Pickett Your Opinion of General George Pickett?

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What do you think of General Pickett?


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D

Deleted member 8452

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You may select one of the choices below, if you want to explain your answer or go into detail, please post your response. :thumbsup:
 

Elennsar

Colonel
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Location
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My reasoning:
His career as a division commander is not extensive enough to allow a fair analysis. Yes, technically he had a division command for a prolonged period, but there are few occasions there where his qualities or lack of them would make an appreciable difference.

The charge named in his honor, for example, was mostly beyond his control.

He seems to have been at least passable administrator, however. Not noteworthy, not faultworthy.
 
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Deleted member 8452

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My reasoning:
His career as a division commander is not extensive enough to allow a fair analysis. Yes, technically he had a division command for a prolonged period, but there are few occasions there where his qualities or lack of them would make an appreciable difference.

The charge named in his honor, for example, was mostly beyond his control.

He seems to have been at least passable administrator, however. Not noteworthy, not faultworthy.

You bring up a good point about how the charge is named for him, despite his division being only 1/3 of the charge.

I heard the reason he is named after the charge is due to Virginia Newspapers praising Pickett's division for making the most forward progress on July 3rd, Despite debate that some of Pettigrew's North Carolina Troops made it further, and also the fact that Pettigrew's Division took more casualties than Pickett.
 

Elennsar

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Yeah. I think the division as a bunch of fresh troops might have been more than a third (depending on what strength they were at and how many men made the charge), if we want to nitpick - but he certainly didn't have any authority outside his own brigades.

Darn those Virginia newspapers, though. All those brigades were brave. Some were badly lead (such as Brockenbrough's Virginians), but all were brave.
 
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Deleted member 8452

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Yeah. I think the division as a bunch of fresh troops might have been more than a third (depending on what strength they were at and how many men made the charge), if we want to nitpick - but he certainly didn't have any authority outside his own brigades.

Darn those Virginia newspapers, though. All those brigades were brave. Some were badly lead (such as Brockenburough's Virginians), but all were brave.

Those newspapers sure didn't mind not talking about Brockenbrough's Brigade.
 
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Deleted member 8452

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A very colorful character who despite his low class standing at U.S.M.A., was fortunate to be from the favored aristocratic class of Virginia gentlemen. He knew his Ps & Qs which was enough to make him adequate and because of his talent for mirth and appearance, he cut a higher than usual profile.

Had to go with the 3rd option.

A good brigade General. but he just was not ready for the top.

But he really never got the chance to be tested, I mean, a hopeless charge as your first real combat since the Peninsula Campaign? He missed out on Second Manassas and South Mountain where his men performed well, wonder if he would of showed good qualities if he had been engaged at Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville?
 

Elennsar

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But he really never got the chance to be tested, I mean, a hopeless charge as your first real combat since the Peninsula Campaign? He missed out on Second Manassas and South Mountain where his men performed well, wonder if he would of showed good qualities if he had been engaged at Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville?

I'm a pessimist and cynic in general, so that may flavor this, but I don't think Pickett would have made much of a name for himself at Chancellorsville.

Not done anything outstandingly poorly, but I can see him struggling in that environment - trying to direct nine thousand men in a damned wilderness is hard.
 
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Deleted member 8452

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I'm a pessimist and cynic in general, so that may flavor this, but I don't think Pickett would have made much of a name for himself at Chancellorsville.

Not done anything outstandingly poorly, but I can see him struggling in that environment - trying to direct nine thousand men in a ****ed wilderness is hard.

Agreed.
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
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Vancouver, BC, Canada
I'm not that familiar with Pickett outside of his performance at Gettysburg and being away from his division (shad bake) at the beginning of the battle of Five Forks. In the first instance he performed credibly, IMO, and in the second, didn't.....not much to judge him on, at least as a division commander. I can't recall where I read it but I believe Lee was quite upset with Pickett after Five Forks.
 

tmh10

Major
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Mar 2, 2012
Location
Pipestem,WV
I checked other, because I have done extensive reading on the war and the leaders. Based on what I have learned, Pickett never got the chance to prove what he could do. As others have noted the charge at Gettysburg was not really under his control. He followed his orders and had little room for change. From what I have read he was not used by Lee in any meaningful role after Gettysburg. For all I know, given the support he could have been the next Stonewall Jackson or in the other direction, become another Braxton Bragg. So it is all speculation in my opinion.
 

reading48

Captain
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Apr 27, 2011
Location
N.E. Pa. 100 miles N. of gettysburg
I believe it was Shelby Foote who said of Pickett ( He wasn't the sharpest tool hanging in the shed) and near the end of the war at Appomattox, Gen. Lee saw Pickett standing near his troops and said to an aide....Is that man still in this Army....??????

Just two opinions of different men
 

whitworth

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 18, 2005
The problem with judging Pickett is the problem of accepting American defeat. Even if the attack is not of his choosing but the choosing of his commanding general, R.E. Lee.
The technology of the battlefield exceeded the ability to win at frontal assaults. All generals had their failures and Lee, Grant and Sherman were all part of it.
Lee in defeat in war is seen as perfection. And in "americanism psychology" how do you really turn defeat into victory.
R.E. Lee chose Gettysburg and found the trap of launching frontal assaults. Pickett was only the tool used by Lee. Pickett never chose an assault or took the Confederate army to Gettysburg. R.E. Lee, the Confederate commander, did.
Judge Pickett, you must first judge Lee.
 
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Deleted member 8452

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I believe it was Shelby Foote who said of Pickett ( He wasn't the sharpest tool hanging in the shed) and near the end of the war at Appomattox, Gen. Lee saw Pickett standing near his troops and said to an aide....Is that man still in this Army....??????

Just two opinions of different men

Shelby Foote is the man!, but some of what he said were kind of "tall tales"

There is no evidence of Lee actually saying that, and there is no evidence of Pickett ever being relieved of command.

A lot of the popular myths about Pickett hating Lee and Lee dismissing Pickett were rumors spread by the Richmond elite and John Mosby.

Pickett was bitter towards Lee after the July 3rd charge, but that bitterness did not last forever, Eppa Hunton gives some good accounts and sources to show that after the war Pickett and Lee had civil run ins with each other.

I think Pickett said it best, when asked why Pickett's Charge failed he said "I think the Yankees had something to do with it"
 
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ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
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Near Kankakee
I haven't yet figured out why Pickett would be a division commander and a favorite of Longstreet. He must have had something going for him. But what?
 

Elennsar

Colonel
Joined
May 14, 2008
Location
California
I don't know why he was a favorite of Longstreet's - I have a dim recollection of reading that Pickett helped him deal with the grief of losing his kids, but Longstreet's fondness for Pickett seems to have started earlier.

I do know that the material for division command - even by the post-Antietam reorganization - is none too plentiful, and he had enough seniority and a decent enough record to be one of the possibilities, why he was deemed one of the better ones being beyond my knowledge.
 
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