BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Carol Reardon, author of "Pickett's Charge in History & Memory," how
long have you been thinking about Pickett's Charge in your life?
Professor CAROL REARDON (Author, "Pickett's Charge in History &
Memory"): Oh, I've probably been thinking about Pickett's Charge
since my first trip to Gettysburg in 1963. I didn't start thinking
about it in an academic sense until about 1978.
LAMB: Why did you go there in 1963?
Prof. REARDON: I was a Civil War buff from about the age of 10.
S--the 8--8--1963 was the centennial year of the battle. Everybody
wanted to go to Gettysburg that year and I was one of the many who
LAMB: Why were you a Civil--Civil War buff?
Prof. REARDON: My father is a retired Army officer, my next-door
neighbors were Civil War buffs. I always liked history. It all came
together when I was in about third grade.
LAMB: Can you remember what you saw there in 1963 at Gettysburg?
Prof. REARDON: I have pictures of everything I saw, even today. I
took my little camera with me, took pictures of absolutely everything,
including some of the road signs. Gettysburg made a--a huge
impression on me during that first trip. Took three rolls of film,
still have the pictures. But nothing had a greater impact on me than
the field of Pickett's Charge.
LAMB: What was it? What is it? What's Pickett's Charge?
Prof. REARDON: Pickett's Charge was the last great Confederate
attack on the third day of the three-day battle at Gettysburg.
Gettysburg took place in the middle of the Civil War, July of 1863. A
lot of people call it the turning point of the Civil War. And here
w--the one single action that seemed to sum it all up, the one that
brought the battle to a decisive end a--and it--and made it a Union
victory was Pickett's Charge.
LAMB: So what happened there? Well, first let me ask you: Who was
Prof. REARDON: George Pickett was a Virginian, a graduate of West
Point, graduated last in his class, not a mental giant by any stretch
of the imagination but, generally speaking, a--a good soldier. His
men adored him. He had a background in the Mexican War, fought
Indians out West. And now, in 1863, he commands a division of three
brigades of Virginia infantry and Robert E. Lee's Confederate army.
LAMB: Now you've got a picture of him in the book. How old was he
when he actually did the--led the charge?
Prof. REARDON: He's in his late 30s. He's--he--his--he's probably
thinking about two things on July the 3rd. One, of course, is the
great thing that's ahead of him. He has to take his division into
battle. And the other thing--and this is important in the long
run--he's v--a man who's very much in love. He has a young fiancee
back in Richmond who's waiting for him, Sally, and he likes to write
her a lot of letters, or at least Sally would have us believe that.
And on July 3rd, 1863, he's looking out for his mission and his men,
and he's trying to write Sally a letter about what he thinks
is--happens to--what--what's li--what lies ahead for him and his men.
LAMB: How--at what age was Sally the picture in the book? Do you
Prof. REARDON: Th--the picture in the book is taken in, I believe,
her 30s. But at the time of the battle, she's--she's, by tradition, a
teen-ager. We're not sure if we believe she was a teen-ager, but
she--she wants us to believe she was.
LAMB: And did you read some of those letters?
Prof. REARDON: Well, many of those letters that--that George Pickett
allegedly wrote to Sally were published in a book about 50 years after
the battle. They're wonderfully Victorian in nature, sentimental,
sappy in some cases, a little disconcerting to historians because they
include information that it's hard to believe that George Pickett
would have known on July 3rd, 1863. Pretty much historians have
written them off as post-war fabrications. But that was a recognized
literary form in its own right at the time and so we probably
shouldn't be too--too hard on Sally for passing this off as George's
letters. They were certainly George's sentiments, I--I suspect...
Prof. REARDON: ...and definitely Sally's.
LAMB: What do you do now?
Prof. REARDON: Right now I'm associate professor of history at Penn
LAMB: What do you teach?
Prof. REARDON: I teach the American military history course. I
teach naval history. I teach Vietnam history. I teach all kinds
of--of military history. Ironically enough, I'm not the Civil War
LAMB: What book is this for you?
Prof. REARDON: This is the second book that--my second monograph.
I've been a co-author or a co-editor on several others.
LAMB: L--let's go back to the--the Civil War itself and--and
Gettysburg. Where is Gettysburg in America?
Prof. REARDON: Gettysburg is in south-central Pennsylvania. It's a
small town. In 1863, there were only 2,400 residents. It's a farming
community, very quiet town, hadn't seen--had seen the passage of
armies before but, by and large, the rhythms of their lives had not
been disrupted very much by this war. They were very strongly Union,
at least many of them were. Th--there was a small minority who
actually seemed to have some Southern sympathies. Th--there were a
number of former slaves or free blacks who were living in the--in the
area, but it was your fairly typical small southern Pennsylvania town.
LAMB: And what was going on in the Civil War in July of 1963, when
this particular battle occurred?
Prof. REARDON: If you're looking at the entire war, people's
attention would've been looking at three different places. One
would've been along the south Atlantic coast, around Charleston, South
Carolina, where a Union naval flotilla was closing in on Charleston,
at Ft. Sumter, certainly a target that the Union certainly wanted to
possess, given the symbolic significance of Ft. Sumter in starting
A second place where the--where there would've been a l--an--an awful
lot of attention focused would've been along the Mississippi,
Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Union navy and army controlled almost all
of the great waterway except for Vicksburg. Vicksburg was still
holding out. The capture of Vicksburg right at this point invested by
Ulysses S. Grant's army would put the entire river in Union hands and
cut the Confederacy in two.
The third focus of attention during the summer of 1863 was here in
south-central Pennsylvania. Robert E. Lee's army f--the army of
northern Virginia, has been victorious at--at a battle called
Chancellorsville in May of 1863. They're taking advantage of their
victory to march north into Pennsylvania. We're not sure entirely why
Lee decides to move north at this time. He will say in his report
afterwards that he wants to give Virginia farmers a breather and allow
them to have one harvest season un--undisrupted by the marching of
armies across their farms and to perhaps relieve pressure on Richmond
from some Union forces in that area. But he's marching north and the
Union army is marching after them in pursuit.
It's a--it's a hard thing for the North to deal with a major
Confederate army on Northern soil, Confederate army on free soil,
e--especially so close to Washington, the capital, is a very
bothersome thing. Gettysburg is going to attract a lot of attention,
because if you look at it on a map, it looks like the hub of a wheel.
Eleven roads come into Gettysburg from all directions, and it's almost
a natural concentration point for any armies marching anywhere in that
area. Nobody planned to fight at Gettysburg, but Gettysburg was
almost a magnet that drew the two armies together.
