tv The Civil War Former Friends - Union General Hancock Confederate General... CSPAN December 28, 2021 7:14pm-8:02pm EST
an ex speaker is tom mcmillon. he is a lifelong student of the history and the civil war. up until this year he has previously published two books. flight 93, the story, the aftermath and the legacy of american cover courage on 9/11. and gettysburg, -- he came home to fight confederate soldiers and that is actually one accounting to literary award. we have announced today, his newest release.
it is armistead and hancock, behind the gettysburg at the turning point of the civil war -- this will be the foundation for his presentation today. as you all know this book is hot off the press, it is not officially released until july 15th. you can get it here first now. guaranteed, first addition. in addition to tom's writing career. he has also served on the board of trustees with excuse me, -- sorry. previously served on the board of directors of flight 93 national memorial. he lived in pittsburgh and recently resigned two days ago very recently. he recently retired. after a 43 year career in sports media and communication. without any further introduction, i would like to present to you, thomas mcmillon.
>> first ever standing here, thank you. it's great thanks to tammy. this is such a great place. it's my favorite little civil war bookstore in the country. it's great to be with this group of pretty distinguished speakers. my friend jim has there is going to give me -- tomorrow. i'm excited about that. you can probably guess where this book is going a little bit i will start by saying, i love the movie gettysburg. it is what got me into studying the battle as an adult. it came out in 1993. i started in a theater and pittsburgh. i drove here three nights later, i had the illness ever since. i did it backwards, i saw the movie before i read the novel. that won the pulitzer prize for fiction in 1975. -- based on gettysburg history,
certainly. there's a lot of fiction woven in, especially with the conversation. the novelist, michael shawl, does it so well. you often can't separate the facts from the fiction. it affects the way we look at these stories. there were so many great stories. one that always stood up for me though was, lewis armistead and -- hancock. what a story that was. two friends,, almost brothers, served together in the u.s. army torn apart by the civil war we had a teary eyed farewell in l.a. and 1961. two years later,, they meet here -- armistead's men and hancocks men, and both are 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, there wasn't one. well, there is one now. i thought, okay, i will go back
-- you folks might have gone through the same kind of things as you saw the movie. there has to be a lot written about the confederate general that achieve the deepest penetration into the -- 158 years, one. book 64 pages, night we -- done by -- long time revered -- it's well researched and well done. that's really it. a few years ago, wayne and jim hassler did a book on -- a few more armistead anecdotes but there's not much wealth and book form. there's a lot written about hancock. here of the battle, he lives 20 years after the war, he runs for president in 1880, a lot of books from the late -- most of them barely mention armistead. some don't mention him at all. i thought, what is going on here. i started doing research and i talked to somebody who were
sitting out there in the audience i said, what do you know about armistead and hancock? almost to a person, what they knew was based on one scene of the movie where armistead is having an emotional conversation with longstreet and he's talking about -- california back in 61. he quotes himself, this is one of the great scenes in the movie. you want to get your powerpoint done right at the beginning he says win, so help me if i ever raise my hand against you, may god strike me dead. may god strike me dead that is how close he got we he couldn't breathe so he. had to think about hancock. even though they had agreed to fight against each other in the civil war that is the movie version. the only person who was there who wrote about it, that is hancock. he quotes armistead as using the phrase, may god strike me
dead but in a stretch slightly different context. he says that he said i hope god will strike me dead if i may ever have to leave my native soil should worst come to worst. you show that to people and, that's not true, that can't be the story, that's not what i heard, that's not very compelling. she was there. what happened? well, novelists and movie makers are storytellers. their hands-ing their stories and making this impression on them. they're using this as a tool. on top of that, you have to can -- the movies already for hours,, you can have a 16-hour movie. it's part of the tool. and by the way, those conversations between armistead and longstreet, 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 implied that came up together, armistead was older
by seven years. born in 1817, -- through his time in west point serving in the u.s. army as the second lieutenant in a war down in florida. in fact, the seminal war. before and hancock even and rolls in that point. they meet on the frontier. are there letters, personal letters between these two almost brothers? we known exist. there are no letters from hand cough that even mention armistead. i'm sorry, there is no letters from armistead that mentioned -- there are two letters of hancock that mention armistead, it's after he died. he's inquiring about the circumstance of armistead's death. so if you're researching a book on armistead and hancock in their friendship, you better understand if their friends or not. so, i hope you and -- they are friends. i'm confident saying they were
good friends. they were not almost brothers. they weren't even best friends in the modern sense. in that they spent a lot of time away from each other. they served together on a frontier, they served together in the mexican war, they built that bond as soldiers, that bomb continued for 19 years until gettysburg. to me, it's a compelling and unique story. it's reflective of what the civil war did to the country. it is just not the same story you heard in the novel. to her with these guys? louis addison armistead was from a very distinguished military family from virginia. armistead had been serving in the american military since the year 16 80. lewis's third grade grandfather was lieutenant and colonel of the -- of western county virginia. they fought and all the -- it was his father and three of his uncles that were -- four brothers from the same family in the generation just ahead of his. captain lewis, j.a. armistead.
