"On the Fourth—far from a glorious Fourth to us or to any with love for his fellow men—I wrote you just a line of heartbreak. The sacrifice of life on that blood soaked field on the fatal third was too awful for the heralding of victory, even for our victorious foe, who I think, believe as we do, that it decided the fate of our cause. No words can picture the anguish of that roll-call—the breathless waits between the responses. The "Here" of those who, by God's mercy, had miraculously escaped the awful rain of shot and shell was a sob—a gasp—a knell—for the unanswered name of his comrade. There was no tone of thankfulness for having been spared to answer to their names, but rather a toll, and an unvoiced wish that they, too, had been among the missing. Even now I can hear them cheering as I gave the order, "Forward!" I can feel the thrill of their joyous voices as they called out all along the line, "We'll follow you, Marse George. We'll follow you—we'll follow you." Oh, how faithfully they kept their word—following me on—on—to their death, and I, believing in the promised support, led them on—on—on—Oh, God!"

~Major General George E. Pickett discussing
the aftermath of Pickett's Charge
in letters to his fiancée,
July 6 & 12, 1863


Be the first to post a comment.

Previously published:

All 2,397 blog entries

Photography by David Lee Black Studios. All images copyrighted. DavidLeeBlack.com