Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: You wish to see me, sir?
General Robert E. Lee: [Lee nods and sighs; there is a short pause] It is the opinion of some... excellent officers that you have let us all down.
Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: [angry at the slight to his honor] General Lee, sir, if you will please tell me who these gentlemen are...
General Robert E. Lee: There will be none of that. There is no time.
Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: Sir, I only ask that I be allowed to defend my...
General Robert E. Lee: [raising his voice slightly] There is no time.
[Stuart looks stunned]
General Robert E. Lee: General Stuart... your mission was to free this army from the enemy cavalry and report any movement by the enemy's main body. That mission was not fulfilled. You left here with no word of your movement or movement of the enemy for several days. Meanwhile, we were engaged here and drawn into battle without adequate knowledge of the enemy's strength or position, without knowledge of the ground. So it is only by God's grace that we did not meet disaster here.
Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: General Lee, there were reasons...
General Robert E. Lee: [Lee holds up his hand to silence Stuart] Perhaps you misunderstood my orders? Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Well, sir... this must be made *very* clear. You, sir, with your cavalry, are the eyes of this army. Without your cavalry, we are made blind. That has already happened once. It must never, *never* happen again.
Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart: [Stuart stares at the floor, then slowly draws his sword in token of his resignation] Sir... since I no longer hold the General's...
General Robert E. Lee: [suddenly furious, Lee pounds the table with his fist] I have *told* you, there is no time for that! There is no time!
[he pauses, takes a deep breath, and calms down again]
General Robert E. Lee: There is another fight comin' tomorrow, and we need you. We need every man, God knows. You must take what I have told you, and learn from it, as a man does.
[he takes Stuart's sword and replaces it in its scabbard]
General Robert E. Lee: There has been a mistake. It will not happen again; I know your quality. You are one of the finest cavalry officers I have ever known, and your service to this army has been invaluable. Now... let us speak no more of this.
[he turns and slowly walks away, then turns back to Stuart]
General Robert E. Lee: The matter is concluded. Good night, General.
[not knowing what to think of this show of mercy, Stuart snaps a crisp salute, and Lee returns it]
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: I've been ordered to take you men with me, I'm told that if you don't come I can shoot you. Well, you know I won't do that. Maybe somebody else will, but I won't, so that's that. Here's the situation, the Whole Reb army is up that road aways waiting for us, so this is no time for an argument like this, I tell you. We could surely use you fellahs, we're now well below half strength. Whether you fight or not, that's up to you, whether you come along is... well, you're coming. You know who we are and what we are doing here, but if you are going to fight alongside us there are a few things I want you to know. This regiment was formed last summer, in Maine. There were a thousand of us then, there are less than 300 of us now. All of us volunteered to fight for the Union, just as you have. Some came mainly because we were bored at home, thought this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came because it was the right thing to do. And all of us have seen men die. This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history you will see men fighting for pay, for women, for some other kind of loot. They fight for land, power, because a king leads them, or just because they like killing. But we are here for something new, this has not happened much, in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free. America should be free ground, all of it, not divided by a line between slave states and free - all the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here is the place to build a home. But it's not the land, there's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value - you and me. What we are fighting for, in the end, we're fighting for each other. Sorry, I didn't mean to preach. You go ahead and you talk for a while. If you choose to join us and you want your muskets back you can have them - nothing more will be said by anyone anywhere. If you choose not to join us well then you can come along under guard and when this is all over I will do what I can to ensure you get a fair trial, but for now we're moving out. Gentlemen, I think if we lose this fight we lose the war, so if you choose to join us I will be personally very grateful.
[Buford's cavalry has sighted the Confederate army on the evening of June 30]
Gen. Buford: You know what's gonna happen here in the morning?
Col. Thomas C. Devin: Sir?
Gen. Buford: Whole damn Reb army's gonna be here. They'll move through this town, occupy these hills on the other side, and when our people get here Lee'll have the high ground, and there'll be the devil to pay! The high ground! Meade'll come in slowly, cautiously, new to command. They'll be on his back from Washington. Wires hot with messages. "Attack! Attack!" So he will set up a ring around these hills. And when Lee's army is all nicely entrenched behind fat rocks on the high ground, Meade'll finally attack, if he can coordinate the army. Straight up the hillside, out in the open, in that gorgeous field of fire. We will charge valiantly... and be butchered valiantly! And afterwards, men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chests and say what a brave charge it was.
[he takes off his hat and rubs his head in resignation]
Gen. Buford: Devin, I've led a soldier's life, and I've never seen anything as brutally clear as this. It's as if I can actually see the blue troops in one long, bloody moment, goin' up the long slope to the stony top. As if it were already done... already a memory. An odd... set... stony quality to it. As if tomorrow has already happened and there's nothin' you can do about it. The way you sometimes feel before an ill-considered attack, knowin' it'll fail, but you cannot stop it. You must even take part, and help it fail.
Col. Thomas C. Devin: Sir.
Gen. Buford: We have twenty-five hundred men. They'll be comin' in force. There'll be twenty thousand comin' down that road in the morning. If we hold this ridge for a couple hours, we can keep 'em away. If we can block that road 'til the main body gets here, we can deprive the enemy of the high ground!
Col. Thomas C. Devin: Well, the boys are ready for a brawl, no doubt of that.
Gen. Buford: We can force the Rebs to deploy. That's a narrow road they'll be comin' down. We stack 'em up, it'll take 'em a while to get on track, to get into position. Is Calef's battery up yet?
Col. Thomas C. Devin: Sir, his six guns are deploying forward now.
[Buford turns to his officers]
Gen. Buford: How far back is Reynolds with the main force?
Cavalry Officer: About ten miles, sir. Not much more.
[Gamble and his aide gallop up at full speed]
Col. William Gamble: Sir, you were right. My scouts report the Reb army is comin' this way, and that's for sure. They're all concentratin' in this direction.
[Buford sighs and looks in the direction of the Confederates' approach]
Gen. Buford: We're gonna hold here in the morning. Long enough for Reynolds and the infantry to arrive. We hang onto the high ground, we have a chance to win this fight that's comin'. Understood?
Officers: Yes, sir.
Gen. Buford: Post the cannon along this road, the Chambersburg Pike. The Rebs'll hit us at dawn, but I think we can hold 'em for at least two hours.
Col. Thomas C. Devin: Hell, General, we can hold 'em all the damn livelong day.
[the officers chorus in agreement]
Col. Thomas C. Devin: At Thoroughfare Gap, you held against Longstreet. You held for six hours.
Col. William Gamble: And they never came. We held for nothin'.
[Buford turns back to face the battlefield again]
Gen. Buford: Rebs'll hit us just about first light. Keep a clear eye! Let's have the pickets give us a good warning. All right, gentlemen. Let's get posted.
[actual quote, after Pickett's Charge fails]
General Robert E. Lee: General, you must look to your division.
Major General George E. Pickett: General Lee... I have no division.
Col. Arthur Freemantle: I'm told you're descended from an illustrious military family.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: [scoffs] Who told you that? Kemper?
Col. Arthur Freemantle: He tells me it was your uncle who defended Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, and that he was therefore the guardian of the original "Star-Spangled Banner." I must say, I do appreciate the irony of it all.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Colonel Freemantle... it does not begin or end with my uncle... or myself. We're all sons of Virginia here.
[he motions with his eyes; Freemantle follows his gaze]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: That major out there, commanding the cannon... that's James Dearing. First in his class at West Point, before Virgina seceded. And the boy over there with the color guard...
[he nods in the boy's direction]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: ... that's Private Robert Tyler Jones. His grandfather was President of the United States. The colonel behind me... that's Colonel William Aylett. Now, his great-grandfather was the Virginian, Patrick Henry. It was Patrick Henry who said to your King George III, "Give me liberty, or give me death." There are boys here from Norfolk... Portsmouth... small hamlets along the James River. From Charlottesville and Fredericksburg... and the Shenondoah Valley. Mostly, they're all veteran soldiers now; the cowards and shirkers are long gone. Every man here knows his duty. They would make this charge, even without an officer to lead them. They know the gravity of the situation, and the mettle of their foe. They know that this day's work will be desperate and deadly. They know, that for many of them, this will be their last charge. But not one of them needs to be told what is expected of him. They're all willing to make the supreme sacrifice... to achieve victory, here... the crowning victory... and the end of this war. We are all here, Colonel. You may tell them, when you return to your country... that all Virginia was here on this day.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: General Trimble is waiting. Will you see him now?
General Robert E. Lee: Very well.
[he looks at Marshall]
General Robert E. Lee: Major, I want a scouting party sent out posthaste to find General Stuart.
Maj. Charles Marshall: Yes, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: Thank you.
Maj. Charles Marshall: Right away, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: [Trimble enters the room] General Trimble.
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: [Trimble salutes, and Lee returns it] Sir, I most respectfully request another assignment.
General Robert E. Lee: [Lee looks at Trimble, then sits down] Do please go on, General.
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: The man is a disgrace! Sir, have you been listening at all to... to what the aides have been telling you? Ask General Gordon or General Ewell. Ask them. We could've taken that hill! God in His wisdom knows we *should've* taken it! There was no one there, no there at all, and it commanded the town.
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: General Gordon saw it. I mean, he was with us! Me and Ewell and Gordon, all standing there in the dark like fat, great idiots with that bloody damned hill empty!
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: I beg your pardon, General.
