RICHARD BROOKE GARNETT, CSA - History

RICHARD BROOKE GARNETT, CSA - History

VITAL STATISTICS
BORN: 1817 in Essex, VA.
DIED: 1863 in Cemetery Ridge– Gettysburg, PA.
CAMPAIGNS: Shenandoah Valley, Kernstown, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg .
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Brigadier General.

Early life [ edit | edit source ]

Garnett was born on the "Rose Hill" estate in Essex County, Virginia, the son of William Henry Garnett and Anna Maria Brooke. He had a twin brother, William, who died in Norfolk in 1855. He was the cousin of Robert Selden Garnett, also a Confederate general, who holds the dubious distinction of being the first general officer killed during the Civil War. Both of the cousins graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1841, with Richard standing 29th out of 52 cadets, two spots below Robert. ΐ] Garnett was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 6th U.S. Infantry and he served in a variety of posts in Florida, fighting the Seminoles, and then in the West, where he commanded Fort Laramie, rode with the Mormon Expedition, and was a noted Indian fighter.

During the Mexican-American War, he served in staff positions in New Orleans, and was promoted to first lieutenant on February 16, 1847. ΐ] He learned of the outbreak of the Civil War while serving in California as a captain, the rank to which he had been promoted on May 9, 1855. ΐ] Despite believing strongly that the Union should not be dissolved, he returned to Virginia to fight for his native state and the Confederacy.


8th Virginia Infantry Regiment

The 8th Virginia Infantry Regiment was organized at Leesburg, Virginia in May of 1861 and surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865. It was notable that at one point in its history its colonel, lieutenant colonel, major and one of its captains were brothers, the brothers Berkeley.

First Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run
Battle of Seven Pines
Seven Days Battles
Battle of Gaines’ Mill
Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)
Battle of South Mountain

The regiment was under the command of Colonel Eppa Hunton, and brought only 34 men to the field. It lost 11 casualties.

From Colonel Hunton’s Official Report for the 8th Virginia at South Mountain:

On Sunday, September 14, the regiment, with the rest of the brigade, left Hagerstown and marched toward the gap of the mountain near Boonesborough. After arriving near the gap we were marched south several miles toward another gap. When about to reach this last gap, we were countermarched and carried to the top of the mountain, on the north side of the turnpike, under heavy fire of the enemy’s batteries from the opposite side of the pike. The brigade was thrown into line of battle (the 8th Virginia Regiment on the extreme right) in a wood. The regiment formed the line within 50 yards of the enemy, and under a galling fire of musketry, which opened on us while forming the line. The regiment, with great gallantry, returned the fire of the enemy, and drove the advance on the enemy back. We maintained our ground until the rest of the brigade on our left had fallen back, and, finding that my regiment, consisting of only 34 men, had no support on the right or left, and was opposed to a very large force of the enemy, I retired my regiment to the rear of the fence, and was preparing to make there a further stand, when orders came to retire the whole command. My command sustained a loss of 11 killed and wounded.

That night we took up the line of march toward Sharpsburg.

Battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Hunton. It brought only 22 men to the field, 11 of whom become casualties.

From the War Department marker to Garnett’s Brigade on the Antietam battlefield:

Garnett’s Brigade reached Sharpsburg at 11 A.M. September 15th, and took position on the southwest slope of Cemetery Hill where it remained until the morning of the 17th, when it relieved Geo. T. Anderson’s Brigade in support of the Washington Artillery. When that command was relieved by S. D. Lee’s Artillery in the afternoon, the Brigade advanced into the cornfield in front of Lee’s guns, between this point and the cemetery wall, and engaged the right of the advancing Federal line.

The right of the Confederate line west of the Burnside Bridge Road being turned, the Brigade was withdrawn, by the cross streets, to the north of the town, and cooperated with Drayton’s Brigade and A.P. Hill’s Division in the attack on the Federal left.

From Colonel Hunton’s report for the 8th Virginia at Antietam:

On Wednesday we changed our position a little to the north, and nearly all day were exposed to the most terrific fire of artillery I have ever seen. We were near the extreme right of the line of battle, Jenkins’, Drayton’s, and Kemper’s brigades being the only forces on our right.

The early part of this day was consumed by the enemy in their galling artillery fire, under cover of which they endeavored to cross their infantry over the Antietam Creek. Late in the afternoon the enemy threw large forces over the creek and advanced upon us. The Eighth and Eighteenth first and then the whole brigade were thrown forward to a fence in our front to meet the column advancing upon our position, and nobly your little command stood the shock of battle from greatly superior numbers. Not a man of my command faltered no one left the ranks except those who had been wounded. We kept the enemy back, and the efforts of the enemy’s officers, plainly discernible, to force their men upon us, were all in vain. We could have held this position with ease if our right had been equally successful but our right gave way-first Kemper’s brigade, and then Drayton’s. The enemy had gotten beyond our line, and we were flanked by a very large force in addition to that in front. then you gave the order to fall back, and my command retired with the rest of the brigade. The regiment numbered when it entered this fight 22 men, and came out with 11.

It gives me great pleasure to speak in terms of high commendation of the conduct of the regiment on these two occasions. It met my fullest approbation all, officers and men, behaved very handsomely. The casualties have heretofore been specially reported.

I cannot close this report without mentioning the gallant conduct of our artillery, which fought near us-the Washington Artillery first and Colonel Lee’s artillery afterward. I am unable to give the names of the different batteries. Captain Squires’ battery twice drove back the advancing column of the enemy.

Official Records: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam – Serial 27) , Pages 898 – 899

Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Eppa Hunton and brought 193 men to the field. It was part of Pickett’s Charge, sustaining heavy casualties. The regiment lost 39 men killed, 79 wounded, and 60 missing or captured.

The officers of the regiment were almost annihilated. Colonel Hunton was badly wounded, Lt. Colonel Norbern Berkeley was wounded and captured, and Major Edmund Berkeley was wounded. Captains John Green and Alexander Grayson were killed. Captain William R. Bissell and Lieutenants Edwin T. Adams, William Ayre, Fielding F. Payne, John R. Presgraves, and George Swink were mortally wounded and captured. Captain Albert Matthews and Lieutenants Joseph Cooper, Elias Harington, E.A. Milholland, and Joseph Tavenner were wounded. Captains William Berkeley and Edward Carter were wounded and captured. Lieutenants Charles Berkley, Charles Dawson, Edward C. Gibson, Benjamin Hutchinson, John McNealea, and Samuel Leslie were captured.

From the marker on the Gettysburg battlefield:

July 2. Arrived about sunset and bivouacked on the western border of Spangler’s Woods.

July 3. In the forenoon formed line on Kemper’s left in the field east of the woods. At the cessation of the cannonade advanced and took part in Longstreet’s assault on the Union position in the vicinity of the Angle. This advance was made in good order under a storm of shells and grape and a deadly fire of musketry after passing the Emmitsburg Road. The lines were much broken in crossing the post and rail fences on both sides of that road but with shattered ranks the Brigade pushed on and took part in the final struggle at the Angle. Gen. R. B. Garnett fell dead from his saddle in front of the stone wall.

July 4. Spent the day in reorganization and during the night began the march to Hagerstown.


18th Virginia Infantry Regiment

The 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment was organized in Virginia in May of 1861 and surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.

First Battle of Manassas, (Bull Run)
Battle of Seven Pines
Battle of Gaines’ Mill
Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)
Battle of South Mountain

The regiment was commanded by Major George Cabell. It brought about 120 men to the field, and lost 7 killed, 27 wounded, and 7 missing.

From Major Cabell’s Official Report for the 18th Virginia at South Mountain:

About 5 p. m. on Sunday, September 14, the 18th Virginia Regiment, about 120 strong, under my command, after a rapid and fatiguing march from Hagerstown, was directed to a position a little north of the gap in South Mountain, near Boonsborough, Md. We were not fairly in position before the enemy’s skirmishers were seen not far off and to their rear, their line of battle approaching. Fire was soon opened along the entire front of the Eighteenth Regiment, when the skirmishers retired, and soon the main body of the enemy fell back a short distance, sheltered themselves behind trees, rocks, &c., and opened a heavy fire upon us, which was replied to with spirit and vigor for some time.

After some three-quarters of an hour, word was brought that the regiments on our left had fallen back, and that the left of the 18th was wavering. I at once repaired to the left of the regiment and aided in restoring comparatively good order, but soon after the order came along the lines to fall back, which was done, halting in a ravine about 100 yards to the rear of the position we had just left. Here the regiment was reformed. General Garnett did not approve of this last position, so he ordered the regiment to the edge of the wood and across a fence some 200 yards distant. In going to this position, the ground being uneven, and covered with bushes and briars, the regiment became a good deal scattered. As many of the regiment as could be, were collected, and, together with Captains Claiborne and Oliver, I marched them forward and took position on the left of Jenkins’ brigade, which had just come up, and again engaged the enemy, the men fighting bravely. In some twenty-five or thirty minutes information was brought that General Garnett’s brigade was ordered to retire. The men were then withdrawn, and, together with General Garnett, who was upon our left, retired from the field.

It is but just to say that the regiment was very much exhausted when it went into the fight, having marched in quick time from Hagerstown and around the mountain some 4 or 5 miles, and therefore fought under disadvantages. It nevertheless did good and effective fighting, and, had it been supported on the left, would have maintained its ground throughout the entire fight.

There were only seven officers besides myself with the regiment, and three of the companies were commanded by second sergeants.

The regiment lost 7 killed, 27 wounded, and 7 missing, a report of which has already been forwarded.

Battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam

The regiment was commanded by Major George C. Cabell. It brought 75 men to the field and lost 4 men killed and 27 men wounded.

From the War Department marker to Garnett’s Brigade on the Antietam battlefield:

Garnett’s Brigade reached Sharpsburg at 11 A.M. September 15th, and took position on the southwest slope of Cemetery Hill where it remained until the morning of the 17th, when it relieved Geo. T. Anderson’s Brigade in support of the Washington Artillery. When that command was relieved by S. D. Lee’s Artillery in the afternoon, the Brigade advanced into the cornfield in front of Lee’s guns, between this point and the cemetery wall, and engaged the right of the advancing Federal line.

The right of the Confederate line west of the Burnside Bridge Road being turned, the Brigade was withdrawn, by the cross streets, to the north of the town, and cooperated with Drayton’s Brigade and A.P. Hill’s Division in the attack on the Federal left.

From Major Cabell’s Official Report for the 18th Virginia in the Battle of Antietam:

Early on the morning of September 17, the 18th Virginia Regiment, about 75 strong, under my command, was marched by the left flank into a position in rear of two batteries of the Washington Artillery, posted on a hill to the south and east of Sharpsburg, Md. The enemy were pouring a heavy fire of round and canister shot upon the hill when the brigade commanded by General Garnett was put in position, which was continued furiously during the day until about 3 p. m. Our position was changed two or three times during the morning, as circumstances required, moving alternately to the left and right, to shelter the men from a dreadful fire, to which it was impossible to reply with small-arms. The 18th Regiment lost by this artillery fire alone 10 killed and wounded.

About 3 p. m. the enemy crossed the creek in heavy force and advanced upon us. My regiment, with the remainder of the brigade, was ordered to the summit of the hill, and fire was at once opened upon the enemy’s skirmishers, who were soon driven back to their advancing line of battle, composed of two or three regiments, immediately in our front. The enemy came up rapidly, and we advanced a short distance to meet them. They, soon after receiving our first fire, fell back some little distance, and took shelter behind a rail fence, and opened a furious fire upon us. The fighting now became general along the line of the brigade, we gaining rather than losing ground, when the enemy was re-enforced by two or three regiments. These last regiments came up upon the left of the regiments already engaged with us, and extended their line perpendicularly to the rear, and opened a severe oblique fire, which was directed principally upon the 18th and 8th Virginia Regiments. We were compelled to change the front of several of our companies at this juncture, our fire never slackening. The enemy, though outnumbering us at least five to one, were held completely in check, and did not advance a pace.

About this time the brigades of Generals Kemper and Drayton fell back, and a large force opposed to them swung round toward Sharpsburg and were already getting in our rear, when General Garnett, from sheer necessity, ordered his brigade to retire. We had moved back some 50 yards when it was discovered that a battery ([A. S.] Cutts’, I think) would be endangered by our falling back. I halted my little regiment, faced it about, and waited until the battery limbered up and moved off. The regiment was then drawn off with the remainder of the brigade.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the coolness and gallantry of my men. No man of the 18th Regiment left his post until disabled, and all kept up a rapid and well-directed fire. The officers, too, acted with great gallantry.

Captains [T. D.] Claiborne, [J. A.] Holland, and [E. D.] Oliver Lieuts. R. S. Jones, acting adjutant, and [W. H.] Smith, of Company K, and Sergeant Muses, Company G, were particularly active in the discharge of their duties.

The regiment lost in this fight 4 killed and 27 wounded, a report of which has been already forwarded. My entire color-guard was either killed or wounded.

Official Records: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam – Serial 27) , Pages 899 – 901

Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Carrington and brought 312 men to the field. It was part of Pickett’s Charge on July 3, sustaining heavy casualties. The regiment lost 54 men killed, 134 wounded, and 57 missing or captured. Lt. Colonel Carrington was wounded and captured. It is not clear who commanded the survivors of the regiment after the charge.

Officer casualties were very heavy. Lieutenants James Harvey, Aurelius A. Watkins, and William Cocke were killed, and Lieutenants William Austin and Edward B. Harvey mortally wounded. Captains Zachariah Blanton, James Holland, William Johnson, Robert McCulloch, and Elijah D. Oliver and Lieutenants James P. Glenn, George Jones, Lewis Vaughn, John Weymouth were wounded and captured. Captains Archer Campbell and Edmund R. Cocke and Lieutenants Edwin Muse, John Smith, James Walthall, and Robert D. Wade were wounded. Lieutenant Thomas Durphy was captured.

From the marker to Garnett’s Brigade on the Gettysburg battlefield:

July 2. Arrived about sunset and bivouacked on the western border of Spangler’s Woods.

July 3. In the forenoon formed line on Kemper’s left in the field east of the woods. At the cessation of the cannonade advanced and took part in Longstreet’s assault on the Union position in the vicinity of the Angle. This advance was made in good order under a storm of shells and grape and a deadly fire of musketry after passing the Emmitsburg Road. The lines were much broken in crossing the post and rail fences on both sides of that road but with shattered ranks the Brigade pushed on and took part in the final struggle at the Angle. Gen. R. B. Garnett fell dead from his saddle in front of the stone wall.

July 4. Spent the day in reorganization and during the night began the march to Hagerstown.


Remembering Dick Garnett

I suspect I’m not the only kid during the Centennial who pored through Ezra J. Warner’s Generals in Gray (1959). My copy of this fine old standard had fallen into such bad shape through constant use that fully thirty years ago I had to have it rebound.

One of the stories I carried from it was how Confederate Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett , brigade leader in Pickett’s division, was killed in the famous charge at Gettysburg. Afterward Federals buried the general in a mass grave. Some Yankee must have stolen his effects so that, without an officer’s emblems, he would have been laid in a mass grave with other soldiers. His engraved sword showed up years later in a Baltimore pawnshop.

Warner speculates that General Garnett returned to his native state in the early 1870s. Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery Association found money then for the ossiferous remains of Confederate soldiers buried at Gettysburg to be returned to Virginia. “It is entirely possible,” Warner writes, “that the General’s remains now rest in ‘Gettysburg Hill,’ Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond.”

Well, years later that got me thinking. In 1990 I was writing a newsletter, Grave Matters, focused on Civil War soldiers’ graves. I had several hundred subscribers, so in one issue I sent out a call for donations to raise money for a cenotaphic stone to General Garnett ’s memory, to be set at Gettysburg Hill.

Word spread, thanks to such friends as Dave Roth of Blue & Gray, Bob Younger of the Morningside Bookshop, Peter Jorgenson of Civil War News, plus the newsletters of many Civil War Round Tables and camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

By early ’91 I had received more than $4,000 from over 150 individuals. CWRTs from as far away as Los Angeles sent in checks. I remember when my astonished wife called me at the office when she had opened an envelope with a $1,000 check inside.

We set July 3, 1991 as date for our memorial dedication. In the meantime I composed an inscription, arranged for the stone to be manufactured in north Georgia and transported to Richmond by rail. I even visited Hollywood that spring to fix an appropriate site where the cemetery staff would place our monument.

I organized a program of ceremonies, including invocation (I chose “Let us now praise famous men” from Ecclesiasticus). We would have a presentation of colors and rifle salute by reenactors, laying of wreaths by SCV and UDC chapters, and acceptance by a member of the Garnett family. I sent the program with invitation to everyone who had sent in money.

I was astonished that on the appointed day—like July 3, 1863, it was hot enough to scorch a feather—we had a huge crowd around the draped stone. (Yes, the gentleman from Los Angeles who had sent in that big check was there, too.) During the ceremonies that afternoon I was honored to give the address, “Why We Honor General Garnett .”

Local TV cameras were on hand to film us, especially the unveiling of the stone. We were on the radio, evening news, and in the Richmond News Leader. (I wonder if we’d get that kind of coverage now, 25 years later.)

So go to Hollywood Cemetery when you’re next in Richmond and you’ll see our stone. It’s in the northmost grounds, near the Confederate Soldiers’ Section.

AMONG THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS’ GRAVES IN
THIS AREA IS THE PROBABLE RESTING PLACE OF
BRIGADIER GENERAL RICHARD BROOKE GARNETT ,
C.S.A. WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION JULY 3, 1863, AS
HE LED HIS BRIGADE IN THE CHARGE OF PICKETT’S
DIVISION ON THE FINAL DAY OF THE BATTLE OF
GETTYSBURG. FIRST BURIED ON THE BATTLEFIELD,
GENERAL GARNETT ’S REMAINS WERE LIKELY
REMOVED TO THIS AREA IN 1872 ALONG WITH OTHER
CONFEDERATE DEAD BROUGHT FROM GETTYSBURG
BY THE HOLLYWOOD MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE RICHARD BROOKE GARNETT
1817-1863.

So ends our story. I can proudly say that at least figuratively, I helped bury a Confederate general killed in Pickett’s Charge.


Richard Brooke Garnett (November 21, 1817 – July 3, 1863)

Richard Brooke Garnett was born on November 21, 1817, probably at "Rose Hill," one of his family's three plantations in Essex County, Virginia. Garnett was one of twin boys and six girls born to William Henry Garnett and Anna Maria Brooke. His father was a wealthy planter who served with the Virginia militia during the War of 1812.

As a youngster, Garnett attended the Norfolk Academy. On September 1, 1837, he entered the United States Military Academy, along with his cousin, Robert, who later became the first general officer killed during the American Civil War. Among Garnett's classmates at the Academy were future Union generals Don Carlos Buell, John F. Reynolds, Nathaniel Lyon, and Horatio G. Wright. In 1841, Garnett graduated twenty-ninth in his class of fifty-two cadets.

