*Includes accounts of Pickett's Charge by some of the soldiers who made it.
*Includes excerpts of letters Pickett wrote about Gettysburg to his wife Sallie.
*Discusses controversies surrounding Pickett's Charge and the Battle of Little Bighorn
*Includes pictures of important people, places, and events.
*Includes maps of important battles.
*Includes a Bibliography of each man for further reading.
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. 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!"
Since the Battle of Little Bighorn, George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) has possessed one of the most unique places in American history. Although he was a capable cavalry officer who served honorably during the Civil War, he remains one of the most instantly identifiable and famous military men in American history due to the fact he was killed during one of the country's most well known and ignominious defeats, the Battle of Little Bighorn. And yet, this one relatively insignificant battle during America's Indian Wars has become one of the country's most mythologized events and continues to fascinate Americans nearly 140 years later.
Despite being in his early 20s when the Civil War started, Custer rose through the ranks so quickly that he famously commanded a brigade of Michigan cavalrymen at Gettysburg, fighting the vaunted JEB Stuart and his horsemen to a standstill on the climactic 3rd day of that battle. Custer's success continued through until the end of the war, with his men playing an integral role during the Appomattox Campaign that forced the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
Had Custer's career ended there, he would have been both successful and largely forgotten. Instead, the last 10 years of his life were full of political and military intrigue, as he attempted to position himself both in politics and the Army while making himself one of the best known fighters of the Indian Wars. Those actions, along with the Battle of Little Bighorn, made him controversial even in his day, but with his death coming to be widely viewed as a sacrifice for his country, his legend and legacy grew throughout the nation. No matter what critics or supporters thought of him, George Armstrong Custer was unquestionably relevant.
Last at West Point, Legends at War chronicles the historic lives and careers of the two men who finished last in their class at West Point before becoming legends in war, and it discusses the controversial legacies of each man. Along with pictures, you will learn about Custer and Pickett like you never have