Major General George Edward Pickett

George Pickett
George E. Pickett, appointed to West Point by Congressman Abraham Lincoln, graduated at the bottom of the Class of '46 at West Point, as did another flambouyant George, George A. Custer, '61. On 2 July 1863, Pickett was a division commander in James Longstreet's I Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Pickett's division was near the end of Robert E. Lee's column, and arrived at Seminary Ridge late on 2 July.

On 3 July, Pickett's three brigades--commanded by James Kemper, Richard Garnett, and Lewis Armisted--along with Henry Heth's and Dorsey Pender's divisions from A. P. Hill's III Corps, now commanded by James J. Pettigrew and Isaac Trimble*, respectively--and supported on the right by Cadmus Wilcox's brigade and Perry's brigade (commanded by David Lang) from Richard Anderson's division made the assault on the Federal positions on Cemetery Ridge commonly known as "Pickett's Charge."

Once, after the War, Pickett, in responding to a question about the reason for his assault's failing to take Cemetery Ridge, is said to have answered, "I think the Union Army had something to do with it."

* Pender's division was originally assigned to James Lane after Pender was mortally wounded, but was given to Trimble just before the assault, with Lane returning to command of his brigade.
C. Reardon in G. S. Boritt, ed., The Gettysburg Nobody Knows, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 1997.

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Created 26 MAY 1996; Revised 23 JUL 2014