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George Edward Pickett

By John T. Marck

A graduate of West Point in 1846, George E. Pickett was born in Richmond, Virginia on January 28, 1825. In his class at West Point two of his classmates who went on to become generals, as did he, were George B. McClellan and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. In the Mexican War he rose to the rank of lieutenant then captain for his service at the Siege of Vera Cruz, and Mexico City. After this war, he then continued in the U.S. army serving in Texas, Virginia and Washington Territory, before resigning to join the Confederate army in 1861.

Entering the Confederate army as a colonel, then promoted to brigadier general on January 14, 1862, he served under Major General James Longstreet during the Seven Days' Campaign, during which Pickett was wounded at Gaines' Mill. Promoted to major general, Pickett is remembered for his famous charge on the third day of battle at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. In this charge, Pickett attempted to coordinate the troops attacking the center of the Union, and in doing so he acted with heroism, however his task was impossible. Upon learning that they would never be able to break the Union center, Pickett ordered his men to withdraw.

In spite of the fact that both Pickett and his troops acted with gallantry this day, nevertheless, Pickett's reputation deteriorated. After Gettysburg, Pickett served in the Battles of New Berne, Petersburg and Five Forks. After the Battle of Sayler's Creek, General Robert E. Lee relieved Pickett of command, a few days before Lee surrendered.

After the war, Pickett sold insurance in Richmond, and died in Norfolk, Virginia on July 30, 1875.

Copyright 1993-2022 by  John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.