Rising to the occasion is a concept so misunderstood… it borders on the cliché. When used in the wrong context it cheapens actual heroic achievement. Too often, historic deeds are overlooked because well-worn studies have rendered them routine because of historic scope. In the pivotal battle of the war, at its decisive moment, actions speak louder than the words of any biographer…. as Confederate soldiers stormed over the stonewall at the “Angle”- decisive action was needed, and General Alexander Webb provided it.
Alexander Webb received the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 3, 1863. Webb’s brigade occupied the crucial position at the “copse of trees” which was the focal point of Lee’s attack. Webb marched defiantly up and down his line during the fierce bombardment that preceded Pickett’s charge. The confederates under Armistead charged into Webb’s position and the two brigades were locked in deadly combat. Seizing the colors of the 72nd Pennsylvania, Webb led a charge into the confederates at the famous “angle” in the stone wall. The two generals nearly came to personal blows as Webb’s counter attack brought them to within feet of each other. Armistead fell mortally wounded while a ball passed through Webb’s upper thigh, but he remained on the field. Webb describes the action in his report of the battle. General George Gordon Meade nominated Webb for the Medal of Honor which he received in 1891.