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Pickett’s Charge is the name given to the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War. Taking place on July 3, 1863, the battle was an offensive planned by General Robert E. Lee but ineffectively implemented by Lt. General James Longstreet. Longstreet believed the battle was futile because of the losses the Confederacy had already incurred and it is largely believed that on the day of Pickett’s Charge he did not comply with several key directives that would have led to a more coordinated assault as Lee had intended. The battle is named for Major General George Pickett, the lead assault commander of three forces that were to attempt to gain ground against the Union by attacking the center forces. The other two leaders were Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew and Major General Isaac Trimble.
The Union correctly predicted the strategy that would be used by the Confederacy, but it was largely the poor coordination of Pickett’s, Pettrigrew’s, and Trimble’s troops that caused the devastating loss of the battle.
- In all, the Confederacy lost 6,555 men
- The Union lost 1,500.
- After the battle, the battle was named Pickett’s Charge even though Longstreet was in command and Pickett did not charge alone.
- The reason given was that Pickett was told to lead the three forces.
- It is said that Pickett was devastated by the loss and never forgave Lee for ordering the charge, apparently unaware of Longstreet’s pivotal role in the extent of the losses sustained by the Confederacy.