George Pickett often comes in for heavy criticism, some describe him as a mediocre general who was more of a liability than an asset, many point out that he was the last in his class at West Point and that he was obsessed with self image but I believe that he is often unfairly and harshly judged. Why is it that his determination during the Pig War and his bravery and success during the battle of Chapultepec are very rarely mentioned. It’s my humble opinion that Pickett had great potential but through no fault of his own, he would often find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time ‘the shad bake’ springs to mind as one example, there, I believe he was just unfortunate.
I’ve been spending a bit of time reading up on the Mexican-American war and Picketts role within it, I have to say that if I listen to others, the Civil war Pickett that I read about seems like a very different person compared to the young Mexican-American war lieutenant Pickett. During his time in Mexico Pickett received a brevet promotion to captain for his bravery being the first to climb the parapet at Chapultepec Castle and to retrieved his unit colours, no mean feat when you consider what an imposing structure it is.
Then of course we have Pickett during the Civil War, the first battle of Bull Run, he arrives as a Major but again his bravery and dedication to duty earn him a promotion to colonel. So, here’s my point, why does Pickett suffer so much criticism, is there something that I’ve missed? what turned the reputation of a brave and dedicated officer to someone who is associated with vanity and the massive slaughter of Pickett’s charge?
As I stated earlier, I believe he has been unfairly and harshly judged.