Pickett, George Edward

Pickett, George Edward,

1825–75, Confederate general in the American Civil War, b. Richmond, Va. After distinguishing himself in the Mexican War (especially at Chapultepec), Pickett served on the Texas frontier (1849–55) and in Washington Territory (1856–61). He figured prominently in the San Juan Boundary DisputeSan Juan Boundary Dispute,
controversy between the United States and Great Britain over the U.S.–British Columbia boundary. It is sometimes called the Northwest Boundary Dispute.
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 as commander of the small U.S. force that occupied the island in 1859. On Virginia's secession Pickett resigned from the army, and in Feb., 1862, he became a Confederate brigadier general. He fought in the Peninsular campaign and was severely wounded at Gaines's Mill in the Seven Days battles. After his return to the army in Oct., 1862, he was promoted to major general and given a division in James Longstreet's corps. He is best remembered for his part in the Gettysburg campaignGettysburg campaign,
June–July, 1863, series of decisive battles of the U.S. Civil War. The Road to Gettysburg

After his victory in the battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate general Robert E. Lee undertook a second invasion of the North.
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. His assault, famous as "Pickett's charge," on the Union center on Cemetery Hill (July 3, 1863) resulted in the virtual annihilation of his division. Pickett later commanded in North Carolina and in 1864 was one of the defenders of Petersburg.


See A. C. Inman, ed., Soldier of the South: General Pickett's War Letters to his Wife (1913, repr. 1971); K. R. George and J. W. Busey, Nothing But Glory: Pickett's Division at Gettysburg (1987); P. T. Tucker, Pickett's Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg's Final Attack (2016).

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Pickett, George Edward

(1825–75) soldier; born in Richmond, Va. An 1846 West Point graduate (he ranked last in his class of 59), he served in the Mexican War (1846–47) and later fought Indians on the frontier. Resigning in 1861 to enter Confederate service, he saw combat at Seven Pines and Gaines's Mill and was promoted to major general. At Gettysburg on the third day, he was ordered by Gen. James Longstreet, himself under Gen. Robert E. Lee, to form the brigades for one last desperate charge across an open field; the Confederates suffered disastrous casualties while being repulsed, and although he had participated, it was thereafter unfairly known as "Pickett's Charge." He continued to see action—at New Bern, N.C., Drewry's Bluff, Va., and at Five Forks, Va.—right to the end of the Appomattox campaign. Greatly respected, after the war he turned down a commission from the Khedive of Egypt and a U.S. marshal's post from President Ulysses S. Grant and remained an insurance agent in Virginia.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.