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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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"Friday" sees the failure of Lee’s grand plan to charge the Union center; the Rebels are forced to retreat and must give up their invasion of the North. Chamberlain moves his men from the vulnerable extreme left to the supposed safety of the center of the Union line; Longstreet debates with Lee over the need to fight a defensive war but Lee wants to end the war here and now; Chamberlain is caught under the storm of Rebel artillery that precedes Pickett’s Charge; Armistead leads his men alongside Pickett and reaches the Union wall only to be beaten back by overwhelming numbers; Longstreet observes the disillusioned Rebels retreat; and the victorious Chamberlain looks over the battlefield and watches the rains come.

CHAMBERLAIN (Chapter 1 OF Section IV)

Relocation & celebration of success at Little Round Top

Chamberlain awakes to an aching foot after the night spent on Big Round Top. From the hill’s crest he watches the camps of both armies awake and the smell of coffee taunts him as his regiment has no coffee, nor any food or ammunition.

His thoughts are again haunted by his wife and his yearning to return to her. The war is such a radical change from his former teaching career, and he fears that after days like yesterday he will never feel quite as alive when he returns to being a civilian.

Tom arrives and the two discuss Chamberlain’s lack of fear during the battle, how brave the Rebels were, and of how the men shied away from actually sticking the enemy with their bayonets.

Chamberlain and his younger brother are interrupted by the sounds of artillery. Chamberlain sends Tom to get ammunition and is frustrated at the lack of supplies. His regiment saved the entire army yesterday and now the 20 th Maine is without food or ammo. He realizes that his unit is almost gone: from the 1,000 men they started with in Maine they are down to fewer than 200.

The battle sounds from the north increase and Chamberlain receives notice that his men are to fall back to the center of the Union line to rest after yesterday’s ordeal.



"Campfires burning in groups and clusters, like little cities" (p.275)

"He limped among the men, passing each one like a warming fire." (p.280)

Sync..: "the odor of death was very slight, just that one pale yellow scent" (p.275)

Situational Irony:

"Golly, that’s the whole damn Reb army."

"Don’t swear." Chamberlain said automatically. (p.276)

"But none of them wanted to go, some deathly afraid of the hospital itself, some not wanting to be away from the men they knew, the men they could trust, the Regiment of Home." (p.281)

" ‘Colonel Rice informs me that he wishes to compliment you on a job well done and give you people a rest, so he wants you to fall back, and I’m to show you the way.’

‘Fall back.’ Chamberlain turned, looked around the hilltop. He did not want to go. You could defend this place against an army.... He would be back here, some day, after the war...

‘I’m to lead you to your new position...a lovely spot. Safest place on the battlefield. Right smack dab in the center of the line. Very quiet there.’ " (p.282)


" ‘I go up and down this hill much more my legs are going to fall off.’ " (p.279)

"The hill...It was a very good position.... Overlooking all the world." (p.279)

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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara



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