Gettysburg (1993) Script

In June 1863, after more than two years of bloody conflict…

… the Confederate army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee commanding…

… slips across the Potomac to begin the invasion of the North.

It is an army of 70,000 men.

They move slowly behind the Blue Ridge…

… using the mountains to screen their movements.

Their objective is to draw the Union army out into the open…

… where it can be destroyed.

Late in June, the Union army of the Potomac, 80,000 men…

… turns north from Virginia to begin the great pursuit up the narrow roads…

… across Maryland and into Pennsylvania.

General Lee knows that a letter has been prepared by the Southern government.

A letter which offers peace.

It is to be placed on the desk of Abraham Lincoln, President of the U. S…

… the day after Lee has destroyed the Army of the Potomac…

… somewhere north of Washington.

Federal cavalry. Two brigades.

Howdy, friend. Where you headed?

General Longstreet. I must see him. Is that a fact?

I know General Lee's headquarters are up here a little ways.

Wherever he is, Longstreet is nearby.

Take me that way. It's urgent. Let me put it to you like this.

You're not in a uniform and you're coming through my picket line.

I'll take you up there, but if nobody there knows you…

… I guess, unfortunately, you'll have to be hanged.

Sir. General, sir.

I'm sorry, excuse me, sir, but Harrison is back.

Harrison? Yes, sir.

The scout, Harrison, sir.

I knew you'd want to know that as soon as possible.

He's right outside here, sir.

Your servant, general.

Didn't expect to see me, did you?

I paid you in gold three weeks ago. What do you got?

I don't suppose you got another one of those.

That good southern tobacco.

What do you got?

I got the position of the Yankee army. They're only a few miles down the road.

The whole Yankee army coming this way. Seven corps.

A few miles?

Yes. Two brigades of Yankee cavalry down that road about…

… two, four hours away.

Behind that there's seven corps.

I put it all on a map, if you'd like to see it. About 80,000 men.

All seven corps.

You didn't know any of that?

You didn't know they were on the move.

You wouldn't be spread so thin if you'd known.

How do you know we're spread out?

Listen, general. I'm good at this business.

Sir, I beg your pardon, but if this man's story is true…

… why haven't we heard about it?

General Stuart's cavalry is out there. He would have reported.

What do you know about Jeb Stuart? He's out there all right.

He's riding up north somewhere getting his name in the papers.

He hasn't caused anything but a little fuss.

If the Federal army was moving that fast, as close as you say…

… I believe General Stuart— Look here.

I came within an angry mule's kick of the whole Yankee cavalry.

And all the way through a picket line.

Hazardous too.

I don't know what Jeb Stuart's doing.

I don't care. I do my job.

Yankee cavalry's down the road, thick as fleas…

… not two hours hard ride from this here now spot.

And that, by God, is the Lord's truth.

Major Sorrel. Yes, sir.

Will you go to General Lee's headquarters and notify him about this?

Yes, sir.

Captain Goree. Yes, sir.

Get this man a tent.

And a cigar.


He says the lead element is here with the Third Corps…

… the Sixth right behind…

… supported by a column of Federal cavalry.

Seven corps all together.

The First and Eleventh are above Taneytown.

And there's more cavalry two hours east.

There may be as many as 100,000 altogether.

Do you believe the man, this Mr. Harrison?

No choice. You remember him, sir, the actor from Mississippi?

An actor? We move on the word of an actor?

Can't afford not to.

There would be some word from General Stuart.

General Stuart would not leave us blind.

Oh. One other thing. Hooker's been replaced.

George Meade's the new commander. Harrison read it in the Yankee papers.

George Meade, Pennsylvania man.

Meade would be cautious, I think.

Take him some time to get organized.

Perhaps we should move more swiftly.

There may be an opportunity here.

Yes, sir.

No reason to delay.

I think we should concentrate here.

All the roads converge just east of this gap.

This junction will be necessary. Yes, sir.

I left my spectacles over there. What is the name of this town?

Gettysburg. Very well.

Message for Colonel Chamberlain.


Colonel, darling. Rise up, me bucko.

I'm sorry, darling, but we got a bit of a problem here.

Would you like to hear about it?

Would you wake up, sir?

We got a whole company coming, sir.

This way. I'll give you time to wake up, but we've got quite a problem.

Altogether, 120 men are coming. We're to be having them as guests.


Should be here any minute.

Who? Mutineers.

Mutineers, colonel, me lad.

A hundred and twenty men from the old Second Maine, which has been disbanded.

A hundred and twenty mutineers?

Yes, sir.

You see, what happened was the enlistment papers…

… on the old Second Maine run out.

They were sent home, all except these 120 fellows…

… who foolishly signed three-year papers.

Three years, that is.

So these poor fellows got one more year to serve.

Only they thought they were signing to fight only with the Second Maine…

… and the Second Maine only.

So they, uh, quit.

They resigned, you see. 120 men.

Colonel, are you all right? Yeah.

The point is, these Maine fellows won't fight no more.

Nobody can send them home and nobody knows what to do with them.

Until they thought of us…

… being as we are the only other Maine regiment in the Fifth Corps.

So they've been assigned to us.

Yes, sir.

I have a message here from the new commanding general.

George Meade, sir. That's right.

Our very own general of our very own corps…

… has been promoted to command of the whole army.

The latest, if you keep track of them as they go by.

The message says they'll be arriving this morning and they are to join us.

Oh. "And if they refuse to follow orders, please feel free to shoot them."

To shoot them? Yes.

These Maine men? Mm.

"You are hereby authorized to shoot any man who refuses to do his duty."

Are these all Maine men?

Yes, sir. And fine big fellows they are too.

Mutiny. I thought that was a word for the Navy.

We'll move at sunrise.

It's a good time of the day.

I always do enjoy this time, just before the dawn.

When all this is over, I shall miss it very much.


I didn't mean the fighting.


… it's all in God's hands now.

Good day, sir.

Good day to you.

General, sir.

Should I wake them up, sir? Should I get them waked up and get going?

No, Moxley.

Let the boys sleep a little longer. They'll need it.

Yes, sir.

Prisoners, mark file, left!

How many men do we have now in the 20th Maine?

Somewhere around 250, sir, counting the officers.

How the heck are we supposed to take care of 120 men?

Colonel, it's going to be a hot day today.

Seeing as you already been down with the heat, will you ride the horse…

… that the good Lord provided, instead of marching in the dirty dust?

You walked.

Darling, I've been in the infantry since you was in books.

After the first few thousand miles, a man gets limber with his feet.

Morning, Lawrence.

How are you? You're looking kind of peaked.

Darn it, Tom. Don't call me Lawrence.

It doesn't make sense.

Hold a gun on a man to get him to fight.

Detail, about face.

Attention, detail!

You heard the captain. Stand at attention!

Guards, get these men back on their feet!

I'm looking for commanding officer, 20th Maine.

You found him.

That's him. You're Chamberlain?

Colonel Chamberlain to you.

Captain Brewer, sir.

118th Pennsylvania.

If you're the commanding officer, I present you with these prisoners.

You're welcome to them.

Lord knows, I had to use the bayonet to keep them moving.

You have to sign for them.

Sign it, lieutenant.

You are relieved, captain.

You are authorized to use whatever force necessary.

You want to shoot them…

… go right ahead.

Won't nobody say nothing.

I said you are relieved, captain.

You men can leave now. We won't need any guards.

My name is Chamberlain. I'm the colonel of the 20th Maine.

When did you have something to eat?

They're trying to break us by not feeding us.

We ain't broke yet.

They just told me you were coming a little while ago.

I'll get the cook going.

The meat may be raw, but there's no time to cook.

We've got quite a ways to go today. You'll be coming with us, so eat hearty.

We'll set you up in those trees. Sergeant Tozier, see to it.

Yes, sir.


You boys go eat, then I'll come over and hear what you have to say.


Colonel, we've got grievances.

The men elected me to talk for them.

All right. You come along with me.

The rest of you boys go eat. We're gonna get moving in a little bit.

All right, men, on your feet.

Gosh, Lawrence. Smile. Don't call me Lawrence.

Are they moving? Yes, sir.

Forward, march.

What's your name?

I don't feel too kindly, colonel.

Yes, well, I'm usually not this informal.

I just took command of this regiment a few days ago.

Somebody ought to welcome you to my, uh- To our outfit.

They tell me they're holding you fellows because you signed three-year papers.

I'm sorry. Would you like some coffee?

Are you sure?

Go ahead. Sit down, Mister… Bucklin.

Joseph Bucklin.

Listen, Colonel. I've been in 11 different engagements.

How many have you been in?

Not that many.

It ain't the papers.

I done my share. We all have.

Damn good men. Shouldn't be used this way.

Look here.

It went clean through.

Colonel, we got a courier coming.

Listen, colonel. I'm tired.

You know what I mean? I'm tired.

I've had all this army, all these officers… This damn Hooker, this damn idiot Meade.

All of them. The whole bloody, lousy mess of sick-brained, potbellied scareheads.

They ain't fit to lead a johnny detail.

They ain't fit to pour pee out of a boot with instructions written under the heel.

I'm tired.

We are good men and we had our own good flag.

These damn idiots used us like we were cows or dogs or worse.

We ain't gonna win this war.

We can't win with these lame-brained bastards from West Point.

These damn gentlemen. These officers!

The courier, sir.

Don't go away.

Colonel Chamberlain, sir.

Colonel Vincent wishes to inform you the Fifth Corps is moving out.

You and the 20th Maine Regiment are instructed to lead.

20th Maine's assigned first position in line. Send out advanced guards and flankers.

Flankers? Yes, flankers.

Right, yes. My compliments to the colonel.

Captain Clark, you heard him. Get the regiment up.

Sound the assembly. Strike the tents.

You better get something to eat. Looks like you could use it.

Tell your men I'm coming.

The boys from the Second Maine are being fed, Lawrence.

Don't call me Lawrence.

Damn it, Lawrence. I'm your brother.

Be careful about the name business in front of the men.

Because we're brothers, it looks like favoritism.

General Meade got his own son as his aide-de-camp.

That's different. Generals can do anything.

Nothing quite so much like God on earth as a general on battlefield.

What are you going to do with them? Colonel, sir.

You can't shoot them. You never go back to Maine if you do.

I know that.

I wonder if they do.

Colonel, sir. You know who this man is?

Dan Burns, from Orono. I know his daddy, the preacher.

Best cusser I ever heard.

Knows more fine swear words than any man in Maine.

You men gather around.

I've been talking with Private Bucklin. He's told me about your problem.

There's nothing I can do today.

We're moving out in a few minutes. We'll be moving all day.

I've been ordered to take you men with me.

I'm told that…

… if you don't come, I can shoot you.

Well, you know I won't do that.

Maybe somebody else will, but I won't.

So that's that.

Here's the, uh, situation.

The whole reb army is up that road a ways waiting for us.

This is no time for an argument.

I tell you, we could surely use you fellows.

We're now well below half strength.

Whether you fight or not, that's up to you.

Whether you come along is… Well, you're coming.

You know who we are, what we're doing here.

If you fight alongside us, there's a few things you must know.

This regiment was formed last summer in Maine.

There were 1,000 of us then.

There are less than 300 of us now.

All of us volunteered to fight for the Union, just as you did.

Some came mainly because we were bored at home.

Thought this looked like it might be fun.

Some came because we were ashamed not to.

Many of us came because it was the right thing to do.

And all of us have seen men die.

This is a different kind of army.

If you look back through history, you'll see men fighting for pay…

… for women, for some other kind of loot.

They fight for land, power.

Because a king leads them, or just because they like killing.

We are here for something new.

This has not happened much in the history of the world.

We are an army out to set other men free.

America should be free ground.

All of it.

Not divided by a line between slave state and free.

All the way from here to the Pacific Ocean.

No man has to bow.

No man born to royalty.

Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was.

Here you can be something.

Here is the place to build a home.

But it's not the land.

There's always more land.

It's the idea that we all have value.

You and me.

What we're fighting for, in the end…

… we're fighting for each other.


I didn't mean to preach.

You go ahead.

You talk for a while. Uh, if you, uh… If you choose to join us and want your muskets back, you can have them.

