Alexander Stewart Webb (1835-1911), a native New Yorker and an 1855 graduate of West Point, rose to the rank of major-general during the Civil War. His grandest moment was during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. To rally his troops to hold the Union Army's line against Pickett's Charge, Webb stood in front of his men, exposed to cannonballs and shells, leaning in his sword and puffing on a cigar - the moment shown in this sculpture. In the ensuing battle he was twice wounded, and was eventually awarded a Medal of Honor. Webb's report on the battle noted that “The conduct of this brigade was most satisfactory; officers & men did their whole duty.”
Beginning in 1869, Webb served for 33 years as president of City College. This copy of a statue of Webb at Gettysburg, paid for by City College, has a terracotta base that harmonizes with the exuberantly detailed gothic architecture of City College.