Following his graduation from West Point, Garnett received a commission as a brevet second lieutenant on July 1, 1841 and joined the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment in Florida during the Second Seminole War (1835�). Garnett remained with his regiment for the next twenty years, serving in the West, where he campaigned against American Indians and helped to settle territorial disputes. From September 6, 1845 to March 9, 1851, Garnett served as aide-de-camp to his uncle, Brevet Brigadier-General George Mercer. During that period, he attained the rank of first lieutenant on February 16, 1847. Garnett further advanced to the rank of captain on May 9, 1855.

Like his cousin Robert, Garnett's anti-secessionist beliefs did not prevent him from resigning his commission in the United States Army when his home state of Virginia left the Union. Following his resignation, on May 17, 1861, he traveled from California to Virginia to accept an assignment as a major in an artillery unit. By September, Garnett had advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel of Cobb's Georgia Legion. On November 14, he received a promotion to the rank of brigadier-general in command of the 1st Brigade of the Valley District of the Confederate Army of the Potomac, otherwise known as the famous "Stonewall Brigade."

Garnett's rapid rise in the Confederate Army stalled in March 1862 at the Battle of Kernstown I, during General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. Before the battle began, Jackson deployed Garnett's brigade in a defensive position along ridge opposite a Federal division of approximately 8,500 men. The Confederates possessed the better ground, but the Federals had far more men. The Rebels held their position against an afternoon Union assault until they began to run out of ammunition. Faced with the possibility of being overrun, Garnett ordered his men to abandon the ridge. As Garnett's men fell back, other Confederates joined the withdrawal, and the retreat became a rout.

On April 1, Jackson arrested Garnett for "neglect of duty" and relieved him of his command for ordering the retreat without Jackson's authorization. A court martial convened on August 6, 1862, for one day—long enough for Jackson and his aide to testify. The next day, Jackson set out for Culpeper, Virginia in preparation for the Battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9, 1862). The court martial never reconvened nor did it render a verdict. On September 5, Robert E. Lee reinstated Garnett and assigned him to General James Longstreet's Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Garnett commanded the injured George Pickett's brigade at the Battle of Antietam (September 15, 1862). He assumed permanent command of the brigade on November 26, after Pickett became a divisional commander. Garnett was eager to restore his reputation on the battlefield, but his unit did not participate in the next two major engagements of the Maryland Campaign. His brigade was held in reserve at the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11󈝻, 1862) and was not present at the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30–May 6, 1863).

Apparently, Garnett harbored no hard feelings toward Stonewall Jackson for his mistreatment after Kernstown. Following Jackson's death at Chancellorsville, Garnett served as a pallbearer at the stricken general's funeral. Reportedly, he was seen with tears of grief running down his cheeks.

When General Lee began his second invasion of the North (June 1863), Pickett's division, which included Garnett's brigade, served as the army's rearguard. As a result, Garnett did not arrive at Gettysburg until the afternoon of July 2. Because Pickett's division was fresh, Lee selected it to participate in the ill-fated assault on Cemetery Ridge, commonly known as Pickett's Charge, on July 3. Garnett was suffering from a fever and an injured leg that prevented him from leading his men on foot. Despite his condition, Garnett viewed his assignment as the long awaited opportunity to restore his reputation. Thus, Garnett led his brigade into battle on horseback, making him an easy target. As the brigade neared the stone wall at the top of Cemetery Ridge, Garnett was mortally wounded, probably by grapeshot.

Despite the fact that Garnett was dressed as a Confederate general, his body was never identified after the fighting. Almost certainly, Garnett was buried in a mass grave that Union soldiers dug for the Confederates who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1872, the remains from that grave were removed to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, presumably Garnett's final resting place.


James Longstreet's Response from the Whig

Since the commencement of the Chickahominy campaign some articles have appeared in the Richmond Examiner which are calculated to do injustice to some of the officers and to alarm our people. No one in the army has any objection to Major General A.P. Hill's being supplied with all the notoriety that the Examiner can furnish, provided no great injustice is done to others. His staff officer, through the columns of the Examiner, claims that he had command of the field on Monday for a short time, intimating an improper absence of some other officers. General Lee and Major General James Longstreet rode upon the field together, and some hours before Major General A.P. Hill. Both of these officers remained upon the field and slept there, neither having left it for an instant. Major General James Longstreet was absent from his usual position for an hour perhaps, for the purpose of putting one of Gen. Hill's brigades (Gregg's) into action.

The "eight thousand" claimed to have been lost by Gen. A.P. Hill's Division alone will cover the loss of the entire army during the week's campaign. Trifling wounds will swell the list above this figure, but the actual loss will fall short of it. Exaggerated statements of casualties, like those made by the Examiner, are calculated to be a great injury to the army, both at home and abroad.

Lee apparently did not like confrontation. He adopted a ignore it and hope it goes away attitude -- perhaps the brewing feud between two of his most important lieutenants would just blow over. Lee thus did not respond promptly to Hill's letter.

Hill meanwhile began investigating and querying his commanders. To Hill, like the later quarrel with Jackson, the affair was one of honor. Hill felt James Longstreet had challenged his honor. James Longstreet apparently felt no love towards Hill.

When Hill did not get his transfer, he began to act childishly. Upon receipt of a routine report from James Longstreet, Hill simply returned the document with the endorsement, "General Hill declines further communications with Major Sorrel." Obviously meant to draw James Longstreet's wrath, the tactic worked. James Longstreet sent Sorrel back with word that the order was written by his command and thus had to be answered. Hill still refused. The two commanders struck up a sharply worded but indecisive correspondence. James Longstreet became exasperated and tired of Hill's antics. He summoned Sorrel, told him to don sash and sword, and to place Hill under arrest, confined to camp. Sorrel so arrived at Hill's tent. Dressed informally, Hill saluted Sorrel, and Sorrel communicated the order. Hill couldn't have been shocked. He stiffly saluted again and sat back down in his chair in silence. It was the first time since his third year at West Point when he was arrested for an unrecorded infraction that Hill had received such an order placing him into arrest. Command of the Light Division went to J.R. Anderson with his resignation on the 17th to take over the important Tredgar Iron Works in Richmond and L. O'Bryan Branch took over command of the Light Division.

