The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels

by

Michael Shaara

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George Pickett Character Analysis

A gentleman who finished last in his class at West Point, Pickett has nevertheless displayed bravery in battle and is eager to distinguish himself further at Gettysburg. From a distance he looks like “a French king, all curls and feathers.” A dandyish but laughing figure, he tends to light up a crowd and draw others to himself. He joyfully leads a division, including Armistead, Garnett, and Kemper, into battle on the final day, in the offensive to become known as Pickett’s Charge. However, all thirteen of his officers are killed or injured. While Pickett returns unharmed, he is weeping, in shock, and totally demoralized.

George Pickett Quotes in The Killer Angels

The The Killer Angels quotes below are all either spoken by George Pickett or refer to George Pickett. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine edition of The Killer Angels published in 1974.
Monday, June 29, 1863: Chapter 4 Quotes

Pickett answered obligingly, unconcerned, “Well, Jim Kemper kept needling our English friend about why they didn’t come and join in with us, it being in their interest and all, and the Englishman said that it was a very touchy subject, since most Englishmen figured the war was all about, ah, slavery, and then old Kemper got a bit outraged and had to explain to him how wrong he was, and Sorrel and some others joined in, but no harm done.”

“Damn fool,” Kemper said. “He still thinks it’s about slavery.”

Related Characters: George Pickett (speaker), Jim Kemper (speaker), Arthur Lyon Fremantle, G. Moxley Sorrel
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
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George Pickett Character Timeline in The Killer Angels

The timeline below shows where the character George Pickett appears in The Killer Angels. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Monday, June 29, 1863: Chapter 4: Longstreet
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Old World vs. New World Theme Icon
...rumors that England will support the Confederacy, but Longstreet doubts this will happen. Suddenly George Pickett arrives with his brigade commanders, Armistead, Garnett, and Kemper. Longstreet has known these men since... (full context)
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...Longstreet, with formality, how much he appreciates Longstreet assigning him as a brigade commander under Pickett. Everyone knows that under Stonewall Jackson, Garnett had withdrawn his brigade without orders at Kernstown,... (full context)
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Longstreet and Pickett introduce Pickett’s officers to Fremantle. Armistead jokes that the army is called “Lee’s Miserables,” after... (full context)
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A little later, Pickett steps aside to speak to Longstreet. He complains that his division had not participated in... (full context)
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Pickett explains to Longstreet that, according to Fremantle, the English find support of the Confederacy to... (full context)
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 5: Longstreet
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General Pickett makes a dramatic show of his arrival on the field, having not been needed in... (full context)
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Longstreet sits down under a tree. In the distance, he watches an enthusiastic Pickett telling a hilarious story around a campfire. The only one of Pickett’s men who doesn’t... (full context)
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 6: Lee
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...as possible, with artillery support. He is sure that with Stuart’s eagerness for redemption and Pickett’s hunger for combat, fresh men can successfully rout the dug-in Yankees, cutting their army in... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 2: Longstreet
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...Longstreet move toward the front, met by the soldiers’ cheerful morale. At last Lee assigns Pickett’s, Heth’s, and Pender’s divisions to Longstreet and explains the objectives. After massed artillery fire, Longstreet’s... (full context)
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...that no one will know his doubts. He gives the orders to his officers, including Pickett, who whoops with joy. As they look at the Union line, Longstreet tells his officers,... (full context)
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Excited, Pickett asks Longstreet how much time they have left. Longstreet hears a morbid overtone in the... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 4: Armistead
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Armistead watches the assault begin. Longstreet sits motionless on a fence rail, and Pickett yells with joy. Armistead sees Union shells passing overhead and runs back to check on... (full context)
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Pickett is profoundly moved; like Stuart, he is a soldier who “looked on war as God’s... (full context)
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...trouble walking and says he will have to ride into battle. Armistead reminds him that Pickett has ordered that no one must ride; if he does, Garnett will be a perfect... (full context)
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...Sunday afternoon spent waiting for the grownups’ blessing to be allowed to run and play. Pickett rides up, unable to hold still, and reviews the orders with him. Pickett reminds him... (full context)
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Pickett runs up to Longstreet suddenly, carrying a message from the artilleryman that if they are... (full context)
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...time. He thinks how desperate their situation is. But he forms his division and, as Pickett raises his sword, bawls the orders as forcefully as he can. The brigade begins to... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 5: Longstreet
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...the Union line, going down in the smoke. The men stream past Longstreet. One of Pickett’s men screams for support, but Longstreet patiently explains that there is no support left to... (full context)
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...to be forming for attack in the east. Longstreet can barely hear his voice. Suddenly Pickett appears—hatless, pale, and bloodstained. Longstreet is amazed that he is alive. His face is oddly... (full context)
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...the figures from the day: Armistead and Garnett are dead; Kemper is dying. Seven of Pickett’s thirteen colonels are dead and six are wounded. Longstreet can listen to no more, sending... (full context)