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Duty (Family vs. State)
By plugging the hole with Tom, Chamberlain chose to serve his state over his family--at least for that split-second. He later regrets this decision.
"Chamberlain saw Tom come up, whirling through smoke, saw a rip in his coat, thought: no good to have a brother here. Weakens a man." (P.221)
"Not my own brother, but Tom understood, hopped across to the vacant place and plugged it with his body so that there was no longer a hole but a terribly exposed mortal body. Chamberlain thought, not right, not at all. If he was hit, I sent him there. What would I tell Mother? What do I feel myself?"
Is Chamberlain willing to sacrifice his brother to win the war?
" ‘You are the extreme left of the Union line...You cannot withdraw. Under any conditions. If you go, the line is flanked. You must defend this place to the last.’ " (p.210)
"Hold to the last. To the last what?...Last man? Last shell? Last foot of ground? Last Reb?" (p.211) See Lee’s comments on the "trap of soldiering."