Gods and Generals (2003) Script

BLAlR: Welcome, Colonel Lee. Welcome to my home.

Make yourself comfortable there, colonel.

Allow me to get to the point, sir. l have been authorized by President Lincoln himself. . .

. ..with the full blessing of the War Department...

. ..to offer you full command of the Army with the rank of major general.

This Army being raised to quell this, uh, rebellion and to preserve the Union.

l assume this Army is to be used to invade those areas. . .

. ..to eliminate the rebellion by force.

Yes, sir, the Federal government has been challenged by these rebels. . .

. ..who have been most effective in changing the sentiments of state legislatures...

. ..challenging our Constitution and challenging our central government.

The attack on Fort Sumter cannot be ignored.

General, my home is right there across the Potomac.

Why, you can see Arlington House from your front door.

My family is spread all over this part of Virginia. lf you invade the South, your enemy territory will be right across that river.

Well, sir, there is no great outcry for secession in, uh, Virginia. lt's not a foregone conclusion that Virginia or Tennessee or Arkansas...

. ..or Kentucky will join the rebellion.

My friend, may l humbly submit that you're mistaken about Virginia.

As you know, the legislature is convening in Richmond this very day...

. ..to discuss the very issue of secession.

Now, perhaps you know their mind better than they themselves.

And l regret to say the president's hasty calling up of 75,000 volunteers. . .

. ..to subdue the rebellion in the cotton states. . .

. ..has done nothing to ameliorate the crisis. lt has only deepened it. l trust you're not being too hasty yourself, colonel.

This is a great opportunity for you to serve your country.

My country, Mr. Blair? l never thought l'd see the day the president of the United States. . .

. ..would raise an army to invade his own country.

No, Mr. Blair, l cannot lead it. l will not lead it. No.

l'm sorry to hear you say that, sir. l fear you're making a most dreadful mistake.

Sir, please convey my deep sense of honor and gratitude to the president...

. ..but l must decline his offer.

Please tell him.

Please be clear. l have never taken my duties lightly. . .

. ..but l have no greater duty than to my home, to Virginia.

Thank you, sir.


JACKSON: Gentlemen, if you are going to succeed at this institution...

. ..you have one common goal: To learn your lessons. lf you are placing your energies elsewhere...

. ..you will not succeed either with me or in your careers as military officers. l had hoped you'd see that with a proper grasp of the artillery principles...

. .. l've laid before you today, you would learn to apply. . .

. ..these principles with great effectiveness in your field experiences.

But since you seem unable to grasp these principles...

. .. l'm forced to conclude l must repeat this lesson tomorrow, word for word.

Word for word.


CROWD [CHANTlNG]: Secession! Secession! Secession!

Hoist it! Hoist it up!

Major, listen to them. The leaders of our intellectual future...

. ..screaming for the destruction of our nation!

Sir, President Lincoln is raising the troops.

l .... l will not stay in a place where my students dishonor their country's flag.

Major, l'm leaving for Pennsylvania tomorrow.

War is the sum of all evils.

But if l know myself, all l am and all l have. ..

. ..is at the service of my home, my country.

Your country, Thomas?

Your country, my country. lt's all one.

All one, Thomas. All one.

So that in the midst of the searching of souls and the gnashing of teeth. . .

. ..the delegates of this convention...

. ..harried by the actions of a belligerent usurper and the radicals of his party. ..

. ..have stumbled into secession.

Now God knows, l and many in this room have resisted it.

But how could there be union with a section of the country. . .

. ..that wants to impose its will through coercion?

Now that Virginia confronts the armed might of the United States. . .

. ..we Virginians have determined that not one spot of her sacred soil...

. ..be polluted by the foot of an invader.


God bless Virginia!

Now, in the memory of that great Virginian, George Washington.. .

. ..who was first in the hearts of his countrymen and calling also. . .

. ..upon the memory of his own gallant father, General Light-Horse Harry Lee. . .

. ..this convention now calls upon Robert Edward Lee to take command. . .

