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Killer Angels Summary

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 Longstreet reports this news to General Robert E. Lee, Lee decides to move his forces to Gettysburg in hope of destroying Union forces. En route to Gettysburg, with his regiment of soldiers, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain falls victim to sunstroke, and just as he begins to recover, the Union dumps 120 unwilling soldiers under his command, and he is forced to find a way to make them fight. He delivers a powerful speech, which convinces most of the unruly soldiers to fight with him, and nearly doubles the number of troops under his command. The Union cavalry under Buford’s command first sees the Confederate infantry heading toward Gettysburg. Buford writes to Reynolds to request reinforcements, but is worried that t...

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