The Killer Angels

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August 12, 2012

Title: The Killer Angels
Author: Michael Shaara

Historical Event Depicted: This novel illustrates the Battle of Gettysburg, often known as the turning point of the great American Civil War. Southern slave-holding states, known as the Confederate States of America, fight the war with loyal Union states for secession. The Battle of Gettysburg is where Union Major General George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac defeats Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, putting an end to Lee’s invasion of the North.

Main Characters:
Confederate Army
Robert Edward Lee: He is the commander of the Confederate army and very well respected in the South. He is fifty-seven years old in the Battle of Gettysburg and suffers heart problems. His combat strategies tend to be more traditional and reject modern defensive warfare. Unfortunately, Lee overestimates his troops and orders a final charge toward Union lines, ending in disaster.

LTG James Longstreet: Being second-in-command of the Confederate Army, forty-two year old Longstreet is the most vital general to Lee since “Stonewall” Jackson. Longstreet is well aware of modern warfare, involving new technology, and sees the need for improvement in traditional combat strategies. Though Longstreet stubbornly pushes for defensive warfare, he ends up following Lee’s command to charge, having great respect for him.

Maj. Gen. George Pickett: Though he was last in his class at West Point, Pickett now leads his own Virginia division at age thirty-eight. His appointment to West Point was from his personal friend, Abraham Lincoln. Longing for a chance to prove himself, Pickett makes an infantry charge against Gen. George Meade’s Union, on Cemetery Ridge, on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

LTG Richard Ewell: He is forty-six and chosen to replace a portion of “Stonewall” Jackson’s command. Ewell has a great amount of responsibility, taking Jackson’s place; however, he is less confident after losing his leg. Gen. Lee is worried about how Ewell submits to Jubal Early, since Ewell is given the greater responsibility.

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Power Hill: He is thirty-seven and succeeds Jackson in part of his old corps. His troops fight a lot on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. First, they fight Union Gen. Buford’s cavalry and next, Reynold’s infantry. Power Hill often gets sick and is ill again at Gettysburg.

Brigadier Gen. Lewis Armistead: He is forty-six and commands one brigade of George Pickett. He is renowned in the army from his suspension for striking Jubal Early with a plate. Armistead longs to see his old friend Winfield Scott Hancock, who is a Union general, on the opposite side. Armistead hopes to reunite with Hancock at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Brigadier Gen. Richard Brooke Garnett: He is forty-four and Commander of Pickett’s second brigade. Following Jackson in command of the old Stonewall Brigade, he mistakenly withdrew his men from an “impossible position” at Kernstown. Though Jackson ordered a court-martial against Garnett, before he died, it never happened. After being accused of cowardice, wants to buy back his honor. He even risks riding a horse to Cemetery Ridge, making him an easy target, being the only Confederate soldier not on foot.

LTG J.E.B. Stuart: He is thirty and the superb cavalry leader who is supposed to track any Union Army movements. His reports prove to be very accurate. However, because Stuart is joyriding during the first two days of the battle, the Confederate Army loses track of the Union Army. The Confederates become unaware about their surrounding region and where Union troops are positioned.

Maj. Gen. Jubal Early: Forty-six year old Early has also been given a portion of “Stonewall” Jackson’s command, like Ewell. However, Early is overconfident and exceptionally assertive toward Ewell. Though Ewell has the greater task and power, he is submissive to Gen. Early. Armistead and...
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