was based on one scene in the movie where armistead is having a emotional conversation with james longstreet and talking about the farewell in california in 1861 and he quotes himself. this is one of the great scenes in the movie. there we go. you want to get your powerpoint down right at the beginning. when, so help me, if i ever raise my hand against you, may god strike me dead. may god strike me dead. that's how close these guys
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were. lewis armistead couldn't bring himself to fighting against hancock, even though they agreed to fight against each other in the civil war. but that's the movie version. only one person who was there that wrote about it and that's hancock. 's daughter. she does quote the phrase may god strike me did but in a slightly different context. "i hope god will strike me dead if i'm ever induced to leave my native soil should worse come to worse." you show it to people and they're like that's not what i heard. it's not very compelling. she was there. what happens? novelists and movie makers are story stellars. they're making this impression on you. they use this as a tool. and on top of that, you have to convince the story sometimes. the movie's already four hours.
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it's part of the tool. and by the way, those conversations, there's no evidence they ever happened. that's another tool of what we have. so, moving on from there. did they go to west point together? no. the movie implies they came up together. but armistead the older man by seven years. hancock, 1824. armistead threw his time of west point in the second lieutenant in the war in florida, the second seminal war, before hancock even enrolls. they meet later on the frontier. are there letters, personal letters between these two almost brothers? none exist. there are no letters from hancock that even mention armistead. and there are two letters from hancock that mention armistead
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but he's merely inquiring about the circumstances of armistead's wounded. so, what gives here? if you're researching a book on their friendship, you better figure out if they are friends. so, i hope you see that since i'm up here, i have concluded they're friends. i'm confident saying they were good friends. they weren't almost brothers. and they weren't best friends in the modern sense that they spent a lot of time together. but they built that bond as solars and that bond continued for 19 years until gettiesbering. for it's a compelling and unique story, reflective of what the civil war did to the country. just not insame as you heard in the novel and movie. armistead men had been serving in the american military since
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1680, when lewis's third great grandfather was lieutenant colonel of the horse militia in gloucester county, virginia. they fought in all the early wars and three of his uncles fought in the war of 1812. four brothers from the same family in the generation just ahead of his. captain lewis ga armistead named for the 17th century swedish warrior. he's killed and commands a rifle unit, killed in 1814. captain addison coastal foreignifications, dies of disease. lewis and addison, what's our civil war guy's name? named for two guys who died in service of the country. he was military almost from the time he comes out of the womb. and the most famous is the
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third, lieutenant colonel george armistead, when frances scott tee wrote the national anthem. the original star spangled banner remains in the private possession of the armistead family for 90 years until george's grandson gave it to the smithsonian. if you go tomorrow,to the national historian museum, that came from the armistead family. one of the most iconic pieces of early amareden history. george died probably of a heart attack. so, the oldest, longest livabling of the ranking brothers is lewis's father. third man ever to graduate from west point in 1818, when lewis is one year old, walker is named chief engineer of the u.s. army. then named one of the highest
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ranking officers. for it's no coincidence that lewis armistead is a soldier. no coincidence his three youngest brothers were confederate soldiers and no coincidence his son was a confederate and i witnessed, military service was part of the dna. now, lewis did try to follow his father's foot steps. enrolled in west point. the most storied career of anyone who never graduated. three years graduated, never got out of the freshman class. that's hard to do. he was sick a little bit. obviously wasn't a very good student. and he got in a fair amount of trouble. in his third year, when he's taking the same classes for the third time and moved up to the middle of the class rankings, there is an entry in the records in january of 1936, capt --
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cadette armistead is charged with disorderly conduct in the mess hall, limited to his room. the details of what happened are long gone from west point, probably destroyed in a fire in the 19th century. the story was he brawled and hit another future confederal general over the head with a plate. it was considered serious back then. lewis goes he's in trouble. frrlgs he talks to his father and they conclude the best thing to do to avoid a court marshal is to resign. he writes a letter of resignation and he says we hope it will be accepted as a courtesy of brig ideer general. he was resigned. there was a three-year gap in the story of his life. then a he gets a story as a
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civilian in the second lieutenant in the u.s. army. his last class at west point graduated july 1st 1839. their commissions date to that day. lewis's commission dates july 10th. 10th. all those shenanigans not even on campus the last three years, he loses nine days in rank. your dad is a brigadier general, your uncle is a u.s. congressman, so off he goes to the war zone. he's down in florida almost immediately. second or third day, he's in hot combat, but not long into his tenure, they made a change in his structure. the commander is, you guessed it, brigadier walker keith armistead, and lewis is stoon added to his staff as an aide, and his experience changes dramatically, but he gets an up close and personal view of how a general runs the army.
