The Story of the Friend to Friend Masonic MonumentJanuary 4, 2023
The Friend to Friend Masonic Monument located in the Gettysburg National Cemetery Annex on Steinwher Avenue. This touching monument depicts Union Army Captain Henry H. Bingham assisting the severely wounded Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Armistead after Pickett’s Charge. Both men were Freemasons, and it was said that as General Armistead fell, he gave a Masonic sign asking for assistance (although this is disputed).
When Armistead learned that Bingham was an aid to his dear friend Union General Winfield Scott Hancock, Armistead entrusted his personal effects (i.e., watch, pocket book) to Bingham and asked that he pass along the items and a message to Hancock. Per later writings of Captain Bingham, the fateful message was “Say to Gen. Hancock for me that I have done him, and you all, a grievous injury, which I shall always regret.”
The plaque on the monument bears the following words “Their unique bonds of friendship enabled them to remain a brotherhood undivided, even as they fought in a divided nation, faithfully supporting the respective governments under which they lived.”
This poignant moment in time represents one of many personal stories of the Civil War.