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honourable part in the campaigns of 1862; at Williamsburg, Seven Pines, and Gaines' Mills, it showed such dash, courage, and spirit as gained for it the sobriquet of “ The Game Cock Brigade.” In the last mentioned battle (Gaines' Mills) Gen. Pickett received a severe wound in the shoulder, and was disabled for several months. He did not rejoin his command until after the return of the army from Maryland.
Upon again reporting for duty, he was placed in command of a division, and soon thereafter promoted Major-General. His division was composed of the four Virginia brigades under Gar. nett, Kemper, Armstead and Corse-officers who had won their reputation upon hard fought fields, and, except Kemper and Corse, educated at West Point and commissioned in the United States Army. At the first battle of Fredericksburg this division, though not heavily engaged, took part, holding the centre of the line of battle. In the campaign against Suffolk, Gen. Pickett and his command did good effective service, adding to their already rapidly increasing renown.
But it was at the battle of Gettysburg that the crowning glory was won. In this battle there were displayed the most extraordinary courage, fortitude, and discipline. Two brigades were absent, and the division did not exceed 5,000 muskets. Yet this small force, advancing steadily over half a mile of broken ground, charged and carried the most formidable intrenchments of the enemy, under a concentrated fire of artillery and musketry, and would have maintained the position but for the failure of supports. The Richmond Enquirer thus commemorated the service rendered upon the memorable 3d day of July, 1863 : “ The day preceding, Pickett's division had made a long and toilsome march; at 3 o'clock they moved forward to the field of battle, and were in position very early in the morning of that eventful day. During a considerable portion of the forenoon the division was exposed to the burning rays of a July sun, and the terrible shelling of the enemy's batteries. Thus, very much exhausted by intense heat, and seriously crippled by the enemy's fire, about 3 P.M. they were ordered to charge the heights. An eye-witness testifies that they formed into line of battle as coolly and deliberately as if forming for dress-parade. Headed by their gallant officers, the column being led by Gen. Pickett himself, they moved forward to
the charge, across a plain some 500 yards in width, subjected to the action of guns sweeping like a hurricane of death all over the field. The noble and gallant Pickett commanding, they pressed up to the ugly ramparts of the enemy. It is believed that a more gallant or heroic charge was never made on this continent. Pickett's division has been in the hardest fighting of this bloody war. It had borne itself well and nobly everywhere. But the crowning glory of these patriotic heroes was achieved in the assault upon the iron clad crest of Gettysburg. The lists of casualties tell in terms of truer eloquence the bravery and patriotism of that blood-stained and war-honoured division, than can any figures of rhetoric or poetry. Every Brigadier fell, and a long catalogue of colonels and other officers. The division went in from five to six thousand strong; three days after the battle but fifteen hundred reported for duty. Well done, noble heroes, officers and men, your country will cherish the memory of your deeds and suffering with a gratitude and affection which time can never obliterate! Maj.-Gen. Pickett has well earned, and will no doubt receive the meed of his country's praise. Without meaning to disparage any officer or division, it is indeed a high honour to have belonged to Pickett's division, and to bave fought under that gallant commander.”
After the return of Gen. Lee's army from Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1863, Pickett's division was detached from the First Corps, and Gen. Pickett placed in command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, with his headquarters in the city of Petersburg. While in command of this Department he was instructed to make an attack upon Newbern, North Carolina, then in possession of the Federal forces, and thoroughly fortified. His forces, scattered over the wide-spread limits of his department, were concentrated with secrecy and dispatch at Kinston, one of his out-posts, situated upon the Neuse River, and pushed forward without a moment's delay. He moved in three columns: the left commanded by the dashing Col. James Dearing, the right by Gen. Barton, and the centre by himself, directed against the immediate front of the fortified town, where the enemy's works were strongest and most elaborate. The success of the expedition turned upon the result attending the attack to be made by the column under Gen. Barton, and his ability to carry the line of works in his front. The movement of troops begun on the morning of the 1st February, 1864. The centre, composed of Clingman's and Hoke's North Carolina Brigades, and Corse's Virginia Brigade, swept everything before them, and advanced almost to the very fortifications of the town. The enemy's advanced pickets were surprised and captured, the block house commanding the ford at Batchelor's Creek, stormed and carried after a sharp and determined resistance, and the camp, outside the fortifications, captured with considerable spoils, and a number of prisoners. The columns on the right and left meeting with unexpected and impassable barriers to their advance, failed entirely to coöperate. The delay was fatal to success; reinforcements reached the town from below, and it became necessary to withdraw. The retreat was conducted in perfect order. The enemy did not venture to pursue, and five hundred prisoners and valuable stores were carried back in safety to Kinston. Although the expedition failed to accomplish its main object, it added to the reputation of Gen. Pickett. In its organization, conduct, and execution, he displayed the characteristics of an able commander. He showed that he possessed sound judgment, quick perception, dash, endurance and ability. His troops were held well in hand and under perfect command, and he controlled them with a master's hand.