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in the early '40s, he meets a young man names winfield scott hancock. what is his background? he doesn't have military background of the armisteads, but his father has a thing for historic names. that would be benjamin franklin hancock. they have twin boys in 1824. they name one winfield scott after the soldier, they name the other hillary baker, which doesn't seem famous to us, but they're from southeastern p.a., he had been a mayor of philadelphia, had been in the revolution, so it was locally prominent at the time. six years later, they have a son, they name him john, john hancock. and john hancock is with his brother winfield at gettysburg. so armistead and hancock have family members at the battle. now, hancock is an impressive young man growing up in morristown, p.a. he's young, 16 is the youngest age you can get in, but he's
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also small. we think of big strapping winfield scott hancock, big guy. you know how tall he was when he got to west point? 5'5". one of his classmates wrote they consider hancock a pet. winfield scott hancock was their pet. so he is about 6 feet by the time he leaves, but it's small a fair amount of the time, and he gets picked on. boys being boys, he gets bullied. one time it gets so bad one of his larger classmates the to step in to fight one of the bullies. that class mate is alexander hayes who ends up commanding a division under hancock here at pickens charge. hayes beats up the bullies, defends hancock's honor. hancock never forgets this. years later in the flowerly language of the 19th century, he said i once had a difficulty, and alexander hayes was the first to assist me and became in aforesaid difficulty himself. i never forgot his generous action. amazing connections between these guys. hancock is not a very good
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student either. unlike armistead, he does graduate 18th out of 25 in the class of 1844. when he graduates, he is sent to the frontier, in what is now oklahoma, and that's where in october of 1844, we have the first u.s. army record of armistead and hancock being together. they are in a small group of 15 officers, in a very remote post on the end of the country working together and developing their friendship. they serve together for 16 months on the frontier. in 1845, they're transferred together to another remote oklahoma post, ft. washita, where they're members, it was a six-member officer crew. only six officers. here's a record from november of 1845. you can't see it very well, but six officers. armistead is listed third, hancock is listed sixth. it's also the first time that the only time that we have a record of armistead and hancock being together that is not a
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u.s. army record. he discovered a letter at west point, i was able to get a copy of it, and publish it here in the book, maybe for the first time. it's a rather mundane letter that armistead write to a fellow soldier. you see his signature, lower right corner. but look who signs the ps. w. hancock. armistead, w. hancock. pretty cool piece of evidence of those guys being together. doesn't mean much. it just shows they were together. 1846, mexican war happens. these guys want to go, they go at different times, arrive at different places, but they end up fighting in the same unit, the sixth infantry. through his career, armistead was always noted for his bravery. a number of officers write about him being the first officer into the ditch in the final attack. they also serve together in the post war occupation. between the time that the fighting ended and the peace treaty was signed, u.s. army
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occupied mexico. armistead commanded a small company and his lieutenant were hancock and another young man arrived from west point, henry heath. heath gives us in his memoirs years later, third-person confirmation when he says armistead, hancock, and i were mess mates and never was a mess happier than ours. these guys are hanging out years before the civil war. now, heath and hancock are about the same age. armistead is older. heath and hancock are single. armistead is married. during this period, heath and hancock are going out at night looking for night life, trying to meet girls. heath loves it because he said hancock is so good looking, he's a magnet for the young ladies. one night, hancock tells a young lady, i love you. the next night, a second one, i love you. next night, a third one, i love you. he says hancock, how are you going to tell these different women you love them? he says, heath, we're still at war, and all is fair in love and war.
