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Killer Angels

.. pletely insane” (Shaara 46). E.M. Forster, a writer interested in the psychology behind personal relationship, once said, “I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” The Southern Generals Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet would betray the country before their friends, while the Northern Colonel Chamberlain and General Buford would pick their country. General Lee feels a strong sense of duty to his family and friends over country as Shaara says, “He fought for his people, for the children and the kin, and not even the land, because not even the land was worth the war, but the people were.. And so he took up arms willfully, knowingly, in perhaps the wrong cause against his own sacred oath and stood upon alien ground he had once sworn to defend.” (Shaara 263).

Longstreet feels a sense of duty to his friends including the ones on the Union side. Longstreet feels compassion towards the Union soldiers, feeling that he has betrayed his friends, as he says “, Difficult thing to fight the men you used to command.” Colonel Chamberlain feels that his country is more important than friends are and he is willing to kill to protect the Union. “He had grown up believing in America and the individual and it was a stronger faith than his faith in God,” says Shaara about Chamberlain. This shows that he loves his country that he puts it above his faith in God. Chamberlain automatically and autonomically places his brother in battle without even thinking about the consequences of losing his brother just to win a battle.

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General John Buford feels a sense of duty to his country and serves as a professional. He believes that his country is more important than his friends are. “When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare,” said Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the U.S. and activist for world peace. General Robert E.

Lee feels that the Civil War is very sacred and holy because he is fighting for the freedom of his kin and people. He believes in his cause and is willing to go against the country and maybe the will of God to protect the rights of his people. Chamberlain believes the actions of the Union army are very holy and the most righteous deed done in the history of the world. “This hasnt happened much in the history of the world. Were an army going out to set other men free; What has been done to the Black is a terrible thing” (Shaara 179). James Longstreet is a very technical man and felt there was nothing sacred and holy in the Civil War.

He felt there were no ideals and fights only to win, “..The Cause was Victory” (Shaara 63). Buford is a professional and sees nothing sacred and holy either. He is in the war to serve and win. He has no ideals and freedom to protect. The Civil war shattered futures and broke the innocence of many young lives. Michael Shaara uses the horrific details of the Civil War to teach the reader that war is not as valiant and courageous as men make it seem.

The vivid details included in the book help to draw and etch the gory pictures of war into ones mind. The generals each relay their feelings about the death and destruction of the war to the reader. The reader gets the feeling that the author is communicating only the negative aspects of the war and not too much of the glory. All the Generals, Colonels, and men involved cannot seem to stop talking about the lives theyve seen lost and men wounded. General Lee and the other men explain that theyve has lost many great comrades and officers in the battle. Shaara keeps sharp attention to all the blood and bullets flying around the whole time so the reader feels that war is hell in essence.

Robert E. Lee is the heart and soul of the South and people depended on him to lead the South into victory. The South admired him for the pride he brought and the North admired him for his military prowess. One man goes as far as to say, “Well maybe you are come from an ape, and maybe I am come from an ape, but General Lee, he didnt come from no ape” (Shaara 131). Robert E. Lee is the savior and leader for the people of the South, and they worshiped him.

No man in the North or South doubted his military genius or ever went far enough to challenge what he said. Fremantle explained that Lee was a mythical hero even in England, he was a gentlemans man. “Well. They love him. They do not blame him. They do impossible things for him,” says Fremantle (Shaara 162).

Men would do anything make Lee proud. The Northern generals were afraid to go against him at times and respected his power. However, General Longstreet through the course of the book begins to doubt the old mans power to make decisions. Longstreet keeps to himself to not offend anybody, especially since General Lee was a loved man by all. Longstreet feels that Lee is too powerful and sometimes makes the wrong decisions without somebody being able to tell him he is wrong. “The men shield from blaming Lee.

The Old Man is becoming untouchable,” says Longstreet (Shaara 240). Longstreet feels that Lees mythical status is getting in the way of the war and might end up hurting him. The overall impression of Lee is that he is a mythical and legendary person to most, but Longstreet quietly does not see him as the superhuman he is made to seem. The Civil War was the greatest battle ever waged on American soil and once it was over the battlefield lay in ruins. The men, the fortunate ones who survived, moved on to bigger and better battles.

However, the battle scars, both emotional and physical, remained forever. General John Buford is greatly weakened by his wounds from the battle and fights through the summer. In December 1863 Buford goes down with Typhoid fever and dies without receiving recognition for saving the high ground and perhaps the battle. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain is given a brigade after the battle of Gettysburg but is wounded six times. He is regarded as one of the greatest soldiers in American history, and receives numerous medals for honor during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Ulysses Grant gives him the honor of Major General for heroism and is chosen by Grant as the officer to receive the Southern surrender at Appomattox. Chamberlain is elected the governor of Maine and eventually elected President of Bowdoin College. He dies from his wounds in June 1914 at the age of eighty-three. General Longstreet asks to be relieved of command after the Battle of Gettysburg, but Lee makes him stay. After the war he blames Lee for the loss of Gettysburg, and this does not sit well with people. His theory of defensive war is very advanced for the time.

He serves as President of Washington College until his death in 1904. General Lee remains the symbol of all that is proud and noble in the South. He asks to be relieved of his command but it is denied. After the war he asks for pardon from Congress and it is denied until 1970. Lee dies of heart disease in 1870.


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