LAMB: Do you happen to know how long it takes to drive from here to
Prof. REARDON: From here in Washington to Gettysburg, a little over
LAMB: How about from New York or Philadelphia?
Prof. REARDON: From Philadelphia, it's about three hours. From
Pittsburgh, it's about three and a half hours.
LAMB: And what's there for someone who's never been to Gettysburg?
What's i--and would you--you went there in '63. Would you recommend
people go there today?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, absolutely. I don't--I think every American
should go to Gettysburg. It should just--just be part of your
education as an American. Much of the battlefield still exists
i--in--in very--in--in very good shape. The battle was a three-day
battle. The town has only grown to about a little over 8,000 today,
so it hasn't seen the great sprawl of an awful lot of other
communities. The battlefield is still there. There's a wonderful
visitors center with an absolutely incredible assortment of--of Civil
War relics and--and weaponry and uniforms. And for somebody who knows
very little about the Civil War or for somebody who's an expert, there
is something there to see.
My favorite part of the whole place, of course, is the battlefield
itself because it's not just important to us today, but it was
incredibly important to the veterans who fought there. There are
several thousand monuments at Gettysburg, many of which were put up by
the veterans themselves, marking the individual units that fought
there. They marked the battle lines. You can follow the ebb and flow
of large parts of the battle just by watching to see where the
monuments are. They're very elaborate. There's also a number of
state memorials. And, of course, there is the compelling draw that is
the National Cemetery, where Abraham Lincoln would come a few months
later after the battle and--and deliver his Gettysburg Address.
LAMB: Do you remember the exact date on that?
Prof. REARDON: November 19th, 1863.
LAMB: November 19, 1863. And we're talking about July 1, 2 and 3...
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...1863, right in the middle of the Civil War.
Prof. REARDON: Right in the middle. The war had started in April of
1861. This is a little over two years. The war still has almost two
years to run.
LAMB: Has there been a book written on Pickett's Charge before?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, there have been a number of books written about
Pickett's Charge before. Probably the most popular one up till now
was one that came out in the late 1950s called "Pickett's Charge: A
History of--A Microhistory of the Last Great Confederate Assault at
Gettysburg," by a m--a--a journalist named George Stewart.
LAMB: So what did you do differently in here?
Prof. REARDON: Well, I did a lot of things differently in here. I
was--in fact, one of the reasons why I wrote this book was because I
was very taken with one of George Stewart's comments. He said--and
I'm paraphrasing a little bit here--`If we grant, as most Americans
would, that the Civil War is the most dramatic moment in our history
and that Gettysburg is the turning point of that war, then it would
seem to me that Pickett's Charge on the third day of Gettysburg is
the--the turning point of the turning point of the most dramatic
moment of the Civil War.' In other words, the most dramatic moment of
American history comes down to Pickett's Charge, it's the pivotal
moment in American history. And that struck me as just an absolutely
stunning comment, and it's one of those little bits--little sound
bites that sticks in your memory eve--no--no matter how long it's been
since you've read the book.
LAMB: Do you believe all that?
Prof. REARDON: Not really. One of the reasons why I started writing
this book is, as I got to know the soldiers who actually fought the
battle and as I got more intimately familiar with the battlefield
itself, I began to realize something slightly different: that our
first stop has to be with the soldiers who fought there
tha--themselves. They didn't see a turning point, they didn't see the
climax of American history; they saw just another battle. If you read
their diaries or their letters right after the battle that say, `I've
been in the hardest fight I've ever been in. Glad I'm alive to tell
you about it,' end of story, they're not talking about turning points
or great new horizons for the American republic or anything of th--of
that sort at all, certainly no high-water mark of the rebellion. For
them, this is just another battle.
And if you take a look at Pickett's Charge, the attack that becomes
known as Pickett's Charge, strictly as an exercise in military
tactics, it's really very ordinary in Civil War terms. That same
ground that Pickett charges across on July 3rd was also charged across
on July 2nd, but that attack has no special name. And we don't look
at the Georgians and the Floridians and the Alabamians who crossed
that ground the day before with any special reverence or awe, but we
do when we look at the attack the very next day over the very same
LAMB: How did you...
Prof. REARDON: And that intrigued me.
LAMB: But--but when did you start--when did you read the Stewart
quote and you started thinking about this?
Prof. REARDON: Well, I first read the Stewart quote in the 1960s. I
didn't really start thinking about it in this term until I was really
in graduate school in the 196--late 1970s.
Prof. REARDON: University of South Carolina.
LAMB: Studying what?
Prof. REARDON: I was specializing in Civil War, the period of the
Civil War and military history--writ large, not--not just the four
years of--of one war but all wars. And it--it really intrigued me
that I was looking at two different things. There was this--this
image of something called Pickett's Charge that was much larger than
life. But if you looked at the thoughts of the men who actually
f--fought in it, they didn't see it as something incredibly
exceptional and I would--needed to try to reconcile those two.
LAMB: Talk through the charge itself.
Prof. REARDON: The charge itself--well, there's actually two charges
th--and that--that's part of the problem. There is this charge that
becomes known as Pickett's Charge. Whenever we talk about Pickett's
Charge, what most people think about is the charge of General George
Pickett's division, his three brigades of Virginians, and, in fact,
that's--that is a part of the--of the--of the charge. They will
advance from the Con--main Confederate battle line on Seminary Ridge
across a--a rolling--a--a rolling valley. I--it's not a wide open
plain, nice and flat, like a lot of people think. It's--it's very
rolling. It provides a great deal of cover and concealment, a lot
more than might be readily apparent unless you walk across it
yourself, but almost a--a mile walk across the open field toward the
Union line on a low ridge called Cemetery Ridge.
LAMB: Let me just show this. Do you know what this chart is?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, certainly. That is your--your basic tactical map
of the July 3rd charge.
LAMB: And you got--right here you got Emmitsburg Road.
Prof. REARDON: You have the Emmitsburg Road al--a road flanked by
two very stout fences on either side that goes across the middle of
the--of the battlefield. The Confederate troops are on the left-hand
LAMB: Over here?
Prof. REARDON: Over here.
Prof. REARDON: They're going to advance across the--the fields and
across that road.
LAMB: Where's the stone wall? Is that it right there?
Prof. REARDON: The stone wall is near your Union line on the
LAMB: How far--wa--wait. Is that it right there?
Prof. REARDON: No, you wanna go across the road to the your--to your
right. Keep going...
LAMB: Over h--on this side.