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: That bloody damned hill was bare as his bloody damned head! We all saw it, as God is my witness! We were all there. I said to him, "General Ewell, we have *got* to take that hill." General Jackson would not have stopped like this, with the bluebellies on the run and there was plenty of light left on a hill like that empty! Well, God help us, I... I don't know wh... I don't know why I...
General Robert E. Lee: Do please continue, General.
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: Yes, sir. Sir... I said to him, General Ewell, these words. I said to him, "Sir, give me one division and I will take that hill." And he said nothing. He just stood there, he stared at me. I said, "General Ewell, give me one brigade and I will take that hill." I was becoming disturbed, sir. And General Ewell put his arms behind him and blinked. So I said, General, give me one *regiment* and I will take that hill." And he said *nothing*! He just stood there! I threw down my sword, down on the ground in front of him!
[he stops and regains his composure]
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble: We... we could've done it, sir. A blind man should've seen it. Now they're working up there. You can hear the axes of the Federal troops. And so in the morning... many a good boy will die... taking that hill.
General Robert E. Lee: Gen. Longstreet, do you mind if I accompany you?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Not at all. I am very glad to have you with us, Sir.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: The heat reminds me of Mexico.
General Robert E. Lee: Yes, but the air was very dry.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: That was a good outfit. I remember storming the ramparts of Chapultepec with old George Pickett, REynolds, my old friend Ulysses Sam Grant. There was some good men in that army.
General Robert E. Lee: Yes sir, there were indeed.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Some of those men are waiting for us now up ahead on those ridges.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I don't know. I sometimes feel troubled. Those fellas - those boys in blue - they never quite seem the enemy.
General Robert E. Lee: I know.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I used to command some of those boys. Swore an oath too. Ah... I - I couldn't fight against Georgia, South Carolina. Not against my own family...
General Robert E. Lee: No Sir. There was always a higher duty to Virginia. That was our first duty. There was never any question or doubt about that.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Guess so.
General Robert E. Lee: Let us no think about that now. The issue is in God's hands. We can only do our duty.
General Robert E. Lee: General, soldiering has one great trap: to be a good solider you must love the army. To be a good commander, you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. We do not fear our own death you and I. But there comes a time...
General Robert E. Lee: We are never quite prepared for so many to die. Oh, we do expect the occasional empty chair. A salute to fallen comrades. But this war goes on and on and the men die and the price gets ever higher. We are prepared to loose some of us, but we are never prepared to loose all of us. And there is the great trap General. When you attack, you must hold nothing back. You must commit yourself totally. We are adrift here in a sea of blood and I want it to end. I want this to be the final battle.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: This is almost perfect, now we got them where we want them. Swing south and east, down the road, get between them and Lincoln, find some good high ground, then they'll have to hit us, they'll have to, we'll have them, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: You mean disengage?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Well sir, I've always been under the impression that it was our strategy to conduct a defensive campaign wherever possible in order to keep the army intact.
General Robert E. Lee: Granted, but the situation has changed now.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: In what way?
General Robert E. Lee: We've already pushed them back, they're on the run, vacating the town. How can we move off to the south and the east in the face of the enemy? What are you thinking, General?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Maybe we should not have fought here?
General Robert E. Lee: I know that. But we have prevailed. The men have prevailed.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes sir, they have always done that. But in the morning we may be outnumbered, and they'll be entrenched on the high ground.
General Robert E. Lee: General, you know as well as I, we have never concerned ourselves with being outnumbered.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: That is true, sir, you are right. If we move to the south to Washington, they have to pursue us, and then we can fight on ground of our choosing.
General Robert E. Lee: But the enemy is here! We did not want the fight but the fight is here! How can I ask this army to retreat in the face of what they have done this day?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Not retreat, sir. Re-deploy.
General Robert E. Lee: Our guns will move them off that hill or Ewell will push them off. But if Meade is there tomorrow, I cannot move this army away, no sir, I will attack him.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: General, if Meade is up there tomorrow, it is because he wants us to attack him. We pushed back two corps, but there are five more coming.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: [Gen Armistead has just been mortally wounded, and is surrounded by Union soldiers] Sir? Sir!
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Will you help me up please?
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Sir, could you tell me what your name is, who you are?
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: I would like to speak to General Hancock. Do you know where General Hancock may be found?
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: I'm sorry, Sir. The General is down. He's been hit.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: NO! Not both of us! Not all of us! Please God!
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Sir, sir we're having a surgeon come as quickly as we can!
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Can you hear me, son?
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Yes, sir. I can hear you.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Will you tell General Hancock, that General Armistead sends his regrets. Will you tell him how very sorry I am.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: [takes off his hat] I will tell him, sir. I will tell him.
[Longstreet orders Hood to take Little Round Top]
Major General John Bell Hood: They don't even need guns to defend that! All they've got to do is roll rocks down on us!