Nothing more will be said by anybody, anywhere.

If you choose not to join us, you can come along under guard.

When this is over, I'll do what I can…

… to see you get a fair treatment, but for now, we're moving out.


I think if we lose this fight…

… we lose the war.

So, if you choose to join us, I'll be personally very grateful.

Colonel, it's a fine morning.

Captain, are we ready? That we are.

Then let's move out.

20th Maine!



That's infantry, all right.

At least a whole brigade.

Any sign of cavalry?

Not a lick, sir.

That's strange.

Infantry moving alone in enemy country, blind.

Very strange, sir.

What do you make of that?

He's headed this way.


Lee's turned. That's the main body.

You think so?

I thought they were going to Harrisburg. He was.

That's too many troops to be a raiding party.

There's power behind it.

Sir, if you want to fight here, this is such lovely ground.

It's the best damn ground I've seen all day.

It is that.

We'll move both brigades into town.

That'll make the good citizens happy.

Let's go down and have a look.


Soldier, your shirt needs mending. I thought the war was in Virginia.

What division are you boys with?

Colonel, do you mind?

A good officer doesn't ride all day. I've been sitting too long anyway.

What do you think?

What do you think? About what?

About the Second Maine boys, what else?

Are any of them going to join us? Would you believe it? All but six!


I counted by actual vote. 114 voted to pick up the rifle.

Well, I'll be. You did good, brother, real good!

Good. See to it they march together.

Yes. Glazier's got the hardheads in tow. There are six.

Get the names. Put them in different companies.

I want them spread out, not bunched together.

I'll see about their muskets. Colonel, sir.

Keep the patrols out. Scout this bunch in front of us.

Also scout up north. They'll be coming over that way from Carlisle.

I think Lee's turned the whole army…

… headed this way, trying to get around us…

… get between Meade and Washington.

If I'm right, there'll be a lot of troops up this road…

… and down that northern road too, so hop to it.


By God, I can't believe they're coming this far north.

Can I have a ride on your pony?

There's Johnny Rebs everywhere.

Sure am glad to see you fellas.

Your servant, ma'am.

Is there going to be a disturbance in our town?

Nothing the cavalry can't handle.

Never knew you were such a cavalier.

I'm just not as shy and reserved as you, sir. Beg your pardon.

Yeah, I'm about as shy as a regiment at full gallop.

Rebel raiding parties have been here for days.

Peeled the land of every cow, chicken and hog.

Can't chew a plow horse with what they didn't take.

Bobby Lee's up this road a piece.

Got the whole army of Northern Virginia with him.

I recommend you good folks get back to your homes and stay indoors.

Yeah, for how long?

Till the shooting stops.

Something about the mayor and politicians and dignitaries that troubles me a bit.

They're too fat and they talk too much.

And they never think twice about asking a man to die for them.

You know what's happening here in the morning?


The whole damn rebel army is gonna be here.

They'll move through this town, occupy the hills on the other side.

When our people arrive, Lee'll have high ground. There'll be the devil to pay.

The high ground!

Meade will come in slowly, cautiously, new to command.

They'll be on his back from Washington.

Wires hot with messages. Attack! Attack!

So he will set up a ring around these hills.

And when Lee's army is nicely entrenched behind fat rocks on the high ground…

… Meade will finally attack, if he can coordinate the army.

Straight up the hillside, out in the open…

… in that gorgeous field of fire.

We will charge valiantly and be butchered valiantly.

And afterward, men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chest…

… and say what a brave charge it was.

Devin, I've led a soldier's life…

… and I've never seen anything as brutally clear as this.

It's as if I can actually see the blue troops in one long bloody moment…

… going up the long slope to the stony top…

… as if it were already done…

… and already a memory.

An odd, set…

… stony quality to it.

As if tomorrow has already happened and there's nothing you can do about it.

The way you sometimes feel before an ill-considered attack…

… knowing it will fail, but you cannot stop it.

You must even take part and help it fail.


We have 2,500 men.

They'll be coming in force.

There could be 20,000 coming down that road in the morning.

If we hold this ridge for a couple of hours, we can keep them away.

We can block that road until our main body gets here.

We can deprive the enemy of the high ground!

The boys are ready for a brawl. No doubt of that.

We'll force the reb to deploy.

That's a narrow road they'll be coming down.

If we stack them up, it will take them a while to get on track to get into position.

Is Calef's battery up yet?

His six guns are deploying now.

How far back is Reynolds with the main force?

About 10 miles, sir. Not much more.

Sir, you were right.

My scouts report the rebel army is coming this way for sure.

They're all concentrating in this direction.

We'll hold here in the morning.

Long enough for Reynolds and the infantry to arrive.

If we hang on to the high ground, we have a chance…

… to win this fight that's coming.

Understood? Yes, sir.

Post the cannon along this road, the Chambersburg Pike.

The rebels will hit us at dawn. I think we can hold them at least 2 hours.

Hell, general, we can hold them all the livelong day.

He's right, sir.

At Thoroughfare Gap, you held against Longstreet.

You held for six hours.

They never came. We held for nothing.

The rebs will hit us just about first light.

Keep a clear eye.

Have the pickets give us a good warning.

All right, gentlemen.

Let's get posted. Sir.

Gen. Reynolds, my troops are deployed on good ground…

… west of Gettysburg on the Chambersburg Pike.

I've sent reconnaissance parties in every direction…

… from which the enemy might be approaching.

I'm satisfied A. P. Hill's corps is massed just west of here…

… back of Cashtown.

The enemy's pickets are within four miles of my position.

Rumor says Ewell's coming over the mountains from Carlisle.

If true, two Confederate corps will converge upon us in the morning.

One from the west and one from the north.

Do you want me to hold this position if attacked?

Confirmation requested.

J. N. O. Buford.

"Bow down thy heaven, O Lord.

Come down and touch the mountains and they shall smoke.

Blessed be the Lord, my strength, which teaches my fingers to fight… and my hands to war. Amen."

Good morning, Lucy.

Traveler, good morning to you, sir.

Good morning, sir.

Good morning, Major Taylor.

How are you this morning, sir? How you feeling, sir?

Is there any word from General Stuart?

No, sir. I would have wakened you, sir, if… There was no report at all, sir.

If I don't hear from General Stuart by this evening, I'm gonna send word out to him.

Yes, sir. I have a message from General Hill, sir.

Yes? General Hill wishes to inform you that…

… he is going to Gettysburg this morning with his lead division general, Heth.

For what purpose? He advises me that there is…

… a supply of shoes in the town, and he intends to requisition some footgear.

General Hill knows I want no fight till this army is concentrated?

General Hill expects no opposition…

… except for some local militia with shotguns and such.

Very well.

Will the general have breakfast? No, thanks.

We have flapjacks in small mountains.

Fresh butter, bacon, wagons of ham, apple butter, ripe cherries.

You really ought to pitch in, sir.

Courtesy of our host, the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Has there been any trouble from the local population?

Oh, no, sir. No trouble with them.

The men are behaving very well.

But there are some local women who claim we have taken all their food.

And though they don't complain of our having paid for it…

… in the good dear coin of mighty Virginia…

… well, sir, they do object to starving.

We must be charitable to these people, major.

We have enough enemies. Yes, sir.

The men have their strict orders.

But I must admit those orders would be easier to follow…

… had the Yankees showed charity when they were in Virginia.

Major, this army will conduct itself properly…

… and with respect to all civilian population at all times.

And you will personally report to me any infraction…

… no matter how minor or trivial they may appear.

Yes, sir. Very well.

Good morning, sir.

General Longstreet, good morning.

Federal forces are concentrating.

Yes, and I've confirmed some of your man Harrison's information.

Their new commander is definitely George Meade.

I have reports of Union cavalry in Gettysburg.

Cavalry? Mm-hm.

General Hill reports only militia.

He did? Mm.

Well, it's cavalry.

Where there's cavalry, infantry will be close behind.

Meade's closing fast.

It could be he's thinking of swinging around behind us.

Behind, in front, direction does not matter. We'll fight him wherever he is.

Probably got old Abe Lincoln on his back frantic to throw us out of Pennsylvania.

We may have an opportunity here.

I agree.

Our objective was to get their army out of Virginia and into the open.

Now they are in the open.

General Meade has been forcing the march.

The weather has been unusually hot.

He will probably arrive here worn out and weary, piece by piece.

If we concentrate, we can hit him as he comes up.

If we can take out a few of his corps, we can even the odds.

But we must strike hard and we must strike quickly.

What artillery is that, major?

I don't know, sir.

General Heth is in front.

My instructions were clear? Yes, sir. To all commanders.

Avoid contact with the enemy until the army's up and concentrated.

And General Heth?

He has instructions not to force major action.

I told him this morning.

We should move closer to the front. Send for General Heth.

I must know what is going on. Yes, sir.


… in the fight that is coming, I want you to stay back from the main line.

This army has lost too many of its veteran commanders…

… and you, sir, have a very bad habit of moving too far forward.

Can't lead from behind.

May I say it plainly, sir.

I cannot afford to lose you.

General, let's look to this day. You may bring up your corps.


Major Taylor, have Traveler saddled up.

I'm gonna look around for myself. Yes, sir.

They've got a brigade in position and that's all.

We've got the best damn ground around, and they're hitting me with one brigade.

Lovely. Lovely.

Go on down, gentlemen.

Fall back!

They're on the run.

Close crop, General.

How are your losses? Not bad, sir.

We got them out in the open. Really got a twist on them.

They are arrogant people, you know? They came right at us.

We took some prisoners. They're from Heth's division of Hill's corps.

That's what I've got in front of me.

A new division. 8,000 men more or less. All within sound of this.

Just back up that road between here and Cashtown. A little ways up the road.

It'll take them a little while to get on line.

Yes, sir, but Hill's whole corps is behind. Maybe 25,000.

Longstreet behind that. Ewell over there to the north.

I know, Colonel.

When John Reynolds gets here, he won't have the full army with him.

Only part of it.

The point is, the rebs will be here this afternoon…

… with everything they've got. I just thought I'd mention it.

What do you want me to do here, sir?

Heth will be back in a bit.

If he's got any brains at all, and he's not stupid…

… he'll know by now he's got at least a brigade in front of him.

He won't wait to get his whole division in line.

That would take half the morning.

He don't need his whole division.

That's right.

Does Devin report any activity on his front over to the right?

No, sir. Not a lick. All right.

I'll have Devin leave his cover and withdraw his boys…

… and have them move in alongside you, lengthening your line.

When Heth gets back, he'll run into two brigades.

That ought to hold him until Reynolds gets here.

Right, sir.

Damn sure glad the rain is gone. Don't want anything to slow up Reynolds.

Take care of yourself, colonel.

Don't worry about me, sir. I'm the soul of caution.


Move! Fall back!

That flank… Hold it!

Stand fast, keep up your fire!

Keep up your fire! Pour it into them, boys! Pour it into them!

Keep up your fire!

Gamble's down, sir.

Colonel Gamble, but he's not hurt bad, sir.

I'm all right, I'm all right.

It was close, that's all.

Col. Devin's compliments. No problem on the right.

They came up close, but we put in the reserve.

We didn't put it all in, sir.

Wishes to know if you have further orders.

Tell Devin all reserve forward, now.

Keep up your fire!



Sir, it's General Reynolds.

Thank God.

What goes, John?

There's the devil to pay!

Can you hold? I reckon I can.

Captain, ride as fast as you can to General Meade.

Tell him the enemy is advancing in strong force.

I'm afraid they'll get to the heights beyond the town before we will.

We'll fight them here, inch by inch, through the town if necessary.

Yes, sir. Lieutenant.

Go into town, tell the people to stay in off of the streets, especially children.

There's liable to be a fair-sized dispute here today.

Joe, how can you see anything with those things on?

General. Damn glad to see you.

First corps is coming up. The 11th is right behind it.

Good job, John. Thank you.

I don't think they knew until now what they were up against.

Now that you're here, they still don't know.

Well, they'll be coming back. Very good.

Heth'll come in here thinking he's up against two tired cavalry brigades.