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true story. heath's memoirs. they are transferred together after the war to jefferson barracks in st. louis. they do the same thing, they go out. heath is with him when hancock meets his future wife. you can make a case hancock is closer to heath than armistead, but the book isn't heath and hancock. it's armistead and hancock, so we're getting back to the story. what were their family lives like? winfield hancock to me had a stable family life as you could have while being an army officer in the 19th century. he and elmira had two children, the family is almost always together. maybe some long marches winfield is by himself, but they're on post, they're in florida together, they're in california together. and they're married until 1886 when hancock dies. armistead by contrast has a very tragic personal life. between 1850 and 1855, he loses two wives, and two of his three children, to disease on the
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frontier. five years, what would have that done to you. he's already a hard nosed guy, a hardened soldier, but this adds a level of bitterness, he becomes sullen. the armistead character you see portrayed in gettysburg, that's probably not the way he was at that point. it's understandable. he was a dealt a different deck of cards in life. in the 13-year period between the end of the mexican war and beginning of the civil war, 1848 and 1861, these guys are almost never together. even when they're posted together, armistead seems to be off on detached service. there's one time where the entire sixth infantry gets together, makes a massive march to the west coast. they're together for a few months and catch up. they get out west and they're split up again. armstead is sent to arizona, and hahn clock is sent to a small west coast town of los angeles, california, population barely 4,000, where he's a porter master. one of his jobs is to supply
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armistead's troops. in research, you can find a lot about these guys in the 19th century by looking at newspapers. it's painstaking research, i have no patience. thankfully, my wife colleen has lots of patience. so i will say something to her like, armistead and hancock, summer of 1859, los angeles. what can you find? 20 minutes later, oh, this. how about this? hancock, quarter master, the president residing here. on and on and on. and a pretty cool piece of evidence of these guys, the bond continues. they're hundreds of miles apart, they're working together. i never did this research, never seen anything or known anything like that. armistead does a good job, earns a leave of absence. he turns into a year-long leave of absence. he's home almost the entire year of 1860.
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he's even listed in the virginia census as though he lived there. he reunites with his mother and his young son, walker keith, who goes by keith. he also reconnects with some of his friends back home. one of whom is the future confederate cavalier turner ashby. he lives nearby. ashby during this time had commanded a militia unit. they were called into the john brown raid. ashby and his men were there when brown was hanged. he has a sense of what's going on in the country. ashby is telling this armistead, and he's going to wait so long he can't get his arms around it. he thinks ashby is being overly negative. he says, turner, do not talk so. lete me sing you a song and wipe away your gloom. and with that, he started to sing the star-spangled banner, and ashby, it was said, joined in. there you have nine months before the civil war, these two future confederate officers singing the star-spangled banner. armistead has to get back to work. he gets back to his post late december 1860. he's in san diego, california,
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now. just 120 miles south of hancock. by the time he gets there, south carolina has seceded, other states are lining up. elmira hancock writes at this time a lot of soldiers went to hancock for advice. he's a well respected officer. he didn't have much advice for them. what he said was i can give you no advice as i shall not fight on the principle of state rights but for the union whole and undivided. you must be guided by your own convictions and i hope you will make no mistakes. this was an easy decision for winfield hancock. he was 100% a union man. armistead has a tough decision. yes, he's a native southerner. yes he comes from a long line of slave holders. yes, he grew up on a farm with 19 slaves his father owns. he owned at least one slave, maybe two briefly. he believes in the southern cause, but his hole life and history is tied up in the u.s.
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army and the star spangles banner. with the loss of his wife and children, the army has become his children. these are his brothers in arms. as we know, he does make that tough decision and he's going to fight for the confederacy. we have his reason in a letter that appears in his son's military service records in the national archives. armistead is writing a letter in december of 1861, trying to get his son a cadetship in the confederate army. there's the letter, it's in the book. i would like to see their handwriting. here's the key phrases. i have been a soldier all my life. i was an officer in the army of the u.s. which service i left to fight for my own country and for and with my own people and because they were right and oppressed. for my own country and for and with my own people. that's why armistead fought for the country, which leads us to the famous farewell gettogether in california. lots of questions about this.
