Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pickett's Charge (July 3, 1863) - In Memoriam

For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once

but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's

still not yet two oclock on that July afternoon in 1863,

the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the

guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags

are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself

with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand

probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill

waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the

balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet,

it not only hasn't begun yet but there is stll time for it not

to begin against that position and those circumstances

which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and

Armstead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin,

we all know that, we have come too far with too much

at stake and that moment doesn't need even a

fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this

time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain:

Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome

of Washington itself to crown with desperate and

unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast

made two years ago....

---from Intruder In the Dust by William Faulkner (1948)

I've never read the book, but I remember the passage from Ken Burns' series.

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