|Mrs. General George E. (LaSalle Corbell) Pickett|
Despite Mother Nature's best efforts to rain on her parade, LaSalle Corbell Pickett proved as indominatible in death as she was in life. Not even chilly spring showers kept the crowds away from Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery, where some 500 people gathered on March 21 to pay their respects to Confederate General George E. Pickett's widow, whose dying wish to be laid to rest beside her husband was finally fulfilled sixty-seven years after her death. [See related story.]
Descendants of the Pickett and Corbell families, who had traveled to Richmond from across the country to attend the ceremony, representatives of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), the Military Order of Stars and Bars (MOS&B), the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), and the Children of the Confederacy (CofC), and members of several Confederate reenactment groups escorted Mrs. Pickett's remains to their final resting place immediately in front of the monument erected over her husband's grave in 1888. The bronze urn holding the remains had been placed in a thirteen-sided, velvet-lined casket constructed from redwood by family member Alan Pickett of Greensburg, Kentucky, and was borne to the gravesite on a horse-drawn caisson provided by the 2nd Virginia Cavalry.
Following an invocation by Mrs. Lynn Rose of St. John's Episcopal Church near the ancestral Corbell home in Chuckatuck, Virginia, Mrs. John H. Gum (President, Virginia Division UDC) and Charles D. McGuire (Commander, Virginia Society MOS&B) offered opening remarks. "General and Mrs. Pickett have been joined in heaven these many years," said Mrs. Gum, "and now their mortal remains are joined here on this hallowed piece of earth in the midst of the capital of the Confederacy...and in the company of the sons of the South who died on that distant battlefield defending the rights and honor of their country."
A granite grave marker was unveiled and dedicated, along with a bronze UDC member marker recognizing Mrs. Pickett's service as an Honorary President of the UDC General Organization. The dedication was carried out by Mrs. Gum, Mrs. S.C. Bell (President General, UDC), Mrs. D.H. Gilchrist and Miss Vicki Heilig (President and Vice President, DC Division, UDC), and Mrs. F.B. Fitzgerald and Mrs. A.H. Pritchard (Honorary Presidents of General, UDC).
Brief tributes were then paid to Mrs. Pickett by Mrs. Andrew Olen (President, LaSalle Corbell Pickett Chapter, UDC) and Robin Reed (Director, Museum of the Confederacy).
|Christiancy Pickett, Jr., the eldest Pickett family member, spoke about his great grandmother and the significance the reburial had for the Pickett and Corbell families|
At the conclusion of Mr. Pickett's remarks, the Reverend Vienna Cobb-Anderson, Assistant Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond (also known as the Chapel of the Confederacy for its wartime association with Confederate government officals and generals), began the Rite of Christian Burial. Prayers were offered by Mr. Robert Barbour (Lieutenant Commander, Virginia SCV) and Mr. Spencer Burch (Vice President, Virginia Division CofC). Mrs. Pickett's casket was then lowered into the grave by Collin Pulley (Commander, Virginia SCV, and a national MOS&B official) and Gregory Collins (Lieutenant Commander, Virginia MOS&B). Members of the 42nd Virginia Infantry, Company I, then rendered military honors, holding a Stainless Banner over the open grave while Reverend Cobb-Anderson sprinkled earth brought from Chuckatuck onto the casket. Members of the Pickett and Corbell families were then invited to come forward and do the same.
|Gregory Collins and Collin Pulley prepare to lower the casket into the grave|
Benediction was offered by Dr. Robert Johnston of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Petersburg, Virginia, where the Picketts were married. The Palmetto Sharpshooters then fired a muster volley in honor of Mrs. Pickett's wartime work for the Confederacy and her lifelong devotion to the Cause and in recognition of General Pickett's service to the Confederacy. The 2nd Virginia Cavalry also fired an artillery volley.
Prior to the graveside service, Virginia Division hosted a reception at the UDC's Memorial Building Headquarters for about 100 members of the extended Pickett-Corbell family, many of whom were meeting each other for the first time.
Virginia Division UDC and the Virginia Society MOS&B acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals and organizations:
Photographs courtesy of Mr. B. Donald Boltz
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