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LEE (Chapter 6 of Part II)
Ewell and Early’s explanation
Lee, already angered by Ewell’s failure to take the hills south of town as commanded, grows increasingly frustrated by Ewell’s habit of continually deferring to the arrogant Early. When Lee seeks a straight explanation for why Ewell did not take the heights that the Union now occupies, Ewell stalls and Early justifies their actions with the claim that there had been Federal troops spotted to the North.
Lee changes the subject by offering up Longstreet’s suggestion that the army withdraw and stake out a defensive position between the Union army and Washington. Ewell and Early immediately reject the idea as bad for morale and Lee dismisses the two officers for the night.
Afterwards, Trimble approaches Lee furious about the behavior of Ewell (his superior officer) and requests a transfer. Trimble tells Lee that the hills south of town could have easily been taken and that Ewell’s excessive caution and stubbornness will cost many lives over the next few days.
After Trimble leaves, Ewell comes back to Lee and apologizes for being too careful and having not completed the day’s victory.
Lee is comforted by Ewell’s new confidence and goes to sleep considering how Stuart’s absence affects his decision of whether or not to attack tomorrow.
"Ewell had the look of a great-beaked, hopping bird. He was bald and scrawny; his voice piped and squeaked like cracking eggshells...Ewell was giggling, grinning, cocking his head off to the side like a huge parrot, chortling...His fingers fluttering....the beak above the wild mustache bobbing." (p.136 & 143)
"He raised on huge hand like a vast clam and made a gesture as if pushing a disgusting thing away from him, into the black air."
" ‘That bloody damned hill was as bare as his bloody damned great head.’ " (p.141)
"His white hair gleamed in the moonlight like wadded cotton." (p.141)
"He thought of...the Union army growing now in the night on that hill, blossoming darkly across the field like a fungus, a bristly fungus." (p.142)
"There was a rocking chair for Lee; it received him like an enfolding arm." (p.142)
"A small relief blossomed like a flower." (p.143)
" ‘All standing there in the flaming dark like great fat idiots.’ " (p.141) This excerpt also contains an oxymoron.
" ‘Sir, give me one division and I will take that hill....General Ewell, give me one brigade, and I will take that hill....General, give me one regiment and I will take that hill.’ " (p.141)
" ‘A blind man should have seen it [how vulnerable the Union hill was].’ " (p.142)
"He wiped his face. It was all out of him. The fire died." (p.142)
"And he let himself fall into the bright dark [of sleep]." (p.145) The dark is "bright" because it’s refreshing and he’s exhausted.