. ..of the armed forces of the Citizen Army of Virginia.


Mr. President, gentlemen of the convention...

. .. l'm profoundly impressed by the solemnity of the occasion...

. ..for which l must say l was not prepared. l accept the position assigned me by your partiality. l would have much preferred had your choice fallen on an abler man.

But trusting to Almighty God, an approving conscience...

. ..and the aid of my fellow citizens...

. .. l devote myself to the service of my native state. . .

. ..in whose behalf alone will l ever again draw my sword.



We must not fear the final result of this war, but many a loved one will fall...

. ..and many a heart throb with anguish. . .

. ..before we can breathe the exhilarating atmosphere of freedom. . .

. ..and feel the sweet assurance of safety and peace once more.

There's nothing in this life more dear to me than my children...

. ..except perhaps the memory of your wonderful father.

When you go to Richmond, and wherever this war takes you. . .

. ..you must not fear for us. We will be with you wherever you go.

Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.

Now be on your way, and God be with you.

Y'all be coming on back, you hear?

We'll be back, Martha.


Mr. Wilkes, sir.

Would you be kind enough as to autograph my playbill?

l was never much interested in Shakespeare. ..

-Mm-hm. -. . .until l saw you play Richard l l l.

"A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

Was ever woman in this humor wooed?

Was ever woman in this humor won?


Say, uh, haven't l seen you someplace?

WOMAN: Why, of course you have.

This here is Mr. Wilkes Booth, the finest actor in all of Richmond.

All the world's a stage...

. ..and we but its poor players.

What better role than a soldier's in defense of his home...

. ..his honor.. .

. ..and his beloved?


Good morning, major. This just arrived for you.

Cadet Norris, return to the lnstitute. My compliments to Colonel Smith. l will be at his office within the half-hour.


"You are ordered to report with the corps of cadets to camp instruction...

. ..to begin training and organization of the Provisional Army...

. ..for the defense of the Commonwealth of Virginia."

My esposita.

Come, before l leave, we must sit...

. ..read together, the verse.


Yes, here. Corinthians-- Second Corinthians, chapter five. l have been thinking about this verse.

"For we know that if our earthly house of this Tabernacle were dissolved...

. ..we have a building of God.

A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

O, Almighty God. . .

. ..grant that if it be thy will...

. ..thou wilt still avert the threatening danger and bring us peace.

Keep her whom l love in thy protected care.

And bring us all at last to the joy of thy eternal kingdom.



MAN 1 : Give them hell, sir!

MAN 2: Yeah, give them hell, men!

PASTOR: "The Lord is my light. My salvation. Whom shall l fear?

The Lord is the strength in my life. Of whom shall l be afraid?

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes...

...came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though unhost should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.

Though war should rise up against me. ln this will l be comforted."

REVEREND JENKlNS: Secession is inexcusable.

Southerners and Northerners can still work together.

Slavery will eventually die of natural causes.

But the breakup of the Union will inaugurate wars. . .

. ..of a hundred generations in America...

. ..only to repeat the bloody history of Europe. lf Virginia adheres to the United States, l adhere.

Her determination must control mine. This is my understanding of patriotism.

And though l love the Union, l love Virginia more.

Private Jenkins, because of the high regard with which l hold your father...

. ..you are free to do as you please. You may return to his new home in Pennsylvania. lt is your decision. But, if you decide to stay with us.. .

. ..you may never again leave. lf you do, you'll be treated as a deserter.

Colonel Jackson, sir. Father.

l am a soldier in the 4th Virginia.

And in the 4th Virginia l will stay.

And if needs be, die.

-Then l will take my leave. -No, sir. lt is l who will leave the two of you to have some time together on your own.

You may have this room for as long as you require it.

Thank you.

Farewell, colonel.

May we meet again in happier times.

And if not in this troubled world may we meet in. . . .

ln heaven.

HARMAN: This train was on its way to Washington. lts livestock's been requisitioned by the Confederate government.

There's enough damn beef in here to keep us fed for quite a while.