he is named from the 17th century swedish -- he is killed, commands rifle unit and kills -- captain addison armistead, from south carolina, he gets a disease in 1813. lewis and madison, lewis and addison that's our civil wars guy's name. louis addison armistead. he's named from two uncles that died in the war of 1812. he is military from the time almost that he comes out of the win. the most famous uncle is the third, lieutenant colonel george armistead. he commanded fort mchenry in the battle of bart moore when -- wrote the national anthem. not only that, but george took the flag. the original star-spangled banner, he took it off the flagpole and cook at home. it remained in the private possession of the armistead family for 90 years. until georgia's grandson gave it to the smithsonian in the
30th 20th century. if you go tomorrow to the national museum of american history, and you see the star-spangled banner there, at the 200 year old thin wisp of a flag, it came out of the armistead family. one of the most iconic pieces of early american history. george dies a few years after the war, 1818 probably a heart attack. the oldest, longest-living, highest ranking of the brothers is lewis's father. walker keith armistead. not well known today, third man ever to graduate from west point in 1818. while lewis is one year old, walkers named chief engineer of the u.s. army. in 1828, when louis is 11, walker is named the brigadier general, one of the highest ranking officers. it is no coincidence that lewis armistead is a soldier. it is no coincidence that his three younger brothers were confederate soldiers. it is no coincidence that his son, also named walker keefe, was a confederate soldier and on his staff here at gettysburg as a teenager, i witnessed -- military service was part of
the armistead dna. lewis did try to follow in his father's footsteps. he and rolls in west point in 1833. it is the most storied career of anyone who never graduated. three years on campus, never got out of the freshman. class we have some college professors here. he was sick a little bit, he obviously wasn't a very good student. he got in a fair amount of trouble, but in his third year on campus, 35, 36 when he was in both name classes for the third time, and he moved all the way up to the middle of the class ranking. there is an entry in the records in january of 36. armistead is placed on arrest by disorderly conduct in the mess hall. the details of what happened are long gone from west point, probably destroyed in a fire in the 19th century. the story that made it to the confederate army was that louis brawled in the mess hall and hit another confederate general
over the head with a plate. we laugh at that today, but that was considered serious back then. louis knows he's in trouble. he talks with his father, they conclude the best thing to do to avoid is to resign. louis resigns, there's no guarantee it will be accepted. the west point superintendent writes to army headquarters and says we hope we will be accepted as a courtesy to walker keith armistead. it was accepted. lewis was not thrown out, as you often read, he resigned. there is about a three year gap in the story of his life. by summer of 1839, he gets a commission as a civilian, a second lieutenant in the u.s. army. he will -- his last class at west point graduated july 1st 1839. their commissions state to that day. lewis's commission dates july 10th. all those shenanigans, not even on campus the last three years he uses line days in a row. it's good to know people in high places. his dad is a brigadier general,
his uncle is a u.s. congressman. off he goes to the war zone. he is down in florida almost immediately. second or third day there, he's in hot combat with -- not long into his tenure of the u.s. army, it makes a change in his command structure. the new commander of all u.s. troops in the florida theater is you guessed it, brigadier general walker keith armistead. louis is cemented to a staff as an aide, his experience changes dramatically. he gets an up close personal view of how a general runs an army. he serves at his term. in the early 18 40s, he is sent to the frontier to a place called fort thousand, and what is now oklahoma. that is where he meets a young man named hancock. we what is hancock's background? he doesn't have the military pedigree that the armistead's have obviously. his father, benjamin, has a thing for historic names. that would be benjamin, franklin, hancock. they have twin boys in --