Not one to simply sit by and just idly sulk, Hill began again an angry correspondence with James Longstreet. According to Sorrel, it culminated with arrangements of a "hostile meeting", i.e. Hill challenged James Longstreet to a duel. Arrangements were under way (allegedly, James Longstreet had gone so far to choose D.H. Hill and Robert Toombs as his seconds, which is interesting and ironic given that D.H. Hill had recently also challenged Toombs to a duel!) when Lee stepped in to prevent his two lieutenants from possibly killing each other. Lee restored Hill to command of his division and transferred him to Jackson's wing of the army. Though Sorrel felt that Hill and James Longstreet became "fairly good friends", relations between the two probably remained cool, but courteous. In his memoirs, James Longstreet was often not very complimentary (and when he was it seemed to be grudgingly so) of Hill. He leveled false charges that the only reason why Powell Hill was promoted to command a corps was because he was of Virginia birth. James Longstreet whined that "General Daniel H. Hill was the superior of General A. P. Hill in rank, skill, judgment and distinguished services." He also claimed Richard S. Ewell (Jackson's successor to command the Second Corps) to be far superior to Hill as commander of a corps. Lee certainly did not think that Ewell was superior while Hill's poor health gave Lee a good reason to "get rid of" Hill, as he did with Ewell, Lee notably did not do so. D.H. Hill was an ornery man who did not get along with almost anyone and questions of competence also exist around him.

A.P. Hill acted childishly during the feud with James Longstreet, but Lee's Old War Horse's track record suggests he was no saint. James Longstreet established a habit of engaging in feuds away from Lee's Army of Northern Virginia including with McLaws, Law, and many others after the War. James Longstreet was not universally liked by his subortinates within a week of Gettysburg, Lafayette McLaws, later to be one of James Longstreet's scapegoats in the horrible Knoxville Campaign, wrote his wife "During the engagement he was very excited, giving contrary orders to every one, and was exceedingly overbearing. I consider him a humbug, a man of small capacity, very obstinate, not at all chivalrous, exceedingly conceited, and totally selfish." Cadmus Wilcox also did not like James Longstreet. Wilcox was a reticent man who had a lot of friends on both sides (including a mutual friend with James Longstreet, Grant) of him it was said "no man on either side had more true friends." Wilcox and James Longstreet had some sort of falling out in November 1862 over the conduct of the Seven Days and Wilcox wanted to get away from James Longstreet's command Lee prevailed upon Wilcox to stay for the good of the service. In two private, 1869 letters Wilcox wrote Porter Alexander that James Longstreet was selfish and cold-hearted, caring but little for anyone but himself.

So was life in the Army of Northern Virginia!

Anyway, as mentioned previously, as a result of James Longstreet and Hill's disagreement, Lee felt he had no choice but to transfer Hill over into Jackson's wing of the Army. Hill would have been best to smooth over his differences with "Pete," for Jackson was a far stricter man than James Longstreet. Jackson was a very religious fellow he was also extremely secretive and lacked the personality of a "people person." He was in many ways Hill's opposite. Although they had been in the same West Point class together, Hill was of the upper class while Jackson was an orphan. Things came easily to Hill at the Point whereas Jackson had to struggle mightily. Where Hill was outgoing and fun loving, Jackson was dour, quiet, and kept to himself. The aloof Jackson handled his troops and their officers with iron handed discipline, whereas Hill was beloved by his troops and subortinates and kept them in line by fostering their esprit de corps. There was something to be said for Jackson's discplince. There was no doubt Jackson's way was efficent Rev. J. William Jones noted:

It may have been efficent, but it didn't inspire love. Respecting Jackson for his fighting prowess, Hill's top brigade commander, Dorsey Pender, noted wryly, "I never will vote for his being President."

Differences in command philosophy was only the beginning. A.P. Hill was particularly suspicious of religious people, and although he got along fine with religious men like Dorsey Pender, the fact that Jackson was, in Hill's mind, overly religious was another strike against him. But perhaps the largest strike against Jackson in Hill's mind was Jackson's tardiness during the Seven Days Campaign. As a result of Jackson's lack of presence, Hill's Light Division took the brunt of the hard fighting.

For his part, Jackson apparently respected Hill as a fighter. He even once recommended Hill for command of his old Stonewall Brigade. A professional officer, like Jackson, would be very particular about the choice of his successor for his unit A.P. Hill showed that tendency when he hand selected Dorsey Pender to head the Light Division. (If he could not have Hill for the post, Jackson requested Robert Rodes, the long mustached "Norse God of War" who would shine brightly too as a Confederate division commander. Jackson ended up getting neither, but his choices are interesting for their quality and later successes in the upper echelons of the Army).

Jackson demanded unquestioned obediance anyone could turn to the sad case of Richard Garnett at Kernstown to see that clearly. Lee, sensing Jackson's penchant for unquestioned obedience to orders and knowing Hill was a very touchy man (particularly after the James Longstreet feud), tried diplomatically to tell Jackson just that fact. Lee wrote Jackson :

Hill did not have that long to settle in under Jackson before another campaign opened. Disgusted with McClellan's performance in the Seven Days, Lincoln dispatched a new general, the bombastic and blustering John Pope who had been successful in some relatively minor Western battles. Pope's blustering and bragging was not looked upon kindly by his Eastern counterparts. Pope, unlike the gentlemanly McClellan, also did not respect the private property of civilans. Many Confederates, including Lee, took an immeditate dislike to Pope, him a "miscreant" that had to be dealt with.

Pope's army was called the "Army of Virginia." It was basically a collection of various troops from different departments in the Eastern theater. The plan was for McClellan to mark time on the Penisula while Pope moved northwards to try and draw Lee out to where he could be destroyed. McClellan, still commanding the Army of the Potomac, was to coordinate and work with Pope. This was going to cause problems because McClellan liked Pope about as much as the Confederates liked Pope.

The Union Army's movements forced Lee to split his Army. James Longstreet's half of the Army remained with Lee to watch and see what McClellan might do. Jackson's half of the Army was sent into northern Virginia to deal with the miscreant.

Problems between Jackson and Hill began early -- in fact on the very first day the two needed to work together on the march. Jackson was already in a bad mood, having had to put up with the trial of Richard Brooke Garnett (who was, observors thought, clearly winning his court martial proceeding when the Yankees under John Pope intervened). Richard Garnett --fated to die in "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg leading a Virginia brigade -- had been brought up on charges by Jackson for pulling back the Stonewall Brigade from what was probably an impossible position at Kernstown during Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign. The court martial trial of Garnett would never reconvene -- but Lee, tellingly, simply transferred Garnett to James Longstreet's wing of the army. That Lee did this despite Jackson's constant harping upon how horrible a commander Garnett suggests that Lee sympathized with Garnett in the ugly affair. (For his part, despite thinking Jackson a liar, Garnett would serve as a pall-bearer in Jackson's funeral in 1863).