And as many steeds as would damn well meet our current needs.

With your permission, sir, we've made a selection of the more promising horses.

There's some damn fine ones here.

JACKSON: Mr. Harman, l fear you are a wicked man.

-This animal looks fit for the duty. -Then he's yours, sir.

That small horse over there, has he been assigned?

Well, it's a well-rounded sorrel, sir, but too small for you.

You'll have your feet dragging in the dust. l was thinking of my wife, Anna.

He would make a fine present for her.

HARMAN: Well, that it would, sir. Shall l arrange for the purchase?

Leave the bill of the sale at my headquarters. l will buy them both.

The Confederate Treasury is honored, sir.

And may you both sit well in the saddle.

What shall l call you?

-Good morning, sir. -Reverend Pendleton.

-How goes it with the artillery today? -You're just in time for a christening.

The men have decided to name the howitzers: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. l'm sure your men will spread the gospel wherever they encounter the enemy.

Has my son proven a worthy adjutant? l'm certain Captain Pendleton will prove himself deserving of the family name.

ALL: Break! Guard! Charge!

As if you could ever get close enough to stick a man with this.

You can give me your bayonet if you have no further use for it.

What you gonna do with two of them?

You never heard of spare parts?

Pogue, your only hope is that some Yank puts you out of your misery.

Captain White.

How fare the scholars of Washington College?

Are they making their transition from books to bullets?

A few more days of drill, and my boys will surpass the cadets of VMl .

Drill, Professor White, drill and drill. Remember Alexander in Anatolia.

Caesar in Gaul. Napoleon in lberia.

We march by day, and read Xenophon by night.

-We will be your Greek phalanx. -Then you must begin with the bayonet.

The bayonet must be for a Virginian what the sarissa was for a Macedonian. lf the Yankees dare set foot in Virginia, we must show them the bayonet.

Train with the bayonet and we shall keep our freedom.

WHlTE: Yes, sir.


Harman has a detachment ready to take your sorrel to Mrs. Jackson in Lexington.

The horse you chose is waiting at headquarters. l've decided to keep this little sorrel for myself. l prefer his gait to that of the larger horse.

Unlike the other, he has an even temper.

He will need it where we are going. Yes, l will keep it.

And Mrs. Jackson? What should we send her, sir? lnstruct Harman to make another selection.

My complete admiration in his choice of livestock, if not in his choice of words.

The man's vocabulary is extremely repulsive.

Yes, sir.

-Will that be all, sir? -Language is blasphemous...

. ..but he is a good quartermaster, a good quartermaster. You understand me?

-Yes, sir. -That's all.


SOLDlER 1 : Blue, gray, green, even red uniforms.

How are we to know who the enemy is?

SOLDlER 2: You dang fool, you just shoot at the man that's shooting at you! l thought we was gonna be trained. l could have done this walking on my own back in Staunton. l never seen you walk in your life when you didn't have to. Nor me, neither.

What man in his senses would cross his street...

. ..when he could just be sitting on his front porch? l done more walking this week than in my life and my daddy's life put together.

Who'll give us fresh shoes when these are but tatters and old bits of laces?

You'll excuse me, gentlemen.

Lieutenant Colonel Stuart reporting for duty.

Colonel Stuart.

-That's an impeccable hat, sir. -Thank you, sir.

-Colonel Stuart. You use tobacco? -No, sir. Not in any form.

Neither do l. l find l like it too much.

Sit down. l understand from your record that you are West Point, class of '54.

Served since in the cavalry, Ft. Clark, Texas.

Operations against Apache, Comanche.

Fought with Longstreet and Ewell, sir.

Nasty business. Merciless climate.

Glad to be home, sir.

The Apache were defending their homes, as we will be defending ours. lf we fight as well as the Apache, l pity the Yankee invader.

Colonel Stuart, if l had my way, we would show no quarter to the enemy.

No more than the redskins showed your troopers. The black flag, sir. lf the North triumphs, it is not alone the destruction of our property. lt is the prelude to anarchy, infidelity...