the name him winfield scott off of the soldier, it's been in the other one hillary baker, doesn't seem very famous to us but there from southeastern pa. he was the mayor of philadelphia. he was locally prominent at the time. six years later, they are a third son, they name him john hancock. with john hancock as with his brother winfield, they're in gettysburg. both armistead and hancock up family members at the battle. hancock is an impressive a young man growing up in -- pa, he gets an appointment with the west point. his father doesn't think it's a good idea. he is young, 16, is the youngest age you can get in. he is also small. he we think of big, strapping, wind field, john hancock. to know how tall he was when he -- five feet, five inches tall. one of his classmates wrote that they considered hancock a pet. winfield scott hancock was his pet. they had a growth spurt, he was six feet by the time he leaves. he was small a fair amount of the time. he gets picked on.
boys being boys, he gets bullied. one time it gets so bad that one of his larger classmates has to step in and fight one of the police. that classmate is alexander hayes, who went up commanded a division under hancock -- hayes beats up the bully. defense hancocks honor. hancock never forgets, it years later in the flowering language of the 19th century he writes, when i was a boy one-sided difficulty. alexander hayes was the first a volunteer to assist me. and extracted me for my trouble, -- i never forgot his gender tracks amazing connections. hancock is not a very good student. like armistead, he does graduate 18th at of 25, 1844. when he graduates, he is sent to the frontier, to fort townsend, which is now in oklahoma. and that's where in october 1844 we have the first u.s. army record of armistead and hancock being together. they are in a small group of 15
officers and it is in a very remote posts on the end of the country. working together and developing their friendship. they served together for 16 months. then they are transferred to another remote oklahoma post, where they are members of a six member officer crew. here is a record from november of 1845. six officers and the chaplain and armistead, they are listed. it's also the first time -- the only time -- that we have a record of armistead and hancock being together that is not a u.s. army record. i was able to get a copy of the record in which this was discovered, maybe for the first time. it's not a mundane letter to a fellow soldier. look who signs. w. hancock.
armistead. w. hancock. pretty cool piece of evidence of those guys being together. doesn't mean much, just shows they were together. then these guys want to go, they go to different places. they end up fighting in the same unit, they are both credited for gallantry. armistead was always noted for his bravery. it was the first u.s. officer into the ditch them frequently. they also gather together in postwar occupations. during the time that the fighting ended and the treaty was signed them -- occupied mexico. another young man a wives arise from west point. heath. heath says in his memoir, and gives third person a confirmation of, never was a
match happier than ours. so, these guys were hanging out years before the civil war. heath and hancock are about the same age. armistead is married while the others are single. they are going out looking for nightlife and trying to meet girls. hancock is a magnet for the young ladies. he says to one lady, i love you, the second night, i love you. the next night, a third, one i love you. we are still at war and all is fair and love and war, he says. they are transferred together after the war. and hancock meets his future wife. you could make a case that hancock is closer to heath. --
what were their family lives like? do they have a stable a family life as you could have while being an army officer. they are almost always together. but they are on coast. they are in california together. they are married until 1886. armistead in contrast had a tragic personal life. between 1850 and 1855, he loses two wives and two of his three children to disease. he is a hard nosed guy but this adds a level of bitterness. it's understandable. so the armistead character, you see portrayed in gettysburg, that's probably not the way he was portrayed. he was given a different deck of cards.