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did elmira get the facts right? i believe something did happen, that they in fact met. when you look at it, you have to look at exactly what she wrote. she only identified three people who attended. she says more were there, but she only identifies three by name. armistead and hancock, obviously, and albert johnson. so could they all have been in the same place, l.a. in late spring, early summer of '61 to make this possible? the answer is yes. hancock and albert sidney johnson lives in l.a. they were friends. armistead is only 120 miles south. we have newspaper accounts twice in may he was through l.a., at least briefly. we have a letter in later june, he's in l.a. he could have been there, i don't have a daily record of what he did. the circumstances existed for this to happen. now, what did elmira say? this is the foundation of the legend. she wrote, the most party was major armistead, who with tears which were contagious streaming down his face and hands on
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mr. hancock's shoulders while looking him steadily in the eye, said hancock, good-bye. you can never know what this cost me, and may god strike me shall worst come to worst. she said some other things that don't get a lot of focus. she said armistead brought his u.s. major's uniform to give to hancock in case he might some time need it. he also said armistead gave her a small satchel, and i'll quote here, requesting it not be opened except in the event of his death, in which case the souvenirs it contained except for the prayer book, should be sent to his family on the fly leaf of this book as the following, lewis a. armistead, trust in god and fear nothing. this was not given on a camp fire on the eve of the battle of gettysburg. it was given to elmira before he left. there is one other account of
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armistead and hancock getting together before they left. it's in 1880 biography of hancock that not many people have read by the reverend junken, who was credible because he was a reverend and former chaplain of the u.s. navy. he was a friend of the hancock family. he does some work in the hancock home on his biography. he attributes the following passage to hancock himself. he doesn't quote him. i wish he would have quoted him, but he attributes hancock as his source. he says an interesting incident in connection with general armistead's defection from the u.s. army is related by general hancock. it occurred in los angeles early in 1861. on leaving los angeles, he presented hancock with his majors uniform saying he might some time need it. he goes on, he also placed in his hands for safe keeping if he should fall in battle, certain valuable papers. he also presented a little prayer book which is still on the latter's position on the fly leaf is the following
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inscription, lewis a. armistead, trust in god and fear nothing. they're telling the same story. this is seven years before elmira's book. now, he says he got the prayer book. she says she got it, somebody got the prayer book. so i think it's enough evidence to say that i think something happened. or i think they did get together. they come east. they're on the same battlefield a couple times early in the war. they're both at seven days, at antietam. the question we get is did they know they were fighting each other? the answer is probably. and the third day of a battle, the same place, the army intelligence would have been pretty good with prisoners and battle flags, but the point is they weren't talking about fighting each other. they weren't longing for one another. oh, winnie boy, oh, whoa. i have to watch when i say this. folks, i'm not even sure that was armistead's nickname. there's very scant evidence to
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that. it's not an essential part of the story so i deal with it in the appendix of the book. you can read it, the appendix is titled lo and behold. so lo and behold, armistead leads about 100 men over the wall. and we're all familiar with this unique marker, the armistead marker put up in the late 1880s. see what that looked like about a century ago. i had never seen that. that was just an interesting photo i dug up. that, of course, is modern. is it accurtally placed? there's accounts that he said he fell down, there's one account from a guy in his brigade who said he was hit when he crossed the wall and staggered forward to the second line of guns where he fell. there are multiple accounts, union and confederate, he charged past the wall, up to the
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second line of guns where he was hit and fell. the most credible of those is from the union commander at the wall, alexander webb. he writes a letter to his wife a few days after the battle, before anyone is spinning. he writes very simply, general armistead, an old army officer, came over my fence and passed me with four of his men. i believe armistead get into the angle, whether it was exactly where the monument is right now, who knows, but he got in there. this group certainly knows there are two stories, two legends of armistead being assisted and carried off the field. they all have masonic implications. lewis a. armistead was a proud member of the masons. the first is he used a coded masonic phrase for distress, that he said son of a widow, and union soldiers who were masons heard this and rushed forward to help him. there are enough accounts that it's probably true. folks, there's no way the union army is letting a wounding confederate general lay on the field. even just for intelligence, they
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would have picked him up whether he was a mason or not. the second was this encounter with union captain henry bingham, who is a staff officer on hancock's staff. bingham is a mason. armistead is a mason. hancock's a mason. as a result, we have the very beautiful friend to friend masonic memorial at the entrance to the cemetery annex. the original mason proposal was that it would be a figurine of armistead and hancock shaking hands. the park rejected that because that did not happen. this scene did happen. bingham did assist armistead. i could find no evidence that it was because they were masons. that's inferred. no evidence it was because they were masons. the only two who knew were armistead and bingham. armistead died. bingham wrote about this twice in his life, both in private letters to hancock. it was a secret organization, but hancock was a fellow mason.
