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Our Second Brigade was also Virginian. One evening at dark I was in my narrow office when an officer was announced. I turned and had quite a start at my visitor’s appearance. It was George Pickett, just made brigadier-general, and reporting for command. A singular figure indeed! A medium-sized, well-built man, straight, erect, and in well-fitting uniform, an elegant riding-whip in hand, his appearance was distinguished and striking. But the head, the hair were extraordinary. Long ringlets flowed loosely over his shoulders, trimmed and highly perfumed; his beard likewise was curling and giving out the scents of Araby.


He was soon made at home, and having already received Longstreet’s instructions, was assigned to his brigade. Pickett became very friendly, was a good fellow, a good brigadier. He had been in Longstreet’s old Army regiment, and the latter was exceedingly fond of him. Taking Longstreet’s orders in emergencies, I could always see how he looked after Pickett, and made us give him things very fully; indeed, sometimes stay with him to make sure he did not get astray.

Such was the man whose name calls up the most famous and heroic charge, possibly, in the annals of war. Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg stirs every heart that beats for great deeds, and will forever live in song and story. Afterwards his division was relieved to rest and recruit, and grew strong and fit. It was, however, badly mauled at Five Forks by Sheridan, although its commander is said to have made excellent disposition of his troops and fought.

Gilbert Moxley Sorrell “Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer”