Study Guide

The Killer Angels Part 4, Chapter 1

By Michael Shaara

Part 4, Chapter 1

Chamberlain

  • This is the beginning of Part 4: Friday, July 3, 1863: The Third Day.
  • Perched in a tree on Big Round Top, higher than any man in either army, Chamberlain watches the dawn.
  • Chamberlain's been awake for a long time. His leg hurts where he was nicked, and his foot's bleeding from another wound. His men are out of rations.
  • Chamberlain thinks about his wife and kids back home in Maine, waiting for him.
  • Tom brings Chamberlain some coffee and marvels at the view. Chamberlain says he misses Kilrain, but Tom says he'll be okay.
  • Tom says he doesn't like bayonets: stabbing people doesn't sit well with him, and he couldn't do it yesterday.
  • Tom mentions that Chamberlain didn't seem afraid of anything yesterday. He thinks the Union win the war.
  • Tom and Chamberlain were both impressed by the Confederates as fighters and figure they'll be attacking again today. A flash of cannon fire down the line makes them think the Confederates might be creating a diversion to come their way again… but no attack comes.
  • Chamberlain leaves the tree, feeling stiff, and chats with some of his soldiers. He thinks about the colonel who must be commanding the Union soldiers on the opposite side of the line and wonders who he might be.
  • Chamberlain remembers the battle from yesterday proudly. He sends an injured soldier, who was shot through the cheek and now has a fever, to the field hospital.
  • Chamberlain's hungry and feels angry. As he binds the wound on his foot, he thinks that the army has forgotten about his men and doesn't appreciate what they did. His soldiers are excellent fighters now, but there aren't many more of them left.
  • A messenger from Colonel Rice arrives and tells Chamberlain he's being relieved, to his surprise.
  • Soon, the troops arrive to relieve Chamberlain. He wants to return to Little Round Top to bury the dead men from his regiment, but for now, the 20th Maine is moving to the center of the line, the quietest place on the field so far…

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