[Chamberlain's regiment is posted atop Little Round Top]
Colonel Strong Vincent: Now we'll see how professors fight.
[on Pickett's charge]
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: You know what's gonna happen? I'll tell you what's gonna happen. Troops are now forming behind the line of trees. When they come out, they'll be under enemy long-range artillery fire. Solid shot. Percussion. Every gun they have. Troops will come out under fire with more than a mile to walk. And still, within the open field, among the range of aimed muskets. They'll be slowed by that fence out there, and the formation - what's left of it - will begin to come apart. When they cross that road, they'll be under short-range artillery. Canister fire. Thousands of little bits of shrapnel wiping the holes in the lines. If they get to the wall without breaking up, there won't be many left. A mathematical equation... But maybe, just maybe, our own artillery will break up their defenses. There's always that hope.
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: That's Hancock out there, and he ain't gonna run. So it's mathematical after all. If they get to that road, or beyond it, we'll suffer over fifty percent casualties. But, Harrison, I don't believe my boys will reach that wall.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Tell me something, Buster... What do you think of Negroes?
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: Well, if you mean the race, I don't really know. This is not a thing to be ashamed of. The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: You see to me there was never any difference.
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: None at all?
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: None at all. Of course, I haven't known that many freed men... But those I knew in Bangor, Portland... You look in the eye, there was a man. There was a "divine spark," as my mother used to call it. That is all there is to it. Races are men. "What a piece of work is man. How infinite in faculties and form, and movement... How express and admirable. In action how like an angel.
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: Well, if he's an angel, all right then... But he damn well must be a killer angel. Colonel, darling, you're a lovely man. I see a vast great difference between us, yet I admire you, lad. You're an idealist, praise be. The truth is, Colonel... There is no "divine spark". There's many a man alive no more of value than a dead dog. Believe me. When you've seen them hang each other the way I have back in the Old Country. Equality? What I'm fighting for is to prove I'm a better man than many of them. Where have you seen this "divine spark" in operation, Colonel? Where have you noted this magnificent equality? No two things on Earth are equal or have an equal chance. Not a leaf, not a tree. There's many a man worse than me, and some better... But I don't think race or country matters a damn. What matters, Colonel... Is justice. Which is why I'm here. I'll be treated as I deserve, not as my father deserved. I'm Kilrain... And I damn all gentlemen. There is only one aristocracy... And that is right here.
[points to his head]
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: And that's why we've got to win this war.
Hancock's Aide: Sir, please get down! We can't spare you!
Major General Winfield Scott Hancock: There are times when a corps commander's life does not count.
Gen. Buford: There's an old Indian saying: "Follow the cigar smoke, find the fat man there."
[on the 120 mutineers of the 2nd Maine]
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Mutiny? I thought that was a word for the Navy.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: The last time I saw Winn he played that song. That very song. Back in California, we were all together for the last time. Before we broke up. Spring of '61. Almyra Hancock. You remember Almyra, Hancock's wife? Beautiful woman. Most perfect woman I ever saw. They were a beautiful couple. Beautiful. Garnett was with me that night. A lot of fellows from the old outfit. People standing around singing in the blue uniform. We were leaving the next day. Some going north, some going south. Splitting up. A soldier's farewell. "Goodbye." "Good luck." "I'll see you in hell." Do you remember that? Towards the end of the evening, we all sat around the piano. And Myra played that song there, that was the one she played. Maybe for years, maybe forever, I'll never forget that. You know how it was, Pete. Winn was like a brother to me. Remember? Towards the end of the evening, things got a little rough. We both began to... well, there were a lot of tears. I went over to Hancock. I took him by the shoulder. I said, "Winn, so help me, if I ever raise my hand against you, may God strike me dead." Ain't seen him since. He was at Malverne Hill, White Oak Swamp, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg. One of these days, I will see him, I'm afraid. Across that small, deadly space. I thought about sitting this one out. But I can't do that. That wouldn't be right either. I guess not. Thank you, Peter. I had to talk about that.
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: Some of them, they load and load, they never fire. They just keep right on loading. Some of them come home with seven, eight bullets rammed up in the barrel, never fired a shot.
Private Bucklin: I'm tired, Colonel. I've had all of this army and all of these officers, this damned Hooker, this damned idiot Meade, all of them, the whole bloody lousy rotten mess of sick-brained, pot-bellied scabheads that ain't fit to lead a johnny detail, ain't fit to pour pee out of a boot with instructions on the heel.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Many of us volunteered to fight for the Union. Some came mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many came because it was the right thing to do.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: I don't mean no disrespect to you fighting men, but sometimes I can't help but figure... why you fightin' this war?
Rebel Prisoner: Why are you?
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: To free the slaves, of course. And preserve the Union.