Instead he'll be hitting two corps of fresh Union infantry.

Yes, sir. Poor Harry.

You can pull your boys out as soon as we set up.

Put them out on my flanks. Good cavalry on both flanks.

Yes, sir. Well, John, most of my life I've been leery…

… about the appearance of high command.

But, John, I sure am glad to see you.

Gentlemen, place the troops.

Now, John…

… Heth probably has 10,000 men coming down that road, wouldn't you say?

Yes, sir. But there'll be more behind him.

We can put almost 20,000 in the field. We're in good shape, I think.

For a while, sir.

I'm sending messages to all commanders to come here with all possible speed.

It's lovely ground.

I thought so, sir.

Now let's go surprise Harry Heth.

Come on.

General Heth. Sir. I beg to report.


Very strange, sir. The situation is very confused.

What happened?

I moved in this morning, as directed.

I thought it was only a few militia, but it was dismounted cavalry, sir.

There weren't all that many, and the boys wouldn't hold back.

I thought we shouldn't be stopped by a few dismounted cavalry…

… but they made a good fight.

They really put up a scrap, sir.

Go on, general.

Well, sir, they wouldn't leave.

My boys got their dander up.

We deployed the whole division and went after them.

We just about had them running then all of a sudden…

… they got infantry support.

We got pushed back.

Then we re-formed and tried again. We couldn't just leave it to them, sir.

Now there's more Yankee infantry coming. I don't know how many.

But I don't know what else we could've done.

It started as a minor scrap with a few militia.

The next thing I know, I'm tangling with half the Union army.

Things will get out of control, Mr. Heth. That is why we have orders.

Is it possible you misunderstood? No, sir.

Can you identify those people?

The infantry is the First Corps, the Black Hats.

There's another corps coming that we haven't identified.

I must have all possible information on enemy strength.

Major Taylor, I want you to ride forward to the highest position and observe.

And do be careful. Yes, sir. Hyah!

Sir, shall I attack? No, sir.

We are not ready for full engagement.

General Longstreet is not up with his corps.

Sir, the enemy is disorganized.

If we throw all our forces in the field, we will have the advantage.

Is that our artillery?

Yes, sir.

I can't imagine what has happened to General Stuart.

I've heard nothing. Do you understand? Yes, sir.

I have no idea of what lies in front of me. It may be the entire Federal army.

Sir, compliments of Colonel Babbit.

Rebels are coming from the north. Your instructions, sir?

That'll be Ewell's corps. They're trying to flank us.

We got to meet them and force them to go on line.

Tell Colonel Devin to get up that way as quick as he can.

We'll get Gamble's boys back in the saddle and be there shortly.

Gen. Rodes has encountered Yankee cavalry.

Buford's brigades.

General Early's right behind him and will be on the field within the hour.

General Early may be attacked by half the Federal army within the hour.

Is that Pender's artillery? Yes, sir. He's up now.

Four batteries in position with two more in reserve.

With General Rodes attacking up there and Pender and I, we have three divisions.

We could sweep them.

General, sir.

I saw only two Federal corps. First and Eleventh.

And, General, I saw Early's lead columns coming down north of Rodes' lines.

He'll be engaged any minute, sir.

Sir, we got 20,000 infantry coming down almost behind the Union lines.

It's perfect, sir.

God's will.

Gentlemen, it would appear the fight is already underway.

General Heth, you may attack, sir.

My orders to all commanders: attack.

Fire! Fire!

Forward men, final brigade forward!

Drive those fellas out of that wood!

Forward! For God's sake, forward!

He's dead.

One thing about this brigade is we got our own special bugle call.

Ever hear tell of Dan Butterfield?

What, General Butterfield? What was with Hooker?

That's the same fellow.

He used to be our brigade commander. Yeah, he was a pistol.

No man like him for having a good time. I don't know about that.

But I know he used to like to write bugle calls.

The problem with this army is, we got too many calls.

We got a call for artillery, infantry, get up and eat, retreat.

Anyway, old Butterfield, he wrote a special call for this here brigade.

Say there is an order for this brigade, you and me.

He'll be blowing his bugle, we will think that order's for us when it wasn't.

We'll follow that order anyway, then we'll be in a world of hurt.

Yeah, that happened to me once. Us, that is.

Half the regiment charged, the other half retreated.

You had your choice.

This here brigade got a special call.

You hear that call, you know the next one is for you.

It goes like this.

See, the call's like "Dan Butterfield."

In the middle of a fight, I'm supposed to remember that?

You can remember that. That's easy to remember.

Butterfield, he wrote a lot of bugle calls.

You ever hear "Butterfield's Lullaby"?

Butterfield's what?

Colonel, sir.

Begging the colonel's pardon.

But would the colonel please do us a favor and get back on the damned horse?

I'll tell you, sir, it's not easy handling these new recruits…

… when the officers act like they ain't got any sense, sir.

Make way, make way!

Lawrence, sir.

We've gone over 20 miles today.

We've gone over 100 miles in five days, sir.

There's something going on.

Col. Vincent, sir. Chamberlain.

Far cry from Bowdoin College, isn't it?

No farther than Harvard Yard.

Indeed. With luck, we'll both see our alma maters again.

In the meantime, colonel, you move your boys along as best you can.

Two corps have engaged at Gettysburg.

So we'll keep going through dark and on until we get there.

Yes, sir. Godspeed.

Battery, fire!

They're running! They're running!

General Pender begs to report that the enemy is falling back.

They're on the run. Very well.

General Early says the enemy's caved in…

… on the left flank, going back to Gettysburg.

They're all running. Very well. Thank you.

Find General Hill's chief of artillery.

Tell him I want fire placed on that hill. As much fire as possible.

Yes, sir. Very well.

Major Taylor. Yes, sir.

Deliver this message in person.

Tell General Ewell the Federal troops are withdrawing in confusion.

We must only push those people in order to gain the heights.

Tell him to take that hill, if practical. The one beyond the town.

Do you understand? Yes, sir.

Very well. Hyah!

Congratulations, general.

I want you to see this.

It's like second Manassas all over again.

Couldn't have worked better if we'd planned it.

If we can take that hill, I want it occupied by nightfall.

Sir, the Federal army has fallen back through Gettysburg.

They're reforming on the ridges outside of town.

Very well.

This is almost perfect. We got them where we want them.

Let's move south and east, get between them and Lincoln…

… find some high ground…

… and they'll have to hit us.

Then we have them, general.

You mean disengage?

I've always been under the impression…

… that it was our strategy to conduct a defensive campaign wherever possible…

… in order to keep the army intact.

Granted, but the situation has changed.

How? We already pushed them back.

They're on the run, vacating the town.

How can we move off in the face of the enemy?

Major Marshall? Yes, sir.

I ordered firing on that hill, but no cannons are firing.

Send over and find out why. I'll see to it, sir.

Thank you.

What are you thinking, general?

Maybe we should not have fought here.

I know that. But we have prevailed. The men have prevailed.

They've always done that.

But in the morning, we may be outnumbered…

… and they'll be entrenched on the high ground.

You know as well as I, we've never been concerned with being outnumbered.

That is true. You are right.

If we move south to Washington, they have to pursue us.

Then we can fight on ground of our choosing.

But the enemy is here.

We did not want the fight, but the fight is here.

How can I ask this army to retreat in the face of what they've done this day?

Not retreat, sir. Re-deploy.

Our guns will move them off that hill or Ewell will push them off.

But if Meade is there tomorrow, I can't move this army away.

I will attack him.

If Meade is up there tomorrow, it is because he wants us to attack him.

We pushed back two corps, but there are five more coming.

General, I will bring up my boys as soon as I can.

Very well.

General? Sir?

Your man Harrison, the actor, he was quite correct.

Had it not been for him, this entire army might have been destroyed in detail.

The Federal force might've been here waiting when we turned around.

I'm deeply grateful to you, sir.

Hello, men.

What outfit are you with?

Archer's brigade, Heth's division.

Where you from? Tennessee.

How about you?


I've never been to Tennessee.

I reckon I've never been to Maine neither.

I don't mean no disrespect to you fighting men…

… but sometimes I can't help but figure, why are you fighting this war?

Why are you fighting it?

To free the slaves, of course. And to preserve the Union.

I don't know about other folk, but I ain't fighting for no darkies.

I'm fighting for my rights.

That's what we're all fighting for.

For your what? For our rights.

Why can't you folks live the way you want to live…

… and let us live the way we do?

"Live and let live," I hear some folks say.

Be a mite less fuss and bother if more folks took it to heart.

Where'd you get captured?

Railroad cut west of Gettysburg town.

It wasn't a pretty sight.

Many a good boy lost a young and promising life.

Some wore blue, some wore gray.

Seen enough of this war?

I guess I have.

I guess I have too.

It looks like I'll be sitting out the rest of it.

I appreciate you talking to me.

See you in hell, Billy Yank.

See you in hell, Johnny Reb.

I have found a John Henry, sir.

John who?

A John Henry, sir. A runaway. I heard him a-groaning.

Is he wounded?

Don't know for sure.

The man's exhausted.

We'll get him something to eat. The surgeon's on the way.

Did you get his name? He said something I couldn't understand.

I can't understand anyone south of Mason-Dixon.

Rebs or darkies.

All right, men, as you were. Surgeon, see to him.

We had visitors from the South before the war.

They were always very polite, academic, you understand.

We stayed off the question of slavery out of courtesy.

But toward the end there was no getting away from it…

… and yet I could never understand. I don't now.

I don't know why.

They fight so well.

Tell me something, Buster…

… what do you think of Negroes?

Well, if you mean the race…

… I don't really know.

This is not a thing to be ashamed of.

The thing is, you cannot judge a race.

Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit.

You take men one at a time.

To me, there was never any difference.

None at all? None at all.

Of course, I haven't known that many freed men…

… but those I knew in Bangor, Portland…

… you look in the eye, there was a man.

There was a "divine spark," as my mother used to call it.

That's all there is to it.

Races are men.

"What a piece of work is man.

How infinite in faculties, in form and moving…

… how express and admirable.

In action, how like an angel."

Well, if he's an angel, all right then…

… but he damn well must be a killer angel.

Colonel, darling, you're a lovely man.

I see a vast great difference between us, yet I admire you, lad.

You're an idealist, praise be.

The truth is, colonel…

… there is no "divine spark."

There's many a man alive no more of value than a dead dog. Believe me.

When you've seen them hang each other the way I have back in the Old Country.


What I'm fighting for is the right to prove I'm a better man than many of them.

Where have you seen this "divine spark" in operation, colonel?

Where have you noted this magnificent equality?

No two things on earth are equal or have an equal chance.

Not a leaf, not a tree.

There's many a man worse than me and some better…

… but I don't think race or country matters a damn.

What matters, colonel…

… is justice.

Which is why I'm here.

I'll be treated as I deserve…

… not as my father deserved.

I'm Kilrain…

… and I damn all gentlemen.

There is only one aristocracy…

… and that is right here.

And that's why we've got to win this war.


Howdy, general.

Hello, my boys. Virginia has arrived!

General Pickett presents his compliments…

… and asks to parler with the commanding general, s'il vous plaît.

Hey, George.


Good Lord, what is that smell?

That's me. Ain't it lovely?

He got it off a dead Frenchman.

Good evening. Hey, Lo.

I did not get it off a dead Frenchman.

I bought it in a store in Richmond with Sally.

It did have a French name, but Miss Corbert likes it.

How are you, general? Good, Jim, good. How are you?

Real good.

Dick, how's it going?

Fine, John, just fine.

Good. Oh, listen, I am sorry to assign you to old smelly George here…

… but I hear tell you have a strong stomach.

General, I want you to know…

… how much I appreciate this opportunity to be back in action again, sir.

Let it go, Dick. Let it go.

I consider it a damn fine piece of luck…

… to have a man of your caliber attached to this command. I do.

Uh, general, sir. Just exactly what do we have here?

Oh. Excuse me.

Gentlemen? Colonel Fremantle?

Allow me to introduce Major General George Pickett.

General Pickett, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Fremantle…

… of Her Majesty's venerable and elite Cold Stream Guards…

… Britain's military attache to the Confederacy…

… and, you might say, the eyes and ears of Queen Victoria.

