Study Guide

The Killer Angels Part 3, Chapter 5

By Michael Shaara

Part 3, Chapter 5

Longstreet

  • In the tent hospital, Longstreet watches Hood, who's been wounded in the arm. He's reminded of Stonewall Jackson, who was fatally wounded after Chancellorsville.
  • Hood says they should have moved to the right when attacking, and Longstreet agrees. He lies and tells Hood that they took Devil's Den, rocky ground near Little Round Top. He also lies when he says the casualties weren't too bad.
  • As Longstreet looks at him, he realizes Hood isn't going to die.
  • Riding across moonlit ground, Longstreet observes the tents. Barksdale died today, during the fighting.
  • Longstreet looks up at Little Round Top and sees that there will be no way to take it from the Union soldiers now.
  • Longstreet meets up with T. J. Goree, who explains that he hit one of Hood's officers when that officer was blaming Longstreet for the attack. Goree knows Longstreet tried to talk Lee out of it.
  • Longstreet says that will probably be okay, as long as Goree didn't kill the man. He doesn't want any duels.
  • It disturbs Longstreet that Lee has become so untouchable.
  • Longstreet talks with Sorrel, who's been injured by shrapnel and has lost his horse. (He's riding a new one.) Sorrel tells Longstreet that casualties were around one third of the force—even as high as half of Hood's division. That's around eight thousand men.
  • Longstreet tells Sorrel to get hard facts on casualties and not try to take it easy. One of the Longstreet's other aides arrives and delivers a speech from Pickett, stating that he's arrived and eager to fight. Longstreet says he'll see Pickett soon.
  • Longstreet rides to headquarters, past soldiers, reporters, and family members bringing packages with slaves in tow. Suddenly, he sees Jeb Stuart, who waves at him. Longstreet doesn't wave back.
  • People shout congratulations to Longstreet, which confuses him. He finds Lee, and Stuart comes over, cheerful but perhaps vaguely aware that he didn't do a great job.
  • Lee is tired. He sits in a rocking chair while talking with Longstreet. Lee thought the Confederates were very close to winning today.
  • Longstreet disagrees.
  • Lee and Longstreet talk about the generals who died that day—including Barksdale—and Longstreet admits he lost half his force. Lee still thinks that they can break the Union line and clear a path to Washington.
  • Outside, Marshall says he has court-martial papers for Stuart, but Lee won't sign them. Stuart was joyriding, raiding enemy wagons, and leaving the Confederates blind.
  • Longstreet agrees that Stuart should be court-martialed, but he knows Lee won't want to.
  • Longstreet is amazed that people seem to think they've been victorious today. He knows Lee will attack again tomorrow.
  • As Longstreet rides off, Fremantle joins him. They shake hands, Fremantle congratulating him on his "victory" and praising Lee for being a great soldier. He says he wants to write a book explaining Lee's victories and tactics to a European audience after the war ends—which he thinks could happen in the next few days. Fremantle says he didn't realize Lee was so tricky and devious.
  • Longstreet says Lee isn't devious—the men just love him. He shocks Fremantle by saying that there aren't any great tactics in the war: they just find men and kill them, like at Fredericksburg, where they fired from behind a stone wall.
  • Longstreet complains about the lack of strategy in this war, saying the Confederate strategies are old-fashioned and borrowed from Napoleon. It'll be a miracle if they can win tomorrow, he says.
  • Embarrassed and feeling disloyal, Longstreet stops talking. But he feels on the verge of a realization.
  • Longstreet and Fremantle say goodnight, and Longstreet rides away, remembering how he once prayed for his children and felt there was no God to listen to him. He remembers Stonewall Jackson and how he'd ordered pikes for his men to use in battle.
  • Longstreet arrives at his own camp, where Pickett is telling a story by the fire. Armistead and Garnett are both there, and Armistead comes to say hello.
  • Armistead offers Longstreet a drink. Longstreet declines and tells Armistead that Hood might lose an arm.
  • Armistead says he's been talking to Fremantle, who doesn't seem too bright. Fremantle told him that Europeans still mostly believe the war is about slavery, which Armistead thinks is crazy talk.
  • Longstreet knows the war really is about slavery, but he doesn't say anything.
  • Longstreet and Armistead talk about how in the South, they always call slaves "servants," not slaves.
  • Everyone listens as soldier sings the song "Kathleen Malvourneen." Pickett tears up and then tells a funny store about Ewell's horse.
  • Armistead asks Longstreet about Hancock, and Longstreet mentions that he fought Hancock's troops today. Armistead still wants to see Hancock if he can; he remembers that they all played "Kathleen Malvourneen" on the piano when they were last together. At that time, Armistead had promised Hancock he would never raise arms against him—and he hasn't been on the same field of battle with him since.
  • Still, Armistead thinks it would be wrong to sit out this battle. He asks Longstreet to see Hancock's wife if he himself doesn't survive the battle; he has sent her a package.
  • By this point, Pickett's telling another funny story, and Armistead goes off to join the rest. Longstreet badly wants to join in, but he thinks he'll ruin the good time. He misses the way things used to be.
  • Armistead comes back and makes Longstreet take a drink and join the group. He stops thinking about the war for a while.

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