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RICHARD BROOKE GARNETT, CSA - History

"General, I have no division . "
-Major General George Pickett to General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863

Of all of the events that occurred during the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg , few have been more studied, debated, celebrated, and romanticized than Longstreet's Assault, more popularly known as " Pickett's Charge ". Coordinated by Lieutenant General James Longstreet , the attack has been referred to as Longstreet's Grand Assault , the Pettigrew-Pickett Charge, and even the High Water Mark of the Rebellion by many historians. Yet it is Major General George Pickett's name that has forever been attached to the High Water Mark of the battle, for his troops- "the flower of Virginia manhood"- were more glorified for their participation in the charge by Southern and Northern writers in the years following the battle.

" Don't forget today that you are from Old Virginia! " Famed words of Maj. Gen. George Pickett to his division prior to the charge at Gettysburg.

Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge, Cemetery Ridge, Battle of Gettysburg

(Right) Map of Pickett's Charge on July 3. After the fighting at Culp's Hill, Lee concentrated on breaking the Union center on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg.

Pickett's Charge

(Gettysburg NMP)

Pickett's Charge is named after Maj. Gen. George Pickett, one of three Confederate generals who led the assault under Longstreet, and the names of the places associated with the charge are deeply indented on the American conscience. Every summer, " The Angle " and " High Water Mark " are crowded with visitors who come to commemorate the event and ponder those terrible minutes when American killed American in a desperate contest of wills and ideals. So much carnage in such a small place it is difficult for us today to realize the horror those young men faced, and how quickly the hopes of the North and South were determined in this famous battle.

Battlefield Map of Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863

Pickett's Charge Map at Battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863

Map of Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge, an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, occurred on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, and it was arguably an avoidable mistake from which the Southern war effort never fully recovered psychologically. The farthest point reached by the attack has been referred to as the high-water mark of the Confederacy.

At the time of Pickett's Charge it was 87 degrees, which was also the maximum temperature at Gettysburg for the month of July 1863.

Map of Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge

Artwork of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg

Pettigrew-Pickett Charge Map

Vintage Pickett's Charge Map

(Right) Vintage map of the seldom referred to “Pettigrew-Pickett Charge” on July 3, 1863. Courtesy North Carolina at Gettysburg and Pickett's Charge a Misnomer , 1921, by Walter Clark (1846-1924).

Pickett's Division is repulsed on July 3, 1863

Pickett's Charge is repulsed on July 3, 1863

General Lewis Armistead Monument

Pickett's Charge

Sketch of Pickett's troops

Charge of the Fifth Corps on Pickett's troops at Five Forks, April 1, 1865

Shortly after 4 PM, a combined force of Union infantry and cavalry stormed the Southern position and broke through the thin line. Pickett raced to the front but it was too late. His command was in a shambles and despite the efforts of his brigade officers to stave off the Union assault, there was little he could do but rally the survivors and withdraw from the battlefield. With Five Forks in Union hands, the last supply route into Petersburg was lost and the city was forced to be abandoned.

Battle of Gettysburg

Pickett's Charge

(Right) Cannons representing Hancock's defenses that were stormed by Pickett's Charge.

Pickett's absence from the front line at Five Forks possibly inflamed the ire of General Lee, who had ordered Five Forks to be held at all costs. The Army of Northern Virginia retreated from the Richmond and Petersburg lines and moved west toward Danville, Virginia, hotly pursued by two Union armies and a massive cavalry force. On April 6 at Sailor's Creek , Virginia, Pickett's command, along with troops under Generals R. H. Anderson, Richard Ewell, and Joseph Kershaw , was nearly encircled by a combined force of Union cavalry and infantry. An attempt to break out failed and the Confederate position folded, costing Lee over one-third of his army. Only several hundred panicked Confederates were able to get out of the trap and they were personally rallied by General Lee. General Pickett and his staff narrowly escaped capture as night fell. Pickett's escape without bringing out his troops may have been the final straw for Lee who relieved Generals Anderson, Bushrod Johnson, and Pickett of command two days later, though Lee's order evidently never reached Pickett in the confusion of the retreat. The general remained with his division as the army wearily marched to Appomattox Court House , where he formally surrendered and bade goodbye to the soldiers of his old command.

General Pickett returned to Richmond where he was faced with monumental decisions of providing for his family. He attempted farming for several years before he finally accepted work with an insurance company based in New York. As an agent for the company, Pickett sold policies from his home in Richmond and worked with insurance agents in other Virginia cities from whom he drew a commission. The life of an insurance agent was distasteful to the man who once led thousands of soldiers into battle, but he continued to work with the company to support his family until his death in 1875.

Field at Pickett's Charge

Battle of Gettysburg

(Right) The field of Pickett's Charge from the Union line, near the High Water Mark. The ridge of trees in the background is where the Confederate line was positioned.

In a journalistic sense , the charge at Gettysburg was to be General Pickett's most important contribution to the Southern cause. Southern writers heralded his Virginians who made the attack against impossible odds, one writer placing the general in the role of a tragic hero who did what he could despite the mistakes and miscalculations of others. Controversies surrounding his actions during the Appomattox Campaign did not directly affect the general who was held in high regard by the officers and men who served under him. Apparently embittered by the destruction of his division at Gettysburg and uneasy with the awkward relationship with his former army commander, Pickett chose not to openly discuss his career as a Confederate officer or what happened on that fateful July afternoon in Pennsylvania. Yet the general never reconciled the losses his command suffered at Gettysburg, and never forgave Lee for ordering so many of his young Virginians into the last great charge that today bears his name.

