A dream after fighting at Pickett's Charge
The following is from a Confederate captain's letter home to his wife. He was among the Confederates who, on the third day, joined in Pickett's charge and attempted to break the Union center on Seminary Ridge. After the battle, he found he was one of the few officers of his regiment who emerged unscathed. He dreamed of the battle several weeks later:
We were advancing in line of battle upon the enemy troops on my right and left shot dead away as far as the eye could see all pressing on the fearful conflict. I could hear the fearful reports of five batteries of cannon and the perpetual roar of fifty thousand muskets while a dark cloud of smoke hung over the field mantling everything as the gloom of dusky sunset. Far way to the front I saw the dim outlines of lofty hills, broken rocks and lofty precipices which resembled Gettysburg. As we advanced further I found we were fighting that great battle over again and I saw something before me like a thin shadow which I tried to get by but it kept in front of me and whichever way I turned it still appeared between me and the enemy. Nobody else seemed to see or notice the shadow which looked as thin as smoke and did not present myself to the enemy disticntly thru' it. I felt troubled and oppressed but still the shadow went out before me. I moved forward in the thickest of the fray trying to loose sight of it and went all through the Battle of Gettysburg again with the shadow ever before me and between me and the enemy and when we came out beyond the danger of shot it spoke and said to me 'I am the Angel that protected you. I will never leave nor forsake you.'
The surprise was so great that I awoke and burst into tears. What had I done that should entitle me to such favours beyond tho' hundreds of brave and reputed good men who had fallen on that day leaving widowed mothers and widowed wives, orphan children and disconsolate families to mourn their fates? I felt that I was blessed beyond my deserts and shall not complain at the little misfortunes of this life."
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!