By Molly Daly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new painting depicting a remarkable moment in American history was unveiled Tuesday at the Masonic Library and Museum in Center City. The work is based on the “Friend to Friend” Masonic Memorial at Gettysburg National Cemetery Annex.
The Civil War pitted brother against brother in both the literal and figurative senses, since a number of those serving on both sides were members of the Fraternal Order of Masons.
The new painting shows the strength of those bonds, when a mortally wounded Confederate General Lewis Armistead was aided by Union Captain Henry Bingham during Pickett’s Charge. Bingham recognized his foe as a fellow Mason when Armistead gave a secret distress signal known only to members.
Chambersburg-based Artist Brad Clever says he knew the monument, but not the back story.
“I’ve probably been there 200 times, and I’m always attracted to the monuments,” Clever says. “And in this case, the Freemasonry just put it into another dimension, another level of interest for me.”
One that impressed Clever so much, he’s petitioned to join the fraternal order.
“I’m looking forward to joining with the Masons,” he says, “and I’ll be even closer to what’s happening here.”
And he’ll be able to keep an eye on his painting, now part of the Masonic museum’s collection.