A Beautiful Glittering Lie
One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

What does 'picket' mean?

Find out what picket means. Picket is explained by J D R Hawkins - author of A Beautiful Glittering Lie

picket

The term used during the Civil War to refer to a guard or sentry.

In my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the word "picket" is used as follows:

(Page 155)
Before sunup, he completed his chores, saddled and bridled Sally with his new tack, and stole away after leaving his mother a brief note as to his whereabouts, stating that he would be at Jake’s for two days, and probably wouldn’t be home until later in the week, making up an excuse about bow hunting for deer. Riding down the familiar dirt road, he made his way in the dark, but didn’t pay it any mind, because he was so accustomed to the trek that he could do it with his eyes closed. As the sun peered above the horizon, casting a pink hue across the cobalt sky, birds began twittering in the trees. He arrived at the Kimball’s, and once Jake saddled up, they were on their way, traveling through intermittent sprinkles, bedding down that evening in a makeshift shelter, and continuing on until they arrived at the Tennessee River. To their dismay, several Union pickets were stationed at the bridge.

(Page 183)
As quietly as possible, they made their way across the bridge. Suddenly, a picket noticed them.

(Page 183)
The picket approached, saw they were harmless, and relaxed his weapon. “You boys want to fight for the Union army?”

(Page 183)
The picket spit out his tobacco. “How old are you?” he asked, eyeing them suspiciously.

(Page 184)
The picket stared at them. He pushed his kepi back on his head. “Humbug,” he muttered.

(Page 184)
The boys could see now that the picket wasn’t too bright. He seemed to have difficulty comprehending them.

(Page 184)
“Humbug,” the picket said again.

(Page 184)
The picket seemed to believe this nonsense. “I know where your horses are,” he stated. David and Jake stared at him, avoiding reaction. “I seen them come over earlier today. Two black mares, right?”

(Page 184)
The picket grinned. “You get me something for my trouble, and I’ll see to it your horses are returned.”

(Page 186)
David awoke at sunrise. Alarmed that it would be daylight soon, he nudged his friend, and picked up the silverware box. They immediately set off toward the bridge. By the time they arrived, it was daylight. The picket had been replaced by another.

(Page 187)
He motioned with his rifle, so the boys walked ahead of him over the bridge. When they reached the other side, they saw the picket, who glared at them.

(Page 194)
In the early morning coolness, Hiram marched alongside his comrades, noticing his surroundings as he traveled. Mockingbirds sang from overhanging tree limbs, as did orioles, flickers, and redwing blackbirds, while they flitted above in the shimmering leaves. He could hear soldiers singing behind him, as well as the echo of clomping boots and horses’ hooves. The dew-covered grass smelled fresh and clean. At 10:00 a.m., the Rebels reached a bridge that had been partially destroyed by Union pickets, who were now on the opposite side, felling trees to impede them.

(Page 194)
At one point, while the men sat by the roadside, waiting for their scouts and pickets to clear the path ahead, an ambulance drawn by a pair of fine bay horses pulled up. The driver realized too late that he was in the midst of the enemy. Soldiers piled into the ambulance, relieving the driver of any foodstuffs he had. Soon the road was cleared, the men marched on, and the stunned driver, who was with Union General Porter’s Corp, was taken prisoner.

(Pages 200-201)
Although Mitchel was gone, his family, who had arrived on July 12, remained in Huntsville. According to Billy Ryan, they could be seen riding around town in their carriage as though flaunting their presence in enemy territory. On one occasion, they cut off the funeral procession of a murdered Confederate picket. The Mitchel’s were disliked from the start, because they helped themselves to anyone’s property that they so desired. The citizens couldn’t be rid of them soon enough, but it took several weeks for them to get their wish. In the meantime, Mitchel was replaced by Major General Lovell H. Rousseau, who was more easy-going than his predecessor.

(Page 259)
They waited for Burnside to pounce, but their wait was long-lived, for he hesitated. Since the men were only required to attend dress parade and roll call, they idled away their time by staging snowball fights, some so zealous that several soldiers were wounded, and a few were killed. They also spent time exploring the town, as well as the terrain north of camp. Fredericksburg had been nearly evacuated, except for a few citizens who still remained, their only other option being to camp in the snowy woods until danger passed. On a few rare occasions, the 4th Alabama was detailed to picket duty in town, where they stayed inside deserted homes that housed fine paintings, extensive libraries, and lovely furniture, or they stood guard outside on the piazzas, and in the immaculate, sculptured gardens, gazing across the river at the Union soldiers’ tents. They noticed how finely-outfitted the Yankees were in their splendid blue uniforms, but the Confederates, in contrast, were clothed in ragged, tattered, dingy butternut.

