Lesley J. Gordon
Lesley J. Gordon earned her BA with High Honors from the College of William and Mary, and her MA and PhD in American History from the University of Georgia. She presently holds the Charles G. Summersell Chair of Southern History at the University of Alabama. Her publications include General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend (University of North Carolina Press, 1998), Intimate Strategies of the Civil War: Military Commanders and their Wives (Oxford University Press, 2001), Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas (Louisiana State University Press, 2005), and A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut’s Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2014). She has published numerous articles, book chapters and book reviews, and her public talks have been featured on C-Span. She was editor of the academic journal Civil War History (2010-2015), and is President of the Society for Civil War History (2022-2024). Her current book project explores accusations of cowardice and their lasting effects on Civil War regiments.
A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut's Civil War
OAH Lectures by Lesley J. Gordon
The man who gave his name to the greatest failed frontal attack in American military history, George E. Pickett is among the most famous Confederate generals of the Civil War. But there is a contrast between his public persona and private life. Dr. Gordon’s talk, based on her 1998 book of the same title, will highlight Pickett’s formative years as a native, white Virginian, West Point cadet, and Mexican War veteran. When the Civil War began, Pickett rose quickly to become a major general, leading his division at the battle of Gettysburg. However, the charge that bears his name ended up haunting him until his death. His story is not really one of valor and sacrifice; but one of bitterness and resentment, a sharp contrast to the public image that emerged after the war ended. Dr. Gordon further will discuss the central role that Pickett’s wife Sallie (or LaSalle as she liked to call herself) played in seeking to shape his postwar reputation. Appointing herself her husband’s official biographer, LaSalle Pickett became a self-proclaimed authority on the war and an apologist for slavery. Her imprint on his legacy, and the prevalence of the Lost Cause, still lingers.