Hardly, sir. I'm merely an observer and your humble guest.


… the fame of your regiment has preceded you.

General Pickett here is our ranking strategist.

The First Corps Army of Northern Virginia. We refer all our deeper questions to him.

They do. They do indeed.

His record at West Point is still the talk of both armies.

You know I consider it unbecoming to a soldier, all this book learning.

Book learning ain't for gentlemen, right? Nor that either.

He graduated last in his class. Dead last.

Quite a feat, considering his classmates.

The Yankees got all the smart ones. Look where it's got them.

Colonel, allow me to present my commanders.

Each one of these chaps, as you might say, commands a brigade of mine.

Now this fellow here, this is Lo Armistead.

Lo! That's short for Lothario.

The lover.

This here is Richard Brooke Garnett. You'll pardon his limp.

He got kicked by his horse the other day.

That fellow there… That's Jim Kemper.

You note the shifty eye, the hand in the pocket.

He's not even a West Pointer, so watch him.

He's a politician from Virginia. Jimmy's only here for the votes.

I was Speaker of the House in Virginia.

As a matter of fact, I'd like to talk to you about some political matters.

You know the queen, don't you?

What I need to know and tell my folks back home is:

When are you going to do something…

… about that damn Yankee blockade out there on the water?

Can you tell me something about that?

Time for some branch water. Come on.

General? Sir.

Might I have a few words?

Sure, George. Come on.

I must confess I'm rather curious about General Longstreet.

Up until tonight, he never seemed to fraternize all that much.

Almost dour, one would have to suggest.

Well, if I were you, colonel, I'd count myself among the lucky.

He just happens to be about the best damn poker player in this here man's army.

There was a time you'd have to fight to keep him out of a game.

Scarlet fever hit Richmond last winter, right at Christmastime.

General lost all three of his children to it.

The youngest was 10.

Hasn't been quite the same since.

Um… The queen. To the queen.

Her majesty.

Well, see, you are looking fine.

Looking lovely yourself, George.

General. No reflection on you, sir…

… but you know, my division, my Virginia boys…

… we haven't seen all that much action for a long time.

I mean, well, we weren't that engaged at Fredericksburg.

We missed Chancellorsville altogether. Off on some piddling affair.

Now they took two of my brigades, Corson, Jenkins, and sent them…

… off to guard Richmond. I mean, Richmond of all places?

And now, sir, do you know where I've been placed in the line of march?

Last, sir. That's where I am, exactly last. I'm bringing up the damn rear.

Beg pardon, sir. You see, my boys…

… are beginning to feel a trifle disgusted at this attitude towards them…

… as fighting men, sir. My boys-

George. Sir.

Please. I sure don't mean to imply you, sir.

No. Hell no, sir.

No, it's just, uh… Well, the bureaucrats.

See, I was just- I was hoping, sir, that perhaps you could…

… talk to somebody about this arrangement of the troops.

Would you like me to move the whole army to the side so you can go first?


Now that you mention it… There is no plot, George. It's just the way things fell out.

I mean, hell, look at it this way.

If the army has to turn around, fight its way back…

… well, you'll be first in line.

Yes, I suppose that is true, isn't it?

You understand, sir.

That this whole damn war might be over after one more battle…

… and my Virginia boys will have missed most of it.

Yeah, I know.

How far back are they?

Chambersburg, a hard day's march, sir.


I know I can count on you, George, when the time comes…

… and it will come. It will come.

Sorry to butt in, but they're calling for George over at the poker table.

Your fame, sir, has preceded you.

Well, thank you, general.

Well, cheerio, fellas.

Don't forget to bring your money.

Have you heard any news of old Winfield?

Old Winnie boy?

Hancock? Oh, yeah.

Well, how's he doing?

You're gonna find out. Yeah?

He's got the Second Corps. Damn clover leaves.

He's headed this way. Probably run into him in the next few days.

I wish I could see him again.

I haven't seen him since before the war.

Never thought it would last this long.

Me neither, Lo.

I sure would like to talk to old Hancock again.

One more time.

Well, why not?

You wouldn't mind?

Hell, no.

I mean, really.

Do you think it would be proper? You know, ethical?

Look, when the time comes, and he's close…

… just send a messenger over under a flag of truce and go on over.

Ain't nothing to it.

Last time I saw him was in California.

Right when the war was beginning…

… the night before we all left to go fight against each other.

Old friends off to war.

Hey, Lo. Hm?

How's your brigade? Oh.

I've never seen troops anywhere so ready for a brawl.

I've got to give the old man credit. A lot of credit for that.

Who else could've held this army together for so long?

Remember what they used to say about him?

When he first took command? They called him "Old Granny."

Lord, what damn fools we were.

Now when he passes…

… the boys hush as if they had seen an angel of the Lord.

Have you ever seen anything like that?

No. I can't say I have.

It's amazing what one honest man can do.

Mm. One honest man and a cause.

I don't think on that too much anymore.

I guess my only cause is victory.

This war comes as a nightmare. You pick your nightmare side.

Then you put your head down and win.

Old gloomy Pete!

You see, colonel…

… the government derives its power from the consent of the people.

Every government, everywhere.

Let me make this very plain to you, sir.

We do not consent and we will never consent.

And what you've got to do is, you've got to go back over there…

… to your Parliament and you've got to make it very plain to them.

You've got to tell them that what we're fighting for here…

… is the freedom from what we consider to be the rule of a foreign power.

I mean, that's all we want. That's what this war is all about.

Jim. No, no, no.

Now, we established this country in the first place…

… with very strong state governments…

… just for that very reason.

I mean, let me put it to you this way.

My home is in Virginia.

The government of my home is home.

Virginia would not allow itself to be ruled…

… by some king over there in London.

It's not about to let itself be ruled by some president in Washington.

Virginia, by God, sir, is going to be run by Virginians.

Oh, my. The cause.

Actually, I got a pair of kings.

And it's all for the Yankees.

The damn money-grubbing Yankees.

I mean, those damn fools, they don't get the message.

Always the darkies. Nothing but the darkies.

You know, Jim… Sit down. I think that my idea…

… my analogy of a gentlemen's club is fair enough. It's clear enough.

Colonel, think on it now.

Suppose that we all joined a club, a gentlemen's club.

After a time, several of the members began to intrude themselves…

… into our private lives, our home lives.

Began telling us what we could and couldn't do.

Well, then, wouldn't any one of us have the right to resign?

I mean, just resign.

That's what we did.

That's what I did and now these people are telling us we don't have that right.

I got to hand it to you.

You certainly do have a talent for trivializing the momentous…

… and complicating the obvious.

Have you ever considered running for Congress?

No. It's a thought.

What does Colonel Fremantle think?

Will the British come in on our side?

Hell, yeah. They'll come in when we don't need them no more.

Like some damn bank lending you money when you're no longer in debt.

Look here, Mr. Speaker… George.

A word?

Good night, colonel.

See you later.

In the next few days, we're going to have a hell of a fight here.

I want you to do everything necessary to get your boys ready.

You can start bringing them up by the first light.

I want you all in Gettysburg by tomorrow night.

Yes, sir.

Good evening, John.

I'm surprised you could find headquarters with all that confusion.

There's an old Indian saying:

"Follow the cigar smoke and find a fat man there."

General Hancock.

How are you, John?

I'm all right.

But the brigades are pretty shot up. I need to get refitted.

Right. I'll see to it. We know what you did this morning.

That was one hell of a piece of soldiering.

Thank you, sir.

Heard you were with John Reynolds when he was killed.

I'm sending the body up to his folks in Lancaster.

They might appreciate a note from you.

I'll send it.

He was a soldier.

And a good friend.

Three of us, Reynolds, Lo Armistead and I came up together.

Mexican War.


We stayed close.

I wonder how old Lo is doing. If he's still alive.

Heard he had one of Pickett's brigades.

Under Longstreet.


Just across the ridge, eh?

I'd like to see him again, but not here. Not like this.

Well, maybe after the war, eh?

Where do you want me in the morning?

I want you to hold your position on the extreme left.

Get some rest if you can.

We may need you in the morning.

Jeb Stuart's still on the prowl out there someplace.

Yes, sir.

Well, General Reynolds…

… we held the high ground.

General Trimble is waiting.

Will you see him? Very well.

I want a scouting party sent out posthaste to find General Stuart.

Yes, sir. Right away. Thank you.

General Trimble.

Sir, I most respectfully request another assignment.

Do please go on, general.

The man is a disgrace.

Sir, have you been listening at all to what the aides have been telling you?

Ask General Gordon or General Ewell. Ask them.

We could've taken that hill.

God in his wisdom knows we should've taken it.

There was no one there at all and it commanded the town.

General Gordon saw it. I mean, he was with us.

Me and Ewell and Gordon…

… all standing in the dark like idiots with that bloody damned hill empty.

I beg your pardon, general.

That bloody damned hill was bare as his bloody damned head!

We all saw it, as God is my witness.

We were all there.

I said to him, "General Ewell, we have got to take that hill."

General Jackson wouldn't have stopped with them on the run…

… and plenty of light on a hill like that empty.

God help us!

I don't know-

I don't know why I… Do please continue, general.

Yes, sir.


I said to General Ewell these words… I said to him:

"Sir, give me one division and I will take that hill."

He said nothing. He just stood there and stared at me.

I said, "General Ewell, give me one brigade…

… and I will take that hill."

I was becoming disturbed, sir.

And General Ewell put his arms behind him and blinked.

So I said, "General, give me one regiment…

… and I will take that hill."

And he said nothing.

He just stood there.

I threw down my sword. Down on the ground in front of him.

We could have done it, sir.

A blind man should have seen it.

Now they're working up there.

You can hear the axes of the Federal troops.

And so in the morning…

… many a good boy will die…

… taking that hill.


I must request another assignment.

No, sir. That won't be necessary.

You will be of great service.

And I do thank you.

General Meade, sir.

Hancock. It's so damn dark out there I can't see a thing.

Well, gentlemen.

I hope to God that this is…

… good ground.

Is this good ground, general?

Is this the place to have an army?

Very good ground, sir. Very good ground.

I hope you are right.

Because we are going to have a fight here sure enough in the morning.

General Ewell, I had hoped that after moving through the town…

… you would've taken that hill.

I didn't think it was practical.

Well, for many reasons.

We marched all day, and we'd fought.

And your orders were to caution against bringing on a general engagement.

There were reports of Federal troops in the north, sir.

We couldn't bring sufficient artillery to bear on that hill.

We decided it was best to wait for another of our divisions, Johnson's.

Yes, sir. Johnson didn't arrive till after dark, just a while ago.

He's out there now, looking over the terrain.

General Early, do you think you can attack on your flank in the morning?

That hill will be a very strong position once it's fortified…

… which is what they're doing right now, sir.

I am very much aware of that, general.

Have you looked over the ground yourself, sir?

From a distance only.

I do not think we should attack this point.

This will be the strong point.

Our troops have marched hard and fought hard today.

I suggest we hold here while the rest of the army attacks the other flank.

Do you think an attack on your flank will succeed?

I think it would be very costly.

Very costly, sir.

General Rodes?

We, uh, could attack of course, general…

… but the boys have had a good fight and that will be a strong position.

General, I am sorry we didn't take that hill today.

Well, this day is done.

You know, General Longstreet proposes that we move our army around to the right…

… and flank the Federal army…

… and interpose between Meade and Washington.

And to vacate this position?

To leave this town we've just captured, sir?

This town is of no military significance whatsoever, general.

To move this entire corps in the face of a fortified enemy?

And yet you tell me that you cannot attack in the morning?

Gentlemen, if we do not withdraw and if we do not maneuver in the face of the enemy…

… then we must attack. Is there any other alternative?

General Hill? No, sir.

Very well.

I do thank you gentlemen.


… I believe I may have been too slow today.

I regret that very much.

I was trying to be careful.

May have been too careful.

You won a victory this day, general.

It was not a large victory. It could have been larger.

Perhaps we could've pushed harder.

But it was a victory nonetheless.

And your people fought valiantly.

This was your first campaign commanding a corps.