Search result for 'picket' in A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Chapter 6: Chapter Six
"...sky, birds began twittering in the trees. He arrived at the Kimballs’, and once Jake saddled up, they were on their way, traveling through intermittent sprinkles, bedding down that evening in a makeshift shelter, and continuing on until they arrived at the Tennessee River. To their dismay, several Union pickets were stationed at the bridge. ..."

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Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
106.
"... to distinguish black horses in the dark. “They have to be there. Let’s go!” David said. As quietly as possible, they made their way across the bridge. Suddenly, a picket noticed them. “Halt!” he ordered. “Who goes there?” The boys held up their hands to show they were ..."
111.
"... they were unarmed. “We’re here to enlist!” hollered Jake. David glared at him. The picket approached, saw they were harmless, and relaxed his weapon. “You boys want to fight for the Union army?” “Yessir. That’s right,” said Jake. He elbowed his friend, who hesitantly ..."
113.
"... army?” “Yessir. That’s right,” said Jake. He elbowed his friend, who hesitantly agreed. The picket spit out his tobacco. “How old are you?” he asked, eyeing them suspiciously. “We’re both eighteen,” David lied. “Why are you out here in the dark?” “Because someone ..."
117.
"... someone stole our horses. We were fixin’ to ride in, but we had to walk instead.” The picket stared at them. He pushed his kepi back on his head. “Humbug,” he muttered. “We’re tellin’ the truth,” insisted Jake. “We intend to jine the cavalry, and capture ..."
119.
"... the truth,” insisted Jake. “We intend to jine the cavalry, and capture Captain Gurley.” The boys could see now that the picket wasn’t too bright. He seemed to have difficulty comprehending them. “What makes you think you can catch him if our own fellows haven’t been able to?” he ..."
122.
"... you can catch him if our own fellows haven’t been able to?” he asked. “Because we know where he hides out,” said David. “Humbug,” the picket said again. “It’s true,” David replied. “We have a score to settle with him, so we don’t have a problem trackin’ him down for ..."
124.
"... problem trackin’ him down for y’all.” The picket seemed to believe this nonsense. “I know where your horses are,” he stated. David and Jake stared at him, avoiding reaction. “I seen them come across earlier today. Two black mares, right?” “Yessir,” said Jake. “I’ll get ..."
128.
"... a price.” Jake glanced at his companion. “What did you have in mind?” The picket grinned. “You get me something for my trouble, and I’ll see to it your horses are returned.” “We don’t have—” Jake interrupted his friend. “You’ll be here in the ..."
146.
"... before heading back. David awoke at sunrise. Alarmed that it would be daylight soon, he nudged his friend, and picked up the silverware box. They immediately set off toward the bridge. By the time they arrived, it was daylight. The picket had been replaced by another. “What do we do now?” ..."
156.
"... replied Jake. “I heard about you. Come on across.” He motioned with his rifle, so the boys walked ahead of him over the bridge. When they reached the other side, they saw the picket, who glared at them. “We’ve got everything ready for you boys,” the dark-eyed soldier ..."

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Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
"...blackbirds, while they flitted above in the shimmering leaves. He could hear soldiers singing behind him, as well as the echoes of clomping boots and horses’ hooves. The dew-covered grass smelled fresh and clean. At 10:00 a.m., the Rebels reached a bridge that had been partially destroyed by Union pickets, who were now on the opposite side, felling trees to impede them. ..."
"...At one point, while the men sat by the roadside, waiting for their scouts and pickets to clear the path ahead, an ambulance drawn by a pair of fine bay horses pulled up. The driver realized too late that he was in the midst of the enemy. Soldiers piled into the ambulance, relieving the driver of any foodstuffs he had. Soon the road was cleared, ..."
"...Mitchel was gone, his family, who had arrived on July 12, remained in Huntsville. According to Billy Ryan, they could be seen riding around town in their carriage as though flaunting their presence in enemy territory. On one occasion, they cut off the funeral procession of a murdered Confederate picket. The Mitchels were disliked from the start, because they helped themselves to anyone’s property that they so desired. The citizens couldn’t be rid of them soon enough, but it took several weeks for them to get their wish. In the meantime, Mitchel was replaced by Major General Lovell H. ..."

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Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
"...the town, as well as the terrain north of camp. Fredericksburg had been nearly evacuated, except for a few citizens who still remained, because their only other option was to camp in the snowy woods until danger passed. On a few rare occasions, the 4th Alabama was detailed to picket duty in town, where they stayed inside deserted homes that housed fine paintings, extensive libraries, and lovely furniture, or they stood guard outside on the piazzas, and in the immaculate sculptured gardens, gazing across the river at the Union soldiers’ tents. They noticed how finely outfitted the Yankees were ..."

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"The history is intertwined ingeniously into the plot. It is well plotted and the narrative moves along at nice clip...."

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