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Gettysburg Hero General Alexander Webb Signed Copy "Annual Report of the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy"

$450

Item No. AR33853 Category

Description

1896 personal copy of the “Annual Report of the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy” belonging to Brigadier General Alexander Webb of Civil War fame. Webb’s greatest military success would come at Gettysburg. On July 3, Webb’s brigade happened to be in the center of the Union line to defend against Pickett’s Charge, in front of the famous “Copse of Trees.” As the Confederates launched a massive artillery barrage to prepare for their infantry assault, Webb made himself conspicuous to his men, many of whom were unfamiliar with their new commander. He stood in front of the line and leaned on his sword, puffing leisurely on a cigar while cannonballs whistled by and shells exploded all around. Although his men shouted at him to take shelter, he refused and impressed many with his personal bravery. As Pickett’s Virginia division approached to within a few yards, two companies of Webb’s 71st Pennsylvania fell back, and Webb feared the personal disgrace and the results of a breakthrough in his line. He shouted to his neighboring 72nd Pennsylvania to charge, but they refused to budge. He attempted to grab their regimental colors and go forward with them himself, but apparently the standard bearer did not recognize him, because he fought Webb for the colors before he went down, shot numerous times. Webb ultimately gave up on the 72nd and strode directly in front of the chaos as Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead’s Confederate brigade breached the low stone wall, over to his 69th Pennsylvania regiment. Webb was wounded in his thigh and groin by a bullet, but kept going. With the help of two of New York regiments, and Brig. Gen. William Harrow’s men, who ran over in a mass to get in their shots, Webb and his men brought the Confederate assault to a standstill, inflicting heavy casualties. Webb would be awarded the Medal of Honor on September 28, 1891, for “distinguished personal gallantry in leading his men forward at a critical period in the contest” at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. President Lincoln nominated Webb for appointment to the brevet grade of major general of volunteers for his service at Gettysburg. This one is signed in Webb’s hand on the front cover, “Gen Webb Do not take from table”. While Webb never served as superintendent at West Point, he must have received these reports due to his military status. Nice bold ink signature on this one. 

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