in the period after the civil war, these guys are almost never together. armistead seems to be off on detachment. there is one time in the 1850s where there is a massive march to the west coast. they are there together for a few months. they are sent out towards arizona. and hancock is in the small western town of los angeles, california, population barely 4000. he is a quartermaster and one of his job is to supply troops. you can find out a lot about these guys in newspapers. it is painstaking research. i have no patience. my wife colleen has a lot of patience. almost it and hancock, what can you find, los angeles? 20 minutes later she says, how
about this? how about this? [inaudible] they have hancock as quartermaster in this record. on and on. a pretty cool piece of evidence. hundreds of miles apart but working together. never seen anything like that. armistead does a good job against the mohave. and he is home almost the entire year of 1856. he lived and reunited with his mother. and his young son. -- he has a future confederate cavalier turner ashby. he commanded a militia unit.
ashby and his man where they are when brown was hanged. he has a sense of what is going on in the country. ashby is telling the storm stud and armistead has been away so long he cannot get his arms around him. he thinks ashby is being overly negative. he says, turner, do not talk so, let me sing you a song. and armistead started to sing the star spangled banner. and ashby joined in. so there you have, nine months before the civil war, these two future confederate officers singing the star spangled banner. armistead gets back to san diego california. 120 miles south of hancock. the state has succeeded by the time he gets there. and a lot of the southern born soldiers at this time went to hancock for advice. he is well respected. lothe did not have much advice. what he said was, i cannot give
you advice, i cannot sympathize with you. you must be guided by your own convictions. and i hope you will make no mistakes. this was an easy decision for winfield scott hancock. he was not an abolitionist but was 100% a union man. he was going to fight for the union. armistead has a tough decision. yes, he is a native southerner, and grew up on a farm with 19 slaves. he owned at least one slave. he believes in the southern cause. but his whole life and family history is tied up in the u.s. army and the star-spangled banner. the army has become his family. these are his brothers in arms. as we know, he does make that tough decision and will fight for the confederacy. we have his reason in a letter that appears in his son's military service record. there is a letter in 1861,
looking for cadets ships. this letter -- i would like to see the handwriting. but here is the key phrase. i have been a soldier all my life. i was an officer in the army of the u.s., which i served to fight with my own country. because they were right and oppressed. for my own country and for my own people, that's why armistead fought for the confederacy. which leaves us to the famous farewell get together in california. lots of questions about this, some people believe it didn't happen at all. i believe something did happen. when you look at -- you have to exactly at what she wrote. she only identified three people who attended. she identifies armistead, hancock and johnson.
could they have been at the same place, l.a., late, summer 1860? one the answer is yes. -- we have newspaper accounts of twice where he was in l.a.. we have a letter from later june where he was in l.a.. we do not have daily records by the circumstances existed for this to happen. what did his wife say? this is the foundation of the legend. she wrote that tears were streaming down his face while looking him steadily in the eye saying, hancock goodbye, i hope that god strike me down if ever i leave my native soul. she said some other things that don't get a lot of focus. that armistead brought his major armies'uniform to give it to hancock in case he needed it.
