George Edward Pickett

Brigadier General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

George Edward Pickett was born in Richmond, Virginia, on January 28, 1825. He was graduated from West Point in 1846, last in his class. Brevetted twice for gallantry in Mexico, he later served on the Texas frontier from 1849 to 1855, and in Washington Territory from 1856 to 1861. He gained much favorable notice for his defiance of the British in the San Juan Island Affair in 1859, when he occupied the island with a small force of United States troops. His first Confederate service was as colonel in command of the defenses of the Lower Rappahannock. He was appointed brigadier general to rank from January 14, 1862, and led his brigade with great dash through the Peninsular campaign. He was subsequently severely wounded at Gaines's Mill, but rejoined his command after the first Maryland invasion. Promoted major general on October 10, 1862, he was present at Fredericksburg and with Longstreet at Suffolk. The high-water mark of his career, and that of the Army of Northern Virginia, was reached on July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg, when he advanced his small division (two of the brigades of which were on detached duty), together with large support from the 3rd Corps, against the all but impregnable Federal center on Cemetery Ridge. The casualties in the assault were frightful, and numbered every field and general officer save one in Pickett's own division. Picket later commanded the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, and in 1864 was one of the defenders of Petersburg. His defeat at the hands of Philip Sheridan in the battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865, though in no way demonstrably discreditable, seemingly earned him Lee's censure; and after Sayler's Creek he was relieved from command, though he continued with the army until its surrender at Appomattox. He was afterwards an insurance agent in Norfolk, Virginia, where he died on July 30, 1875. He is buried in Richmond.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.