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he never mentioned it. i was just interested there was no evidence that it was. it's an inference and a great story. but on top of that, if you read bingham's full account, he is going to help a wounded confederate officer. he knows someone has been wounded. he thinks he's coming to help longstreet, who is not a mason. he encounters armistead. they introduce each other. armistead identified hancock as an old and valued friend. then he gives bingham a quote, which bingham writes six years later. i have done him and done you all an injury which i so regret or repent, where forget the exact words, the longest day i live. causing controversy to this day. a lot of people think that armistead was recanting. everything i have ever read about lewis armistead before and after, i can't imagine he was recanting. whatever you think of him, he was a confederate soldier, but
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that's what bingham wrote. armistead is carried to the field hospital. if you have not been down there, please go down there. the foundation has done a great job restoring that place. civil war hospital. his doctors, the union doctors, do not think his wounds are fatal, yet he dies two days later, july 5th. they don't know much about germs. there are rumors of injuries they may have missed. there's a story he might have had a blood clot in his leg that went to his lungs. but he dies july 5th. he's buried there in a shallow grave. he's dug up not long afterwards by an enterprising and cold hearted doctor who thinks armistead's relatives may pay for the body, and he's right. high published letters from the doctor's representative to lewis' cousin down in baltimore, the son of the hero ft. mchenry, he wants his cousin's body. a deal is done in october. they want $100. he takes it to old st. paul
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cemetery, buries it in a family vault recognize next to his famous uncle, george armistead. always been mystery about this. i was on a ranger tour a few years ago, where we know he's at old st. pauls, we're not sure where. that's where, outside the vault. i was standing there gawking in awe. my wife had the presence of mind to take a photo. thank you very much. it's a private cemetery basically. it's locked and gated. you can finagle your way in. occasionally, they do these tours. that's the armistead story. hancock wounded about the same time. in the thigh. he recovers but he never fully recovers. he returns to the army in six months. never quite the same. he has a pretty good day, but i think that's why he never rose to higher command in the army during the war. a very interesting post war life, i detail this in the book. he runs for president in 1888.
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remains in the army. 1885, he returns to gettysburg for the final time where he famously argues with john about the location, the proposed location of the hancock wounding monument. there it is today. it was put up after his death. hancock always thought it should have been closer to the angle. he's just as stubborn, he said no, so that's where it is. hancock also does take him on a tour of the battlefield. how cool would that have been, 22 years after the war to walk the fields with winfield scott hancock. a few months later, february 1886, he contracted an illness and dies at the age of 62. he's buied in norristown, pennsylvania, in a vault he built when his daughter died. both his children for seedprece in death. now, the story of hancock and armistead was not well known or even talked about much, late 19th century. it wasn't talked about at all in
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the early 20th century. wasn't until the 1950s when the great historian bruce cabin wrote about the friendship using elmira hancock's book as his source. it took off. the public loved it. shelby footepicked it up, the movie gettysburg picks it up, and now it's one of the most famous stories, an overnight sensation that took 100 years. one guy who would an old friend, henry heath. he wrote his memoirs, published them, not very well read. i have never seen this quote before but i'll conclude with those. those two mess mates and devoted friends never met again on earth, but i'm sure met in heaven. armistead killed by one of hancock's troops. what a commentary on civil war. thank you very much.