. ..the loss of free and responsible government. lt is the triumph of commerce. The banks, factories.

We should meet the invader on the verge of just defense...

. ..and raise the black flag. No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides.

Our political leadership is too timid to face the reality of this coming war.

They should look to the Bible. lt is full of such wars.

Only the black flag will bring the North to its senses and rapidly end the war.

Well, colonel.

One way or the other, the South will give them a warm reception.

You'll be in charge of the cavalry in the Harper's Ferry district.

Your experience and your zeal will be invaluable.

Thank you, sir.

And, colonel...

. ..know that l will tell my men always to gallop toward the enemy. . .

. ..but trot away.



The ratification vote for secession is in.

Reporting from all the counties of Virginia, the vote is 4-to-1 in favor.


And l'm proud to report that the vote in the Shenandoah Valley. . .

. ..is 31 30 in favor, 1 0 against!

[CROWD CHEERlNG] ln my own Rockbridge County, only one person voted against leaving the Union.

MAN: Probably the village idiot!


SOLDlER 1 : Order!

-Parade, rest! -Parade.

Men of the valley.

Citizen soldiers. l am here at the order of General Robert E. Lee, commanding all Virginia forces.

On April 1 5 of this year of our Lord, 1 861 ...

. ..Simon Cameron, the secretary of war of the United States. . .

. ..sent a telegram to our governor to raise three regiments of infantry. ..

. ..to be sent to assist in suppressing the Southern Confederacy.

Governor Letcher's answer is well known to you, but perhaps not his words.

His wire to Washington stated:

"You have chosen to inaugurate civil war.

Having done so, we will meet you in a spirit as determined. . .

. ..as the Lincoln administration has exhibited toward the South."

Two days later the Virginia legislature were voting for secession.

Just as we would not send any of our soldiers to march in other states...

. ..and tyrannize other people. ..

. ..so will we never allow the armies of others to march into our state.. .

. ..and tyrannize our people.

Like many of you, indeed most of you, l've always been a Union man. lt is not with joy or with a light heart that many have welcomed secession.

Had our neighbors to the North practiced a less bellicose form of persuasion. ..

. ..this day might not have come. But that day has been thrust upon us...

. ..like it was thrust upon our ancestors.

The Lincoln administration required us to raise three regiments.

Tell them we have done so.

Soldiers! Commanding General Johnston's orders:

"General Beauregard is being attacked at Manassas Junction...

. ..by overwhelming forces."

We have been ordered to cross the Blue Ridge to his assistance.

Every moment now is precious. ..

. ..and the general hopes his soldiers will step out and keep closed ranks.

Well, this march is a forced march to save our country.


You must get some rest, sir. l'll rest easier when Pendleton and the artillery make it up this mountain.

They'll make better time tomorrow, sir. lt'll all be downhill.

You'll trust me to wait for the guns, sir?

Dr. McGuire.

You're an excellent practitioner, and l believe l will take your prescription.


SOLDlER 1 : No fires, no tents. Just like l always dreamed it'd be.

You suppose the Virginia legislature was gonna buy you your own personal tent?

That's fine for now.

You'll be humming a different tune when it's raining, you're all covered in frost...

. ..or you need me to dig you out of a snowdrift.

So damn dark the bats run into each other.

Old Hickory's just getting us fit for the fighting.

Old Hickory, Old Jack, Old Blue Light.

How many names you got for the old man, anyway?

Them VMl boys come up with the choice one.

They calls him "Tom Fool" when he's looking the other way. l'll be a fool if l listened to you all livelong night.

SOLDlER 2: Old Tom Fool. That name ought to stick to him like a tick on a mule.

That's it! Step lively! Two at a time!

As quick as you can. No dilly, no dally.

One foot forward, then the other. Nothing pretty, nothing fancy. lnto the train. Do it lovely, do it ugly, all the same to me.

-Colonel Jackson. -Colonel Trimble.

-l understand you're a train man. -Baltimore and Ohio.

