The Battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War’s turning point, produced over 57,000 casualties, the largest number from the entire war that was itself America’s bloodiest conflict. On the third day of fierce fighting, Robert E. Lee’s attempt to invade the North came to a head in Pickett’s Charge. The infantry assault, consisting of nine brigades of soldiers in a line that stretched for over a mile, resulted in casualties of over 50 percent for the Confederates and a huge psychological blow to Southern morale.
Pickett’s Charge is a detailed analysis of one of the most iconic and defining events in American history. This book presents a much-needed fresh look, including the unvarnished truths and ugly realities, about the unforgettable story. With the luxury of hindsight, historians have long denounced the folly of Lee’s attack, but this work reveals the tactical brilliance of a master plan that went awry. Special emphasis is placed on the common soldiers on both sides, especially the non-Virginia attackers outside of Pickett’s Virginia Division. These fighters’ moments of cowardice, failure, and triumph are explored using their own words from primary and unpublished sources. Without romance and glorification, the complexities and contradictions of the dramatic story of Pickett's Charge have been revealed in full to reveal this most pivotal moment in the nation’s life.
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What new could there be to say about the afternoon of the third day of the fight of Gettysburg, the most scrutinized battle in American history? Plenty, if it is examined with a microscope, as Phillip Thomas Tucker does impressively in Pickett's Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack The book is most interesting for the bright nuggets of information Tucker presents as he unfolds the attack minute by minute, foot by foot The account is a mosaic of thousands of tiny pieces that, seen whole, amounts to a fascinating picture of what probably was the most important moment of the Civil War.” The New York Times Book Review
"[Pickett's Charge] contains much to interest and provoke Civil War enthusiasts." Kirkus
"Takes issue with many long-held assumptions and analysis of the famous attack and seeks to revise many of the long-held misconceptions about Lee's plans, the course of the attack, and the ultimate reasons for its failure... Overall, the author does a workman like job." -New York Journal of Books
"In his almost minute-by-minute account of the most famous infantry charge in history, Phillip Thomas Tucker provides a thoughtful and challenging new look at the great assault at Gettysburg, from planning to aftermath. Not afraid to lay blame where he thinks it belongs, Tucker is fresh and bold in his analysis and use of sources. Even though any reader knows in advance the outcome, still Pickett's Charge maintains suspense to the sound of the last gun." -William C. Davis, author of Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee--The War they Fought, the Peace they Forged
"No action in the Civil War is more iconic than the misnamed 'Pickett’s Charge,' and yet few episodes of this most-studied of wars is in need of more enlightened and enlightening reexamination. Phillip Thomas Tucker’s magisterial Pickett’s Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack replaces 150-plus years of uninterrogated mythology with meticulously researched history to give us a new and long-overdue understanding of what tradition dismisses as Robert E. Lee’s most tragic error in pursuit of a 'Lost Cause.' Tucker persuasively argues that Pickett’s Charge, though failed in its execution, actually reveals Lee at his most masterful. This book is one of a handful essential to gaining a full strategic and tactical appreciation of both Gettysburg and the war in which it was the turning point." Alan Axelrod, author of The Horrid Pit: The Battle of the Crater, the Civil War’s Cruelest Mission and The 20 Most Significant Events of the Civil War
"Phillip Thomas Tucker cuts through the myths and misconceptions that surround Pickett's charge to offer a fresh defense of Robert E. Lee and a probing examination of what happened that fateful afternoon. The result is a thought-provoking and eye-opening study of this pivotal moment in American history." Louis P. Masur, PhD. Distinguished Professor of American studies and History, Rutgers University, and author of The Civil War: A Concise History
"In nearly all recent surveys, Americans list the Battle of Gettysburg as the most recognizable and most important of all battles in our history. And, when asked what they know about Gettysburg, to top of that list is Pickett’s Charge. When pressed a little harder, if they know anything about the charge, most will say it was a disaster, that General Lee didn’t know what he was doing, that there was no way it could have succeeded, and so forth. Relying heavily on the combatants’s first-hand accounts, Phillip Thomas Tucker cuts away the myths and offers a fresh new interpretation that challenges long held views of the story. Rather than seeing Pickett’s Charge as foolhardy, Tucker considers Lee’s plan as a stroke of genius, and that, had a few things gone differently, could well have ended the war in favor of the Confederacy." Robert K. Sutton, former Chief Historian, National Park Service