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if we have time for questions, i guess we do. is anybody in charge? >> what happened to the prayer book? >> we don't know. it's one of those frustrating things. she said she had it, but it got lost somewhere in the pass down to descendants. it would have been great to have that. frustrating thing about history. we lose a lot. >> did the armisteads have actually swedish heritage? >> i don't think they did. what i found is people thought they had english and german. there might have been some swedish, but i think it was just because of his military province. this was a military family. they knew military history. that's the only thing i can surmise. do you have a question? >> okay. there's a part where hancock in the audio book is all by himself
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in california at that duty station. is that true? the way that the general in the audio book made it sound, he was a pay master, quarter master, the only one guarding -- >> i'm not thinking of the scene. but yes, he was the only u.s. army officer there. he had met people working for him, but for a while, he was the only u.s. -- then more came. but he was, again, because they're kind of opening up the west, and they opened that post, a lot of people don't know hancock was a quarter master for a lot of his career. some of his people who were with him later in the life think that's what really set him up to be a great commander. but yes, he's running the show out there. what i didn't know, though, until we found that newspaper account, one of those responsibilities was at the time supplying armistead's troops. >> where was armistead at that time? where was he -- >> what is now arizona. the mojave indians, who the army sent them in to do some battle
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there. so they were apart, but they're still connecting. yes. >> hancock was still on duty when he died, wasn't he? >> yes, he never retired. he remained a professional soldier. he would have resigned, he said, if he won the presidency. otherwise. it was really close. it was a close election. i think 9 million votes cast and he lost by 9,000. if he had won the electoral college in new york, he would have been president, where he lived at the time. he really came very close to being president. the only time that two union officers ran against each other in a presidential election. yes, sir. >> north carolina -- >> yes, that's where -- he was born in north carolina. his mother's family was from newburn, north carolina, but they moved to virginia quickly.
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his father bought a farm in virginia. the armistead family, they're virginian. so i think he would consider himself a virginian, but it's true he was born in north carolina. >> i had a couple family related questions. do we have any good sense of what this illness was that killed armistead's -- you said both wives? >> they believed both were cholera. it was going through the frontier there, and both times, cholera wiped out people at the post. it was ripping through the army post. they were dealing with this. it was a really tragic time, and there is one account of him coming upon his wife, the second wife who had died. his first one died of cholera. he got remarried and the second one died. >> almost all of these generals on both sides had children dying. >> yeah, yeah. >> wives die. >> i think in the country, too.
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we focus on this, and they dealt with a lot of that. it's just such -- but armistead had a lot in a very short period of time. and that had to impact his views on things from that point on. >> the other one i wanted to ask was for hancock. elmira, we know she's beautiful. that's about the only thing we know about her from the movie. is she a reliable witness? can we tell? >> there's really no way of showing that. she writes the memoirs of winfield scott hancock, so at that point, when you look at all this, everybody is spinning. all the accounts, everybody is spinning. nobody ever retreated because they lost the battle. you know, so we all do that. everybody is working in pr. so certainly, there is pr in her book, but she's the only account that we have. but it's the junken account in the book seven years before her
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book, where a lot of it is the same language. so they're getting told the same story. i think that is as much confirmation. but the bottom line with all of this, we'll never know. this may be -- hopefully this gets a little closer to the truth, but it's not the whole truth. i mean, so much we'll never find, and other people may argue some of these points, but at least you can discuss it. that's why we all come back. if we knew everything, we would be on to some other battle. yes, sir. >> the mexican war, did either one distinguish themselves in any way during their service? >> they both were gallantry. armistead two times, maybe three. as i mentioned just briefly there, throughout his military career, his fellow soldiers always talked about how brave armistead was. there are several accounts of him being the first person into the ditch there. and again, he's seven years
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older than hancock, so hancock was very juior when he got there. there's a chapter on the mexican war in the book. we know a lot more about what armistead did. he also testified in the court-martial of another officer, so he detailed in the court-martial account what he did. so he described some of his actions in some of the battles. pretty interesting to me. yes, sir. >> in the movie, hancock, when he has a conversation with his general, he's basically telling him, i don't remember who he's talking about, but he's saying it's hot. we're all tired. nothing is going to happen. i don't think that would be true of what really happened. did he and the other generals already know that, hey, the confederates are going to be attacking us. we just don't know when. >> it's a broader question, but obviously, a lot of the conversations in the movie are just for the movie. i think there was, you know, there was some question on the union side. reading john gibbons' accounts,