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: Stone wall over here?
Prof. REARDON: Right there, right--right i--right about where your
h--where your finger is right now.
LAMB: I'm having troub--it's awkward.
Prof. REARDON: Try t--trying to do it backwards is not easy. That's
where the Union line is. That's where the famous stone wall is.
That's where the famous angle in the clump of trees is. And from over
on Seminary Ridge, Robert E. Lee is able to look out and see that
clump of trees and can see the basic outline of the Union center, and
say, `That's--that's your target.' General Pickett's men, who get most
of the attention and th--and a book title and everything else, get an
awful lot of the attention here, but they were not the only troops who
made this charge that day, and that would help to create the
controversies that would follow. There were more troops involved
under the command of General J. Johnston Pettegrew of North Carolina
and General Isaac Trimball, a Marylander who was commanding two North
Carolina brigades that day.
LAMB: You do have a picture of Pettegrew in the book.
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: And d--stop just for a moment and tell--talk about Trimball and
Pettegrew. Who were they?
Prof. REARDON: General Pettegrew is a North Carolinian who was
mostly known throughout the army for his tremendous intellect. He was
not a West Pointer, but he had gone to the University of North
Carolina and he--he was i--he was literally one of these citizen
soldiers who rose to th--through the ranks by his own ability. He was
a brigade commander when this bag--when this battle began on the first
day, and his men had fought very hard on the very first day of battle.
His division commander, his immediate superior, was wounded, and now
here on July 3rd, General Pettegrew is in his second day as a division
commander. He--th--he--he--he doesn't know really what a division
commander is entirely supposed to be doing. His brigade commanders
don't always know who he is. That creates a certain amount of--o--of,
well, certain opportunities for conflict for command and control--as
soldiers would call it today, command and control problems.
But General Pettegrew is certainly a very dedicated soldier and will
try to do the best he can. It's supporting Pettegrew's four brigades.
And his four brigades are from North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama,
Tennessee and a--and a small group of Virginians. They are not all
Virginians, like Pickett's men. Backing up Pettegrew's men are two
brigades of North Carolinians detached from a--another division and
put under the temporary command of General Isaac Trimball. Trimball
had marched north without a--an official command and General Lee put
him in charge of these two brigades. So there are those who insist on
calling this charge the Pickett/Pettegrew/Trimball assault, making
sure that everybody gets a certain amount of the glory or the blame,
depending on your point of view. So there's really three people
involved and not just Pickett.
LAMB: How many people were killed during the--Pickett's Charge?
Prof. REARDON: We don't know. We don't know how many went in, so we
don't--it's really very difficult to figure out how many died, but
usual estimates will say somewhere around 60 percent casualties. But
it's very difficult to--to talk numbers in this case. General
Pettegrew's men and General Trimball's men had all fought on July 1st,
and many regiments didn't keep casualties that broke down the list by
day. So we don't know how many of, say, the 7th North Carolina's
casualties were--were lost on July 1st and how many were on July 3rd.
LAMB: I did see a figure in--actually, I--I just went by it in the
book here, `General Lee defeated the enemy in the
battle'--ta-dant-ta-dah--`rumors of over 60,000 Southern casualties
arrived in Richmond that same day.'
Prof. REARDON: Well, that would've been just a rumor. Lee's total
army in--in Pennsylvania would've been about 75,000. If he lost
60,000, that would've been a horrible defeat indeed. He...
LAMB: Who led the--the Union forces up there?
Prof. REARDON: The Union forces were led by General George Gordon
Meade, a Pennsylvanian who had only commanded the army of the Potomac,
the Northern army, for less than a week. His...
LAMB: So this Ft. Meade right up the road here in Maryland is named
Prof. REARDON: I really don't know if it is or not, but it would be
LAMB: How many Union troops were there?
Prof. REARDON: About 95,000.
LAMB: What day--what time of day was the battle?
Prof. REARDON: Pickett's Charge? Well, by tradition, it begins at
1:00 in the afternoon with an artillery bombardment. We say `by
tradition' because one of the few people who wrote down a--a--a note
about when the bombardment began looked at his watch and it said 1:00.
But we have f--a few other people who apparently looked at their watch
and said 2:00, 3:00, 2:30, 2:45. Watches were not mass-produced at
that time and what you had was history given to us by a whole lot of
individual watchmakers and their individual skills.
LAMB: This is--this is...
Prof. REARDON: So we usually say 1:00.
LAMB: This painting was the first thing that showed up in the
Prof. REARDON: Well, that's a--that's a woodcut and that would've
appeared a--a l--a little bit more than a month after the battle.
That would've been a little bit later than 1:00. We--we do have this
artillery bombardment that lasts anywhere from, depending on who you
read, 20 minutes to four hours. I guess it depended on where you were
standing at the time--if you were enduring it, four hours. After the
artillery bombardment ended, the infantry would move forward. When
the infantry moves forward, from the time they leave the shelter of
Seminary Ridge, fight their battle on Cemetery Ridge, are defeated and
return. The whole attack, fight and repulse takes about one hour.
Prof. REARDON: And that one hour certainly has made a lot of
LAMB: And what did you learn about history as you began to study all
Prof. REARDON: Well, I learned to mistrust many of my sources.
O--one of the things that I began to be more sensitive to is the fact
that historians are fanatics about finding sources--soldiers' letters,
diaries, newspaper accounts, things like that. But we're not
always--we're--we're not always sure about how we should be using them
as historical sources. Most of us who write about the Civil War
ha--are not combat veterans, have never seen it, have only talked to
people about it, and that's about as close as we're ever going to be.
And until we know a little bit more about what a soldier thinks when
he's in combat, what he sees, what he feels, what's important to him,
which is usually survival, we're not always sure how to treat our
What we like to do is find neat quotes and we like to try to find--we
like to try to impose some sense of order on what one of the soldiers
called a bunch of disconnected threads. What we like to do is
take--i--is to weave a whole cloth from disconnected threads of
different soldiers' memories and call it the history of the battle.
Maybe we got it right, but maybe we got it wrong, too, because mostly
what we're seeing is one person's view of what he saw, probably,
within maybe 10 feet around him.
LAMB: Now you say you started at the University of S...
Prof. REARDON: South Carolina.
LAMB: ...South Carolina in the late '70s.
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: And here we are in 1997.
Prof. REARDON: Well, I put it aside for a while, went on and
finished my doctoral degree and...
LAMB: Where'd you get that?
Prof. REARDON: A--at the University of Kentucky. Worked with
Charles P. Roland, one of the most eminent Civil War historians
w--o--of our time and I started up at Penn State University in 1991.
