Isaac Avery’s Dying Words at Gettysburg

This is what bravery is. Deo vindice.

This Day in North Carolina History

The letter that Isaac Avery wrote to his father, now held by the State Archives The letter that Isaac Avery wrote to his father, now held by the State Archives

On July 3, 1863, 34-year-old Lt. Colonel Isaac E. Avery of the 6th North Carolina State Troops died from mortal wounds received the previous day. Shot in the neck and partially paralyzed during the Battle of Gettysburg, the Burke County native was unable to speak.

Avery fell alone while leading his men in an attack on Cemetery Hill. He had taken command of Hoke’s brigade after Hoke, himself, was wounded at Chancellorsville. Avery was the only man mounted and, once found, was carried from the field. Clutched in his hand was a small bloodstained piece of paper which has become one of the treasures of the State Archives of North Carolina.

Though right handed, he was forced to write with his left because of paralysis. His letter said, “Major, tell my father that…

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