edited by Jo Blatti

On a fine day in June 1846, Alexander Corbin Pickett (1821?-1883), a young Alabama lawyer, set off for the battlefields of the U.S.-Mexican War with a rifle in one hand and a pencil in the other, documenting the experience for posterity. It was an adventurous step in a life journey that ultimately would take him to Arkansas, where he later became a major Arkansas Confederate colonel.

The story of his formative years as a soldier is now available in the new book, A. C. Pickett’s Private Journal of the U.S.-Mexican War, edited by Jo Blatti and published by Butler Center Books. This edited work offers a thorough, meticulous transcription of the journal, with unobtrusive editorial notes as needed. The book also includes a biographical essay about Pickett, an overview of the war itself showing the involvement of Pickett’s regiment, and a timeline of the U.S.-Mexican War.

Pickett’s U.S.-Mexican War journal covers seven months -- from June 1846 to mid-January 1847. In it, the young sergeant records his impressions of camp life among Company G, 1st Alabama Volunteers -- sand dunes, dysentery, frolics, the dreariness of prolonged inaction punctuated by the excitement of field patrols, the harshness of military discipline -- and his own efforts representing soldiers in courts martial on several occasions. New experiences such as sea voyages, tropical landscapes, and tumultuous "northers" inspire language in line with novels and autograph books of the time. Pickett comments throughout the journal on other troops in the field and how they look next to his regiment. He writes also about the Mexican communities, countryside, and culture around him as the volunteers travel from duty station to duty station: Brazos Santiago, Camargo, Tampico, Matamoros.

After the U.S.-Mexican War, Pickett, known as A. C. throughout his life, returned to Alabama for a time to practice law in Sumter County. As their parents had before them, Pickett and a brother, physician William Henry Pickett, went west, following the next generation of treaty and bounty lands that opened to settlement; that path led to Arkansas. A. C. Pickett practiced law in the White River towns of Jacksonport and Augusta. During the Civil War, he fought for the Confederacy and formed the Jackson Guards (Company G, 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment). A lifelong bachelor, Pickett was thereafter identified with north Arkansas Democratic politics, newspaper publishing, and Episcopal Church activities in addition to his legal work.

6 x 9 , 147 pages, illustrated
$19.95 cloth | ISBN 978-1-935106-17-3