We have a Civil War conference every year at one of our branch
campuses, and the first year I was at Penn State the subject for that
year was going to be--for the Civil War conference that year was going
to be July 3rd at Gettysburg. My department chairman came up to me
and said, `Do you know anything about July 3rd at Gettysburg?' I kind
of shook my head and said, `Well, yeah, I probably know a little
bit--a little something about it,' and that's what got--got me started
on all this. I put together a paper for the--for the presentation.
It was received well enough that I was pretty much told that if this
wasn't my next book, I was really making a bad mistake. I accepted
the compliment and put it aside again, but there was something about
it that got to me this time probably because I knew--I'd s--I'd read a
whole lot more history--read a whole lot more military history, read a
lot more combat history since the first time I started studying this.
And I thought maybe now I did have something to stay--to say about
LAMB: So how did you get the University of North Carolina Press to
Prof. REARDON: Well, it--the North Carolina Press has a fantastic
reputation for publishing Civil War history. I--actually, I didn't
have to sell it at all. They started reading it, they--I like to
think they recognized a good compelling story when they saw it, and
they--they signed on.
LAMB: So what is different in this book than you can get in any other
book on Pickett's Charge?
Prof. REARDON: Well, what I like to think I'm doing here is a couple
of things. First of all, I hope I'm issuing a warning to almost all
of us who write Civil War his--Civil War history or military history,
especially combat history, that we have to be a whole lot more careful
in the way we write it. We have to be a whole lot more sensitive to
the way we use our sources, and that's what I try to bring out first,
that we're not dealing with a bunch of soldiers who are telling the
story of what happened. Mostly what they're doing is telling the
story of `what happened to me,' and what happened to me may not be the
s--same thing as what happened to the soldier 100 feet down the line
It's--it's a lot more difficult than it looks. We're trying very hard
to impor--impose order on--on what is chaos. Combat is chaos. And
I'm not sure we--we do it very well just yet. So I'm hoping not to
come up with answers but maybe just to--may--maybe just to provide a
wake-up call to a lot of us who write this kind of history that we
probably need to be a little bit more careful.
LAMB: Let me just draw on a recent couple books that Stephen Ambrose
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...where he talked to veterans of World War II, D-Day, and then
after that another book. What would you say about that when you pick
it up and you're hearing the words of people that were in battle?
Same thing as you did here on this...
Prof. REARDON: Sure.
LAMB: ...the memories not always good?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, th--the memories aren't always good, but there is
value in the memories as long as you recognize them as such. You
don't discard what you're hearing just because it--you know it doesn't
jive with the historical record. A lot of times what they're telling
you is not--is--is, again, not what happened but `what happened to me
and here's what I think is important,' especially as time goes by.
It's really interesting to see what sticks deepest in memory. And
oftentimes, those are those peak experiences that will pop through and
really frame stories like Pickett's Charge. So...
LAMB: What was this second thing you put in the book? You said the
first thing and then the second.
Prof. REARDON: Well, that--that's one thing I hope to do. A second
thing I hope to do would--was--would be to sensitize all students of
history, whether you're in the academic world or--or just a--a l--a
person who loves to read history i--is--is to pay attention to how
history is written, pay attention to who is writing a story--Do they
have an agenda?--the--the basic things that you would teach in a
historical methods course, such things as bias and objectivity. Try
to point out that their--our perception of the past is framed by two
forces, not one. We like to think our--of ourselves as objective
historians and that we seek the truth and that we can be unemotional
and unbiased and--and really try to uncover some basic fundamental
truisms. And we hope we do, but we also take a look at the past
and--and view it through another lens called memory, and memory's far
more selective and self-serving and self-interested and sanitizing
sometimes, especially when you're dealing with war. And--and that
will sometimes shape what--what it is you write about. It certainly
does for these soldiers.
LAMB: Wh--where did you grow up? What town?
Prof. REARDON: I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
LAMB: And we--we got your doctorate and your master's, but where'd
you get your undergraduate degree?
Prof. REARDON: Got my undergraduate degree at Allegheny College in
Meadville, Pennsylvania. I was a biology major.
LAMB: You thank right in the beginning of this book here a group of
people that you taught--and I'm gonna read it here--`For Seminar 13,
US Army War College, Class of 1994.' Wh...
Prof. REARDON: Absolutely.
LAMB: And that's the dedication. Why?
Prof. REARDON: I was the General Harold K. Johnson visiting
professor of military history at the US Army War College for the
academic year '93-'94. One of my jobs and easily my favorite job
while I was there was to serve as the seminar historian for one of the
19 seminars in the class that year. The--the d--the dedication is for
the--the--the 16 members of my seminar and the--the sel--and--and the
facul--the rest of the faculty team that year. They were a most
fascinating group of individuals. I--I learned far more from them
than I ever even remotely taught them. I hope I made a few of them
appreciate history. I've even nicknamed one of them Mr. History just
because he was the least historically minded when we got in there.
But I've actually taken his--his office--hi--his--his
current--the--the--the people in his current assignment--I've taken
them out to Gettysburg and to Chancellorsville on--on Civil War
battlefield tours. F--so for somebody who came in not even
particularly interested in history, I--I like to think I had a little
bit of an impact on him.
LAMB: I--the last line of your acknowledgement, you say, `The members
of seminar 13 and their families made this--this civilian visitor a
welcome part of their lives. Let me rattle on interminably about
history's importance and, in a most special moment, crossed over the
stone wall at the angle with me on 18th of September, 1993.' What was
that special moment?
Prof. REARDON: The Army War College sends all of its seminars on a
Gettysburg staff ride, a battlefield tour--it's--it's a family
thing--on a weekend in September every year. The seminar historian
gets to lead the trip, and so I got to lead this group. And one of
the last things we did--I mean, Pickett's Charge is the climax of the
battle, so it's one of our last stops. One of the things that we did
was simply--I--I simply lined them up in a two-rank line, Civil War
style, shoulder to shoulder, and I led them over the wall. I offered
one of our infantryman the--the chance to lead the charge. I mean,
they always talk about the infantry leader's motto being, `Follow me.'
But they insisted that I t--take that honor, so I did, and it was
great fun. But it was a special moment with special friends, and I
was delighted to be able to dedicate this book to them.
