George E Pickett letter to his wife after the battle of Gettysburg (6th July 1863)
The sacrifice of life on that blood soaked field on the fatal 3rd 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 with a sob - a gasp - a knew - for the unanswered name of his comrade called before his.
Even now I can hear them cheering as I gave the order 'Forward'! I can feel their faith and trust in me and the love of our cause. I can feel the thrill of their joyous voices as they called out all along the line. 'We'll follow you. Master George. We'll follow you, we'll follow you.' Oh how faithfully they kept their word, following
Me on, and I believing in the promised support, led them on, on, on.
Oh, God! I can't write you a love letter today, my Sallie, 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 brokenhearted widows and mothers and orphans. The moans of my wounded boys, the sight of the dead, upturned faces flood my soul with grief, and her am I, whom they trusted, whom they followed, leaving them on the field of carnage.
Submitted by Sgt. Alan Osborne 43rd NC
The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, Summer 2008