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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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LONGSTREET (Chapter 3 of Part III)

Longstreet attacks the Federal’s left flank

At headquarters, Lee orders Longstreet to attack the Federal’s left and thereby draw off Union forces from the hills to the north, at which point Ewell will be able to attack.

Longstreet is Lee’s right hand man and Lee is determined to win the large and gloomy man to his side. Riding back to the troops, Lee opens up and explains to Longstreet the "trap of soldiering." The trap is that an officer never expects to lose all of his men, and yet he must risk them all for victory. Longstreet is also more communicative than usual, expressing his feeling that the Union troops never really seem to be the enemy, especially since he fought alongside so many of them in Mexico. He also deliberates on the vow to uphold the Union that both he and Lee have broken. Lee insists that they not be distracted and sends Longstreet off to lead the planned attack.

However, because of Stuart’s absence the roads leading to the Union position have not been scouted. As a result, Longstreet almost marches his sneak-attack directly into the Union line of sight and is forced to take a lengthy detour (counter-march) in order to keep his men hidden behind the rolling hills. Longstreet mulls over whether or not Stuart should be court-martialed. Longstreet concludes that the cavalry leader should be severely punished, but he knows that Lee will never sign the court- martial papers.

When Longstreet finally positions himself before the hills he is supposed to attack, he is surprised to find that the Union forces have moved forward off the hills and have dug into the road by the peach orchard. Hood desperately wants to move to the right of the Union position at the peach orchard and take the Federals from the rear, but Longstreet knows that there is not time to communicate with Lee and orders Hood to follow through with the assault as planned earlier.

The chapter ends with the Confederate troops charging up the hill to attack the Union position.



"From the two hills ran a long ridge, like the shaft of a fishhook." (p.181)

"The fight coming to warm him like sunrise." (p.190)

"There was a certain independence in the air, blowing like a hot wind inside his head." (p.190)

" ‘God go with you.’ Lee said. It was like a blessing from a minister." (p.194)

"Mind seemed to uncloud like washed glass." (p.198)

"Hood’s eyes, normally so soft and sad, were wide and black as round coals, shining with a black heat." (p.201)

"Great boulders tall as houses, piled one upon another like the wreckage of a vast explosion." (p.201)

"Hood’s smoke stayed where it was, then slowly, very slowly, like a huge ghost, the white cloud came drifting gracefully up the ridge." (p.203) This excerpt also foreshadows the Confederate loss.

"He could feel the fire building in McLaws, in Barksdale, as water builds behind a dam." (p.204)

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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara



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