Now you know it's not always as simple as it sometimes appears.

Go and rest now for tomorrow.

Will there be anything else, sir? No, thank you, major.

Very well.

In the morning is the great battle.

Tomorrow or the next day will determine the war.

Virginia is here.

All the South is here.

What will you do tomorrow?

In the morning…

… the enemy will be up in fortified positions on high ground.

Longstreet's corps will be coming up…

… and my boys will be ready to finish the job.

If I tell them to withdraw now? No, sir.

They've been patient for far too long.

With the enemy out there up on the hill…

… they'll be ready to finish the job.

But I don't even know how much is up there.

How many men? How many cannon?

/ don't know the ground on the flanks.

/ don't know.

If I wait in the morning, the early morning…

… maybe Meade, under pressure, will attack. Hm.

That would make General Longstreet very happy.

But I don't think Meade will come down.

And I don't think I can withdraw, so…

… God's will, thy will be done.

Major Sorrel, you've met before.

Thank you, general.

The Federal position was scouted during the last several hours.

We've drawn it up here.

Now, this is the situation.

The position of the Federal army is in the shape of a fishhook.

It starts here. You see these two hills?

This one and the one with the cemetery.

That is where they have concentrated their troops.

The hook starts there.

Now, it curves around and comes down this low ridge to the south…

… ending before two round hills of high elevation.

The Federals have no troops on those two hills.

Carry on. Thank you.

We now know that General Hancock is in charge of the Union center.

There are now perhaps 60,000 to 70,000 men already in position.

Perhaps as high as 90,000.

I spoke with General Ewell of your suggestion…

… that we move around to the right to flank the Federal army.

And he is of the opinion that withdrawing from Gettysburg…

… and giving it back to the enemy would be very bad for morale.

It is unnecessary. It might even be dangerous.

Do you disagree?

We must attack.

I would prefer not to fight upon this ground…

… but every moment we delay the enemy uses to reinforce himself.

We cannot support ourselves for long in this country.

We must not allow the Federal army to move around behind…

… and cut us off from home. No, sir.

We must strike him now.

We pushed him yesterday and he will remember it.

The men are ready and they are eager. I see no useful alternative.

Yes, sir.

Very well.


Good morning, all. Good morning, sir.

Longstreet will attack on the right with the First Corps.

Hill will support…

… with Heth in reserve.

Ewell's people on the left will demonstrate to keep the enemy…

… from reinforcing against our right flank.

Yes, sir. But I still don't have Pickett.

He's at the rear of column, a full day's march.

All I've got is Hood and McLaws.

I do believe that Hood's and McLaws' divisions will be sufficient.

With the general's permission. General Hood?

Moving in front of those rocky heights, we'll have enfilade fire…

… coming down on us.

Perhaps, but not for long. Your division…

… will be up over this unoccupied hill, the little, rocky one.

From there you will threaten the enemy flank.

When you're heavily engaged, General Ewell will strike from the left.

Very well, sir.

General? Let's move out, gentlemen.


General Barksdale, is Mississippi ready for this day?

Mississippi is ready. Very well, sir.

Let's go to it, Sam.

If he's right, General Lee…

… then the war is over by sundown.

Hm. We'll see.

I don't like going in without Pickett.

It's like going in with one boot off.

I'll wait as long as I can.

Do you have any idea of the force?

We counted five corps, including the two involved in yesterday's action.

That don't mean how many might be…

.. hidden behind those hills there.

And, damn it, with Stuart gone there ain't no way of knowing for sure.

Hey, Sam.

Take good care of yourself today, you hear?

You, too, Pete.

With your permission, sir.

I don't believe I've had the pleasure.

That's Major General John Bell Hood, but we call him Sam.

One of my three division commanders. Fellows from Texas and Alabama.

Oh, you've been to Texas, as I recall.

Yes. Actually that's where I came through.

Courtesy of the Yankee Navy who denied me any other point of entry.

It's a marvelous place, Texas.

Full of red Indians and Mexicans…

… cowboys, bandits and desperados.

Even hotter and more humid than this place.

If that's possible.

That fellow Hood…

… does his performance in battle match his appearance?

He really does look the part.

He does his job.

Most interesting army, I must say.

Virginia gentlemen fighting alongside Texas frontiersmen…

… and bayou bushwhackers from Louisiana.

Drawn together from across a continent.

Having traveled a good piece of it myself, I feel a part…

… or almost a member of this enterprise.

You call yourselves Americans, but you're really transplanted Englishmen.

Look at your names, Lee, Hood…

… Longstreet, Jackson, Stuart.

My people were Dutch.

And the same for your adversaries. Meade, Hooker, Hancock, and…

… shall I say? Lincoln.

The same God. Same language. Same culture and history.

The same songs, stories, legends, myths.

But different dreams.

Different dreams.

It's so very sad. Very sad.

You English had your own civil war once, didn't you?

That was ages ago. We wouldn't dream of it now.

Cavaliers and Roundheads.

"Off with his head! Off with his head!"

Heads lying everywhere.

One could hardly take a step without tripping over a fallen crown.

We're much more civilized now, I assure you.

We have so much in common, your country and mine.

I earnestly hope that we shall become allies.

Your government would never ally itself with a Confederacy…

… that had the institution of slavery. You know that. So do I.

We should have freed the slaves, then fired on Fort Sumter.

I guess we Southerners and you English have at least one thing in common.

We'd rather lose the war than admit to the mistake.

We whupped you British twice as I recollect.

Your candor is admirable, if somewhat eccentric.

A little eccentricity is good for a general.

We Southerners like our men religious and a little bit mad.

I suspect that's why the women fall in love with preachers.

If I may be so bold…

… what's to prevent the Yankees from attacking us here?

I notice you haven't bothered to entrench or build a fortified perimeter.

Ohh. We were alert today.

But old George Meade ain't gonna do us any favors.

What we must do is we must make him attack us.

And in order to do that, we have to occupy dangerous ground…

… between him and Washington.

Then- Then the politicians will press him to attack us.

Which he will most certainly do, given time.

Oh, I see. Very clever. Very clever.

So Lee doesn't dig in…

… knowing with certainty that Meade will not attack him here.

Meade will expect him to swing around to the south…

… in an attempt to cut him off from the capital, his supplies and reserves.

So while Meade ponders his own position, for fear he'll be flanked…

… Lee will actually attack him here, where he least suspects it.

Lulled as he is by his own false feeling of security…

… derived by his holding the seemingly superior topographical battlefield position…

… in short, the higher ground.

Brilliant. Sheer military brilliance.

General Lee is the ultimate strategist, a master deceiver.

Sir, it is exhilarating to be upon this field.

Well, I will pass on…

… your complimentary sentiments to the general.

Good morning, Colonel Freemantle.


General Longstreet.

Do you mind if I accompany you?

Not at all. I'm very glad to have you with us, sir.

The heat reminds me of Mexico.

Yes, but there it was very dry.

That was a good outfit.

I remember storming the ramparts of Chapultapec with old George Pickett.

Reynolds… My old friend, Ulysses Sam Grant.

There was some good men in that army. Yes, indeed.

Some of those men are waiting for us now up ahead on those ridges.

I don't know. I sometimes feel troubled.

Those fellows, those boys in blue, they never quite seem the enemy.

I know.

I used to command some of those boys. Swore an oath too.

I couldn't fight against Georgia and South Carolina.

Not against my own family.

No, sir. There was always a higher duty to Virginia.

That was our first duty.

There was never any question about that.

I guess so. Let us not think about that now.

The issue is in God's hands.

We can only do our duty.


Soldiering has one great trap.

To be a good soldier you must love the army.

To be a good commander, you must be willing to order the death…

… of the thing you love.

We do not fear our own death, you and I.

But there comes a time… We are never quite prepared for so many to die.

We do expect the occasional empty chair. A salute to fallen comrades…

… but this war goes on and on and the men die…

… and the price gets ever higher.

We are prepared to lose some of us, but we are never prepared to lose all of us.

And there is the great trap, general.

When you attack, you must hold nothing back.

You must commit yourself totally.

We are adrift here in a sea of blood, and I want it to end.

I want this to be the final battle.

I woke up this morning and I half thought he'd be gone, George Meade.

That he would not want to fight here. Yes, sir.

I woke up and I thought, "Meade will be gone…

… and this war will go on and on and on."

Well, sir…

… we'll make him sorry he stayed.

God go with you, general.

And with you, general.

That's mostly to the south.

I thought the rebs were all in Gettysburg. You don't suppose they're flanking again?

Mama's favorite. Let's go.

Lawrence, what's happening?

Sir, Corporal Estabrook reporting back, sir.

Brook, I thought you were on sick call.

Yes, sir. How are you now?

It's my stomach. I've been vomiting.

It's something you ate.

Finish up. We're about to move out. Yes, sir.

Col. Chamberlain. Col. Vincent.

Form your men. Follow me and prepare to double-quick.

We're going to the top of that hill, right there.

Hear that? Yes. I'll set it up.

The rebels are stacking up on our left flank.

And we've got to follow them.

Make haste. Yes.

Sound the assembly!

Follow me.

Powder in! Load!


Look here, the ground is strewn with boulders.

The soldiers up there are entrenched all over the ground.

And there are guns in the rocks.

Every move I make is observed.

If I attack as ordered, I lose half my division.

And they'll be looking down our throats at us from that hill right there.

We must move around to the right, sir.

And take them from the rear. Sam…

… the commanding general will not allow a flanking movement around those hills.

I argued it yesterday. I argued it all morning.

I've been arguing against any attack at all.

I can't call this one off. You know it.

Let me move up the big round hill to the south.

Nobody is on that. If I could get a battery up there-

There ain't enough time.

You'd have to cut down trees to place your artillery.

It would be dark before you were in action.

One the other hand, if they get batteries up there…

… we'll need buckets to catch the lead. You've got to take that hill.

They don't even need guns to defend that.

All they need to do is roll rocks down on you.

Just take it.

General, I do this under protest.

Sam, you are the best I got.

Now, sir, if you are ready, why don't you take that hill?


They're overshooting again.

Hey, fellows, you notice how that reb artillery always overshoots?

Tom? Yes, sir.

Another one closer and it could be hard day for Mother.

Go back to the rear. Watch out for stragglers.

Keep your distance from me.

Lawrence, I don't…

The whole damn reb army is down there…

… and coming up around our flanks. They could be here any minute.

We've got to hold this place. We've got to hold it.

Well, all right. I place you here.

Put your colors here, and set your regiment to the left of this line.

The rest of the brigade will form on your right. Understood?

Yes. Ellis, this is the point. Sir.

Your regiment is to the left of this point.

Colonel, sir. You're the end of the line. Yes.

You're the extreme left of the Union army. Understood?

The line runs from here back to Cemetery Hill…

… but it ends here. Understood.

You can't withdraw under any condition.

If you go, this line will be flanked.

If you go, the enemy will sweep up over the hillside…

… and take this entire army from the rear.

You must defend this place to the last. Yes, sir.

Now we'll see how professors fight.

Ellis, position the regiment. All company commanders here.

Yes, sir.

Sharpshooters to the left!

Battalion on the right!

Now file into line. March.

Bugler, sound the officer's call.

"Hold to the last." To the last what?

Exercise in rhetoric.

Last shell? Last man?

Last foot of ground? Last reb?


Move out!

Turn those guns around!

Gentlemen, the 83rd Pennsylvania, 44th New York, and 16th Michigan…

… will be moving in to our right. But if you look left, you will see…

… that there is no one there.

Because we're the end of the line. The Union army stops here.

We are the flank.

Do you understand, gentlemen?

We cannot retreat. We cannot withdraw.

We are going to have to be stubborn today.

Put the boys in position, tell them to stay down.

Pile the rocks up high for the best protection you can.

I want the reserve pulled back about 20 yards.

Sloping ground is good ground.

If you have any breakthroughs, men wounded, a hole in the line…

… plug it with the reserve. How's our ammunition?

Sir, I think about 60 rounds per man.

That's good. 60 rounds. I think… Yes, that's adequate.

Any questions? Colonel.

It seems to me the fighting is on that side of the hill.

