Born in 1825 in Virginia, George Pickett graduated from West Point in 1846. He served in the Mexican War and in the western territories until June 1861 when he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army to enter the Confederate service. Pickett participated in the Seven Days battles and as a Major General commanded the Confederate center at Fredericksburg and led the third day's charge at Gettysburg.
At Petersburg his command spent most of their time north of the Appomattox River, at Bermuda Hundred. By late March Gen. Lee put him in charge of a force to keep the Union from seizing the South Side Railroad, the last rail line into Petersburg. The resulting battle took place at Five Forks on April 1, 1865. The defeat was made more poignant as Lee relieved him of his command after the loss at Sayler's Creek on the way to Appomattox Court House.
After the war he turned down offers to serve in the Egyptian military and to serve as a US Marshal, and instead became an insurance salesman. He died in 1875.
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Did You Know?
Slaves who entered Union lines and came to City Point, Virginia (present day Hopewell) during the Siege of Petersburg, were typically employed unloading ships and working in the hospitals. (Petersburg National Battlefield)