The Copse of Trees on Cemetery Ridge

High Water Mark, Pickett's Charge, Battle of Gettysburg

The High Water Mark

Pickett's Charge

The charge was not without controversy (even before it began) and the debate as to the assault's merits have been argued over and over again. Questions quickly arose soon after the battle as to who was responsible for the failure. A few unnamed sources who favored the Virginians blamed the disaster on the lack of support from Pettigrew's and Trimble's columns, criticisms that first appeared in newspapers in the fall of 1863. The accusations caused hard feelings between commands and served no purpose other than to confuse facts surrounding the charge. After the war, the conflict took a more personal side when a number of writers accused the North Carolinians of Pettigrew's division of cowardice and not going into the charge as they were "untried and green troops" (the accusations were baseless). The debate grew bitterer as time passed because numerous writers looked to Gettysburg as the turning point of the war in Southern fortunes. The arguments had cooled some by the turn of the century. But in 1903, Samuel A. Ashe, a North Carolina writer, wrote a scathing article published in a Richmond newspaper in which he demanded to know why North Carolina troops were continually slandered by Virginia veterans. He also broached the subject of Pickett's whereabouts during the attack, blaming the failure of the charge on the general for his lack of command. The flame became an inferno as former staff officers rushed to Pickett's defense. Cruel innuendo followed including a condemning statement attributed to Pickett that had no factual base. Yet the hard feelings did not easily pass away and the bitter debate resurfaced and continued until the last veteran of the charge passed away. Interestingly enough, the Southern spirit of invincibility did not die during the Civil War only a few Southern writers ever gave the Union defenders of Cemetery Ridge any credit for breaking up the attack.

Painting of Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge, by Peter Frederick Rothermel, circa 1870

"Only here in the United States could former foes meet as friends. "

The culmination of Lee's last hopes for victory in Pennsylvania, "Pickett's Charge," was thwarted by a number of factors including poor staff work, superior organization and control of Union artillery, massed infantry lines against rifled weapons, and a Pennsylvania brigade standing on their native soil in the Angle that fought for every inch of ground. The Philadelphia Brigade was composed of regiments raised in the city and counties surrounding Philadelphia. The celebrated brigade was first led by Colonel Edward Baker and fought under several different commanders through the terrible campaigns of 1862 and 1863. New York-born Brigadier General Alexander Webb led the brigade at Gettysburg. Assigned to command the Philadelphians barely a week before Gettysburg, Webb distinguished himself during the battle and was wounded on July 3 at the height of Pickett's attack. General Webb received the Medal of Honor for his courage under fire, though he was not a favorite among the officers and men of his brigade who viewed the officer as a military appointment over a former commander who was discharged without just cause.

General George Pickett

(January 1825 -- July 30, 1875)

(Right) Maj. Gen. George Pickett, ca. Civil War. LOC .

After Gettysburg, the Philadelphians fought through the Wilderness Campaign , Cold Harbor and to the outskirts of Petersburg. It was here that two of the brigade's regiments, their term of enlistment having expired, were mustered out of service and journeyed home to a hero's welcome. The remaining two regiments, including the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry, which had held a position along the stone wall on July 3, continued in service through the end of the war at Appomattox. In 1887, the veterans of that regiment planned to erect a monument at Gettysburg where they'd held the line that hot summer afternoon. Their interest sparked the idea for an association composed of veterans of the old brigade, and in 1887 the Philadelphia Brigade Association was formed. One of the first matters brought before the association was the intention of a group of Southern veterans of Pickett's Division to also place a memorial at Gettysburg. The Philadelphians extended an invitation to the newly formed Pickett's Division Association to meet on the Gettysburg Battlefield, "in a spirit of 'Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.'" The Southerners accepted the invitation to meet with their former foe at Gettysburg, but heated debates thwarted the efforts of those in favor of the summer meeting and a disappointing meeting with the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association sealed their decision not to go.

The High Water Mark

Painting of Pickett's Charge

(Gettysburg Cyclorama) General Armistead leads his soldiers into the Angle as Union troops rush forward to stop the breach in the Union line. The "High Water Mark" is the group of trees in the center. From the Gettysburg Cyclorama at Gettysburg National Military Park . Courtesy National Park Service .

High Water Mark, Cemetery Ridge

Battle of Gettysburg: The Charge!

(Right) Cemetery Ridge, looking south along the ridge with Little Round Top and Big Round Top in the distance. The monument in the foreground is the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument.

Upon hearing of their decision, John W. Frazier, secretary of the Philadelphia Brigade Association, authored a letter to the Pickett's Association urging them not to reject the invitation to the reunion. Frazier went so far as to offer help for the Southern veterans- to get their monument erected at their desired location at Gettysburg. After some debate, the invitation was re-accepted and a number of Southerners made plans to visit Gettysburg as guests of the Philadelphia Brigade Association.

Pickett's Charge Battle Map

Pickett's Charge

(Left) Battlefield Map of Pickett's Charge.

A train bearing 500 veterans of the Philadelphia Brigade, including wives and children, left Philadelphia on July 2 and arrived at the Gettysburg Train Station later that day. A second train arrived two and one half hours later, bearing the Southern guests who were surprised and pleased by the greeting they received. Lining the street were the Philadelphians, resplendent in white pith sun helmets, who welcomed the Confederate veterans with cheers as a band struck up the tune "Dixie".

Formed into ranks, the two groups marched side by side up Carlisle Street and into the center of town where they stood face to face and shook hands. A Northern writer observed: "Pickett's Division, for the first time, was in undisputed possession of Gettysburg."

The old Confederates were treated with high honors by an excited group of Union veterans eager to show their admiration and respect. Though the day was beastly hot, the veterans stood in the square to listen to orations and speeches on behalf of both North and South. Among the honored guests was General Pickett's widow, LaSalle Corbell Pickett and her son.


Mrs. Pickett

Good feelings were everywhere and extended over into the next day when the former soldiers marched out of Gettysburg and to the Angle where the veterans of the 69th Pennsylvania dedicated their monument. There were more speeches to follow and the presentation of a flower arrangement and sentiment to Mrs. Pickett. The dedications and speeches lasted for several hours while the crowd broiled under a hot sun. The afternoon festivities ended with adjournment for refreshments being served under the shade of the Copse of Trees. Included were chilled kegs of beer which, no doubt, added to the merriment of the participants in blue and gray that afternoon. Some of the veterans camped in tents erected near the High Water Mark and pandemonium broke out at midnight when an impromptu fireworks display began in early celebration of the 4th of July.

Veterans Reunion of Pickett's Charge

50th Anniversary of Pickett's Charge in 1913

1887 Reunion of Pickett's Charge.

Pickett's Veterans at Gettysburg Reunion in 1887

Recommended Reading: Gettysburg, by Steven W. Sears (640 pages) (2004). Description: This authoritative history of the Battle of Gettysburg opens during the summer 1863, and the setting was Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital putting their heads together were President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and the Confederate Secretary of War. The Confederacy badly needed a victory because the stronghold at Vicksburg, Mississippi, was certain to fall to Union forces sometime soon. The plan that emerged from the session was to send the Army of Northern Virginia on an offensive across the Potomac River. The Confederate offensive abruptly failed, and Gettysburg represented the turning point of the war. Sears, author of a half-dozen Civil War books and a former editor of American Heritage magazine, leaves no stone unturned in his reconstruction of the battle, from preparation on both sides to the reasons for the Confederate loss. Readers thrilled by the minute details of battlefield maneuvers will be thoroughly engaged. Continued below.

