Author Tom McMillan delves deep into the legendary story of two comrades whose friendship was torn apart at the Civil War’s turning point. The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the bloodiest single battle of the Civil War, with over 50,000 casualties in three days.

McMillan introduced his then-recent historical book, Armistead and Hancock: Behind the Gettysburg Legend of Two Friends at the Turning Point of the Civil War, at a symposium hosted by the Gettysburg Heritage Center on July 2, 2021, just days before its release. This dual biography/history narrative offers a fresh perspective on the famous stories of Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and Confederate General Lewis Armistead in the nineteenth century.

Historian Author Tom McMillian
Author Tom McMillan was speaking at a symposium hosted by the Gettysburg Heritage Center on July 2, 2021. (Screenshot: C-Span)

It was no secret that McMillan had referred to the four-and-1/4-hour movie Gettysburg (1993), which was also based on Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels (1974) novel, depicting the horrific events of the Civil War. However, as the historian dives deep into the friendship of Hancock and Armistead, McMillan discovers a different side of the legend that changes the established narrative of the two gentlemen who became an apparent sentimental symbol of a nation torn apart—debunking decades of misconceptions.

McMillan has sifted through tons of newspaper archives with the help of his wife to find out where Hancock and Armistead were before 1861. The historian wanted to set the record straight on whether or not the relationship was as close as legend claimed.