'I closed my letter to you a little before three o'clock and rode up to Old Peter for orders. I found him like a great lion at bay. I have never seen him so grave and troubled. For several minutes after I had saluted him he looked at me without speaking. Then in an agonized voice, the reserve all gone, he said:
"Pickett, I am being crucified at the thought of the sacrifice of life which this attack will make. I have instructed Alexander to watch the effect of our fire upon the enemy, and when it begins to tell he must take the responsibility and give you your orders, for I can't."
While he was yet speaking a note was brought to me from Alexander. [Possibly one of these?] After reading it I handed it to him, asking if I should obey and go forward. He looked at me for a moment, then held out his hand. Presently, clasping his other hand over mine without speaking he bowed his head upon his breast.' (page 98-99)
'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!
I can't write you a love-letter to-day, my Sally, for with my great love for you and my gratitude to God for sparing my life to devote to you, comes the overpowering thought of those whose lives were sacrificed-of the broken-hearted widows and mothers and orphans. The moans of my wounded boys, the sight of the dead, upturned faces, flood my soul with grief-and here am I whom they trusted, whom they followed, leaving them on that field of carnage' (page 102)
In other reading, Gen. Pettigrew was firing on Fort Sumter in SC and I found a regimental song that must have come from that same period before he enlisted in the war in Virginia in 1861. I wonder, just wonder, what expectations, observations, and dreams he had?
With all this reading about Southern officers, I feel that I need to stumble upon some interesting Union officers for a while. Unfortunately, my curiosities do not follow any schedule and as of yet no Federal officers have struck my fancy. After watching Gettysburg, I was tempted to look into Col. Vincent's story, as he was a Pennsylvania man and an honorable one, too; but then I remembered that his tale ended quite tragically and so I decided against the idea.
The rainy 40-degree weather outside makes me happy to be indoors in a warm, dry, and quiet apartment that is equipped with tea, tea mugs, and plenty of snacks. My umbrella is drying in the corner and I am procrastinating on all the things that I need to do over the course of this weekend.