Rebel Prisoner: I don't know about other folk, but I ain't fighting for no darkies one way or the other. I'm fightin' for my rights. All of us here, that's what we're fighting for rights.
[pronounces it 'rahts']
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Your what?
Rebel Prisoner: For our rights. The right to live my life like I see fit. Why can't you just live the way you want to live, and let us live the way we do? Live and let live, I hear some folks say. Be lot less fuss and bother if more folks took it to heart.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Where'd you get captured?
Rebel Prisoner: From a cut just west of Gettysburg town. Wasn't a pretty sight. Many a good boy lost a young and promising life. Some wore blue and some wore gray. Seen enough of this war?
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: I guess I have.
Rebel Prisoner: I guess I have too. Looks like I'm gonna be sittiing out the rest of it.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Well, I appreciate you talking to me.
Rebel Prisoner: [salutes] See you in hell, Billy Yank.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: [salutes] See you in hell, Johnny Reb.
General Robert E. Lee: [Lee is comtemplating the battle on the night of July 1]
General Robert E. Lee: In the morning is the great battle. Tomorrow or the next day will determine the war. Virginia is here. All the South is here. What will you do tomorrow? In the morning, the enemy will be up in fortified positions on high ground. Longstreet's corps will be coming up, and... my boys'll be ready to finish the job. If I tell them to withdraw now... no, sir. They've been patient for far too long. With the enemy out there up on the hill, they'll be ready to finish the job. But I don't even know how much is up there. How many men? How many cannon? I don't know the ground or the flanks. I don't know. If I wait in the morning, the early morning, maybe Meade, under pressure, will attack. Hmm. That would make General Longstreet very happy. But I don't think Meade will come down. And I don't think I can withdraw. So... God's will. Thy will be done.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [thinking] Hold to the last. To the last what? Exercise in rhetoric. Last shell... last man... last foot of ground... last breath...
[seeing the remains of Pickett's Division after the charge]
General Robert E. Lee: This is all my fault.
Major General George E. Pickett: My boys! What's happening to my boys?
Col. Porter E. Alexander: We've been firing for a good while now, sir. It's apparent now that the Federals nor we will gain a clear advantage in this business. If we continue to expel our ammunition at this rate, we might endanger our ability to support the advance.
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Did you not have enough ordnance when this was begun?
Col. Porter E. Alexander: Federal fire compelled us to move the artillery train farther to the rear, sir. It's taken us longer to refill the capsules. Sir, we must slow down our fire now, or we will have to cut back on the guns sent in to support the infantry.
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Damn! I'm going to have to order general Picket to hault his attack until these guns can be replaced!
Col. Porter Alexander: Sir, the trains have little ammunition, it would take an hour to replace it. In the meantime, the enemy would improve on the time. The longer we delay, the more time the Federals have to strengthen their own line. And even if we recovered more supplies from the ordnance train, how much more damage could we inflict on them than they on us? They're bringing in fresh batteries as quickly as they drive them off!
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Just get some more ammunition and keep it hot! I cannot send in Picket's division or the others, until we clear some of those guns off that ridge!
[Chamberlain is not feeling well and doesn't want to ride the horse]
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: Colonel, darlin', could you do us all a favor and get on the damn horse?
[Longstreet is briefing the commanders before the final charge]
Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew: Johnston Pettigrew, University of North Carolina.
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Yes, General; your fame as a scholar precedes you. They still speak of your grades at North Carolina with reverence and awe. I understand you've written a book.
Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew: A minor work; if the General would care to read it...
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Yes, General, I would like that very much.
Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew: Captain, fetch a copy of my book from the wagon.
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Excuse me, General, but I don't think I will have time to read it today.
[before the final charge]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: How's the leg, Dick?
Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett: Oh, it's alright. Can't walk. I'm going to have to ride.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Dick, you can't do that! You'll be the perfect target.
Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett: When we go up that hill and we break that line; there'll be a clear path to Washington and maybe today, this day, will be the last day. I've got to ride up there. Well, Lo; I'll see you at the top.
Col. Arthur Freemantle: You call yourselves Americans, but you're really just transplanted Englishmen. Look at your names: Lee, Hood, Longstreet, Jackson, Stuart...
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: My people were Dutch...
Col. Arthur Freemantle: And the same for your adversaries: Meade, Hooker, Hancock, and - shall I say - Lincoln! The same God, same language, same culture and history, same songs, stories, legends, myths - different dreams. Different dreams. So very sad.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [Lee and Longstreet are discussing Harrison's report on the Union army on the night of 30 June] He says the lead element is here with the Third Corps...
[he points on the map]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: ... the Sixth right behind...
[he points to a different spot]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: ... supported by a column of Federal cavalry. Seven corps altogether. The First and Eleventh are above Taneytown, and there's more cavalry two hours east. There may be as many as 100,000 altogether.
