PICKETT, George Edward (1825-1875), Major General, C.S.A.. Autograph letter signed ("George") to his wife, [Petersburg, Virginia?]. n.p., 4 July . 4 full pages, 4to, lined paper, small tears at folds reinforced with archival tape, obscuring a few words.
GEORGE PICKETT'S 4TH OF JULY GREETINGS FROM THE CONFEDERATE LINES
An intimate, sentimental and jocular letter addressed to the "darling of my heart." Evidently writing from his post on the Petersburg lines, Pickett thanks his wife for her lengthy letter, the tone of which is "so like you, so holy, so humble and like a Christian in the true sense of the word." He proclaims his detestation of "outward show and manifestations of religion," but appreciates her prayers for his safety, adding "I close my eyes to illicit a prayer to our Father entreating him to preserve us both through our troubles, and to permit us...to become better." In fact his conscience appears to be in a state of moral crisis and depression: "For I have done so many many wicked things - thoughtlessly sometimes, knowingly & recklessly at others, when I lived without a hope, without a ray of light to brighten my weary dark path." However, the thought of his wife, without whom "I could not live," gives his life meaning and he reiterates his love for her. He discusses various family affairs, relations and friends, and thanks her for the lemonade with which "we have just taken a 'Fourth of July' to your sweet self while the enemy fired their usual salute at 12. A national salute they fired with solid shot."
Pickett (1825-1875), whose name has been attached to the dramatic and costly Confederate charge on the third day of Gettysburg, surrendered at Appomattox with Lee and Longstreet. After the war he declined an offer to become a U.S. Marshall and a commission as General from the Khedive of Egypt to run an insurance agency. His letters, particularly when of war-date, are extremely rare.