Spent most of my life building lines, and the past six months tearing them up.

No use in leaving them in fine fettle with a meddling Yankee. lf you'll excuse me, sir.

Got to move these men where they'll do the most damage to the enemy.

Excuse me, ladies.

Now that's the finest dressed man in the whole Confederate Army.

TRlMBLE: ln you go! Up and over!

Through the brush and in the clover.

Crowd on in. Move it over.



PENDLETON: That's General Bee's brigade!

lnform General Bee the 1 st Virginians are on the field.

Ask him, can he hold long enough for me to deploy my men?

Yes, sir! l'll ask him!

They may not hold, gentlemen. We must assume they cannot.

-Mr. Smith. -Sir? lnstruct lmboden and Stanard to position their batteries in the center of the crest. l want the 4th and the 27th regiments stationed as support. l want the 5th Regiment posted to their right. . .

. ..the 2nd and 33rd to the left. Understood?

-Yes, sir. -Mm-hm.


Counter battery fire!

Eight hundred yards!

-Shell! Five-second fuse! -Fire!

Counter battery fire. Eight hundred yards.

Shell, five inch. Five-second fuse.

-Fire one! -Two!

-Three! -Five, fire!

Get primed!



General! Our line on Matthew's Hill has broken. They are beating us back.

Then we must give them the bayonet!

1 st Brigade, move up to a position just below the crest of the hill. And stay low!

-Sir. -Hyah!

Rally, men! Rally!


There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall.

Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer.

Rally behind the Virginians!


Fix bayonets.

-Fix bayonets! -Fix!

SOLDlER: Fire!

Fill in there--!

lnstruct the men to lay down! Hug the ground!

-Lie down, men! -Privates! First rank, lie down!

Second rank, kneel!

They are coming, boys.

Wait till they get close before you shoot.

Hold your lines!



Hold your fire!





Fire! Reload!

SOLDlER 1 : Rise up! SOLDlER 2: Quickly, boys!

Rise up!

Quickly, men! Quickly!




Reload! Reload, men!

Come on, boys! Quick and we can whip them!

-Easy, men. We have no orders to advance! -Get back in the ranks!

Steady, men. Steady!

Damn it.


lt's Cummings' boys.

-What are they doing? -Easy, Mr. Pendleton. Easy.

Good to have your dander up, but discipline wins the day.

SOLDlER: About-face! About-face, men! Aim! Fire!

For God's sakes, forward!

General, sir, the day is going against us. lf you think so, sir, you had better not say anything about it.

Rise up, rise up!

Rise up, Virginia!

Stand up, you men! Stand up, you free men! We're gonna charge them.

We're gonna drive them to Washington! Stand up, Virginia!

1 st Brigade...

. ..reserve your fire...

. ..till they come within 50 yards. . .

. ..then fire!

And give them the bayonet!

And when you charge...

. ..yell like Furies!

-Ready! Aim! -Aim!

-Fire! -Fire!

Charge bayonets!



Press on! Press on!

SOLDlER: l surrender! l surrender!



SMlTH: General?

How is it you can keep so serene. . .

. ..and stay so utterly insensible...

. ..with a storm of shells and bullets raining about your head?

Captain Smith...

. ..my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed.

God has fixed the time for my death, l do not concern myself with that...

. ..but to be always ready, whenever it may overtake me.

That is the way all men should live.

Then all men would be equally brave.

Preliminary reports for the brigade, sir. One hundred and eleven dead.

Three hundred seventy-three wounded or missing.

And if l may ask, sir, how's your hand?

Just a spent bullet. No more than a scratch really, Mr. Pendleton. l'm more than pleased with the part performed by the brigade during the action.

Through the blessing of God. . .

. ..they met the thus far victorious enemy and turned the fortunes of the day.

Good evening, gentlemen.

Tomorrow's a new day.

-Evening, general. -Evening, sir.

JACKSON: Oh, Mr. Pendleton?

Thank you for the report.

l will never forget these men.

