Includes: •Charles River Editors’ original biography of George Pickett •A number of accounts of Pickett’s Charge by its participants •Pickett’s The Heart of a Soldier, as Revealed in the Intimate Letters of General George E. Pickett C.S.A.
Before July 3, 1863, George Pickett was best known among his comrades for finishing last in his class ...
•Charles River Editors’ original biography of George Pickett
•A number of accounts of Pickett’s Charge by its participants
•Pickett’s The Heart of a Soldier, as Revealed in the Intimate Letters of General George E. Pickett C.S.A.
Before July 3, 1863, George Pickett was best known among his comrades for finishing last in his class at West Point, being a jocular but courageous soldier, and his carefully perfumed locks. As part of West Point’s most famous Class of 1846, Pickett was classmates with men like Stonewall Jackson and George McClellan, and despite his poor class standing he distinguished himself fresh out of school during the Mexican-American War.
Pickett’s reputation for bravery extended into the early years of the Civil War, to the extent that former West Point classmate George McClellan wrote, "Perhaps there is no doubt that he was the best infantry soldier developed on either side during the Civil War." A native Virginian, the impeccably styled Pickett represented all of the antebellum South’s most cherished traits, and as such he was a “beau-ideal” Confederate soldier.
After proving himself a capable brigadier during the Peninsula Campaign, during which he was wounded and forced to recuperate, Pickett was given command of a division in Longstreet’s corps of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, putting him in position for a rendez-vous with destiny. Today Pickett is best remembered for the charge that has taken his name and is now remembered as the most famous assault of the Civil War. Having failed to dislodge the Union Army of the Potomac on either flank during the first two days at Gettysburg, Lee ordered a charge of nearly 15,000 at the center of the lines. The attack is now considered the high water mark of the Confederacy, spelling the South’s doom with the failed charge and the loss at Gettysburg. Pickett’s division was so decimated by the charge that when Lee asked him to reform his division in case of a Union counterattack, Pickett is alleged to have responded, “I have no division!”
Pickett would later become notorious for the loss at the Battle of Five Forks that helped the Union break the siege at Petersburg and force Lee’s surrender a week later at Appomattox. Rumors that Pickett and Lee intensely disliked each other have persisted ever since, with Pickett reputed to have said after the war “that man destroyed my division.” Ironically, Pickett’s Charge was always a sore subject with the general even though it was intended to be a tribute to the soldiers of his division for advancing the furthest during the doomed assault, and Pickett offered one of the most candid quotes after the Civil War on the topic of who was to blame for the loss at Gettysburg: “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.”
The Ultimate George Pickett Collection chronicles the life and career of Pickett and examines the controversy and legacy surrounding his Civil War record and the charge named after him. The collection includes an original biography of Pickett, numerous accounts of Pickett’s Charge, and Pickett’s letters to his wife. Pictures of important people, places, and events in his life and a table of contents are also included.