The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara 1
The dispute Michael Shaara portrayed in The Killer Angels,1 between General Lee and General Longstreet not being on the same page when it came to placing the troops during the Battle of Gettysburg, was very close to what I have found in my resources, which I will explain. Longstreet wanted to take the defensive stand and Lee wanted to stay on the offensive side of things. Lee was determined that victory was in their hands because offensively his troops were already in place and after the first day’s triumph, he was assured they had the North right where they wanted them. Lee appreciated Longstreet’s willingness to speak his mind, but Lee felt he was in the right and his decision was going to stand. After researching other sources, I found this dispute to be right along the same lines. According to one of my resources,2 I read the same type of agitation among General Longstreet, feeling dismissed by General Lee. He wanted the Army to maneuver to some good ground between Gettysburg and Washington and force a fight at an advantage. However, Lee was adamant at staying where they were even though he did not have all his cavalry in place. He knew the Federal Army had a good position, but he felt with the success his men had achieved so far, he was sure to come out ahead by attacking General Meade’s men offensively head on. Another resource I found3 gave more information on General Meade’s defense and how he was aware of his dangerous position, but had no intention of withdrawing. He knew his union forces had fought well and still held strong defensive positions. Lee failed to destroy either of his union flanks and it left him with one other spot in the union flank to attack. He predicted Lee would hit in the center where Cemetery Ridge
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara 2 joined Cemetery Hill.4 General Meade ordered more men and cannon to be placed on Cemetery Ridge. It went on to state the dispute between General Lee and General Longstreet, about the placement of their troops, which was also stated in the book, The Killer Angels. I believe General Longstreet acted accordingly. He knew he was right to tell General Lee what he thought they should have done. By not moving their men to the defensive side of this battle, tragedy would be had. He couldn’t bear to have the responsibility of all the deaths of his men on his hands, but it was bound to happen. However, he knew that General Lee was an extremely well respected man and whatever he ordered his troops to do was going to happen. Longstreet seemed to have moved slowly as the book stated such a norm for him.5 In The Final Fury,6 it also stated how slowly Longstreet moved, once his orders were given to him, but after reading the book and this resource, I find no relevance in associating this with why the Confederates failed to conquer the Yankees. At the end of The Killer Angels,7 it seemed as if General Lee found himself embarrassed when asking for Longstreet’s help to withdraw the remaining troops back to Virginia. At one point he found himself almost wanting to say what he thought or hoped would happen by making the decision he did, but Longstreet was not interested at that point. Another source revealed8 that General Lee took full responsibility of the defeat by the North, but blamed Longstreet for making one last attack. Longstreet defended himself by stating he was just following orders, even though he didn’t agree with them.
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara 3
The portrayal of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin in The Killer Angels9 stated that he was a professor of