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they weren't sure there was going to be an attack that day. you never know if there are demonstrations. i'm talking a little bit off the path of this book. but they found out very quickly. they were in position, though. yeah, yeah. because if you remember, the confederates, the original plan wasn't pickets charge. the original plan was to continue the attacks of the previous day. not until longstreet and lee have their little argument that pickets charge becomes pickets charge. so even the confederates were going to attack, but they didn't know at 6:00 in the morning they were going to do pickets charge the way it came out. who knows what would have happened if they did the other. yes. >> was that rufus weaver, the name of the doctor? >> i think it was chamberlain. >> a different person. >> i detail in the book. you get on to research other things after you write a book and you can't remember all the details, but there are so many
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names. because there's a lot of information about armistead now at the spangler farm, there are a number of doctors who examined him. so when you're writing a book, you can't use everyone's account. so that's part of the challenge of all of this, you get into the hancock/howard thing on the first day. there's so many -- we'll never know exactly what happened between those guys. it depends on whose officers you're reading, are you reading howard's officers or hancock's. >> i saw yesterday here in gettysburg, they had this memorial to this doctor who they said was doing the noble work of helping expatriate the bodies of the confederate soldiers back to the confederacy. charges like $3.25 a body, but they used it as an example of charity. but from what you were saying, it sounded like somebody was doing this as a money making operation. >> this was with armistead because he was a star, and really, he thought he could get
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money for the body, and he was right. for a long time, people couldn't figure out where armistead was. communication wasn't very great back then. that's why there's still a mystery today. you can't get into the seamitary, you can't just walk in, so you can't check it out. again, you have to navigate your way through the tangle of stories and try to figure out which one you believe the most, is basically, i'll admit to having to do that in the book because you can't do it any other way. there's so many, not just on that but everything. so many conflicting account, like where armistead fell. these guys were all eye witnesses and they all say he fell at different places. so i guess the marker is as close as we can find. thank you very much. really enjoyed it. >> you can be a part of the national conversation by
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competing in c-span's student cam competition. if you're a middle or high school student, we're asking you to create a five to six-minute documentary that answers the question, how does the federal government impact your life? it must show supporting and opposing points of view on a federal policy or program that affects you or your community using c-span video clips which are easy to find and access at c-span.org. student cam competition awards $100,000 in total cash prizes and you have a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received before january 20th, 2022. for competition rules, tips, or to just how to get started, visit our website at studentcam.org. >> lectures in history is an opportunity to join students in college classrooms. recently, wentworth institute of technology allison lang taught a class about the women's suffrage
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movement. she described how women's voting rights activists and their opponents used images to support their causes. >> his print was completed in 1851, just a year after that. so by that time, americans throughout the country are very aware of this rising, growing women's rights movement. and its vibrance and increasing power in the united states. and yet the images are changing very little. this is about 75 years after that previous image. we see a woman in the center, who is mrs. turkey. she's smoking. she's wearing bloomers. she's showing us her angle, which may not seem very scandalous to us in the 21st century, but it would have been remarkable in 1851. she has her hand fairly condescendingly placed on the man's head who is hunched over, kind of looking like an older woman mending clothes, doing these menial tasks. both of them are ignoring the
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child who is crying in the front of the room. you know, his banner says no more papa and mama. in the background, we have the two women both holding banners as well, also wearing bloomers. one says no more basement and kitchen. i think she's intending to represent servants, working class women. and the other one is a black woman who is smoking a people, pipe, and she has a sign protesting slavery. we have the scene that's very much kind of in the same world as the previous one. it's suggesting that if women gain rights, if women seek power and win power, they're going to abandon their domestic duties, they're going to force men to become more womanly, and it's going to lead to other changes including challenging the class hierarchy, like we see with the servants, as well as the racial hierarchy and the system of slavery. all of these things are

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