General Robert E. Lee: Do you believe the man, this Mr. Harrison?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: No choice. Oh, you remember him, sir; the actor from Mississippi?
General Robert E. Lee: An actor? We move on the word of an actor?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Can't afford not to.
General Robert E. Lee: [Lee takes off his glasses and sits down in a camp chair] There would be some word from General Stuart. General Stuart would not leave us blind.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Oh, one other thing. Hooker's been replaced. George Meade's the new commander. Harrison read it in the Yankee papers.
General Robert E. Lee: [thoughtfully] George Meade. Pennsylvania man. Meade would be cautious, I think. Take him some time to get organized. Perhaps we should move more swiftly. There may be an opportunity here.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: Well...
[Lee gets up and walks back over to the map table]
General Robert E. Lee: ... no reason to delay. I think we should concentrate here.
[he points to a spot on the map]
General Robert E. Lee: All the roads converge just east of this gap, and this junction will be very necessary.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: I left my spectacles over there. What is the name of this town?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [Longstreet leans over and reads the name on the map] "Gettysburg."
General Robert E. Lee: Very well.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [after three of the last deserters decide to fight] Sergeant Owen, get these men some muskets.
Sgt. Owen: There are no muskets, sir.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [to the deserters] Wait here. There'll be guns available in a little while.
General Robert E. Lee: Yes, sir, general. We will attack the center. But I believe you are right about the flank. Hood and McLaws were both very badly damaged yesterday. What I will do is give you two other divisions: General Pettigrew and General Trimble. They are stronger and more rested, and so you will have nearly three divisions at your command, including Pickett. Your objection will be that clump of trees yonder.
[he points toward the Union line]
General Robert E. Lee: The attack will be proceeded by massed artillery. We'll concentrate all our guns on that one small area. A feu d'enfer, as Napoleon would call it. When the artillery has had its effect, your charge will break the line. You will have nearly 15,000 men at your command, general. And you may begin whenever you are ready, but plan it well. Do plan it well, I pray you, sir. We stake everything on this.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Sir with your permission... Sir, I've been a soldier all my life. I've fought from the ranks on up, you know my service. But sir, I must tell you now, I believe this attack will fail. No 15,000 men ever made could take that ridge. It's a distance of more than a mile, over open ground. When the men come out of the trees, they will be under fire from Yankee artillery from all over the field. And those are Hancock's boys! And now, they have the stone wall like we did at Fredericksburg.
General Robert E. Lee: We do our duty, general. We do what we must do.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [resignedly] Yes, sir.
Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds: [Has just arrived to reinforce Buford, surveying battlefield] Lovely ground.
Gen. Buford: I thought so, Sir.
Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds: Now, let's go surprise Harry Heth.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: All science trembles at the searing logic of your fiery intellect.
[Historical quote, to Confederate troops about to begin their attack of 3 July]
Major General George E. Pickett: Up men! And to your posts! And let no man forget today, that you are from Old Virginia!
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: We should have freed the slaves, *then* fired on Fort Sumter.
Major General George E. Pickett: Sirs, perhaps there are those among you who believe you are descended from a ape. I suppose there may even be those among you who believe that I am descended from a ape. But I challenge the man to step forward who believes that General Robert E. Lee is descended from a ape.
James L. Kemper: Hear, hear!
Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett: Not likely.
James L. Kemper: [Kemper, Pickett, Garnett, and Col. Freemantle are sitting around a table playing cards, while Kemper expounds on the Confederate cause] You see, Colonel, uh... the government derives its power from the consent of the people. Every government, everywhere. Well, let me make this very plain to you, sir: we do not consent, and we will *never* consent. And what you've got to do is -
[he stands up and looks straight at Freemantle]
James L. Kemper: - you've got to go back over there to your Parliament, and you've gotta make it very plain to *them*. You've gotta tell them that what we're fighting for here is the - is the freedom from what we consider to be the rule of a foreign power! I mean, that's all we want. That's what this war is all about.
[he tries to pull Kemper back into his chair]
James L. Kemper: [brushes Garnett off] No, no, no, no. Now-now, we-we established this country in the first place with very strong state governments just for that very reason. I mean, uh... let me put it to you this way: my home is in Virginia. The government of my home *is* home. Virginia would not allow itself to be ruled by... by some, uh, king over there in London. And it's not about to let itself be ruled by some president in Washington! Virginia, by God, sir, is gonna be run by *Virginians*!
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: [Armistead and Longstreet are walking by and overhear this] Oh, my. "The Cause."
Major General George E. Pickett: [looks at his cards] Actually, Jimmy, I got a pair of kings.
James L. Kemper: [keeps plowing on] And it's all for the Yankees, the damn, money-grubbin' Yankees. I mean, those damn fools, they don't get the message! Always the darkies, nothin' but the darkies.
