Quote:".... a Frau too far"
I like that and it is perfectly true if speaking about Olga. Not since the 300 pound, 80-year-old Hungarian stripper Vulgari Tease squeezed into a sequined g-string and waddled unsteadily onto a Parisian stage has there been so many universally accepted reasons to cover one's eyes, hold one's nose and retch.
You probably have no idea how much I appreciate your allowing us the privilege of reading your grandfather's bio. There was quite a lot of detail as it is, particularly the information about those downed aircraft and their pilots. An even more detailed bio would be an interesting read for sure. I hope that you can soon scan and post a photo. I have done a Google search for a photo but have not found one.
I am adding your grandfather's bio to our HWH archive. Again, thank you for posting it. This is a first for our thread and probably the forum.
As for my story, thank you for your very kind remarks. The RAF pilot did indeed make it home and spent the night with his pals sloshing down gallons of beer and remembering their fallen comrade.
It sounds as if the rumors of great skiing in Bavaria were not exaggerated.
You mention what my great grandmother (who actually knew confederate soldiers)referred to as our un-Civil War. One of my relatives fought at Fort Fisher and the battle of Bentonville and surrendered with Johnston here in NC.
Sherman's troops passed through our small town near the end of the war and burned our mill. Last summer I dug up a un-Civil War era medicine bottle near the old spring on our property. Sherman's troops watered their horses there. It was made in NY and may have held laudanum. Two summers ago one of my son's friends dug up a cannon ball from the period. A bomb squad from Fort Bragg came up and took it from him.
I have just recently been reading a bit of un-Civil War history in which General Pettigrew's name was prominent. Perhaps it was a subconscious action my using that name? If so I was not aware of the connection. I do often include in the names of my characters some minor reference to their probable strengths or weaknesses or to highlight some facet of their personality. Not this time however. I have no idea why.
Dux's Ghost story, your tales from the German side of the battle, and the poem "Highwayman" all contributed their bit to my choices in this quasi historical tale. Dux loves the macabre and is much better at writing fearsome stories than am I. This is a man with a severely twisted mind. And lucky for us that makes all the difference. He can always get my creative juices flowing.
I have no doubt that many a frightful apparition was seen by pilots horribly wounded in action and suffering from loss of blood and great fatigue. I'm not entirely certain however that in the case of our pal Karl this was an apparition......
In the numerous accounts of the battle of Gettysburg published, writers have generally referred to the last effort made by the Confederate troops as "Pickett's charge," and in almost every instance have conveyed the idea that no troops but Pickett's division took an active part in that fierce and tremendous struggle.
It is probable that Pickett's division, which up to that time had taken no part in the battle, was mainly relied upon for the final assault; but whatever may have been the first plan of attack, the division under Pettigrew went into it as part of the line of battle, and from the commencement of the advance to the closing death grapple, his right brigade was the directing one. General Pettigrew, was that day in the thickest of the fire. He was killed in a skirmish a few days later. IMHO no more earnest and gallant officer served in the Confederate army.
Pettigrew was born in North Carolina on July 4, 1828, at Bonarva plantation on the shore of Lake Phelps. He was the youngest son and eighth of nine children of Ebenezer and Ann Blount Shepard Pettigrew. His father was an able agriculturalist, operating several large plantations in Tyrell and Washington counties.
In 1843, at age 14, Pettigrew entered the University of North Carolina where, it was said, his academic prowess in Latin and Greek was unequaled. President James K. Polk and secretary of the Navy attended the 1847 commencement ceremonies in Chapel Hill where Pettigrew gave the valedictory address. They were so impressed by his genius and poise, they gave the 18 year old graduate a professorship at the US Naval Observatory.
In 1859, war broke out as the Kingdom of Sardinia sought to overthrow Austrian domination of Italy. Pettigrew rushed to Europe and offered his services to the King of Sardinia, but alas, an armistice was signed, so he saw no action.
When South Carolina seceded, Pettigrew was elected colonel of the SC First Regiment of Rifles and was appointed chief military aid to Governor Francis Pickens.
After North Carolina seceded, Pettigrew followed the example of Lee and offered his services to his native state. He was soon elected Colonel of the 22nd North Carolina and was promptly sent to the Potomac. Pettigrew soon established the policy of eating the same food as the privates and denying himself anything he could not offer his men. Heeding what he had learned in Europe, Pettigrew took extraordinary health and sanitation precautions to protect his men from epidemics.
While serving at the Potomac, Pettigrew was promoted Brigadier General, but refused the promotion, declaring that no one should be a general unless he had led men in combat. Later, amidst heavy fighting, Pettigrew was ordered to accept the promotion and placed in command of North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia troops.
During the Peninsula campaign when McClellan's Union troops approached Richmond, Pettigrew's troops were among the troops in opposition. A musket ball pierced Pettigrew's throat and shoulder, permanently disabling his right arm. When soldiers tried to carry him to the rear, he ordered them back to the front ranks. Pettigrew lost consciousness on the battlefield and was captured.
In August of 1862, he was exchanged for a Northern general in Confederate hands and immediately reported for duty, though he was partly incapacitated. Soon, he was given command of the 26th North Carolina brigade which came to be known as Pettigrew's Brigade and was one of the most distinguished in the war.
On June 1, 1863, Pettigrew's Brigade joined the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee on the march to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pettigrew's Brigade attacked and, in desperate fighting, drove the Union forces off their positions at McPherson's Ridge. Casualties were tremendous in this half hour fight. In fact the 26th North Carolina lost more then any one regiment in any day in the entire war, North or South. Pettigrew's division superior, Harry Heth, was wounded so Pettigrew was given command of the entire division.
On the third day of Gettysburg, this division took part in the famous assault on Cemetery Ridge, often referred to as Pickett's Charge. While some of Pickett's men went up to the stone wall, some of Pettigrew's men went over the stone wall.
Though Pickett directed his division from a distance, Pettigrew was one who went up to the wall and was one of the last to return to Confederate lines. Thus, Pettigrew's Brigade filled out the middle part of North Carolina's Confederate boast “First at Bethel, Farthest to the front of Gettysburg and Chickamauga. Last at Appomattox.”
Pettigrew was shot in the stomach during the retreat after Gettysburg. He was told that the only hope of saving his life was to be immobilized and left behind where Union doctors might find him. He refused saying that he would rather die then be in another Yankee prison. He was carried to Bunker Hill where he died two weeks after his 35th birthday. Funeral services were attended by a huge crowd at the North Carolina Capitol Square in Raleigh.
A South Carolina friend wrote of Pettigrew, “more than anything he loved liberty, but he felt that to love liberty was an empty mockery unless that love was exhibited in sacrifice which its acquisition requires.”
We in North Carolina are proud of General Pettigrew and his brave men.