With curls falling on her forehead and sporting a dress trimmed with feathers, LaSalle Corbell Pickett, the third wife of Confederate general George E. Pickett, poses for a portrait by glass-plate photographer Michael Miley of Lexington, Virginia. During the Civil War, a passionate romance blossomed between Corbell and Pickett and the two married on September 15, 1863.
The end of the war brought with it disgrace and disillusionment for the Picketts. The former general never recovered from the bitter loss of his division on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and he was briefly under investigation for war crimes stemming from the 1864 execution of twenty-two Union prisoners at Kinston, North Carolina. The Picketts fled to Montreal for a few months, where she taught Latin and sold her jewelry, before returning to Virginia, where George died in 1875.
LaSalle outlived her husband by more than fifty years, during which time she came into her own as a lecturer and writer, creating a new persona for herself and indefatigably defending her husband's reputation. She told stories from the perspective of a child, smoothing the complexities of the antebellum South and slavery into a self-justifying myth soaked in the "fragrance of the snowy magnolias." LaSalle Pickett died in 1931.