she also said that armistead gave her a small satchel requesting that it should not be opened in the event of his death -- unless -- it's in the event of his death. and it should be sent to his family on, armistead, justin got and four nothing. this is not given to longstreet on the eve of a battle. >> there is one other account of armistead and hancock getting together before they left. it's an 1880 biography of hancock that not a lot of people have read by a reverend. the ex john can. he was former champlain of the u.s. navy, he was a friend of the hancock family. he does some of his work on the hancock family. he attributes the following passage to hancock
himself. he doesn't quote him. he attributes hancock as a source. the interesting connection is related by general hancock. i am leaving los angeles, presenting hancock with the majors uniform if the latter might sometime immediate. he also goes on. he plays his hands for safekeeping for certain valuable papers. he also has a little prayer book. on the flyleaf is an inscription saying trust in god and fair nothing. they are telling the same story. this is seven years before elmira's book. we instead and elmira are saying the same story. i think there is enough evidence that something happened there. i think they did get together. and she says she got tthey are e
battlefield a couple of times earlier in the war. around antietam. they don't clash until the third day of gettysburg. do they know they were fighting each other? the answer is probably. the third day of the battle, the same place, prisoners and battle flags -- the point is, they were not talking about fighting each other. they weren't longing for one another. oh, whoa. i have to watch what i say. i am not even sure what was armistead's nickname. there is very scant evidence to that. it is not an essential part of the story so ideal with it in the appendix part of the book. you can make your own decision. the appendix is titled lo and behold. [laughs] we are all familiar with this unique marker, the armistead
marker, put up in the late 18 80s. was this when it was like a century ago? [inaudible] i had never seen that. an interesting photo that has been dug up. is it accurately placed? who knows. whatever your theory is, you could find an eyewitness account to support that theory. there are accounts that say armistead, one account from a guy in his brigade, saying that he staggered forth and fell. there are multiple accounts that he charged past the wall up to the second line where he was hit and fell. the most credible of those is from a union commander at the wall, alexander web, at the philadelphia brigade. he writes a letter to his wife, before anyone is spinning. he writes, simply, general armistead came over to my fence and passed me with four of his man. so i believe armistead did get
into the angle. whether it was exactly where the monument is, who knows. but he did get in there. there are two stories and two legends, of armistead being assisted and carried off the field. armistead was a proud member of the masonic. he was the son of a widow and union soldiers, who heard this and rushed forward to help. there are enough accounts that it is probably true. but there is no way that the union army is letting a wounded general lay there on the field. just for intelligence, they would have picked it up. the second encounter is by henry begum, by quirk of fate, a staff officer of hancocks. begum is a mason. armistead is a mason. hancock is a mason. as a result, we have the beautiful friend of friend
masonic memorial. the original mason proposal was that it would be a figurine of armistead and hancock shaking hands. this did not happen. begum did assist armistead. i could find no evidence that it was because they were masons. that is inferred. was because they were masons. that's affirmed no both in private letters to hancock, hancock was a fellow mason. he never mentioned it. it may very well may have been, i didn't say it wasn't, i was insisted that there was no evidence that it was. it's an inference, it's a great story. on top of that, if you read begum's full account he is going to help a wounded confederate officer. you know someone who's been wounded. he's told james long tree, he thinks he's coming to help longstreet. he is not a mason.
he gets there, he encounters armistead. he introduces him. he hears the hancock connection, he identifies and gawk as an old and valued friend. and then he gives bedding him a quote, begum writes it six years later. i have done him and done you owe an injury which i shall regret or pent, i feel that get the exact word, the longest day live. we this is causing controversy to this day. i don't know if begum quoted incorrectly, but a lot of people think that armistead was recanted. everything i've ever read about lewis armistead before and after, i can imagine he was -- he was a proud confederate soldier. -- if you have not been down there, please go down there. the foundation has done a great job or spluttering that place. civil war hospital. his dusters, the union doctors, don't think his wounds are fatal. and yet,, he dies two days later, july 5th. they don't know much about germs. there are rumors of all the
injuries they may have missed. there's a story he might have a blood clot in his leg that might have gone to his long. he dies the lights fifth. he's buried in a shallow grave. he is dug up not long afterwards by enterprising and cold hearted gettysburg doctor who thinks that armistead's relatives might pay for the body. he is right. i published letters from the doctors representative to lewis's cousin, christopher hughes armistead, down in baltimore, the son of the hue -- he wants his cousins body. the deal is done in october. they pay 100 dollars. he's shifted to christopher in baltimore. he takes it to old st. paul cemetery and buries it in a family ball, right next to his famous uncle, george armistead. i was on a ranger tour a few years ago. i know he's an old saint polls, we're not quite sure where. that's where. outside the vault, name plates for both of them. george and lewis. i was standing there, gawking at it. my wife had to take a photo.
