In The Killer Angels, what did Armistead hope to do while at Gettysburg?
A brigade commander serving in the Confederate division of George Pickett, Lewis Armistead laments that he has not seen his closest friend, Union corps commander Winfield Scott Hancock, since their farewell shortly before the war broke out. Armistead and his widow, Mary, were best friends with Hancock and his wife, Mira, and Armistead has always been troubled that the two have fought on opposing sides. But Armistead knows that Hancock's II Corps is entrenched on the Gettysburg battlefield, and Armistead hopes to somehow visit with his old friend. He even considers crossing through enemy lines under a flag of truce to see "Old Win"; knowing the closeness of the two men, Armistead's corps commander, James Longstreet, even gives his approval. But Armistead realizes this action would not be proper, and he worries that he and his brigade will eventually meet up with Hancock on the battlefield instead. Armistead has made a pledge to Hancock:
" 'Win, so help me, if I ever lift a hand against you, may God strike me dead.' "
On the final day of battle, Armistead leads his brigade in what will become the most famous attack of the war--Pickett's Charge. Armistead and his men advance farther than any of the other Confederate brigades, but Armistead is mortally wounded in the disastrous assault. Before dying, Armistead requests that a Union officer take him to see Hancock, but he is told that Hancock, too, has been seriously wounded, and Armistead
"... sends his regrets. Will you tell him... how very sorry I am..."