Which is it tonight, John? Hamlet? Richard Ill? Or the Scottish play?

The schedule's posted. l'm relieved to see you've prepared for your role. l admit, my concentration has been impaired by the distractions of this war.

Mm. Then think "winter of our discontent."

And what a glorious summer it will be. . .

. ..when the South is free of these meddling Yankees.

Sometimes when l'm up on that stage...

. ..brandishing the prop sword or threatening with the mock word...

. .. l wonder if it's more farce than tragedy.

More posturing than art.


As we recite and declaim, others march and die.

Down in Mississippi. . .

. ..when all the other boys went hunting or fishing, l was reading books.. .

. ..learning Shakespeare sonnets by heart.

My daddy said art was the hardest thing.

That everything else seems more important at the time. . .

. ..but that we needed it more than air.

More than food, even.

So now it's politics instead of hunting.

Same old thing.

Gotta stay concentrated on what really matters.

Shakespeare matters.

Acting matters.

Gentlemen, new orders from the War Department.

The Confederate Army's been reorganized into three districts.

That of the Potomac will remain under General Beauregard.

The Aquia under General Holmes.

Um, l've been promoted to major general. . .

. ..commanding all forces in and around the Shenandoah Valley.

The entire army together will now be known as the Army of Northern Virginia.

Although l am being transferred to Winchester...

. ..the brigade must remain here at Centreville.

Begging your pardon, sir. ..

. ..but the men would prefer remaining under your command.

That's right, sir.

Couldn't the entire brigade be transferred with you to the Valley?

Gentlemen, such a degree of public respect, confidence...

. ..as puts it in one's power to serve his country must be accepted and prized.

But apart from that. . .

. ..promotion among men is only a temptation and a trouble.

Had this not come to me as an order, l should instantly have declined it. . .

. ..continued in command of my brave old brigade.

Sir, may we hope. ..

. ..that a formal entreaty to the authorities in Richmond. . .

. ..may effect a transfer of the entire brigade to the Valley?

Hear, hear. l'll not stop you from making such a request.

But for now, we must prepare ourselves.

We shall all have our labors to perform...

. ..but with the help of an ever-kindly heavenly father. . .

. .. l trust he will enable us to accomplish them.

SOLDlER: Forward!


Throughout the broad extent of the country...

. ..through which you have marched. . .

. ..by your respect for the rights and property of others. ..

. ..you have always shown you are soldiers, not only to defend. . .

. ..but able and willing both to defend and protect.

You've already won...

. ..a brilliant reputation throughout the Army of the whole Confederacy.

And l trust in the future by your deeds in the field...

. ..and by the assistance of the same kind providence who has favored our cause...

. ..you will win more victories and add luster to the reputation you now enjoy.

You already gained a proud position. . .

. ..in the future history of this. . .

. ..our second war of independence.

l shall look with anxiety to your future movements...

. ..and l trust whenever l shall hear of the 1 st Brigade. . .

. ..on the field of battle. . .

. ..it will be of still nobler deeds achieved and higher reputation won.

ln the Army of the Shenandoah, you were the 1 st Brigade. ln the Army of the Potomac, you were the 1 st Brigade. ln the 2nd Corps of this Army, you are the 1 st Brigade.

You are the 1 st Brigade in the affections of your general.

And l hope by your future deeds and bearing you will be handed down to posterity. . .

. ..as the 1 st Brigade. . .

. ..in this, our second war of independence.



SOLDlERS [CHANTlNG]: Jackson! Jackson! Jackson! Jackson!

Jackson! Jackson! Jackson!

CHAMBERLAlN: The universe itself is subject to rules, to law.

The super-abounding life lavished on this world of ours.. .

. ..is proof. . .

. ..that the play of infinite freedom.. .

. ..is here to help work out the will of infinite law.

The nature of the universe demonstrates. . .

. ..that freedom can only exist...

. ..as part of law.

STUDENT: Pardon me, Professor Chamberlain. . .