It seems to me that we're the back door.

And everything's going on at the front door.

That hill is steep and rocky. It's bare. To come straight up it is impossible.

The reb army is going to swing around it.

It'll come up through that notch right over there.

It'll move under the cover of trees, trying to get around the flank.

And gentlemen…

… we are the flank.


God go with you.

Captain Clark, take the right side from the 83rd…

… over in this direction to the center.

Ellis, take the left but be watchful. Your flank will be in the air.

Colonel, sir. Corporal Estabrook?

What do I do with these prisoners? The hardheads of the Second Maine.

Any of you care to join us?

The rebs really coming? They're coming.

Well, it's kind of dull just sitting here watching, sir.

For any man who joins us, there will be no court martial.

No man will call me a coward.

Why not?

I'll waste no man to guard you. I expect you to be here when this is over.

Let's get these fellows some muskets. There are no muskets, sir.

Wait here for a bit.

There will be guns available in a little while.

That's the New York boys. The rebs are getting closer.

Must be moving this way.

Sir, Private Foss is praying.

Will you put in a kind word for me? Yes, sir.

You're the Merrill brothers, right? Yes, sir.

Boys, why aren't you on the ground?

Sir, I can't shoot worth a darn lying down.

Never could. Bill neither. We like to fight standing.

I suggest you find a thicker tree.

Here they come!

I want you to stay with me, but you keep down.


I bet the whole reb army is coming this way.

Walk down the line. Tell the boys to get good cover.

Pile the rocks high and fire carefully.

Go down and come back. Right.

You got to keep an eye on them.

Some of them load but never fire. They just keep right on loading.

Some come home with eight bullets rammed up the barrel.

Never fired a shot.



Keep up your fire, boys!

Keep your head down.

Watch your left side.

Keep up your fire!

They're falling back.

They'll be back in a minute.

How are we doing? Fine. Fine.

Colonel. Captain Clark, anybody hurt?

Head and shoulder wounds. They didn't hit the left.

They're moving out that way. Can you see them, sir?

They're coming again, boys!

Colonel, look there.

A new regiment has arrived that's moving against the left.

It's out there. Do you see them?


I don't think we'll be able to hold another one.

Get all company commanders up here. On the double.

Sergeant Owen! Yes, sir.

Get up to the top of that hill and report me the situation from up there.

Yes, sir.

We'll soon be flanked. Here's what we'll do.

I want you to keep up a good hot masking fire.

Keep a tight hold on the 83rd, on old Pennsylvania over there.

I want no break in the line.

Captain Clark, that's you. You understand? No breaks.

Right wing will sidestep to the left…

… thinning out to twice the present distance.

You see the colors? They will end up down to the extreme left.

When you reach that point, we are going to refuse the line.


We'll form a new line at right angles.

We'll pull up as much of a reserve as possible.

We've got to be able to counter-attack whenever there's a hole.

Any questions? No, sir.

Fine. Move!

Lieutenant. You fellows, on the double.

Come on!

How are you, Andrew? I'm fine, sir. And you?

A bit worn.

The boys are putting up a hell of a fight. They are indeed.

I got me one. I got me a reb.

Buster! Are you all right?

I'll be fine in a minute, but plays hell with me target practice.

The surgeon will see to it.

No. A little bandage is all I'll be needing.

A few minutes off my feet. My brogans are killing me.

Colonel, my men are getting low on ammunition.

Go over to the 83rd. Ask them to send what they can.

Lieutenant, go get from the wounded and from the others anything you can.

Pick up what you can from anywhere. Here they come, sir!

Keep up the fire! Fill your holes down here!

Colonel? Colonel?

There they go!

I'll be damned.

They keep coming! How long will they keep coming?

I don't have much left. Two shots. That's what I got.

They keep coming on the flanks. They keep moving to the left more.

They can't send help from the 83rd. They say they got their own troubles.

Colonel, sir! We'd like to report. What?

Vincent is badly wounded.

He got hit a few minutes after the fight started.

We've been reinforced at the top of the hill by Weed's brigade up front.

This is what they tell me. But Weed is dead.

So they moved Hazlett's battery of artillery up there.

But Hazlett's dead. Far as I can tell— Can you can get ammunition from up there?

I don't know. It's a mess. But they're holding good.

The rebs are having a hard time climbing.

It's a steep hill. We'll need the ammunition.

Colonel, sir, the better of my men are wounded.

If the rebs come up that hill any stronger, we can't stop them.

Send out word to take ammunition from the wounded.

Make every round count. Go! Here they come again!

Ready, boys!

Come on, keep it coming! Keep it up, lads!



Pour it on, boys!

Keep at them! Keep up your fire!

Here they come, boys!

Go plug that hole over there!

Tom. Tom!



Colonel, sir. Sir, half my men are down.

Most of the rest are wounded. The left is too thin.

How is our ammunition? Almost gone.

Sir, we're running out. We don't have much left to shoot with.

Some boys got nothing at all.

What do we do for ammunition?

My boys picked up reb muskets and fired back with them.

We ought to pull out. No, we can't do that.

We can't hold them again, sir.

If we don't, they go right over the hill and the flank caves in.


Here they come.

We can't run away. If we stay here, we can't shoot.

So let's fix bayonets.

We'll have the advantage moving down the hill.

They must be tired if we are. So fix bayonets.

Ellis, you take the left wing. I'll take the right.

Right wheel forward, the whole regiment.

You mean charge? Here's what we do.

We're going to charge swinging down the hill.

Just like we pulled back to the left side…

… we'll swing it down like a door.

We'll sweep them down the hill as they come up. Understand?

Does everybody understand? Yes, sir.

Ellis, take the left wing.

When I command, the whole regiment goes forward swinging down to the right.

All right, sir. Fine.



Come on! Let's go! Move!

Quickly, boys! Quickly!

Let's go!




Left swing, right wheel.

Right wheel!




The pistol.

Your prisoner, sir.

Wait here.

By God, colonel, the boys are still advancing.

You better stop them. They're on their way to Richmond.

Richmond! They've done enough for today.

I want you to meet this fellow from Alabama.

Captain Hawkins, this is my brother, Colonel Chamberlain.


May I have some water?


Sure. Tom, get this man a canteen.

Yes, sir. Right this way.

How you doing?


Would you believe, for the love of Mary?


And how are you, colonel, darling, this fine day?

I got it in the armpit.

For the love of God, in the bloody armpit.

How is he? It's an arm.

Only an arm. You got to lose something.

It might as well be an arm.

I can part with that easier than other mechanics of nature, and that's the truth.

I could do with a nip right now.

I'll see what I can do.

You do pretty good.

Colonel. Colonel?

I'm right here, Buster. I'm right here.

The army was blessed.

I want to tell you, just in case…

… that I never served…

I've never served with a better man.

Don't worry, sir.

He'll make it. He's a tough old mick.

Colonel, sir. If you would so honor me.

Colonel, sir. I've been moving these rebs with an empty musket.

Not so loud.


You're ordered to go to the top of the big hill.

My New Yorkers will take your prisoners.

Yes, sir.

We watched from our position above.

It's the damnedest thing I ever saw.

May I-? May I shake your hand, sir?

Colonel, one thing. The name of this place, this hill… Has it got a name, this hill?

This is Little Round Top. That's the name of the hill you defended.

The big one you're going up to, that's Big Round Top.

Is that so? I guess I'll remember that.

Ellis, move the men out. I'm going to go ahead.


We drugged him, sir.

It'd be better if he slept.

Didn't see much.

The boys went in. Hit the rocks.

How did it go, Pete?

Fine, Sam.

We take those rocks?

Most of them.


… ground I ever saw.

You know that?

They call it…

… Devil's Den. It's a good name for it.

What casualties?

Don't know yet.

Got to give my boys credit.

You should've let me go to the right.

We should've gone to the right.

He needs to rest some.

You summoned me, sir?


I did.

I've got some night work.

Are you up to it?

"All the world will be in love with night…

… and pay no worship to the garish sun."

When this is all over, I do look forward to seeing you on stage.

What are the general's wishes?

I want you to go out on the right, scout the Federal position.

Their condition, what they've got in reserve, what they're bringing up.

It'll probably take all night. But I want it right and clear.

Your obedient servant. Good.

Now, Harrison, it'll be dangerous. And I do appreciate this.

Thank you, sir.

But I must confess, the thing that bothers me about this job…

… is the absence of an audience.

When you do it right, no one knows it.

Nobody ever watches your work. Do you see?

That's very hard on an actor.

This current creation is marvelous.

I'm a poor half-witted farmer, do you see…

… terrified of soldiers. And me lovely young wife has run off with a corporal.

And I'm out scouring the countryside for her.

Sorrowful, pitiful sight I am. People looking down their noses…

… grinning behind me back.

And the whole time telling me exactly what I wanna know…

… about who's where, how many, how long ago.

And them not even knowing they're doing it.

Too busy feeling contemptuous.

There are many people, general, don't give a damn for a human soul, you know that?

Strange thing is…

… after playing this poor fool farmer for a while, I can't help but feel sorry for him…

… because no one cares.

No one cares.


… we all have our sacrifices to make, don't we?

Indeed we do, sir.

All right, Harrison, on your horse, get going.

And, Harrison… Sir?

… you be real careful, you hear?

Thank you, sir.

Go on.

General, I'm very glad to see you well.

I've just come by for my orders, sir.

It would appear that General Stuart has returned.

The prodigal son.

It was very close this afternoon.


They nearly broke.

I could feel them breaking.

There for a moment I thought I saw our flags go up the hill.

It wasn't that close.

The attacks were not properly coordinated. I do not know why.

And nevertheless, we nearly won the day.

I could see a clear road all the way to Washington.

How is it with General Hood?

I think he'll live. May lose an arm.

Dear God.

I couldn't spare General Hood.

So many good men were lost this day.


Lo did take the peach orchard and wheat field.

But he couldn't get up that ridge.

And Hood, he seized the Devil's Den, but he couldn't take the little rocky hill.

The Federals still hold the heights. And they're reinforced.


That way around to the right is still open.

I will think on it, general.

We have enough artillery for one more good fight, but just one.

I know. Let me think on it.

General- I am glad to see you well.

We will speak again in the morning.

You know, hearing you talk about monkeys and trees…

… I remember the time during a cannonade on the peninsula.

There was one tree for the men to hide behind.

It was a skinny little tree and the boys, they fell in behind it…

… in a long thin line which moved just like a pigtail.

It swayed to one side, then the other.

A shell came this way, the line swayed that way.

A cannonball came that way, the line swayed this way.

It was a thing to see.

George, what has that got to do with what we're talking about?


Carry on, gentlemen. Don't let me interrupt the revival.

General, you're just in time.

I've been trying to persuade George here of the modern, scientific…

… theories of Charles Darwin. The theory of evolution.

The notion that all mankind is descended from the ape.

He does not subscribe.

That so? I do not.

I've ordered General Armistead to stop filling his head with heathen blasphemies.

Now, you are to devote your reflective moments to study…

… in matters of military significance.

Ordered me.

Or perhaps appropriating some more of this fine whiskey here.

Absolutely. Would you care for?

No, thank you.

Surely the commanding general shares my deep feelings of disgust…

… at this simian suggestion.

I suppose there's some pretty smart folk that take Darwin for the Gospel.

They would not be invited to join George's ever-shrinking circle of friends.

General Longstreet, sir.

I intend to lay this matter to rest for once and for all time.


Sirs, perhaps there are those among you…

… who think that you are descended from an ape.

I suppose it's possible there are those of you…

… who believe that I'm descended from an ape…

… but I challenge the man to step forward…

… who believes that General Lee is descended from an ape.

Here, here. Not likely.

George, all science trembles before the searing logic of your fiery intellect.

So exactly how many of your relatives are there that are apes?

Well… What do you hear about Sam Hood?

He may lose an arm.

Dick Garnett ain't fit. Can't hardly walk.

Thing is, if there's a fight, he can't stand to stay out of it.

But if you ordered him to stay out…

I don't suppose you could do that.

Mm-hm. That boy can sing.

That's "Kathleen Mavourneen."

What do you hear about Hancock?

