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The Killer Angels novel (written by Michael Sharra) is a story of the Gettysburg Battle. On 1st July, 1863 confederate army and the union army fought the greatest battle in the American Civil War. This book is written based on real people who were part of the Civil War. The main characters are Gen. James Longstreet, Gen. Robert Lee who served in the confederate army and Col. Joshua Chamberlain who served in the union army. The time frame covered in this book is from Jun. 30-Jul 3, 1863. The war takes place in a town called Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In This novel, details, vivid imagery, and insightful character develop who reveal the contrast between the Confederate army and Union army. The two armies are driven by different causes to fight, but the major cause for war is slavery. This is a key issue which sparked the war. The Union fights for freedom and end to slavery, yet the Confederacy fights for independence from the North.
A major part of the story was written from the viewpoint of the confederate leaders, so we are able to capture what the south was actually thinking throughout the whole book. For the most part of the story, it is narrated in the 3rd person. The union army controlled Cemetery Ridge, Cemetery Hill, Little Round Top, Culp's Hill, and Big Round Top while the confederates controlled the Seminary Ridge. Shaara's novel clearly tells the story of two enormous armies, both fighting and motivated for what they believe is a just cause, as they encounter each other to fight one of the greatest battles ever fought. The novel shows great leadership, struggle, and history.
The story starts with an undercover agent coming to Longstreet and informing him that he had seen the union army nearby. Longstreet is shocked at this since the J.E.B. Stuart was given the duty to watch them. So, he planned to go northwards to Gettysburg to cut them off. In the meantime, Col. Joshua Chamberlain of the union army wakes up to realize that he had an extra one hundred men to add to his contingent, the 20th Maine. They had caused a revolt, so they were commanded to go to Chamberlain. They were hungry and tired and they did not actually want to fight any longer. Since Chamberlain was a charismatic speaker, he gave an encouraging speech and all the soldiers apart from 6 agree joined the 20th Maine. Union army, Gen. Buford rides into Gettysburg and find that the confederates are close. He gathers his men together and positions them in the hills. The reason as to why he did this was because he knew that high ground was crucial since if they acquired high ground it would be far much easier to fight the confederates as compared to fighting them from below.
The second day, Lee awakes to find out that Stuart hadn't come back yet. Since Stuart wasn't there, he didn't know where the union army was. He had a meeting with Longstreet telling him that they should plan defensive strategies to win, but Lee wanted to assault them and moved straight to the union army. The reason as to why Lee did not want to go into defensive mode was because if he did it, it would appear like he was retreating which he did not want. The battle starts with the union army being attacked by the confederates. Buford holds them off awaiting Reynolds and his troops to come. Reynolds dies and afterwards Lee comes right in the center of the fight. After the 1st battle the union army retreats to the hills where they position cannons and dig places to block themselves from the fight. Longstreet begins to get scared since he knew that the union army had an excellent defensive position. This does not help their tactic of moving southeast to assault the union army.
On 2nd July, Chamberlain moved his troops to Gettysburg. On the way they came across a slave who had escaped and Chamberlain asked Kilrain what he thought of black people. Kilrain believed that one should be judged by their action other than judging them by color. In Gettysburg, Lee's men assault the union army from two flanks in order to try and weaken their line, but Longstreet wanted to move south east and head for DC. Lee doesn't concur with him and Longstreet is compelled to attack the flank. As Chamberlain eventually arrives he and his troops set up on Little Round Top. They hold down the hill but they run out of bullets and Chamberlain commands to charge on the confederates. They used a method that was to scream as they ran down the hill so as to frighten the confederates. The union army was able to retain control of Little Round Top, and the confederates lost a huge number of men. In the night J.E.B. Stuart comes back and is scolded by Lee for being absent and not helping to track the union army. He plans that since he had damaged and weakened the two outer flanks his next target was to weaken the center of their line. If he managed to charge through the center, he could divide the army in to two.
On 3rd July, Chamberlain took his men to the middle line as he thought that there would not be a lot of fighting. Longstreet tried to persuade Lee again that it would be better to swing southeast and head for DC but he again says no. He intended to attack the union hence Longstreet agrees and assign Pickett to be in charge of the attack against the union army. The confederates shoot cannons and guns at the union in order to weaken the center line. The confederates do not accomplish to inflict much damage because they aimed too high therefore the cannon balls flew over the line. As the confederates came to the field the Union opened fire their cannons, which created huge gaps in the confederate line and killed many troops. They then came closer and kill many more soldiers with their guns. Even after almost getting completely destroyed, Lee's badly wounded men pleaded him to attack again. Finally the confederate's withdrew and the battle ends.