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THEMES (IN ORDER OF PROMINENCE)
The Lee vs. Longstreet theme links nearly all the other Themes together and is best illustrated by this table:
Bold Offensives, Defensive Trench Warfare
What wins battles?
Passion, Numbers, and Strategy
Ailing Heart, Exhausted Large man
Views of God
Obey His will, There’s no response
Very short in the legs
Stuart, Armistead Buford,
Feel God’s will is not reliable
Defend family State’s Rights
The Communication theme
Inability to communicate leads to conflict on national, military, and personal levels.
"It came to him [Longstreet] in the night sometimes with a sudden appalling shock that the boys he was fighting were boys he had grown up with. The war had come as a nightmare in which you chose your nightmare side. Once chosen, you put your head down and went on to win."
Buford continues to bash the military status quo in the Civil War (which also applies to Vietnam) concerning the suffocating chain of command. He is frustrated because even though he sees Meade’s plans will fail, he cannot help but instead is ironically forced to help carry out the immanent failure he foresees. (p.40) Compare this to Longstreet’s frustrations with Lee’s plan for Pickett’s charge on page 300.
"Longstreet felt a surge of emotion. He wanted to reach out and touch the old man [Lee], but that was impossible. You could not show affection here, no place for it here." (p.288)