Study Guide

The Killer Angels Part 2, Chapter 6

By Michael Shaara

Part 2, Chapter 6

Lee

  • Lee rides past the Confederate troops, who are both overjoyed with the day's apparent victory and crying tears of grief for dead comrades.
  • Lee's headed to see Ewell, Early, and Rodes. He wonders why they didn't attack the Union position on the high ground.
  • Ewell is pleased with the day's fighting and shows Lee where he got hit in his wooden leg with a bullet.
  • Early explains the state of Ewell's Corps to Lee—which Lee thinks Ewell should do. Finally, Lee asks the men why they didn't attack the Union position.
  • Ewell says there were many reasons: they couldn't get artillery in place; they were tired from already fighting; and the Union position was very strong. Attacking wasn't practical.
  • Lee thinks it might be a good idea to try to take the high ground, Cemetery Hill, the next day. He thinks of Stonewall Jackson.
  • Early disagrees, as do Rodes and Ewell. Early suggests having Longstreet attack the other flank, drawing the Union away from this position so that they can also attack it.
  • Lee reflects that Longstreet doesn't like Early.
  • Lee says the only alternative to attacking is retreat—which no one wants to do. With that, Lee takes the generals' leave.
  • On his way out, Lee meets General Isaac Trimble, one of Ewell's aides. Trimble is in a rage, requesting a transfer from serving Ewell. He says that there was virtually no one on the hill next to Cemetery Hill (Culp's Hill), and they could have taken it. But Ewell wouldn't let him have a single regiment to do so.
  • Lee senses Trimble is telling the truth and thanks him. Riding away, he feels bleak and hungry.
  • An old woman cooks dinner for him in a house on Seminary Ridge, and Lee eats while reporters, artists, European observers, and others move around him, talking and joking.
  • Lee requests Ewell's presence. When Ewell arrives, he is apologetic: he says he was too careful and should have moved to take the hills. Lee is forgiving, and says that Ewell still managed to win a victory, though a smaller one than he might have.
  • As Ewell leaves, Lee feels better about him, though he worries that losing a leg might have softened the guy.
  • Back at the house, Lee falls asleep in a rocking chair, after saying a prayer for his son and for the soul of General Reynolds. He knows this will be the war's definitive battle.
  • As he drifts off to sleep, Lee still worries about the next day's fight.

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