Study Guide

The Killer Angels Part 2, Chapter 1

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Part 2, Chapter 1


  • This is the beginning of Part 2: Wednesday, July 1, 1863: The First Day.
  • In the morning, Lee watches the troops move out and drinks a cup of coffee. He's not feeling too good, but the soldiers seem awed by him.
  • Lee reflects on his heart trouble and the pain he felt after falling off a horse. An aide, Major Taylor, tells him there's no news from Stuart—but there is news from A. P. Hill: some of his men are going into Gettysburg to try to get shoes.
  • Taylor also notifies Lee about the Union cavalry that might have shown up in town. Lee makes it clear that Heth—one of Hill's generals—should be sure not to engage the Union until all the Confederate Army has arrived.
  • Lee turns down breakfast, tells Taylor to give assistance to the townspeople whose food they've taken for the army, and to give an old man back his blind horse, which the soldiers took.
  • Lee wants to see Longstreet, and Taylor rides off to get him.
  • In the interval, Lee signs a Pennsylvania woman's autograph and wrangles with a complaint that the wife of General Dorsey Pender believes God has turned against the Confederates as punishment for invading the North. Lee agrees to talk with Pender, sending him a message reminding him that defensive warfare could easily lead to surrender.
  • Lee hopes the war will end soon. It stops raining, and the sun peeks out.
  • Large, bearded Longstreet arrives. Lee likes Longstreet, despite the fact that a lot of soldiers think he's grim and kind of a stick-in-the-mud. Lee thinks he's a great soldier.
  • Lee and Longstreet talk about Fremantle and how the Confederates won't get any support from Europe. Lee also mentions how the men are getting diarrhea from eating too many cherries.
  • Lee orders Longstreet to stay back from the line of battle so that he can preserve his life to take charge of the army in the event of Lee's death.
  • Longstreet asks Lee if there's been any news from Stuart. There hasn't, so Longstreet suggests a court-martial. Lee says that he'll just reproach Stuart.
  • Longstreet remembers how A. P. Hill threatened him to a duel; meanwhile, Lee's heart continues bothering him. Longstreet says that Harrison confirmed there was cavalry in town, despite what A. P. Hill's been saying. Lee doesn't dispute this.
  • Longstreet wants to swing around and cut Meade off from Washington, forcing an attack. Lee wants to use the good ground and Gettysburg to hit Meade right here, hard. He recognizes Longstreet's advice is good but still wants to follow his own instinct.
  • Lee and Longstreet ride out together, surveying the beautiful country. They hear the first sounds of artillery from the battle; Lee rides toward it.

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