Queen of the Confederacy: The Innocent Deceits of Lucy Holcombe Pickens

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Paperback ISBN-13: 9781574413007
Paperback ISBN-10: 1574413007
Physical Description: 6 x 9. 272 pp. 25 b/w photos. Genealogy appendix. Notes. Bibliography. Index.
Publication Date: September 2010
  • Texas State Historical Association Liz Carpenter Award, runner up, 2003

The only woman to have her image engraved on Confederacy paper currency.

Heralded as the uncrowned "Queen of the Confederacy".

"When you enter the world you must take a stand, a position, whether it be high or low rests with yourself."—Lucy's advice to a brother

"Submissiveness is not my role, but certain platitudes on certain occasions are among the innocent deceits of the sex." A strong character with a fervent belief in woman's changing place, Lucy Holcombe Pickens (1832-1899) was not content to live the life of a typical nineteenth-century Southern belle. Wife of Francis Wilkinson Pickens, the secessionist governor of South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War, Lucy was determined to make her mark in the world. She married "the right man," feeling that "a woman with wealth or prestige garnered from her husband's position could attain great power." She urged Pickens to accept a diplomatic mission to the court of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and in St. Petersburg Lucy captivated the Tsar and his retinue with her beauty and charm. Upon returning to the states, she became First Lady of South Carolina just in time to encourage a Confederate unit named in her honor (The Holcombe Legion) off to war.

"How could one of the South's great and brainy belles with political savvy disappear from history? Lucy Holcombe Pickens nearly did. She has been rescued by Elizabeth Lewis' diligent research and devoted writing. Lewis captures the essence of Lucy—her hauteur, independence, flirtations (including Tsar Alexander II), courage, and patriotism—and so reveals much about Rebel society."—Frank E. Vandiver

"The story of a southern belle, whose life touched every stratum of society wherever she lived—the South, Washington, Russia—who suffered and triumphed in almost equal measure, and whose personality shines through in this charmingly told tale."—Lynda L. Crist

"[T]his intimate portrait of Lucy offers useful perspectives on social and political history."—Elizabeth A.H. John

"This book will be, to use an old cliché in sincerity, a welcome addition to the field."—Martha Swain

Queen of the Confederacy is a highly readable account of one woman’s view of Civil War events and is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on women and the Civil War.”—North Carolina Historical Review

“The author has made a significant contribution to American Studies by giving us an example of what a woman of intelligence and passion was able to do to influence her world while living within the mores of the era.”—Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas

About Author:

ELIZABETH WITTENMYER LEWIS, born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, attended Susquehanna University and Pennsylvania State College. She graduated from Jefferson Medical School with an RN and served as first lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps in World War II. She married a Southerner and spent most of her life in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Texas, with the exception of six years in London. She continued her education at Rice University in Houston.