. ..but how does the study of philosophy intersect with real life? lf freedom can only exist as a part of law. . .

. ..how can we continue to tolerate slavery protected by law?

Lawrence, l know.

How? l've noticed the way you've been looking into the children's room each night.


Why blue uniforms? lt should be red.

-Like the English, the color of blood. -Are you angry with me?

Lawrence, my darling Lawrence.

Do you remember when you were thinking of being a missionary?

And you wrote me saying that you wished your little wife...

. ..was willing for you to take whatever course you thought best...

. ..and was ready to help you in it with all her heart?

"Little wife." How could l ever have called you that?

Your spirit is vaster than oceans.

Then you wrote back.

And l have never forgotten what you said.

You said, "Well, dear, she is willing. . .

. ..and she feels that you know better about the matter than she does."

But now. . .

. .. l never think l know better than you. l couldn't bear for you to feel that you must forever remain at a stand. . .

. ..just because you're married. l always want to help you on in your excelsior striving.

But l had a dream about you, Lawrence. Last night.

While you were away, offering your services to the governor. l saw you in my dream. There were boys in blue marching past.

Some of the boys that we know.

And there you were. . .

. ..riding ahead of them on a great, white horse.

Fanny, my love, l felt l had to go. l offered the governor my services, wherever he wanted to place me. l thought he'd probably order me to an officer.

-Speeches, administration. -Oh.


. .. l know you. When you do a thing, you do it à l'outrance.

-So? He gave you a commission, didn't he? -They need serving officers.

Five new regiments are being formed now.

Maine has already sent 1 5. How could l refuse?

Poor Lawrence, damn you, you'll be good at it too.

You'll be good at soldiering just like you're good at everything else. So go.

Go do your duty to your country's flag...

. ..go on and get your medals for bravery, go and get yourself killed.

That poem of Lovelace.

That beautiful, horrible, damnable, lovely, sad poem. l think that you recited it in my dream.

Lovelace. "Off to the English Civil War"?

l would not dare presume to quote it now.

Tell me not, sweet, l am unkind That from the nunnery Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind To warlike arms l fly.

True, a new mistress now l serve The first foe in the field And with a sterner faith embrace The sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such As thou too shalt adore. l could not love thee, dear, so much

Loved l not honor more.

You will be wounded.

You will be changed by the horrors of it.

But you will come home. l believe that, my love. You will come home.


Come in.

You must be Mr. Lewis.

Ha, ha. There's some that calls me Uncle Jim.

Some calls me Big Jim. Some folks just calls me Jim. l don't suppose you've heard any of the names l get called? l heard Stonewall once.

That name properly belongs to the 1 st Virginia Brigade, not to me.

-They were the ones who earned it. -Some folks says otherwise.

Folks say men can't fight without nobody up front to lead them on.

-l'm told you're a first-rate cook. -Ha, ha. Yes, sir.

They wasn't lying, told you that. Whatever you likes to eat, l can cook it.

Pan-fry, griddle, boil, bake. Roasted.

And l understand you're from Lexington. You come highly recommended to me, Jim.

Lexington is my home, general. Same as yours. lf l could do my share in defending my home...

. .. l'd be doing the same as you. l heard it was Napoleon hisself said:

"An army can't march but on its stomach."

Well. . . . lf you love your country...

. ..fear the Lord...

. ..and have no trouble getting up at 4:00 in the morning, the job is yours.

Yous got yourself a deal, general.


My darling esposita.

Welcome to Winchester.

Thomas. Oh.

-Come in out of the cold. -Why, thank you.

-l have been thinking, Thomas... -Mm.

. ..that it may have been a blessing. . .

. ..that the Battle of Manassas was fought on my birthday.

Why is that? ln our old age, you will never forget it.

l will forget my own before l ever forget yours.

[WHlSPERlNG] Oh, Anna.


[WHlSPERlNG] What is it, Tom?


Everything in this life seems so fragile.

So temporary.

[lN NORMAL VOlCE] When we are separated, l fear...