thank you very much. it's a private cemetery, basically, it's locked and dated. you can finagle your way in. occasionally they do tours. that's the armistead story. hancock was wooded about the same time, in the thigh. he recovers but he never fully recovers. he returns to the army and six months, never quite the same. he was pretty good days -- i think that's why he never rose to higher command in the army during the war. as a very interesting postwar life i detail this in the book, he runs for president in 1880. loses a very close election to james garfield. he almost became president. 1885, he returns to gettysburg for the final time. he famously argues with john bachelor 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've been closer to the ankle. -- placed somewhere nearby, we
don't know. where hancock -- goes on a tour of the battlefield, 22 years after the battle. walks the field with can caulk. good thing he did that because, a few months later, february 1886, he contracted illness and died at the age of 62. he's buried in north town, pennsylvania. montgomery cemetery interval that he actually built when his daughter died. both of his children proceeded him a death. hancock and his daughter are buried here, his wife in the son are buried elsewhere. the story of hancock and armistead was not well known or even talked about munch in the late 19th century. it wasn't talked about it at all in the early 20th century. it wasn't until the 19 50s, when the great historian, bruce catlin, and his book, glory wrote, wrote about the friendship using hancock's book as his source. it took off. the public loved it. shelby foot picks it up in his trilogy, vocal sharp picked up a killer angels, the movie gettysburg picks it up, it's one of the most famous stories
of the battle. the overnight sensation's that took 100 years. one guy who would not have been surprised, was their old front henry. he wrote his memoirs, published them in the 1890s, not very well read. i haven't seen his quote before but i'll conclude with this. those two devoted friends never met again on earth, but i'm sure have met again in heaven. i think armistead was killed by hancocks troops, and hancock was wounded by one of armistead's command. what a commentary on civil war! thank you very much. we have time for questions. anybody in charge? >> go ahead. >> 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 -- passed down from descendants. it would've been great to have. that >> frustrating thing about
history. we lose a lot of these things. >> yes sir. >> did the armistead's have swedish heritage because of subtle fuss, the king of sweden? -- >> i don't think they did, as far as i know, they had english and german. there might have been swedish, but i think it was just because of the military promised. this was a military family. they knew military history. that is the only thing i can think of. podcast. >> dealing with guards and generals. there's a part where hancock, and the auto book, he's all by himself in telephone at the duty station. is that true? the way that the general in the audio book made it sound, was that he was at pay master, quartermaster, the only one guarding -- >> i'm not thinking at the same thing but yes, in fact, he was the only u.s. army officer there. people working for him but for a while he was in the u.s. officer there.
they are opening up the west and they opened that post. a lot of people don't know hancock was a quartermaster for a lot of his career. some of the people later and life think that's what's set him up to be a great commander. he understood all that stuff. yes, he is running the show out there. but i didn't know was that when we found a newspaper account, one of his main responsibility at the time was applying armistead's troops. >> where was he -- >> arizona. -- the army sent them into to some battle there. they were apart, but they are still connecting. >> hancock was still on duty when he died, wasn't he? >> yes. he never resigned from the army. he remained a professional soldier. he would have resigned, he said, if he had won the presidency. otherwise, he --
it was really close. it was a close election. i think 9 million votes were cast, he lives by 9000. if he won the election or college in new york, he would've been president, where he lived at the time. he came close to being president. it was only time that two union officers ran against each other in a presidential election. >> north carolina -- >> that's where he was born. his mother's family was from a newborn, north carolina. that's where he was born. he is a virgin -- they move to virginia quickly, his father bought a farm in virginia. his father was a virginia. the armistead family part of him is virginian. i think he would consider himself a virginian. but he was born in north carolina. >> sorry? >> i had a question.