Sears casts his net wide, according to Booklist , beginning with Lee's meeting with Davis in May 1863, where he argued in favor of marching north, to take pressure off both Vicksburg and Confederate logistics. It ends with the battered Army of Northern Virginia re-crossing the Potomac some two months later, a near-run on both sides as Meade was finally unwilling to drive his equally battered Army of the Potomac into a desperate pursuit. In between is the balanced, clear and detailed story of how 60,000 men became casualties, and how the winning of Confederate independence on the battlefield was put forever out of reach. The author generally is spare with scapegoating, although he has little use for Union men Dan Sickles (who advanced against orders on the second day) or Oliver Howard (whose Corps broke and was routed on the first day), or Richard Ewell of the Confederacy, who decided not to take Culp's Hill on the first night, when that might have been decisive. Sears also strongly urges the view that Lee was not fully in control of his army on the march or in the battle, a view borne out in his gripping narrative of Pickett's Charge, which makes many aspects of that nightmare much clearer than they have been before. Drawing on original source material, from soldiers' letters to official military records of the war, Stephen W. Sears's Gettysburg is a remarkable and dramatic account of the legendary campaign. He takes particular care in his study of the battle's leaders and offers detailed analyses of their strategies and tactics, depicting both General Meade's heroic performance in his first week of army command and General Lee's role in the agonizing failure of the Confederate army. With characteristic style and insight, Sears brings the epic tale of the battle in Pennsylvania vividly to life. This book is not the place to start a study of the campaign, but it is absolutely indispensable for the well-versed.


Richard Brooke Garnett (1817-1863)

Richard Brooke Garnett, a cousin of General Robert Selden Garnett, was born at "Rose Hill," Essex County, Virginia, November 21, 1817. The cousins graduated together at West Point two numbers apart in the class of 1841. Richard then went to the Florida War of 1841-42. His service thereafter was in the South and West, although he saw no active service in the war with Mexico. Resigning in May 1861, Garnett was commissioned a major in the Regular Confederate Army and, on November 14, brigadier general in the Provisional Army. He commanded the Stonewall Brigade at Kernstown, and was court-martialed thereafter by Stonewall Jackson, but was never tried. In all probability Jackson's action was not justified. He was then assigned to Pickett's division of Longstreet's corps, with which he served at South Mountain and Sharpsburg. On the third day at Gettysburg his brigade of five Virginia regiments was in the front rank of Pickett's assault. Some twenty yards from the Federal battle line Garnett disappeared in the holocaust of flame and smoke, and a few moments later his riderless horse, streaming blood, came galloping to the rear. It is supposed that his sidearm and insignia of rank were removed by a Federal soldier, and that as a result, his body was interred in a burial trench with the unidentified Confederate dead. Since these soldiers were re-interred at various points in the South some years after the war, the location of Garnett's grave is unknown. Years later his sword was found in a Baltimore pawnshop.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.


RICHARD BROOKE GARNETT, CSA - History

Esteemed member [email protected] contributes:

In a message dated 97-02-23 20:39:16 EST, you write:

<< Several months ago I read a book (another one from the library, so I don't have it handy to check. ) that contained an essay that asserted that the portrait of a dark-haired, dark-bearded officer frequently identified as Brig Gen Richard Brooke Garnett of Pickett's Division is not Dick Garnett at all, but his brother (I believe the essay was in James MacPherson's anthology on the third day at Gettysburg). The essayist (can't remember who. ) asserted that contemporary correspondence by the Garnett family, maintained by their ancestors, indicates that the Richard Brooke Garnett who died in the PPT Charge was in fact a light-haired, and I believe clean shaven, individual. I can't remember the brother's name, but the assertion was that there are no surviving images of Richard Brooke Garnett, and that for all this time historians have been using a portrait of his brother to illustrate works on G'burg, etc.

I believe this was the article Bob Krick wrote for the Gettysburg essays that Gary Gallagher edited. And he makes very valid points. I spoke with a member of the Garnett family some years ago who asserted the same thing. The question is about the "bearded officer" -- see the Time-Life Gettysburg volume for the one known photo of him (from which engravings were later made) versus the officer with "side whiskers"

(see the "First Blood" Time Life volume), Or of course Warner's "Generals in Gray", or the more recent "Confederate General" series. The full-bearded officer is traditionally assumed to be Richard Brooke Garnett, the man who died at Gettysburg, and the side-whiskered gent to be his cousin, Robert Selden Garnett -- who was the first General killed in the Civil War (at Corrick's Ford, in what is now West Virginia). I personally have come to believe that both of these photos are of Robert Selden Garnett -- in one he has side-whiskers, in the other a full beard. There is a painting of Zachary Taylor & staff in the Mexican War that includes Robert Garnett -- and he indeed has the side-whiskers and looks like the "traditional" portrait of that officer. If you examine the two photos -- of the cousins -- side by side, you will note a similarity of features -- eyes, ears, hairline, etc -- that I think makes for the case that both these images are of Robert, not Richard Garnett. So there may well be no confirmed photo of Richard B. Garnett, who died in the assault on Cemetery Ridge.

Hope this is not too confusing -- but it is a subject that intrigues me, and I am glad someone brought it up!

<< Esteemed member Patty Lindsay and Lee Fuell

Esteemed member [email protected] contributes:

I believe this was the article Bob Krick wrote for the Gettysburg essays that Gary Gallagher edited. And he makes very valid points.

Yep, I believe you're right about Gallagher vs MacPherson being the editor - that's what I get for writing a post based on months-old memory!

Esteemed member [email protected] (Dave Eicher) contributes:

Esteemed member "Janet L. Bucklew"

In his earlier post, Brian Pohanka is correct about the uncertainty of the Garnett photos, and probably right in his interpretation. Annotation around the retouched photo (presumably) of Robert S. Garnett at the Still Picture Branch of the Library of Congress (mounted on sturdy card stock, as are all the library's CW photos) makes it clear that the Library curators have variously changed their minds about the identity of the Garnett shown over the years and are now uncertain about which Garnett the photo shows.


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