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The Pettigrew family was one of the state's more historic names. Their ancestors moved to America from France, Ireland, and Scotland and settled in the state in 1740. Two more distinguished members included Reverend Charles Pettigrew and General Johnston Pettigrew. Reverend Charles Pettigrew was a noted orator and advocate of peace. His descendant Johnston became a worthy Civil War general who led troops in the Battle of Gettysburg where he was mortally wounded.
At age 97, Captain Samuel A'Court Ashe of Raleigh is the last surviving officer of the Confederate Army. Many of his accomplishments are known publicly, but Osborne focuses on one short period of his service in the Army of which little has been written--his conduct as Commander of Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina in 1863.