Pettigrew's Brigade at Gettysburg
"In the midst of all our trials it is a consolation to reflect, that our reputation, next to Greece, will be the most heroic of nations."
He died at the Battle of Gettysburg. I will allow his thoughts, written to my grandmother just a couple of weeks prior to that battle, to speak for themselves.
“My lovely wife. I do so miss you, and the life we have there on the small plot of land God has given us. More and more, it seems that my thoughts are drifting back there to reside with you. Yet, as badly as I desire to be back home, it is for home for which I deem it best for my presence here with these other men.
The proclamation by the Lincoln administration six months prior may appear noble. Were I here in these conditions, simply to keep another man in bondage, I would most certainly walk away into the night and return unto you. God knows my heart, and the hearts of others here amongst me. We know what is at stake here, and the true reason for this contest that requires the spilling of the blood of fellow citizens. Our collective fear is nearly universal.
This war, if it is lost, will see ripples carry forward for five, six, seven or more generations. I scruple not to believe, as do the others, that the very nature of this country will be forever dispirited. That
one day, our great great grandchildren will be bridled with a federal bit, that will deem how and if they may apply the gospel of Christ to themselves, their families and their communities. Whether or not the land of their forefathers may be deceitfully taken from them through taxation and coercion. A day where only the interests of the northern wealthy will be shouldered by the broken and destitute bodies of the southern poor.
This my darling wife, is what keeps me here in this arena of destruction and death.”