After Gen. Pickett's return to Petersburg, another expedition was prepared and directed against Plymouth, North Carolina, under the sanction of the War Office, but, as the writer of this sketch
of April, 1864, the preparations were complete, the troops in readiness, and the General and his staff just about to leave to assume the command. An order from Gen. Braxton Bragg, then the Commander-in-Chief under President Davis, directed that the command should be given to Gen. Hoke, and that Gen. Pickett should report to Richmond. Plymouth was invested; its fall and capitulation had been flashed over the wires, and received with gladness and exultation. Hoke was forth with made Major-General; but before Gen. Pickett had completed his arrangements to leave the city of Petersburg, the flags of the signal corps announced the fleet of Gen. Butler off City Point. No one but a resident of Richmond at the time and an intimate of its official councils can imagine the shock of surprise and terrour that the apparition of Butler's forces in James River gave to the Confederate authorities. It was one of the most perfect surprises of the war. Not one of the Confederate officials had counted on this auxiliary to Grant's movement; not even a speculative newspaper had imagined it; all eyes were turned towards the Rapidan, when attention was suddenly called to the new and unexpected enemy at the back door of the capital. The south side of Richmond was almost undefended; Petersburg was apparently at the mercy of the enemy, and a large portion of its people had already despaired of the safety of their habitations. Fortunately, however, for the Confederate interests, the new comer who had fallen on sucb an opportunity had not the genius to use it; and while Gen. Butler tarried in his demonstrations, a series of rapid movements changed the situation, and saved one of the narrowest fortunes of the war.
Gen. Pickett was ordered to remain and defend Petersburg. The order appeared absurd in view of his forces. The only troops he bad were the Washington artillery, almost unserviceable for want of horses, the militia, Bates's battalion of boys for “local defence,” and a regiment of Clingman's brigade on the Blackwater. Not dismayed, alert and full of spirit, Gen. Pickett addressed himself to his task. A troop of cavalry was improvised; Bates's battalion and the militia were put under arms; the artillery was supplied with horses, the defences manned, and pickets posted to the best advantage. On the night of the 6th May, 1864, Petersburg slept secure, with Butler's army at City Point and Bermuda Hundred, and a corporal and two men guarding Pocahontas Bridge. The next day the crisis was more clearly developed. Spiers, with his cavalry, crossed the Blackwater, and destroyed the Weldon railroad; Butler forced the railroad communicating with Richmond; and Gen. Pickett found himself apparently isolated, and his little army hemmed within the city limits. Then followed days and nights of unspeakable anxiety. At last the car-whistle announced the expected aid; Lieut.-Col. Dargan, with a portion of the South Carolina brigade, reached Petersburg, amid the joyous shouts of the people. This force was immediately sent to Port Walthall junction, and, the following day, reinforced by another regiment of the same brigade and some troops from Drury's Bluff, it resisted successfully Butler's attack on that point. Wise, Hoke and Kemper soon followed; the line upon Swift Creek was taken; Gen. Beauregard arrived, and to him Gen. Pickett turned over the command, which he had held so many anxious days and nights with the most remarkable fortitude and vigilance. "The Cockade City” was safe!
Cheated of a prize which he had not the hardihood to essay, Gen. Butler next turned his attention to the railroad, and, having sallied from behind his intrenchments, advanced towards it with the design of destroying the communication with Richmond. But Gen. Lee was prepared for him. The lines necessarily vacated by Gen. Beauregard, when he had to fall back and defend Petersburg, had already been taken possession of by the Federals; but directly Butler made his attempt; Gen. Anderson was dispatched with his corps to repulse him. This was done most effectually-Pickett's division being with difficulty restrained in their impetuous advance. The result was so satisfactory, and the exploit so gallantly accomplished, that Gen. Lee issued the following congratulatory dispatch:
CLAY'S HOUSE, June 17—54 P.M. Lieut.-Gen. R. H. Anderson, Commanding Longstreet's Corps:
GENERAL-I take great pleasure in presenting to you my congratulations upon the conduct of the men of your corps. I believe that they will carry any thing they are put against. We tried very hard to stop Pickett's men from capturing the breastworks of the enemy, but could not do it. I hope his loss has been small. I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE, General.
The position thus obtained was held for many months. But after Petersburg was invested, and the enemy had unsuccessfully attempted to carry the Confederate earthworks by assault, military operations, with one or two memorable exceptions, assumed the monotony of a regular siege.
In the final act of the war before Petersburg, Pickett and his heroic men, figured with their accustomed gallantry, and kept to the last the integrity and splendour of their historical name. In the battle of Five Forks his division bore the brunt, and gave way only when the force of the enemy became overwhelming. The theory of this battle was an attempt of the enemy to turn the right and vulnerable flank