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Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew Paperback – August 1, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Brigadier General James Johnston Pettigrew is best known as the unwavering leader of the North Carolina brigade in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Before he ever donned a Confederate uniform, however, Pettigrew had already made his mark as a scientist, scholar, author, lawyer, and politician. This full-length biography of the man considered in his day as a beau ideal of the southern cavalier shows how and why Pettigrew's life was influenced by the genteel traditions of the Old South.

"A singular and elegant contribution to the art of biography, the history of the war and the civilization of the South." —Southern Partisan

"Carolina Cavalier is a rare treat that belongs on the bookshelf of everyone interested in Southern and Civil War history." —Blue & Gray

"Carolina Cavalier is biography raised to an art form. It is, unquestionably, the finest book on a Confederate hero to appear in a very long time." —Charleston News & Courier

"Wilson . . . is clearly one of the best of his generation. . . . Thanks to him we now have a clearer image of what the Southern cavalier was like." —M.E. BRADFORD, National Review

"Wilson writes gracefully and well, unfolding, so far as possible, his narrative in a manner that carries its own interpretation. . . . Wilson sheds light on the society and the times: on education and religion, on ideological currents and political battles, on the legal profession and the literary life." —EUGENE D. GENOVESE, Chronicles of Culture

Clyde N. Wilson is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina. He has edited The Papers of John C. Calhoun, vols. 10-19, and Why the South Will Survive (Georgia, 1981).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicles Press (August 1, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0972061606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972061605
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,154,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
For those who know it, the Huguenot-derived name "Pettigrew" immediately evokes the associated word, "Gettysburg." Brig. Gen. Johnston Pettigrew was prominent on the first day of that battle, as the commander of Pettigrew's Brigade, and on the third day, as the commander of Heth's Division, which included his brigade. Pickett's Charge might as well have been called Pettigrew's Charge, or, as Clyde Wilson suggests, "Longstreet's Assault." But as it is, there is still no Gettysburg without Pettigrew. Not long after that Fourth of July that coincided with the fall of Vicksburg and Pettigrew's own birthday, the Army of Northern Virginia was without Pettigrew. He was killed in the chaos of a rear-guard action at Falling Waters, and his loss was much lamented, for it seems that everyone knew his quality.
Pettigrew's Civil War career was not consonant with his ability, and that was almost certainly a matter of luck. He was active in organizing the defense of Charleston before the Fort Sumter crisis but played no great role in the thing itself. He was wounded and captured at Seven Pines or Fair Oaks Station, the beginning of the Seven Days. Exchanged, he served under D.H. Hill in the abortive action at New Bern and at the affair at Blount's Creek. Clyde Wilson has not written for us the story of a Confederate brigadier, however, but an account of a mind and sensibility that could not be completely expressed in the Civil War.
Johnston Pettigrew grew up as the scion of a distinguished and landed family in North Carolina. He excelled at school and at the university at Chapel Hill. He was soon surveying stars for Matthew Fontaine Maury at the National Observatory. But what was Pettigrew to do as his lifetime calling?
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This book was excellent. I would recommend it as a must read for anyone interested in one of the Generals at Gettysburg.
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