The cannons went off one by one, in a long row. Gunsmoke swirled out from them, as the men continued to fire them, one firing after another, like a never ending stream of cannon fire. Behind the cannons, waiting in the line of Seminary Ridge, stood the Confederates and along them Brig. General Lewis A. Armistead walked, calmer then the rest of them. He'd been a soldier all of his life, serving in the Mexican American War and all three years so far of the Civil War, something that tore him apart from the inside out as his closest friend, Winfield Scott Hancock was waiting for him just across the field, wearing the blue.
He watched as the smoke continued to swirl out from the cannons, and wasn't sure how much longer they were going to go on. But as if on that thought, he was given the order to move his men out of the trees and start marching across the field.
At first, there wasn't much of a sound, they marched across the field but then the Union cannon began, and the men started falling. But the rest of them just continued, heading towards their goal, the stone wall.
When they reached the fence in the middle of the field, Armistead took his hat and put it on his sword, shouting, "With me, who will come with me?"
"That's the style Lo," Pickett cried from where he was watching the charge, "That's the style."
And so Armistead kept moving, the hat on his sword as he lead the men towards the wall... the clump of trees... Garnett was down, Kemper was down and he was the only one left. But before he knew it he reached the wall, crossed over it. "Turn the cannons on them," he shouted, "Turn the cannons on them."
The man listened to his command and somehow the rebel cannon had broken up some of the Union defenses. Soon the Union soldiers were turning, running. However, as one ran, he turned around and fired at Armistead, hitting him in the chest. Armistead crumbled to the ground as the men moved on, rounding up the Union soldiers. The day had been won.
Pickett rode towards the wall as soon as he knew it had been a victory, dismounted. Many of his men gathered around him, cheering, waving their hats and reaching to shake his hand. He smiled like a young boy at Christmas until he turned and saw his friend, the one who had lead the men to the line, laying agaist a cannon. "Lo!" He exclaimed.
Armistead heard the voice and his eyes flickered open even though he couldn't really move. The wound bleed heavily, staining his gray uniform and his face was paler then normal.
Pickett hurried forward and knelt at Lo's side, the exuberance falling from his face.
"George..." Armistead managed to gasped out that one word, kept his eyes open for a minute to stare into the face of his long time friend from the Point and his commanding officer. All the memories seemed to flash before him and he also knew that he had won the day for the South.
Pickett put a hand on Lo's shoulder, worried. "Lo... you did it. We won..."
"I know," Armistead said weakly, looking at the gray soldiers and yet again thinking about the Point. He didn't know why he was thinking about it but he was... and they were good memories too... He smiled wearily at Pickett, even though he was in a lot of pain and losing a lot of blood.
Pickett didn't know what to say. He glanced about for a moment, feeling helpless, before returning his gaze to Armistead. "You'll be alright," he stated firmly, squeezing Lo's shoulder.
Armistead shook his head, thought that he'd lost too much blood to even have a chance. He figured that it was all over.
Longstreet had followed Pickett forward. Now he too dismounted and walked through the men.
Looking up, Armistead could see him, stared in that direction even though his body threatened to lose consciousness. "Pete..." his voice was soft but he wanted to have the chance to say good-bye... just in case what he feared came true.
Longstreet knelt by Armistead, his brow creased as he looked at his friend. "How are you, Lo?" he asked in a low voice, fearing the answer.
"Pete..." Armistead closed his eyes for a moment. "I just... I want to..." He gathered his thoughts for a moment. "I want to say good-bye."
Longstreet remembered what Armistead had told him the other night... His hand unconsciously went to his coat where the small wrapped package was.
Armistead noticed the movement and nodded. "Thank you Pete..." His eyes closed as he breathed unsteadily.
Longstreet nodded wordlessly.
Opening his eyes again, Armistead reached out a shaky hand and ran one finger over the hole in his hat beside him.
"You did good, Lo," Longstreet said quietly. "You'll be alright."
He glanced at Longstreet. "I just... did what I had to do Pete." Armistead sighed, his hand still touching the hole in his hat as his eyes started to close again.
Longstreet nodded again, not saying anything.
"It has been an honor..." Armistead said, "To serve under you ... both of you..." His eyes fully closed then as he threatened to lose consciousness.
"Don't give up, Lo," Longstreet shook his head.
He didn't try to open his eyes again. "No..." he said softly, "This is it... but we won Pete... we took the wall..." He gave him a small smile.
Longstreet nodded. "But we lost a lot of our boys, too..." he said quietly.
"Dick..." Armistead said, remembering when he'd seen his friends horse running by.
He nodded again, not knowing what else to say.
"Is he dead?" Armistead asked, opening his eyes for a second then closing them because he didn't want to have the effort of trying to keep them open.
He sighed heavily. "We think so. Can't find him anywhere..."
Armistead sighed, knew that Garnett shouldn't have made the charge. He had been too prefect of a target riding that horse. "Is Jim alright...??"
"He's wounded," Longstreet replied. "Dunno how bad it is yet, though."
"Ah..." Armistead didn't really know what to say, fought off the closing darkness and the pain.
"Hang in there, Lo..." Longstreet said quietly.
He just shook his head, felt slightly lightheaded as he finally gave into the blackness and slipped into unconsciousness. He didn't think he'd ever wake up, the wound on chest painful and still bleeding slightly.
Longstreet pressed his lips together, then stood, motioning to several soldiers nearby. They carefully lifted Armistead and began to carry him away for medical help.