. .. l will never see you again. l fear we may never have a child.

l fear l may lose you if we dare to have a child. l know l should trust in the Lord. . .

. ..but then l see the face of my dear mama. . .

. ..of my first wife, dead and cold.

With our dead darling.

Dead before he could draw his first breath in this world.

And l am afraid.

And l am afraid to feel happiness.

Afraid to hope for it again. l am afraid of God's judgment.

[lN NORMAL VOlCE] We serve a loving God, Thomas.

We are in each other's arms.

We are together, and we are happy together.

And is our love not proof of his?

We must not fear, Thomas.

We will survive this war.

And we will have a child.

So help us, God.


-Major Gilmore, stop that damn drumming! -Quiet!

-Stop that damn drumming! -Quiet!

This is a hell of a regiment.

Men of the 20th Maine Regiment of Volunteers. . .

. ..this is your commanding officer, Colonel Adelbert Ames.


Quiet! Quiet!

You do not cheer an officer.

You salute him.

20th Maine, l commend you for the enthusiasm...

. ..that has made you volunteer for service in Lincoln's Army. l can see that many of you are strong and fit.

We Maine men know that life in the woods of Maine...

. ..toughens the muscles and stretches the sinews. l've no doubt many of you have become good shots by hunting deer.

But tough muscles and skillful shooting are not enough to make a soldier.

That requires discipline.

Major Gilmore tells me you are in the habit of holding discussions with your officers.

That will cease from now.

An officer's orders are to be obeyed instantly and without question.

This regiment must learn to move as one man.

Otherwise we will all be killed.

-See if you can teach them to march. -Yes, sir.

Colonel Chamberlain.

Come with me.

When l say, "20th Maine, attention". . .

. ..you bring your feet together.

Governor Washburn and Adjutant General Hodgson. . .

. ..have sent me an impressive report about you.

They say you will master any assignment you're given. l shall certainly try, sir. l, uh, understand you were in the Battle of Bull Run.

Wounded too. lt taught me the need for discipline and proper procedure.

Take the act of shooting, for example.

When you're hunting in the Maine woods there's no difficulty in loading a rifle.

But in the panic of war, men act foolishly. ln Bull Run l saw a soldier forget to remove his ramrod from the barrel.

When he fired, out it flew with a dismal twang.

He lost the means of firing again and was killed soon after by a Rebel bullet.

Sergeant Tom Chamberlain reporting for duty, sir.

Tom, what on earth--? What are you doing? l signed up, Lawrence, l'm in this regiment. l'm coming with you.

Did Father approve? How will he run the farm?

Once he heard you were colonel, he couldn't say no.

Besides, you know him, he'll be all right. They both will. l'm giving them one less thing to cuss at.

Mama said so many prayers for the both of us, we got nothing to worry about.

Well, l guess l have one more responsibility. l have to look after you.


Lawrence, Mama told me to watch after you.

Just remember, lads, even a tin cup is a great weight after 20 mile.

Your precarious pegs won't last if you turn yourselves into pack mules.

And only one leg to a pant, if you please.

You'll soon be at the worn end of it...

. ..where your formal attire will be your shirt collar and boots. ln the U.S. Army we have the School of the Soldier. . .

. ..in which the soldier is trained and by numbers drilled.

Loading a musket is done in nine movements. . .

. ..performed over and over until they become automatic. ..

. ..or, as we call it, loading in nine times.

Aah! l see. Sergeant Chamberlain.

Loading in nine times. Demonstrate this.

Assume the musket has just been fired.

One, reach into cartridge box and withdraw cartridge.

Two, place cartridge between teeth.

Three, tear paper open.

Four, pour powder into barrel and charge cartridge.

Five, withdraw the ramrod. Six, ram the ball home.

Seven, return ramrod.

Eight, half-cock the hammer...

. ..remove old cap. ..

. ..and put a new cap on the cone.

Nine, shoulder arms.

All right, you have the idea.

But this must be done without thinking and much, much faster.


One, two, three, four...

. ..five...