LaSalle “Sallie” <I>Corbell</I> Pickett

LaSalle “Sallie” Corbell Pickett

Virginia, USA
Death 22 Mar 1931 (aged 87)
Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Burial Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 4665 · View Source
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Wife of Civil War Confederate General George Pickett. She claimed that she first met George Pickett in 1852, but did not marry him until September 15, 1863, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Petersburg, Virginia. After their wedding she accompanied her new husband to his new assignment as head of the Department of North Carolina, headquartered in Petersburg, claiming that she went there to assume the role of a moral superior, where she worked to check his "bad habits" and monitor his drinking and swearing. In Petersburg she busied herself with visiting hospitals, prisons and orphanages, often with other officer's wives. She would go on "day trips" to the front to visit. When she returned to Richmond, she found it in chaos and being deserted. She and her son, George Junior, stayed in the ruins. After the War, when the United States Government issued an amnesty for all solders under Colonel and having taxable property under $20,000, George Pickett not only discovered that he did not qualify but was underneath governmental investigation for "war crimes." Fearing the worst, LaSalle and her husband fled to Canada. Details of their life there are sparse. It was recently discovered that they lived at the famous haunted St. Laurent Hotel in Montreal, with others. In order to make a living the Picketts moved their family to Sherbrooke, where LaSalle taught French, Latin and piano. She began publishing shortly after she was forced to sell her jewelry, with both her and her husband having a difficult time dealing with their status and loss of a life of relative wealth. Through the auspices of General Ulysses Grant, a general amnesty that included General Pickett was signed into law by President Andrew Johnson in December 1869. Their Canadian ordeal completed, the Picketts returned to Virginia. For a time they had hoped to rebuild the Pickett childhood home on Turkey Island, but they had no money to pay laborers, buy equipment or seedlings. After a while she and George moved to Norfolk to work for the New York life Insurance Company. In poor health, and with little money, they also had another son, David, born in May of 1866. In 1875, General George Pickett died three days after contracting Scarlet Fever, at the age of 50. For LaSalle Pickett - a woman of Southern Culture – her life went from bad to worse. In 1884 David Pickett died to which his mother lamented: "The light of my life has gone out!" Alone, LaSalle Pickett moved to Washington, DC, and became a government clerk in the Federal Pensions Office. She then undertook her greatest task - remolding herself, with determination and skill, into a popular writer and speaker. In the summer of 1899 she published her first book "Pickett and His Men." It was claimed by some that she plagiarized Walter Harrison's book, Pickett's Men. Others say that her real goal was to introduce her "mythical" husband, to mold an independent spirit out of a flamboyant drunken glory seeker. She would present him as an affectionate, caring and admirable person, a man of classical tastes, simple and pure of heart. He was a man who, above all, loved peace, nature and his wife, Sally. The book became a success, and had few ditractors, many praises and immitators. Between 1899 and 1931 she toured America many times; wrote for Cosmopolitan, McClures' and other popular magazines; and published more than a half dozen books. She had risen above poverty and was able to independently support her family, and even ventured into the Vaudeville stage. LaSalle Corbell Pickett outlived all the notables of the Civil War. In her books and lectures she helped a new America understand those trying years of conflict between brothers and mold a new national identity. Although some challenged her memory, few were out to destroy her. To the world she represented the soldier's wife - heroic and self-sacrificing - perhaps more than their husbands. She endured and prospered in it all. In 1911, her son, George Edward Pickett II, and officer in the United States Army, contracted yellow fever and died on the way home from the Philippine War. This threw her into a depression from which she did not fully recover. Although she made a great deal of money for those days she did not manage it well. In 1926, when Arthur Inman and his wife visited her in Washington, DC, they describe a frail, white-haired lady swallowed by a large chair amidst a disorderly array of boxes, faded photographs and documents, a house where velvet and silk cloth appeared to be thrown about carelessly. Other friends said that she lived too much in the past - A past that kept her alive. When she died, she was buried in Arlington National Cemetery's Abbey Mausoleum, due to the fact that women weren't allowed to be buried in the Confederate section of Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery. In 1998 she was re-interred in front of her husband.

Bio by: K M

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 2 Mar 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4665
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LaSalle “Sallie” Corbell Pickett (16 May 1843–22 Mar 1931), Find a Grave Memorial no. 4665, citing Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .