LaSalle Corbell Pickett and the Lost Cause
An advertisement excerpts positive reviews of LaSalle Corbell Pickett's popular 1889 book, Pickett and His Men, a history in which her husband, Confederate general George E. Pickett, is portrayed as the glorious hero of the Civil War's most famous battle, Gettysburg. Although northern publications quoted here wrote favorably of the book—one noting that it could "not fail to be interesting reading" and another writing that Pickett's volume "has its peculiar charms"—their words could not match the effulgence of their Southern counterparts. For instance, the Atlanta Constitution fawned over the author's "sweet temper" and asserted "that her work throughout breathes the violet aroma of complete reconciliation and adds renewed testimony to the fact that the American people are one in heart again."
Pickett's widow wrote and lectured extensively about the general and the famous charge that was named after him. Evidence suggests that the text of Pickett and His Men was largely plagiarized, and that she fabricated an entire wartime correspondence from her husband which she published in several other volumes. LaSalle Pickett's efforts fell into the Lost Cause tradition, stressing that Confederate generals were knightly heroes overcome only by superior numbers, and that slavery played no role in the conflict. Nonetheless, as these review comments show, many Americans believed that Pickett's oeuvre worked to reconcile the North and South.