Fort Lee, Virginia

Quartermaster Museum   The horse drawn caisson that bore General Pickett to his final resting place is part of the extensive military display at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, Va.

The caisson

The black fabric, although faded, is original. Each wheel's spokes are partially covered with gathered black fabric. The height -- measured from the bottom of the wheels to the surface where the coffins were placed -- is approximately six feet.

  Caisson detail

This closer view shows the remarkable detail incorporated in the tasselling and braiding. The visual effect is solemn and elegant.

Signs in front of caisson
[Click on image for a larger view]
  These signs in front of the caisson explain its origin in 1863 and that it was used to transport General Pickett in 1875 as well as the remains of C. S. A. President Jefferson F. Davis to Hollywood Cemetery when he was reinterred in Richmond in 1893.

Richmond, Virginia

Edward Valentine, renowned sculptor both in Europe and North America, worked in a remodeled stable on Leigh Street in Richmond. His subjects included many Confederate notables such as J.E.B. Stuart and Joseph Johnston. Valentine sculpted the recumbent statue of General Robert E. Lee, which is in the Lee Chapel in Lexington, and Stonewall Jackson's death mask, which is at the Valentine Museum in Richmond. General Pickett sat for Valentine May 3, 1875. According to Valentine's papers, "General Pickett sat for me. I took his measurements. I completed the bust August 20, 1875."

The number of sculptures made of any particular subject is based on demand. A sculptor can create as many as can be sold. The Valentine has several busts of General Pickett. The bust of General Pickett shown below on the left is markedly different from the companion bust shown to the right in that is has not been painted. Although it may not appear as attractive as its painted counterpart, it is in more pristine condition precisely because it has not been painted. The Valentine Museum has enlisted the services of Russell Bernabo of Historic Object Conservation in Ashland, Va., to clean and restore their vast collection of Valentine's sculpture. Russell pointed out that an artist's eraser is one of the most useful tools in plaster restoration because plaster is very easily damaged. Restoration of one plaster bust requires approximately 25 hours. The clay molds created by Edward Valentine could be used for bronze and marble objects, as well.

Valentine bust unpainted

Unpainted version

Valentine bust painted

Painted version


Valentine's studio

General Pickett sat for Edward Valentine here at his studio in the 1000 block of East Clay Street in Richmond.


San Juan Island monument
The only monument to George E. Pickett stands in the state of Washington in the American Camp on San Juan Island. It was erected to the memory of Captain George E. Pickett, U.S.A., by the Washington University Historical Society October 21, 1904. In addition to the monument, the following resolution tendering thanks to Captain Pickett, U.S.A., was passed on January 11,1860 in the Laws of Washington Territory: "Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, that the thanks of the people of the Territory are due Captain Pickett USA for the gallant and firm discharge of his duties under the most trying circumstances while he was in command on the Island of San Juan." [Photographs courtesy of Martha M. Boltz.]

Bellingham home Sign outside Bellingham home
Captain George E. Pickett, 9th U.S. Infantry, built this house during 1856 when he was assigned to the northwest territory. It still stands in Bellingham, Wash., where is it preserved by the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington #5, and is open to the public. Sign outside the Pickett House in Bellingham, Washington. [Photograph courtesy of Martha M. Boltz.]


Fort Pickett dedication

Members of General Pickett's family were present for the July 1942 dedication of the military installation named in his honor.

Front row (L-R): Miss Suzanne Pickett, George Pickett IV (later Lt. Colonel), Miss Beverley Pickett.

Back row (L-R): Mrs. George E. Pickett III, Miss Virginia Pickett (partially hidden), Lieutenant George E. Pickett III, Captain Charles Pickett III, Mrs. Henry Clay Pickett, Sr., Miss Sophia Johnston Pickett, Charles Pickett IV (later Reverend).

  (Photograph courtesy of the Pickett family.)

  Carved from the Virginia counties of Lunenburg, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, and Nottoway and situated near Blackstone, Va., , Fort Pickett was essential to the operations of the United States Army during World War II. Once the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, its 45,867 acres provided ample training grounds for multiple infantry divisions as well as convenient railway access to the entire state of Virginia.

Among the post's 1,400 buildings were 12 chapels, a hospital complex (later greatly expanded), 6 firehouses, warehouses, and headquarters and administrative buildings. To ensure an adequate water supply for the post and its soldier population, the Army built and maintained its own water pumping, filtration, and sewage treatment plants. In the 1980's, control and operation of these facilities were transferred to the town of Blackstone.

Fort Pickett is still in use today as a multi-faceted training facility. Although geared mainly towards training military personnel and units, the facilities are also used by organizations such as the U.S. Marshal Service, the FBI, the ATF, the Virginia State Police, and local law enforcement agencies. 

The regular Army garrison at Fort Pickett was inactivated in 1997, and control of the operation was passed to the Virginia National Guard. Since that date, no regular Army personnel have been assigned to Fort Pickett for the first time since January 1942. 

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Created: 8-21-00
Last modified: 2/5/10
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