On April 1, 1865, in Virginia, Pickett was defending an intersection known as Five Forks, six miles south of the Appomattox River and a good bit closer to the Southside Railroad, the last remaining supply line to Richmond. While thirty thousand Union troops led by Little Phil Sheridan approached from the southeast, Pickett’s twelve thousand, spread two miles wide behind fences and in ditches, braced to meet them. Pickett’s supreme commander, Robert E. Lee, was headquartered ten miles away, near Petersburg. Should Pickett fall to Sheridan, Lee would be forced from Petersburg, the Federals would capture Richmond, and the Confederate cause would be lost. Someone mentioned shad. The spring spawning run was in full penetration of the continent. The fish were in the rivers. Tom Rosser, another Confederate general, had caught some, and on the morning of April 1st ordered them baked for his midday dinner, near Hatcher’s Run, several miles from Five Forks. He invited Pickett and Major General Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee, to join him. Pickett readily accepted, and rode off from his battle station with Lee. The historian Shelby Foote continues the narrative (“The Civil War,” vol. 3, p. 870): “Neither told any subordinate where he was going or why, perhaps to keep from dividing the succulent fish too many ways; with the result that when the attack exploded—damped from their hearing, as it was, by a heavy stand of pines along Hatcher’s Run—no one knew where to find them. Pickett only made it back to his division after half its members had been shot or captured, a sad last act for a man who gave his name to the most famous charge in a war whose end was hastened by his threehour absence at a shad bake.