The Heart of a Soldier, as Revealed in the Intimate Letters of General George E. Pickett C.S.A.
by George Pickett
In The Heart of a Soldier, General George E. Picketts wife published the letters written by the former Confederate general throughout the war and afterward, providing a private and personal glimpse into the mind of a soldier who participated in the Civil Wars biggest battles. His letters discuss his marriage, relationships between Confederate generals, and descriptions of battle. What makes Picketts letters that much more important than a common soldiers is the fact that his name is instantly recognizable thanks to Picketts Charge, the most famous attack of the Civil War and also one of its most flawed and deadly. Having been unable to break the Army of the Potomacs lines on the left and right flank during Day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg, Lee decided to make a thrust at the center of the Unions line with about 15,000 men spread out over three divisions. Though it is now known as Picketts Charge, named after division commander Pickett, the assignment for the charge was given to General James Longstreet, whose 1st Corps included Picketts division. Longstreet had serious misgivings about Lees plan and tried futilely to talk him out of it. Before Gettysburg, Pickett was known for finishing last in his class at West Point, and his perfumed locks. Not surprisingly, he is best remembered now for the charge that has taken his name. The attack is now considered the high water mark of the Confederacy, spelling the Souths doom with the failed charge and the loss at Gettysburg. Picketts division was so decimated by the charge that when Lee asked him to reform his division in case of a Union counterattack, Pickett is alleged to have responded, I have no division!Pickett would later become notorious for the loss at the Battle of Five Forks that helped the Union break the siege at Petersburg and force Lees surrender a week later at Appomattox. Rumors that Pickett and Lee intensely disliked each other have survived ever since, with Pickett reputed to have said after the war that man destroyed my division.Picketts widow became famous in her own right, not only for trying to carry on Picketts legacy, but also for her stories after the war, including one that President Lincoln himself came to visit her. Though the story is not believed to be true, she helped carry forth Picketts legacy by publishing his letters, which show a devoted husband in a prestigious position at the front of the Civil Wars biggest battle.This edition of The Heart of a Soldier is specially formatted with the original illustrations and over 30 pictures of famous Civil War generals and leaders. It also includes a table of contents for easier navigation.