Major General George E. Pickett: You know, Jim... ahem. Sit down.
[he abruptly pulls Kemper back into his seat]
Major General George E. Pickett: I think that my idea, my, uh... my analogy of a gentlemen's club is-is fair enough. It's clear enough.
[he turns to Freemantle]
Major General George E. Pickett: Colonel, think on it, now. Now you suppose that we all join a club, a gentlemen's club. And then, well, after a time, several of the members began to, uh... began to *intrude* themselves into our private lives, our home lives. Began tellin' us what we could do, what we couldn't do. Well, then, wouldn't any one of us have the right to resign? I mean, just...
[he snaps his fingers]
Major General George E. Pickett: ... resign. Well, that's what we did. That's what *I* did, and now these people are tellin' us that we don't have that right to resign.
James L. Kemper: Well...
[he starts chuckling]
James L. Kemper: I gotta hand it to you, George. You certainly do have a talent for trivializin' the momentous and complicatin' the obvious. You ever considered runnin' for Congress?
Major General George E. Pickett: [laughs] It's a thought.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [Chamberlain is addressing his junior officers before the Confederate assault on Little Round Top] Gentlemen... the 83rd Pennsylvania, 44th New York, and 16th Michigan will be moving in to our right. But if you look to our left, you will see that there is no one there. It's because we're the end of the line. The Union army stops here. We are the flank. Do you understand, gentlemen? We cannot retreat. We cannot withdraw. We are going to have to be stubborn today. So, you put the boys in position, you tell them to stay down. Pile the rocks up high; get the best protection you can. I want the reserve pulled up about 20 yards. This is sloping ground, it's good ground. If you have any breakthroughs, if you have men wounded, if you have a hole in the line, you plug it with the reserve. How are we fixed for ammunition?
Capt. Ellis Spear: Sir, I think about 60 rounds per man.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: That's good. 60 rounds. I think - I... yes, that's adequate. Any questions?
Young 20th Maine Officer: Colonel... seems to me the fighting's on that side of the hill.
Older 20th Maine Officer: Yep. Seems to me that we're the back door. Everything's goin' on at the front door.
[all but Chamberlain laugh]
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Well, gentlemen, that hill is steep. It's rocky. It's bare. To come straight up it is impossible. No. The Reb army is going to swing around. It's gonna come up through that notch right over there. It'll move under the cover of trees, try to get 'round the flank. And gentlemen... *we* are the flank. Gentlemen.
[he salutes, and all the others return it]
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: God go with you.
General Robert E. Lee: What day is it now, Major?
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: [takes out his pocket watch] It's long after midnight, sir. It's already Friday.
General Robert E. Lee: Friday, July the 3rd?
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: Yes, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: Then tomorrow is the Fourth of July.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: Sir?
General Robert E. Lee: Independence Day?
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: Huh. I'd quite forgotten.
General Robert E. Lee: The good Lord has a sense of humor. I'm very sorry to keep you up so late.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: It is my pleasure, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: We should have a larger staff.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: I would be insulted, sir.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [Longstreet and his staff have ridden too far forward immediately following Pickett's Charge; a cannon blast almost kills Goree] God!
[Goree slowly gets up]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: How are you, T.J.?
Cap. Thomas J. Goree: I'm tolerable, sir.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [looks across the battlefield to Cemetery Ridge and sighs] They ain't comin'. Too bad.
Cap. Thomas J. Goree: [Goree looks in the same direction] Yes, sir. General... I'll tell you plain. There are times when you worry me.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Well...
Cap. Thomas J. Goree: No good tryin' to get yourself killed, General. The Lord'll come for you in His own good time.
Maj. G. Moxley Sorrel: What are your orders, sir?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [sighs] Prepare for a defense, but... the Yankees ain't comin'. Come on, boys.
[he sadly rides away]
[Pickett likes to wear perfume]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Good Lord, George, what is that smell?
Major General George E. Pickett: That's me.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: He got it off a dead Frenchman.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Don't call me Lawrence.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: Darn it, Lawrence, I'm your brother.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Just be careful of the name business in front of the men, just because you're my brother... it looks like favoritism.
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: God Almighty, General Meade has his own son as his aide de camp.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: That's different. Generals can do anything they want. There's nothing so much like a god on earth as a General on a battlefield.
Major General Winfield Scott Hancock: Tell me, Professor. In your studies have you come across a story from antiquity of two men who are the closest of friends, almost brothers, and then one day find themselves facing each other on the field of battle?
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Well, General, if the Greeks or Romans did not tell of it, I think that story must surely be in the Bible.
