George E. Pickett

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George E. Pickett (1825-1875) - A graduate of West Point, veteran of the Mexican War and veteran of the U.S. Civil War on the Confederate side.

General George E. Pickett

Born in Richmond, Virginia 16 Jan 1825, George was the first of seven children of Robert and Mary Johnston Pickett only George, Virginia and Charles survived to adulthood. George secured an appointment to West Point in 1842 and graduated in 1846, last in a class of 59. Among the 20 classmates who became generals were George B. McClellan and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. In the Mexican War Pickett was brevetted lieutenant and captain for his service in the Siege of Vera Cruz and during the subsequent advance on Mexico City. He served in Texas, Virginia, and Washington Territory until Jun 1861, when he resigned his commission to enter the Confederate army.

In the Confederate army he quickly rose from colonel to brigadier general serving under Major General James Longstreet during the Seven Days' Campaign he was wounded at Gaines' Mill. He was a major general commanding a division at Fredericksburg.

Pickett is best known for the charge against the Federal center on the third day at Gettysburg. General Robert E. Lee ordered a massive assault. At mid-afternoon Pickett's division, dressed as if on parade, marched directly into the Federal guns. Pickett attempted to coordinate the ill-fated movement and acquitted himself bravely but the frontal assault was a disaster and he ordered his men to withdraw when they could not break the Union center. Of the 12,000 men in his division approximately half were killed, wounded or captured in that charge. Pickett never forgave General Lee for ordering the assault.

Pickett's military reputation suffered after Gettysburg. He fought in battles at New Berne, Petersburg, and Five Forks. General Robert E. Lee relieved him of his command after Sayler's Creek, the day before the final surrender at Appomattox.

George E. Pickett Grave and Memorial in Hollywood Cemetery

George Pickett fled to Canada after the Civil War to avoid prosecution for the mistreatment of Union prisoners while he was commanding in North Carolina. He returned to the United States after he was given a pardon by Ulysses S. Grant. He then became an insurance salesman in Richmond and died in Norfolk 30 Jul 1875 and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. His book, Soldier of the South, General Pickett's War Letters to His Wife, was published in 1928.

Contents

George Pickett's First Wife

Sally Minge Pickett

Lt. George E. Pickett married Sally Harrison Steward Minge in January 1851. Miss Minge was the daughter of Dr. John Minge of Virginia, the great-great-grandniece of U.S. President William Henry Harrison, and the great-great-granddaughter of Benjamin Harrison, who signed the Declaration of Independence. Sally died in November 1851.

George Pickett's Second Wife

James Tilton Pickett at age 18
George Pickett's House in Bellingham Today

Morning Mist was a Kaigani Haidas woman that George married sometime in 1856. He met her while on a survey trip to Semihmoo (now Blain, Washington). Pickett built them a home in 1856 when he was stationed at Fort Bellingham; today, it is the oldest house in Bellingham. Pickett and his wife had one child, James Tilton Pickett, born in the home in 1857. Morning Mist died within weeks of James birth.

When the Civil War began he resigned his commission and returned to his native Virginia, leaving his 4-year-old son with the Tilton family in Mason County. Pickett reportedly feared his son would be ostracized in Virginia because of his half-white, half-Indian ancestry.

George Pickett reportedly had contact with his son, but Pickett's new wife declined to acknowledge him. James was 18 years old when his father died in 1875. James Pickett's requests for the deed to the Bellingham home were denied by his stepmother, compelling him to threaten a lawsuit. The stepmother ultimately acquiesced. Tilton Pickett became a prominent newspaper illustrator and lithographer working for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Portland Oregonian. He died in 1889 and is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Portland, Oregon near a spot he often visited to paint pictures of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.

George Picket's Third Wife

Sallie Ann "LaSalle" Pickett
George Jr. and David Pickett circa 1870
Sallie Corbell Pickett's Gravestone, Hollywood Cemetery

After Fredericksburg Pickett accompanied General Longstreet on his foraging campaign into southeastern Virginia. Pickett took the opportunity to begin his celebrated courtship of Miss Sallie Ann ("LaSalle") Corbell, a lovely southern belle little more than half his age, who lived in the area. She became his third wife in September 1863 and the champion of his reputation after he died in 1875.

There were two children by this marriage, George Edward Pickett Jr. and David Corbell Pickett. George Jr. graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1883, served in the Spanish American War and died at sea returning from duty in the Philippines in 1911. David Corbell Pickett passed away on 25 May 1866 as a young boy. Sallie Ann Pickett died in 1931 and her remains rested for years in an Arlington, Virginia, mausoleum. In 1998 her remains were reburied next to her husband's remains in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.


Father: Robert Pickett (1799-1856)

Mother: Mary Johnson Pickett (1805-1825)

Marriage:

  1. Sally Harrison Minge (1829-1852) married 28 Jan 1851, born 9 Aug 1829, died Nov 1851
  2. Morning Mist (18??-1857) married 1856, died in 1857
  3. Sallie Ann Corbell (1843-1931) married 15 Sep 1863, born 16 May 1848, died 22 Mar 1931

Children by Morning Mist:

  • James Tilton Pickett (1857-1889) born 1857, died 1889

Children by Sallie Ann Corbell:

  • George Edward Pickett Jr (1864-1911) born 17 Jul 1864, died 18 Apr 1911
  • David Corbell Pickett (1866-1866) born 1866, died 25 May 1866

Assignments:

Resources

See Also:

Books:

  • Lesley J.Gordon, General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend. The University of North Carolina Press (Paperback edition), 1998.
  • LaSalle Corbell Pickett, What Happened to Me, Brentanos, New York, 1917

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