Ran into him today.

He's out there about a mile or so.

Just a mile or so. And he was tough.

Very tough today.

He's the best they got.

God don't make them any better. And that's a fact.

Well… I'd like to go over to see him as soon as I can.

The last time I saw Winn…

… we played that song. That very song.

Back in California, we were all together for the last time.

Before we broke up.

Spring of '61.

Almira Hancock.

Do you remember Almira, Hancock's wife?

Beautiful woman.

Most perfect woman I ever saw.

They were a beautiful couple.


Garnett was with me that night.

A lot of fellows from the old outfit. People standing around singing…

… in the blue uniform.

We were leaving the next day.

Some going north. Some going south.

Splitting up.

A soldier's farewell.

"Goodbye. Good luck.

I'll see you in hell."

Do you remember that?

Towards the end of the evening…

… we all sat around the piano.

Almira played…

… that song there, that was the one she played.

Maybe for years, maybe forever…

I'll never forget that.

You know how it was, Pete.

Winn was like a brother to me. Remember?

Towards the end of the evening…

… things got a little rough.

We all began to… Well…

… there were a lot of tears.

I went over to Hancock.

I took him by the shoulder. I said, "Winn…

… so help me…

… if I ever raise my hand against you…

… may God strike me dead."

Ain't seen him since.

He was at Malvern Hill…

… White Oak Swamp, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg.

One of these days I will see him, I'm afraid.

Across that…

… small deadly space.

I thought about sitting this one out.

But I can't do that.

That wouldn't be right either.

I guess not.

Thank you, Peter.

I had to talk about that.

I'm sending Almira Hancock…

… a small package to be opened…

… in the event of my death.

You'll drop by and see her…

… after this is over.

Won't you, Pete?

Thank you.

What day is it now, major?

It's long after midnight, sir.

It's already Friday.

Friday, July 3? Yes, sir.

Then tomorrow is the Fourth of July. Sir?

Independence Day.


I'd quite forgotten. The good Lord has a sense of humor.

I'm very sorry to keep you up so late.

It is my pleasure.

We should have a larger staff.

I'd be offended, sir.

I can do the work.

Very well.

General Stuart is waiting to see you, sir.

Shall I bring him in? Of course.

Major? Yes, sir.

General Stuart and I must not be disturbed.

Very well, sir. Thank you.

General Lee will see you now, sir.

You wish to see me, sir.

It is the opinion of some excellent officers that you have let us all down.

Sir, if you will please tell me who these gentlemen are?

There will be none of that. There is no time.

I ask that I be allowed to defend my-

There is no time.

General Stuart.

Your mission was to free this army…

… from the enemy cavalry.

And to report any movement by the enemy's main body.

That mission was not fulfilled.

You left here…

… with no word of your movement or movement of the enemy for days.

Meanwhile we were engaged and drawn into battle…

… without adequate knowledge of the enemy's strength or position.

Without knowledge of the ground.

So it is only by God's grace that we did not meet disaster here.

General Lee, there were reasons.

Perhaps you misunderstood my orders.

Perhaps I did not make myself clear.

Well, sir, this must be made very clear.

You, sir…

… with your cavalry, are the eyes of this army.

Without your cavalry, we are made blind.

That has already happened once.

It must never, never happen again.

Since I no longer hold the general's-- I told you there is no time for that!

There is no time.

There is another fight coming tomorrow and we need you.

We need every man. God knows.

You must take what I have told you…

… and learn from it as a man does.

There has been a mistake.

It will not happen again. I know your quality.

You are one of the finest cavalry officers I have ever known…

… and your service to this army has been invaluable.


… let us speak no more of this.

The matter is concluded. Goodnight, general.

Colonel, sir.

What are you doing up here?

I'm just resting my leg.

All right.

You sure can see a ways from here.

Where have you been?

We sent out a detail…

… and found some more departed souls down there…

… and they were carrying coffee for which they had no more use for.

You're a ghoul.


You did real good yesterday.

The way them rebs just kept coming.

You had to admire them.

You think they'll come again today?

It doesn't look like they're planning to leave.

We don't have but 100 men.

Even with the whole flock from the Second Maine.

This position's good.


Go alert the pickets.

That may be a diversion. They may be coming this way again.

Where's the ammunition I asked for?

Go check the hospital, see about the boys. Check on Buster.

Very well, sir.

We need another runner.

I keep going up and down this hill, my legs are going to fall off.

Morning, General. Morning, sir.

Ride with me, if you will. Yes, sir.

General Longstreet, you have General Pickett now and he is fresh.

I want you to bring your corps forward.

Take those heights in the center and split the Federal line.

Sir, uh…

… my two divisions, Hood's and McLaws'… They executed a forced march yesterday and went straight into the fight.

Lost half of their strength.

Sustained 50 percent casualties, sir.

They are tired and need rest.

There are…

… now three Federal corps on those two rocky hills on our right flank.

If I move all my people forward…

… we won't have a flank at all.

They'll simply swing around and crush us.

They are well entrenched up there. They aim to fight.

They got good artillery and plenty of it.

Sir, any attack we make will be uphill over open ground.

How do we communicate? How do we coordinate attack?

They're all massed together, damned near in a circle.

Good interior lines.

Anywhere we hit them, they'll bring up reinforcements in minutes.

But we try to bring up support, it has to come from miles away.

Their cannon will see every move.

Hell, their cannon are looking down on us right now.

In the center, they will break.


They will break in the center.

They'll be gaining men from all directions, guns by the thousands…

… and Richmond has nothing left to send us. So, if we stay, we fight.

If we retreat now, we will have fought here for two days…

… and will leave knowing we could not drive him off.

And I have never yet left the enemy in command of the field. No, sir.

Retreat is no longer an option.

The enemy has been attacked on both wings.

He has reinforced there…

… and is strongest there on the wings. The hills and the rocks.

So the weak point is in the center.

They have command of the high ground.

But in that long slope, you see there?

The long slope in the center, there's where he's most vulnerable.

General Pickett's Virginians are the only people not yet engaged. Yes?

With General Longstreet in command, my old warhorse…

… meeting the enemy face to face on ground of his choosing…

… and with honor, we will prevail.

Sir, a courier from Colonel Rice.

Colonel Chamberlain.

That's some climb, sir.

My men need rations, lieutenant.

Colonel Rice has entrusted me to tell you that you're relieved, sir.


Fresh troops are on their way up and they'll take over here, sir.

Colonel Rice wants to give your people a rest.

He wants you to fall back, and I'm to show you the way.

Fall back. Yeah.

Ellis, have the men fall in. We're moving out.

Yes, sir.

Where are we going?

Oh, sir. Lovely spot.

Very quiet. Safest place on the battlefield.

Right smack-dab in the center.

Yes, sir, general.

We will attack the center.

But I think you are right about the flank.

Hood and McLaws were both very badly damaged yesterday.

I'll give you two other divisions: General Pettigrew and General Trimble.

They are stronger and rested.

Now you will have nearly three divisions at your command, including Pickett.

Your objective will be that clump of trees yonder.

The attack will be preceded by massed artillery.

We'll concentrate all of our guns on that one small area.

A feu d'enfer, as Napoleon would call it.

When the artillery has had its effect, your charge will break the line.

You will have nearly 15,000 men at your command, general.

You may begin whenever you're ready.

But plan it well. Do plan it well, I pray you, sir.

We stake everything on this.

Sir, with your permission.

Sir, I've been a soldier all my life.

I have served from the ranks on up. You know my service.

I must tell you now, I believe this attack will fail.

No 15,000 men ever made can take that ridge.

It's a distance of more than a mile over open ground.

When the men come out of the trees they will be…

… under fire of Yankee artillery from all over the field.

Those are Hancock's boys.

And now they have the stone wall like we did at Fredericksburg.

We do our duty, general.

We do what we must do.

Yes, sir.

Colonel Alexander is in charge of the artillery and he is very good.

We will depend on him to drive them off the ridge before your divisions get there.

And the men will know what to do. All 15,000…

… will concentrate squarely on the center of that line. That lower ridge there.

The line is not strong there.

General Meade has great strength on both flanks.

He must be weak in the center.

I estimate his strength in the center not to be more than 5,000 men.

And Colonel Alexander's artillery will break them up like at Fredericksburg.

Yes, sir. Farewell.

What are you thinking, general?

Well, sir…

… Pickett's division is from my corps.

But the other two units are of A. P. Hill's corps.

Shouldn't General Hill lead the attack, sir?

Say again?

Shouldn't General Hill lead the attack?

My apologies, sir.

I've always been very cautious.

Very cautious.

There is no one I trust more.

Sir, if we can take that ridge… We can. And we will.

General, God go with you.

George, you are leading attack.

Now get ready, George.

Take your men behind the line of trees. I'll give you details later.

Now, move, George!


Forgive me the torn trousers, sir. An officer riding around like this.

Colonel Alexander.

Those Federal cannon up on that little rocky hill can cause some trouble.

I want you to assign some guns and keep them silent.


… you move forward when the infantry advance…

… keeping the flanks clear.

Porter, how old are you, son?

Sir, I'm 28, sir. Uh-huh.

Porter, we must also clear those guns off that low center ridge right there.

That's the main thing. Yes, sir.

I'm relying on you. I'll sure keep them shooting.

Good. Good.

I want you to use everything you have.

Maximum effort. Fire all long-range ordinance.

But don't open up till I give the word and everything's in position.

Then fire with all you've got. I don't want to see a single gun silent.

Find an observation point and check the damage.

We must clear those people off that ridge.

If we don't… Anyway, you let me know when you're nearing the end of your ammunition.

We must conserve enough to support the infantry attack. Is that clear?

Yes, sir.


Johnston Pettigrew, University of North Carolina.

Yeah, I know.

They still talk about your grades there with reverence and awe.

Your reputation as a scholar has preceded you, sir.

I hear you've written a book.

It was only a minor work. If the general would care to read it… Surely. A copy with my compliments.

Captain, retrieve my book from the baggage.

General, my apologies, but I do not believe I will have time to read that today.


I want you to look at that clump of trees on that ridge.

That is where all units will converge.

You will be spread out in a long line, perhaps a mile, about 15,000 men.

All units converging on that point on the crest of that ridge.

Now, look here.

The Yankee center. A stone wall.

A small grove of trees.

General Trimble, commanding Pender's division, will be on the left.

Pettigrew's brigade in support.

General Pickett's division will be on the right side of the attack.

And now, George, I want you to put two brigades in front…

… and one in back, like so.

Yes, sir.

Garnett's brigade.

That's Jimmy Kemper.

Armistead's in support.

Good. All right, then.

Garnett will dress off at Trimble's flank.

And he will be the hinge, so to speak, in a series of left obliques.

Somewhere about the Emmitsburg Road…

… you will execute your first left oblique.

Then direct.

Then left again.

And so on at your own discretion…

… in order to deceive the Yankees and spread them out in a long line.

Here. Any questions?

All right, gentlemen.


… that is the conversion point. That clump of trees.

We will use all of the artillery.

They will center on that point, right there.

Will fire every gun they have until the ammunition runs out.

When that is done, I will give the order and you all go in.


… I do believe this attack will decide the fate of our country.

All the men who have died in the past are with you here today.

I want to say, sir, it is an honor to serve under your command.

I want to thank you, sir, for giving me the opportunity of serving here.

I have prayed, sir.

George, can you take that ridge?



Would you mind giving someone an order to give me a musket?

I think today I'd like to join the attack.

If I could even borrow a hat from a soldier or just a jacket with some stripes on it.

Sir, just once.

Because I think, sir, today might be the last day.

Haven't I earned it, sir?

You know what's gonna happen?

I'll tell you what's gonna happen.

Troops are now forming behind the line of trees.

When they come out, they will be under enemy long-range artillery fire.

Solid shot. Percussion. Every gun they have.

Troops will come out under fire with more than a mile to walk.

And still, within the open field…

… they'll be in the range of aimed muskets.

They'll be slowed down by that fence out there.

And the formation, what's left of it, will begin to come apart.

When they cross that road, they'll be under short-range artillery.

Canister fire.