Major General Winfield Scott Hancock: When I look across the field and see the flags of the 9th and 14th Virginia; I can almost see his old crumpled hat and hear his voice. Lewis Armistead was my closest friend before the war. I'd like to see him again; but not here, not like this. What do you say, Colonel; what do the books tell you.
[Armistead and Pickett are discussing the charge]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: What about Garnett?
Major General George E. Pickett: What about him?
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: His leg's hurt, he's going to have to ride up that hill.
Major General George E. Pickett: Damnation!
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: George, order him not to go.
Major General George E. Pickett: General Armistead! How can I do that?
Colonel Strong Vincent: It's a far cry from Bowdoin College.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: No farther than Harvard yard.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: What does Col. Fremantle think? Will the British come in on our side?
James L. Kemper: Oh, hell yeah, they'll come in - they'll come in when we don't need 'em no more. Just like some damn bank gon' loan you money when you no longuh in debt.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: You English had your own civil war, didn't you?
Col. Arthur Freemantle: [chuckles] That was ages ago. We wouldn't dream of doing it now. Cavaliers and Roundheads! Off with his head! Off with his head!
Gen. Buford: [as the Confederates try their first attack] Got one brigade in position and that's all. We got the best damn ground around and they're hitting me with one brigade... lovely. Lovely!
[turns around and looks with his binoculars for Gen. Reynolds, seeing no sign]
Gen. Buford: Damn!
Rice's Courier: [just before Pickett's Charge to the center of the Federal line] Colonel Rice has instructed me to tell you're relieved, sir.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Relieved?
Rice's Courier: Fresh troops are on their way up and they'll take over here, sir. Colonel Rice wants to give you people a rest. You are to fall back, and I am to show you the way.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [to himself] Fall back. Yes...
[turns to Ellis]
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Ellis, have the men fall in; we're moving out.
[to the courier]
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Where are we going?
Rice's Courier: Oh, sir! Lovely spot. Very quiet. Safest place on the battlefield. Right smack-dab in the center.
Major General George E. Pickett: [as Armistead places the hat on the point of his sword during the last charge] That's the style, Lo! That's the style!
Surgeon: We drugged him, Sir. Be better if he slept.
Major General John Bell Hood: I didn't see much. The boys' went in and hit the rocks. How'd it go, Pete?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Fine, Sam.
Major General John Bell Hood: We take those rocks?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Most of 'em.
Major General John Bell Hood: Worst... ground I ever saw. You know that?
Major General John Bell Hood: They call it Devil's Den. It's a good named for it.
[Longstreet nods again before grasping Hood's outstretched hand to comfort him]
Major General John Bell Hood: What casualties?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: We don't know yet.
[Hood groans in agony]
Major General John Bell Hood: Ya' gotta give my boys credit. You... you should've let me go to the right.
[His eyes begin to close]
Major General John Bell Hood: We should have gone to the right...
[Hood passes out]
Surgeon: He needs to rest some.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: His record at West Point is still the talk of both armies. He graduated last in his class, dead last. Quite a feat, when you consider his classmates.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Virginians! Virginians! For your land - for your homes - for your sweethearts - for your wives - for Virginia! Forward... march!
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: [Armistead sees a young soldier cowering behind a fence on the Emmitsburg Road during Pickett's Charge and stoops down next to him] Come on, boy, come on! What'll you think of yourself tomorrow?
[he stands back up]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Virginians! Virginians!
[he takes off his hat and impales it on his sword, then holds it aloft]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: With me! Who will come with me?
[he charges ahead, his brigade hot on his heels]
Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett: Quick step, my boys. Give them the cold steel!
Confederate Sentry: Howdy, friend. Where are you headed?
Henry T. Harrison: General Longstreet. I gotta see the General.
Confederate Sentry: Is that a fact?
Henry T. Harrison: I know General Lee has his headquarters up here a little ways. Wherever he is General Longstreet is nearby. You fellows take me that way, this is urgent.
Confederate Sentry: Let me put it to you like this, stranger. You're not in uniform and you're coming through my picket line. I'll take you up there, but if nobody back there knows you, well, I guess unfortunately, you'll have to be hanged.
20th Maine soldier: [guarding several newly captured Confederate prisoners] Colonel! I've been moving these Rebs with an empty musket!
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [whispering] No so loud!
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: [Tom hands Lawrence a cup of coffee] Where have you been?
Lieutenant Thomas D. Chamberlain: We sent out a detail and found some more departed souls down there, and they were carrying coffee for which they had no more use for, so...
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Oh, you're a ghoul.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: Good morning, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: Goor morning, Major Taylor.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: Will the general have some breakfast?
General Robert E. Lee: No, thank you.
Maj. Walter H. Taylor: We have flapjacks in small mountains. Fresh butter, bacon, wagons of ham, apple butter, ripe cherries. You really ought to pitch in, sir. Courtesy of our host, the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.