do we have any good sense of what the illness was but killed armistead's wife, both wives? >> they believe that both was cholera. cholera was going through as a frontier there. both times cholera wiped out people at the post. it was ripping through the army posts. they were dealing with this, it was a tragic time. there is one account of him coming up on his wife, the second wife who died. the first went out of color, and he got remarried. and then the second one died. >> almost all of the generals on both sides had children dying, why is that? >> in the country, to, we focus on this and they dealt with a lot of that. it's such -- armistead had a lot in a very short period of time. that had to impact his views on things for that point. >> the other quick i wanted to ask was for hancock, we know she is beautiful, that's and i think we know about her from the movie, is she a reliable
witness in the rest of her -- can we tell? >> there is no way of showing that. she writes the memoirs on hancock. how that point, when you look at all of this stuff, everybody is spinning, all the o.r. accounts, everyone is spinning. nobody ever treated because they lost the battle. so, we all do that. everybody is working and pr. certainly this pr in her book. she is the only account that we have. it is the junk in account, the d x junction account, in the book seven years before her book, a lot of it is the same language. they are getting told the same story. i think that is as much confirmation as we have. bottom line, we will never know. this may be -- hopefully this gets a little closer to the truth, but it's not the whole truth. so much we will never find. people may argue some of these points. at least we can discuss, it
right? that's why welcome back. if we know everything, we wouldn't be -- would be on to some other battle,? right >> the service in the mexican -- today distinguish themselves in during their service? >> they were -- for gallantry he was -- at least two times, maybe three. as i mentioned briefly, throughout his military career, his fellow shoulders talked about how brave armistead was. there were several accounts of him being the first person into the ditch. again, he was seven years older than hancock. hancock was very junior when he got there. we know a little bit more -- there's a chaplain about the mexican war in the book. we know a lot more about what armistead did. he also testified as a court martial of another officer. he detailed in that court martial account what he did. he described some of his actions in some of the battles. pretty interesting to me. >> and the movie, hancock, when
he has conversations with his generals, he has basically telling -- our member who is talking to, but he's saying it's hot, we're all tired, nothing is gonna happen. i don't think that would be true about what's really happened. didn't he and the other generals already know that hey, the confederates are going to be attacking us, we just don't know when. >> obviously, a lot of the conversations the movies are there to move the movie along. there was some question in the union side -- john cabins accounts, they weren't sure there was going to be an attack that day. you never know if their demonstrations, i'm talking a little bit off the path of this book, but they found out very quickly. they were in position. if you remember, the confederates original plan wasn't -- the original plan was to continue the attacks of the
previous day. the longstreet lee had a little argument, they pick discharge became because charge. the confederates were going to attack but they didn't know at 6:00 in the morning they were going to -- who knows what they would would've happened if they did the other tactic. >> the doctor that helped with the exhuming of the body, was that rufus weaver? >> no. >> his name was chamberlain. >> different person, okay. >> i detail it 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 is so many -- there is a lot of information about armistead now at the farm. there is a number of doctors who examined him. when you're writing a book, you can't use everyone's account. that is part of the challenge of all of this. we get into the hancock, howard thing on the first day. there is so many accounts. you'll never know exactly would happen between those guys.
it depends on whose officers you're reading. are you reading house offices, or hancocks officers. >> on unity park i saw and gettysburg they had this memorial to the doctor who said was doing the noble work of helping expatriate the bodies of the confederate soldiers back to the confederacy. he was being charged 3:25 a body. they were using it as an example of charity. but from what you are saying, it sounded like somebody was doing this is a moneymaking operation. >> this particular case was because armistead was a star. he thought that they could get money for the body. he was right. armistead's family wanted the body. for a long time people can understand where armistead was. communication was a very great back then. communication was in great back then. that's why there was a mystery and still is today. you cannot walk in and get that. now you can check it out. again, you have to navigate your way through the tangle of
stories to try to figure out which one you believe most. i would admit to having -- in the book, you can't have it any other way. not just on that. there are so many other accounts. like, we are armistead fell. how are we supposed to know where to travel? i guess the markers are there. yes, go ahead. thank you, very much, i really enjoyed it. >> [applause]
rogram guide for c-span.org/history. >> welcome to the virtual series, i'm the vic welcome to the atlanta history center series, my name is claire haley and i'm vice president of public relations here. it's my pleasure to welcome you all an audience and to welcome our guest, allen guelzo. he is discussing his book,'robert e. lee: a life',