LAMB: How big is the wall?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, it's a very long wall. The wall was a boundary
marker then and it's a--it--it--it extends several hundred--several
hundred yards north-south, where the--most of this fighting in
Pickett's Charge would took--t--would take place. It's a wall that
will angle back to the east, deeper into the Union position for about
75 or 80 yards, and then it angles back north again. So you have a
wall that--that angles--that makes an angle. It was used by the Union
soldiers as a defensive position. It was strengthened by using fence
rails and other loose rocks that were around. The rock wall had great
significance then and--and it would for--for generations to come. It
got to the point where you could not have a Gettysburg reunion without
having Northerners and Southerners extending hands across that rock
wall and--and shaking hands, the ultimate sign of reunion. They
could've shaken hands anywhere on that battlefield, but invariably,
th--some of the most touching photographs of--of national reunions at
Gettysburg are hands shaken across that stone wall.
LAMB: At one point in your book, you talk about the--George Pickett's
fondness for alcohol.
Prof. REARDON: One of those great rumors, one of those tantalizing
little disconnected threads that happens to be hanging out there. I
can't say with any authority whether or not Pickett had a--a drinking
problem. It was a rumor. In this case, it was one that was going to
be used against him, but it's an interesting kind of a story. George
Pickett was held up as a hero by his men and by much of the South for
quite some time, until the early 1890s, when a s--a little article
would appear in the Richmond newspaper that said, `Almost anybody who
was at Gettysburg has heard this story and it's always been an
underground rumor, but I'm gonna bring it out into the open right now.
George Pickett was not in the front lines with his men at Gettysburg
and he wasn't even on the field.'
And the story went on about how several of Pickett's staff officers
were behind the lines drinking whiskey at the so-called `whiskey
wagon.' And the officer who turned th--who--who turn--who basically
made this public was one of Pickett's own men, Kirkwood Odie, a major
in 1863, who would rise to the rank of colonel, who had been wounded
early in the charge. He went back, he--to to have his wound dressed.
What he ended up finding out was that they didn't have any chloroform
to take care of the pain. He was told to go over and get a cup of
whiskey. And when he did, he found Pickett's officers there, or so he
LAMB: How old is he in this picture?
Prof. REARDON: In this picture, he's just a graduate of--of--of VMI.
He's probably maybe 20 years old. He--he will make his accusations
much later. But this was the best extant photograph we could find of
the young man, the man who ac...
LAMB: Do--do you...
Prof. REARDON: ...the--the soldier who accused Pickett of being
LAMB: Do you think he was--do you have any evidence that he was
right? Did any of you find it anywhere else that--confirmation?
Prof. REARDON: Only suggestions. There would be other officers who
would say that Pickett liked to--Pickett liked to carry himself like a
gentleman, and that meant eating and drinking like a gentleman. But
what does that mean? We're not quite sure. I--I think one of the
most intriguing things is that right after the Battle of Gettysburg,
Kirkwood Odie would find himself being court-martialed. And one of
the charges on which he was court-martialed was--court--on--on which
he was court-martialed was drunkenness on duty. Was it retaliation 30
years later? Was that perhaps part of the issue? We don't know.
This is one of those issues that is just suggested. I've seen it
hidden in a few footnotes--innuendo, that sort of thing.
LAMB: If we...
Prof. REARDON: But interesting stuff.
LAMB: ...were to follow you around since the late '70s on your--on
your search for the truth in this whole thing, how many different
places did you go to find the material for this book?
Prof. REARDON: I've been a lot of different places. One of the
things I discovered is that Pickett's Charge takes on a bit of a
chameleon-like aspect depending on where you are, who you're talking
to, who wants to tell you their version of it and why they want to
The most commonly heard story of Pickett's Charge, the one that
probably most of our viewers have in mind right now, is basically the
Virginia version, the--the version that calls this attack Pickett's
Charge that thinks about General Armistead crossing the wall and
General Garnett and General Kemper. For those who've watched the
movie, "Gettysburg," you're thinking about Pickett's Charge through
the eyes of Virginians, an--and that's one story.
And, of course, if you go to places like the Virginia Historical
Society or the Virginia State Library, the Museum of the Confederacy,
they're going to have an awful lot of sources written by Virginians
who are gonna tell you that story. But if you go into places like
North Carolina, the story is very different. They resent the fact
that Virginia got the great bulk of the attention and, in fact, that
the North Carolinians got blamed for the Virginians' defeat.
If you go to Tennessee or Mississippi or Alabama or Florida, other
states that had troops involved in the attack one way or another, they
have their own little versions. Of course, every version pretty much
ends the same way--`Our guys got farthest to the front than anybody
else'--but every story is different. But they're all talking about
the same attack. Interesting.
LAMB: So where would you have gone?
Prof. REARDON: Well, I went to North Carolina's state archives. I
got some interesting things out of South Carolina's state
archives--or, South Carolinian Library, and they didn't have troops
involved in the charge. Different places in Georgia and Mississippi
and Alabama. A lot of these things you don't--you can find in almost
any good research library because Confederate veterans love to write.
And they published an awful lot of their recollections about the
charge in such publications as Confederate Veteran magazine--started
publication in the late 1890s and published well into the 20th
It--it's been reprinted recently for the Civil War market currently.
And it's just a--a--a treasure trove of all kinds of stories. They
weren't--some of the stories were invariably pointed to as `evidence
that this man was there.' And then you'd read the story and, if you're
a historian, you look at it and shake your head and say, `Wait a
minute. This doesn't even fit.' But somebody wanted you to believe
that he was there and it was important to them. And Confederate
Veteran published it as if it were a historical document in itself.
LAMB: How many times have you been to Gettysburg?
Prof. REARDON: I could not possibly count.
LAMB: How many times have you been to the wall?
Prof. REARDON: Infinity plus one.
LAMB: A lot.
Prof. REARDON: A lot. Part of--part of the research, when you're
talking about places I went, Gettysburg is one of the places. I used
the battlefield as one of my most important research tools. The
physical evidence is still there. It's not been built up very much.
What I tried to do was to stand in the regimental position of every
unit that I talk about and ask myself basic questions. What can I see
from here? And, more importantly, what can't I see from here? If a
soldier is talking about something that happened on the other end of
the line but you're standing there and you realize you--that he
c--could not have seen it, that makes you far more skeptical about the
authority with which he is writing.
LAMB: You also write about what people find in the stores there
and--the trinkets and the little ball-point pen with the--the troops
Prof. REARDON: Absolutely.
LAMB: Why did you write about that?
Prof. REARDON: We are beginning to make a distinction between
history and memory. Sometimes we call memory `heritage' now. We
start talking about those things that we consider worthy of
commemoration and worthy of remembrance. When I'm in one of my more
cynical moods, I get upset with the commercialization of heritage and
values and--and things like that. And I'm alw--I always marvel when I
walk through the different shops around Gettysburg at the kind of
products that are being offered to the publ--public that have no
connection to the Civil War or to Gettysburg or to anything else but
have `Pickett's Charge' stamped on them somehow just because, somehow,
this is supposed to make that shot glass for your bourbon somehow
something very special.
The ball-point pen I find just absolutely intriguing. It became a
joke among my--some of my friends and myself. I--it's a fantastic
little thing. It's a ball-point pen with a little tube of liquid in
the upper part of the barrel. And you can just tilt that pen and
three little Confederate soldiers are gonna charge down that barrel
toward a stone wall with three stout Union defenders behind it. And
here come those three Confederates. Now sometimes they get hung up
about halfway over, and if you're a Union partisan and you own that
pen, you rather like that result. Sometimes they go right to the wall
like some of General Pettegrew's men did, and if you're a North
Carolinian, you rather like that result. Sometimes they go right
smashing through the Union line and all the Virginians would say, `The
lost cause lives,' because it's pretty much the story they've grown up
with of Pickett's Charge.
But s--something like a ball-point pen or--or the different TV
shirts--almost every Confederate general has a T-shirt, down to
brigade commanders. General Garnett, General Armistead have T-shirts
commemorating their action in Pickett's Charge.
LAMB: Pickett's Charge tree?
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: What's that?
Prof. REARDON: A--a Picket's Charge tree. A--a n--a nursery made
seedlings, made cuttings, of--of a tree from the battlefield and is
marketing them as Pickett's Charge tree. So if you want--if you're
ecologically aware and you want to commemorate Pickett's Charge, you
can plant a Pickett's Charge tree in your back yard for, I think,
LAMB: The Robert E. Lee tankard?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, yeah. This was offered to the public within the
last few year--years. I think it's kind of interesting, since Robert
E. Lee was known not to be a drinker. But there's this wonderful
tankard with scenes of either Cavalryman Jeb Stuart on one side and
General Pickett leading his charge on the other side. And that might
be one of the time--I believe in the advertising copy that they
misspelled General Pickett's name. So...
LAMB: The other thing I thought interesting, there was a ju--the
silver jubilee in 1980--excuse me--1888, the golden anniversary in
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...the 100th anniversary in 1963 that you went to...
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...and there was even a--I don't remember where--which one it
was, you--there was a prediction that X number of people would die
that came back to this thing?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, absolutely.
LAMB: I mean, they--they knew in advance that when--when some of the
older--I mean, they were still alive, they'd die when they came back
to one of these celebrations?
Prof. REARDON: The planning for the 1913 reunion was--was so
complete, the U...
LAMB: The 50th.
Prof. REARDON: The 50th--the US Army took over the planning for
this. They basically sat down and figured out what's the average age
of the veterans coming back. They basically consulted insurance
companies to find out how many of these men were likely to die, and
among the tons of kitchen equipment and food and blankets and cots,
they also brought 50 coffins with 'em. Ended up they only had to use
nine of them, but part of the requisition of required equipment for
the encampment during the 50-year anniversary was 50 coffins.
LAMB: Who paid--I remember that was an issue at some point, who was
gonna pay for some of these veterans to come back and the Southerners
couldn't afford to come back. What year was that? Was that...
Prof. REARDON: Earlier, before the golden anniversary. Many of the
early reunions were paid for by the veterans themselves or by local
public subscriptions sometimes to help them out. It was really only
about the time of the 50th anniversary that the federal government and
the state governments would step in in a big way and underwrite the
cost of some of these veterans coming to the battlefield.
LAMB: You have the--this is a 19--What?--I mean, 1885, is that it?
Prof. REARDON: This is an 1885 shot that includes a--a number of
senior Union officers. Many of these soldiers who--these veterans you
see depicted here are survivors of the Union army's 2d Corps. It was
the Union army 2d Corps under General Hancock, who were the defenders
at that stone wall. And some--it's kind of surprising. You always
hear about Pickett's Charge but you never hear about Hancock's
LAMB: Who was Hancock?
Prof. REARDON: General Hancock was the--was a Pennsylvanian and a
West Pointer and a future presidential candidate in th--in the 1880s.
But on this day, July 3rd, 1863, General Hancock was the commander of
the 2d Corps, and it would be two of his divisions under Generals
Gibbon and Hayes who would be the primary troops involved in the
repulse of Pickett's Charge.
LAMB: In all these anniversaries that you talk about in here, what
was the--what was the outcome of all of 'em? I mean, what was the
purpose of 'em? And why didn't the Northern--wh--I think there was a
contention once when the Northerners went down to Richmond, some of
the Northern soldiers, and that was--and whether or not they had the
Confederate flag and they were marching under that vs. the
Ameri--Stars and Stripes. Explain all that.
Prof. REARDON: Well, I think it's kind of interesting that Pick--one
of the reasons I suspect Pickett's Charge remains in memory is because
Pickett's men were among the first, as a group of former Confederate
soldiers, to embrace the cause of national reunion. In 1887, the 24th
anniversary, Pickett's men and the Philadelphia brigade, the m--the
Pennsylvanians who actually held the stone wall at the angle where the
Confederates broke though, would have a reunion at Gettysburg. There
had been other reunions on Civil War battles before, but, oftentimes,
they included just any veterans who wanted to show up, not just those
who fought on that specific battle--battlefield. Other times, there
had been reunions where only one side came or the other side came.
But, here, there was gonna be a reunion at Gettysburg, and it was a
reunion that was primarily limited to the Confederates and the Union
troops who fought at the--a specific site against each other. And
this was hailed by some to be a remarkable display of the end of
sectional ill will and the beginnings of working together for a common
future. Those who thought that this was a great idea played this up
big. The Philadelphia newspapers, New York newspapers,
something--even a few of the newspapers in the South, embraced this as
a very positive sign; several hundred Pennsylvanians, several hundred
Virginians, all get together and talk about--you know, `The war is
over. Let's look to the future. Let's bury our hostilities and--and
just really work together for the--for the common good of the entire
There were some critics of this, and especially, you would see it in
the veterans newspapers, North and South. There were some Union
veterans who w--got very upset at some of the things that happened at
these first reunions. One of the common themes of the
Pickett-Philadelphia reunion was to sti--simply stand up and say, `God
alone knows which side was right.' And the Union response from some of
the critics would say, `We don't want any of this "God knows who is
right" bosh to mess up any future reunions. We won, you lost. Deal
with it,' basically was the message. So Pickett's men didn't speak
for all and the Philadelphians didn't speak for all Northerners and
Southerners, but if you're looking for Civil War veterans on--on the
cutting edge of reunionism, Pickett's men are very much out there.
LAMB: What h--happened after July 3rd?
Prof. REARDON: After July 3rd...
LAMB: I mean, kind of in the war, too, you know.
Prof. REARDON: In--in the war. Well, July 4th, Vicksburg--and we
talked earlier about the importance of Vicksburg--Vicksburg
surrenders. The Mississippi River is open. Ulysses S. Grant be--is
very much a household name. In just a few months, Grant will be
called east--about nine months later, Grant will be called east. He
will take on Robert E. Lee. Thus, we get the great Lee-Grant
connection that most--most of us think about when we think about the
Civil War. Not much will happen down around Charleston just yet, but
the focal point will really be here in Pennsylvania, because something
really incredible has happened.
Up until July of 1863, almost every time Robert E. Lee has taken his
army into battle, he has won, and sometimes won very decisively.
LAMB: What are some of the other battles he won?
Prof. REARDON: Fredricksberg, Chancellorsville. He doesn't really
win at Antietam, but he's still on the battlefield when the battle is
over. Second Manassas, he cleared the Union army right off the field.
The Seven Days Battles outside of Richmond, he for--forced back an
army bigger than his own. The army had got--the Union army had gotten
within five miles of Richmond, and Lee pushed them back. He'd been
remarkably successful in--in a little over a--a year in command of
the--of the army of northern Virginia. His soldiers were accustomed
to winning. But here after July 3rd, 1863, they had to deal with a
very unaccustomed feeling, one of defeat.
LAMB: How big a defeat was Pickett's Charge?
Prof. REARDON: Well...
LAMB: Or Gettysburg?
Prof. REARDON: We're still debating that. We in the historical
community are still debating that. We've been sensitized to believe
that it's the turning point of the war, that Appomattox was a given
LAMB: And when did Appomattox come?
Prof. REARDON: Appomattox is almost two years in the future. And
that should have raised some questions long ago, in my mind. We're
beginning to realize that, at least in the minds of the soldiers, the
Confederate soldiers who marched away, they were befuddled by this
defeat. They certainly felt deeply the pe--the personal loss of so
many friends in--in Pickett's division and--and in other Confederate
units. There was an awful lot of finger pointing going on trying to
figure out why the Confederates lost. This was unusual. They--they
didn't know how to deal with it. And, of course, it's sort--almost a
natural reaction to look for scapegoats to--to blame somebody for it.
And part of that will help shape the history of Pickett's Charge,
because wh--when the Richmond newspapers want to t--talk about this
great charge, they're gonna write about how well General Pickett's
Virginians did, but why don't they completely succeed?
Well, they don't completely succeed because the other troops in the
charge, those from North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi,
d--failed in their duty. That's perhaps one of the reasons why we
don't read about them, because the Richmond press refused to write
about them; blame them and dismiss them and don't write about them.
And later on, when we're going back and trying to find historical
sources, we can find a lot about Virginians, but all we can find about
the other people in the charge are--is that somehow, they made a
mi--that they made mistakes, that they failed, that the whole defeat
belongs to them.
LAMB: On the cover is this painting. What is it?
Prof. REARDON: This is a f--a painting that was done by an artist
based in Gettysburg by the name of Dale Galen. This is a--an artistic
rendering of Pickett rally--rallying his troops just before the
char--the charge will step off. This is part o--an element of
Kemper's brigade, I believe, that he is rallying. One of the officers
waving a sword in the front is Colonel Waller T. Patton, a kinsman of
General Patton of World War II fame. Colonel Patton will be killed in
this--will be mortally wounded in this charge.
LAMB: Are there any Picketts still alive?
Prof. REARDON: Well, there apparently is at least one kinsman still
alive. There is--you know, the Pickett family is still around today.
And something kind of interesting is going to happen in th--the
not-too-distant future, or so I've been--been told. George Pickett is
buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. He's buried near a place
called Gettysburg Hill. In the years--a few years after Gettysburg--a
few years after Gettysburg, the women of the South will raise funds to
have the Southern dead removed from Gettysburg from the trench graves
in which they were buried and have them brought back to--to cemeteries
in Richmond, in Raleigh, in Charleston, in Savannah. The--those who
were brought back from the field of Pickett's Charge were--were mostly
reburied on Gettysburg Hill in Hollywood Cemetery.
LAMB: Same place where Jefferson Davis is buried and...
Prof. REARDON: Same cemetery.
LAMB: ...James Monroe and...
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm. Same cemetery.
LAMB: ...John Tyler. Yeah.
Prof. REARDON: Yep. A few years after the--the Gettysburg dead were
brought back to Richmond, George Pickett died. He died in 1875, 12
years after the charge. He was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. His
wife, who had been his fiancee during the battle--they married shortly
afterwards--Lasalle Corbral Pickett, Sally Pickett, would be General
Pickett's greatest fan for as long as she lived. She'd write stories
about him in all kinds of popular magazines. She would write a
serialized version: The story of General George Pickett. And it
would appear in a very unusual place.
Back in 1913, the golden anniversary o--of the Battle of Gettysburg,
Sally Pickett would write her serialized reminiscences for
Cosmopolitan magazine. S--when Sally Pickett died, she was buried in
a mausoleum that is currently in--in bad repair. And there is an
effort on to claim her remains and have her reburied in Hollywood
Cemetery with--with her husband. There is an effort to...
LAMB: Where is she physically buried? What city now?
Prof. REARDON: I--I'm not sure where she's buried right now, but
the--there is an effort on to reunite them in death and reunite them
here in Hollywood Cemetery. It's part of an ongoing effort to also
refurbish the statue that is over General Pickett's grave. It's--it's
a gra--a--a marker--it's a marker that was paid for by subscription,
money that was raised by Pickett's men about 25 years after the
battle. It was a--a wonderful ceremony to--to dedicate it, and it was
the one I believe you referred to earlier. It was dedicated in a
joint ceremony that included a whole lot of Pickett survivors and a
v--a visiting contingent of s--of Pennsylvanians from the Philadelphia
brigade who had been defending that stone wall on July 3rd, 1863.
LAMB: Can you get a good argument started in--among your academic
friends if you're making a presentation about what's in this book?
Prof. REARDON: I've--I've discovered that most people want to begin
and end most of the discussion with: Was Pickett's Charge smart or
not? They tend to still want to take a look at it in terms of a--of a
decision that Lee or Longstreet may or may not have made.
LAMB: This is a picture from 1919--I mean, 1913.
Prof. REARDON: 1913.
LAMB: Where did you find all these pictures?
Prof. REARDON: Well, these came from the official--sort of the
official program--the official report after the--the ceremonies were
LAMB: What were they doing in this picture, do you know?
Prof. REARDON: The obvious--the--this is the--one of those obvious
shake hands across the stone wall photographs. You could not have...
LAMB: And they're still--and they're still alive? These are people
who were involved in the charge?
Prof. REARDON: These w--these were survivors. The ones in--in the
lighter coats are Confederate veterans, the darker--men in the dark
coats are Union's veterans. What you have there are Virginians
and--and Pennsylvanians shaking a hand--shaking hands across that
stone wall. This charge, especially in 1913, was going to inspire
incredible outpourings of poetry, all kinds of souvenirs, all kinds of
newspaper coverage. Newspaper coverage of the 1913 reunion at
Gettysburg, especially that third day, the--the day that--where they
were going to redo Pickett's Charge, drew national and even
international attention. You can find articles about this reunion in
1913 in newspapers not just in Richmond and New York and--and Atlanta
and New Orleans but in San Francisco and in--in the London newspapers.
It--it w--it became a--a w--it drew attention worldwide.
LAMB: Whitelaw Reid. Who was he?
Prof. REARDON: Whitelaw Reed was one of the--one of the most
prominent Civil War correspondents and an eyewitness to many of
the--to many of the actions that--that took place on July 3rd, 1863.
LAMB: For what publication?
Prof. REARDON: He was a Northerner. He--he worked for a Cincinnati
newspaper. He was one of over--well, somewhere between 40 and 50
Northern newspapermen who were on the field at the time. Some had
been with the army for quite some time. There was a--an--a--a group
of army journalists who traveled around with the armies and--and knew
how to describe battles to some degree. An awful lot of them in the
Gettysburg campaign just took advantage of the fact that the
army--that the battle was taking place on Northern soil and just came
down to take a look and see what was going on. So that--what that
ends up doing, of course, is to make Northern newspaper coverage a--an
interesting collection of very tightly written narratives of--of the
action and some of the most outlandish collections of exaggerations
you've ever seen.
LAMB: Who was Jonathan Albertson?
Prof. REARDON: Jonathan Albertson was a Southern correspondent who
wrote for newspapers in--it w--primarily in Richmond. Jonathan
Albertson only signed his--him--himself with the letter A, but
Jonathan Albertson--if we had to point to one person who has drawn for
us in words the image that comes to most--most of our minds when we
think about Pickett's Charge, it's Jonathan Albertson. He wrote an
article that was--that appeared in a Richmond newspaper on about the
22nd or 23rd of July. This was not the only article that was written
about Pickett's Charge, but it was one of the longer ones. It was
more evocative than most. It did not stick to the journalistic tenet
to just simply tell the story and move on; he in--injected his own
opinion on--on many of--many occasions. And he would be one of the
ones who would say forthrightly that Pickett's men did all that could
have been expected of them. And, of course, this is exactly what a
Virginia--Richmond audience wants to read. And he's going to be one
of the ones who will very bluntly point the finger of blame at those
troops that did not support Pickett--in other words, Pettegrew's North
Carolinians, the Mississippians, the Alabamians--and--and--and helped
to k--helped to inspire even further criticism.
LAMB: You say in the book, and you write a lot about Sally Pickett...
Prof. REARDON: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...that--that she wrote a lot, but she also was treasured to
have at all these events. How much speaking did she do and how much
longer did she live than her husband?
Prof. REARDON: Sally Pickett lived well into the 20th century, into
the 1920s, I believe. Sally Pickett--whe--when the first reunions
were beginning, she--she tried to get to as many as she possibly could
when she was pretty sure that it would be a--an audience that would
welcome her. She would be one of the ones who would go to that 1887
reunion, that first big reunion between the Philadelphians and--and
Pickett's men. And the Philadelphians embraced her as much as--as the
Virginians did. She brought her son, her--her son, George Pickett
Jr., I gue--I suppose, al--along for--for the ride.
And the Virginians, the Pennsylvanians, sometimes even used biblical
descriptions to explain how important she was to the whole cause, that
somehow she cemented--she helped to cement the spirit of reunion just
by coming along and pointing out that young George Pickett used to
show his most prized possession, which was his father's watch. It was
a watch that Sally Pickett had gotten for the general just before he
died. And it--on the cover of the--of the pocket watch were crossed
flags, one o--one was the Stars and Stripes and the other was the
Confederate flag. What a perfect sign of reunion. What a great thing
for a little boy to go around and show to veterans in blue and in
gray. `This is my dad's watch, and my dad is General Pickett.' It was
a great thing at the time.
She didn't accept every invitation. She turned down one in 1888 for
the silver anniversary because Union veterans, the ones who criticized
the spirit of reunion, pretty much took that one over and said, `We're
gonna do it our way,' and Sally Pickett decided she really didn't want
to go to that one. But she would go to other ones. And she--she
became a great favorite. Pickett's men loved Sally.
LAMB: Do you have another book in you?
Prof. REARDON: Oh, I have a few more coming.
LAMB: What's next?
Prof. REARDON: The next one is a book that will--that right now sort
of has a tentative title of `The Military Legacy of the Civil War:
The American Inheritance.' The reason for doing that is, one of my
first mentors in military history, Jay Luvaas, wrote a book a number
of years ago called, "The Military Legacy of the Civil War: The
European Inheritance.' Basically, what did European armies learn from
our American Civil War? He always intended to do an companion volume,
the American inheritance, what we learned from our own Civil War, and
a--a volume on the naval inheritance, but he retired before he did it.
Well, I'm going to pick up the torch and do the American version and
use not just my interest in the Civil War but use my interest in
professional military education from my time at the Army war college.
I also do some--also have an association with Marine Corps
professional military education. I've taken both soldiers and Marines
out on staff rides to Civil War battlefields. It--it's interesting to
me to see the lessons that can still teach this generation of s--of
LAMB: Were--did you serve in the military?
Prof. REARDON: No, I did not.
LAMB: We're out of time. Carol Reardon teaches at Penn State
University, where she's a professor. She's from Pittsburgh
originally. Here's her book called, "Pickett's Charge," University of
North Carolina Press, "Pickett's Charge: In History & Memory." Thank
you very much for joining us.
Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 1998. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.