Thousands of little bits of shrapnel wiping the holes in the lines.

If they get to that wall without breaking up…

… there won't be many left.

A mathematical equation.

But maybe, just maybe…

… our own artillery will break up their defenses.

There's always that hope.

That's Hancock out there. And he ain't gonna run.

So it's mathematical after all.

If they get to that road, or beyond it, we'll suffer over 50 percent casualties.

But, Harrison…

… I don't believe my boys will reach that wall.

Sir, with your permission.

I'll get myself that musket, sir.

That's Meade's headquarters.

You're to take a position in reserve.

You don't have to entrench, but please don't go away.

Major, do you have that? Yes. I'll place the men.

You, sir, are to report to General Hancock. If you will follow me.

General Hancock, sir. Colonel Chamberlain, 20th Maine.



I hear from the ranks that you may have been more involved…

… than anyone in staff has told me.

We were involved.

They tell me you ordered a bayonet charge.

It's nothing to be ashamed of, I might tell you.

I'm gonna look into it.

We need fighting men in this army.

And one damn thing is sure, we'll need some brigade commanders.

Meanwhile, well done. Well done.

Thank you, sir.

How's your outfit?

We need provisions. The men need a meal. And ammunition.

We're out.

See to Colonel Chamberlain's request.

I want you to write a report.

Yes, sir.

They say you are a schoolteacher.

That seems like a long time ago.

Sometimes I'm not sure how long I've been in this war.

Three years or three lifetimes.

What do you teach? Rhetoric…

… and Natural and Revealed Religion. At Bowdoin College, sir.

Now you tell me, professor.

Can you recall a story from antiquity where two men…

… who are best of friends, almost brothers…

… where these men find themselves, by a trick of fate…

… on opposing sides in a great war?

Then, on a given day…

… find themselves facing one another on the very same battlefield?

If the Greeks did not tell of such a story, surely the Romans did.

But, sir, I think it must be found in the Bible.

There isn't an officer on either side…

… who hasn't known someone wearing the other uniform. I know that.

But this morning…

… I looked through my glass and saw the colors…

… of the 9th and 14th Virginia regiments on those ridges before us…

… directly facing us, right over there.

It was as if I could hear his voice…

… see his old crumpled hat.

Armistead commands one of Pickett's brigades and he's out there for sure.

I somehow thought this day would never come.

I thought the war would be over in a month.

It's three years and how many more?

Who could've dreamed it could go on for so long?

What would you do, Chamberlain?

What do the books tell you to do?

Now you go and rest up.

Nothing's gonna happen today anyway.

Everybody's too tired, too hot, too worn out. Both sides.

Yes, sir. We're placed in reserve, just over there.

Thank you for your sentiments, sir.


I just got back from the hospital.

God-awful mess.

They got no room.

They got no shade. They got men lying everywhere.

They're cutting off arms and legs in front of everybody.

They ought to not do that in public.

Men ought to have some privacy at a time like that.

You see Kilrain?

How is he?


… he died.

He died this morning before I got there.

A couple of fellows were with him.

He said to tell you goodbye.

And that he was sorry.


I tell you, Lawrence.

I sure was fond of that man.


General, please get down. We cannot spare you.

There are times when a corps commander's life does not count.

How are you, Lo?

I'm fine, Dick.

Well, that's good.

How's the leg?

It's all right.

Can't walk. I'll have to ride.

You can't do that. You'll be the perfect target.

We're going up there today and we're gonna break that line.

When the Yankees run away, there'll be an open road all the way to Washington.

And maybe we'll win it today.

And today will be the last day.

Maybe today.

I've got to ride up there.

Well, Lo…

… I'll see you at the top.

My God, Lo. Ain't it marvelous?

I thought we missed it all.

Any questions? No.

All right, then.

When the firing ceases, we step out real quick.

No halting, no stopping to fire. We want to get there quick as we can.

What about Garnett?

What about him? He can't hardly walk.


George, order him not to make the charge.

General Armistead, how can I do that? Hyah!

General Armistead, sir.

My compliments.

I hope Her Majesty's emissary passed a comfortable night.

Slept like the dead, sir.

A baby. Slept like a newborn baby, sir.

Lie still, men. Keep down.

There's no safe place here.

One spot's as good as the next.

Fire! Fire!

We've been firing for a good while, sir.

It's apparent neither the Federals nor we are going to gain a clear advantage.

If we continue to expend our ammunition at this rate…

… we may endanger our ability to support the advance.

Did you not have enough ordinance when this was begun?

The Federal fire compelled us to remove the artillery train farther to the rear.

It's taking us longer to refill the caissons.

Sir, we must slow down our fire now…

… or we will have to cut back on the guns sent in to support the infantry.


I'll have to order General Pickett to halt his attack until the guns get replenished.

The trains have a little ammunition. It'll take an hour to redistribute it.

In the meanwhile, the enemy would improve the top.

The longer we delay…

… the more time the Federals have to strengthen their own lines.

And even if we recover more supplies from the ordinance train…

… how much more damage can we inflict on them than they on us?

They're bringing in fresh batteries as quickly as we drive them off.

Just get some more ammunition and keep it hot.

I cannot send Pickett's division or the others…

… until we clear some of those guns off that ridge.

I'm told you are descended from an illustrious military family.

Who told you that? Kemper?

He tells me it was your uncle who defended Fort McHenry…

… during the War of 1812.

And that he was therefore the guardian of the original Star-Spangled Banner.

I must say, I do appreciate the irony of it all.

Colonel Fremantle.

It does not begin or end with my uncle or myself.

We're all sons of Virginia here.

That major out there commanding the cannon…

… that's James Dearing.

First in his class at West Point, before Virginia seceded.

And the boy over there with the color guard.

That's Private Robert Tyler Jones.

His grandfather was president of the United States.

The colonel behind me, that's Colonel William Aylett.

Now, his great grandfather…

… was the Virginian Patrick Henry.

It was Patrick Henry who said to your King George III:

"Give me liberty or give me death."

There are boys here from…

… Norfolk…

… Portsmouth…

… small hamlets along the James River.

From Charlottesville and Fredericksburg.

The Shenandoah Valley.

Mostly they're all veteran soldiers now.

The cowards and shirkers are long gone.

Every man here knows his duty.

They would make this charge even without an officer to lead them.

They know the gravity of the situation.

And the mettle of their foe.

They know that this day's work…

… will be desperate and deadly.

They know that for many of them…

… this will be their last charge.

But not one of them needs to be told what is expected of him.

They are all willing to make the supreme sacrifice…

… to achieve victory here.

The crowning victory and the end of this war.

We are all here.

You may tell them when you return to your country…

… that all Virginia was here on this day.

A message from Alexander.

"Hurry up, for God's sake, or the artillery can't help you."

Your order, sir?

General Longstreet, should I commence the attack?

I shall lead my division forward, sir.

For the glory of Virginia, form your brigade.


… form your battalions.

Battalion, forward!

Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.

Up, men! Up! And to your posts!

And let no man forget today…

… that you are from old Virginia.

Virginia! Virginia! Virginia!



For your lands! For your homes!

For your sweethearts!

For your wives!

For Virginia!




Come on, men! And keep your heads down!

Reload! Reloading!

Clear the lines! To the front, boys! One, two!

We are with you, general!

Come on, boys!

Come on, boys!

The glasses!

Let's go! Over the fence!

Fill that gap!

Over the fence!

Keep your heads down!


Over the fence, lads!

But save your strength for the attack and get over the fence, quickly!


Tell him.

General, Trimble sends his compliments and says…

… that if the troops he had the honor to command this day…

… cannot take that position, all hell can't take it.

Give them double canisters! That's it! Double canisters!

Get up, men! Fire!

Give them the cold steel!

Quick step!

Keep up your fire!

Take that to General Longstreet quick as you can.

With my compliments.

Damnation! Come on!

Do it!

Fire away, men!

Close it up!

Steady! Keep that line there!

Keep up your fire! Colonel!

Bring your men forward. We'll flank these bastards.

Bring the men forward. Yes, sir.

By God, we'll flank them.

Damn it all!

I will not be moved…

… until this engagement is decided.

Get me a tourniquet before I bleed to death.

Forward, boys!

What are you doing?

You've got to come up and help us.

In God's name, they're flanking us.

Coming down on the right and firing right into us.

Head for the trees. Head right for the center.

I'll call for double-quick. Nobody waits.

Everybody goes. All right.

Boys! At the double-quick!


Come on! Together!

Come on, boys! They're breaking!

Forward to the wall!

Get to them on the right, boys!

Move out, boys! Move out!

Come on, boy. Come on!

What will you think of yourself tomorrow?

Virginians! Virginians!

We're staying. Who will come with me?

Let's go, boys!

That's the style, Lo.

That's the style!

The day is ours, men!

Turn the cannons on them! Turn the cannons!

Break them, Lo!

What's happening? I can't see what's happening to my boys!

What's happening to my boys?

Major, give me your glasses.

There's a rebel. Take him prisoner.

Sir, sir.

Will you help me up, please?

Sir, could you tell me what your name is? Who you are?

I would like to speak to General Hancock.

Do you know where General Hancock may be found?

I'm sorry, sir. The general is down.

He's been hit. No!

Not both of us.

Not all of us.

Please, God.

Sir, we're having a surgeon come as quickly as we can.

Can you hear me, son?

Yes, sir. I can hear you.

Will you tell General Hancock…

… that General Armistead sends his regrets?

Will you tell him…

… how very sorry I am?

I will tell him, sir. I will tell him.

General Webb, sir.

Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!

Let go of the horse, major.

Major Sorrel, I said let go of the horse.

Now you form up here, put fire down on them.

They're coming and I'm going to meet them.

Captain Goree. Come on!

General, what are your orders? What do you want me to do?

Where do you want me to go?

You've got to pull back, general. Pull back, sir.

Place the guns. Bring up the guns!


How are you, T. J. ?

I'm tolerable, sir.

They ain't coming.

Too bad.

Yes, sir.


I'll tell you plain.

There are times when you worry me.

No good trying to get yourself killed.

The Lord will come for you in his own good time.

What are the orders, sir?

Prepare for defense, but the Yankees ain't coming.

Come on, boys.


… I have the figures from Pickett's command.

General Armistead is missing.

General Garnett, missing and figured to be dead, sir.

General Kemper is down, seriously wounded.

Sir, of the 13 colonels in Pickett's division, seven are dead and six are wounded.

No more. You tell me the rest later.

Major? Yes, sir.

Is that General Kemper there bearing toward us?

I believe it to be, sir.

General Kemper.

I do hope you are not seriously injured.

They tell me that it's mortal, general.

I do pray God that it is not the case.

Is there anything I can do?

There's nothing more you can do for me.

But, General Lee, will you see to it that full justice is done for my men…

… who made this charge today?

I will do so, sir.

Thank you, general.

Thank you, general.

It's my fault.

It's my fault.

I thought we were invincible.


It is all my fault.

Hear me.

Hear me, I pray you.

It is entirely my fault.


Hear me.

Hear me. Please, friends.

We must rest now.

We must retire and fight again another day.

And there will be another day.

Meanwhile, friends, we must show good order.

Never let them see you run. Do you hear me?

Never let them see you run.

Let us hit them again. Let us reform and hit them again.

I know we can do it.

God bless you, gentlemen.

They're forming over there, major. I do fear they may attack.

Yes, sir.

General Pickett.

You may reform to the rear of this ridge and set up a defensive position.

General Pickett, sir. You must look to your division.

General Lee…

… I have no division.


We will withdraw…

… as soon as we have secured all those wounded…

… who are well enough to be moved.

If we can reach the Potomac…

… and cross over into Virginia…

… there will be no more immediate danger.

But I'll need your help, Pete.

I'm so very tired.

What can I do, sir?


We must look to our own deportment.

The spirit of the army is still very good. Very good indeed.

We will do better another time.

They do not die for us. Not for us.

That at least is a blessing.

If this war goes on… And it will.

It will.

What else can we do but go on, you and I?

It's always the same question forever.

What else can we do?

If they fight…

… we must fight with them.

And does it matter, after all, who wins?

Was that ever really the question?

Will almighty God