Michael Shaara tells a fictional, but generally historically accurate, story about the four-day series of events and battles that surrounded and comprised The Battle of Gettysburg in his 1974 novel, The Killer Angels. The story represents both the views of the North and the South, and commands the reader’s understanding and empathy toward each of the characters and views regarding the Civil War. Shaara’s portrayal of the war leaves little missed, and vividly details the passion, tension, conflict, trials, victory and defeat. The book is divided into four main sections, and within each section, the action is divided into chapters that represent each character’s view of the events. One hundred and forty years later, we relive The Battle of Gettysburg.
Part 1 takes place on Monday, June 29th, 1863 and covers the events leading up to the battle. James Longstreet’s hired spy, Harrison, reports that not only are Union forces are pursuing the Confederates into Pennsylvania, but that President Lincoln has recently fired General Hooker and replaced him with General Meade. This news is invaluable to the Lee’s forces, because Jeb Stuart’s cavalry scouts have left the infantry blind to the enemy’s movements. When Longs
Stuart finally arrives and is reprimanded for his desertion, but Lee now decides to attempt a final attack on the middle of the Union line. Longstreet argues that the attack will fail, but Lee insists. Part three takes place on Thursday, and describes more battle. Longstreet receives word that Hill plans to move on Gettysburg, even though there is Union cavalry presence in the town. Buford writes to Reynolds to request reinforcements, but is worried that the Confederates will take Gettysburg before they arrive. He then gives orders for the Confederate retreat to Maryland. Longstreet attacks the Union"tms left flank, which is defended by Chamberlain at Little Round Top, and Longstreet is defeated. Lee orders Longstreet to attack the center line of the Union position. Lee sends in reinforcements to Heth"tms group, and the Union forces retreat. Lee, Lee decides to move his forces to Gettysburg in hope of destroying Union forces. The Union cavalry under Buford"tms command first sees the Confederate infantry heading toward Gettysburg. Chamberlain"tms Union forces reach Gettysburg just past midnight, after an extensive a grueling march. Lee first deals with civil matters regarding thievery and raiding by ordering his men to give back what they have taken from the local civilians. Longstreet and Lee still disagree on the course of action to take with Meade"tms troops.