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The Killer Angels | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Monday, June 29

    Harrison the spy tells Longstreet of the Union Army's location.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • Later that day

    Lee decides to turn the Confederate Army to face the Union at Gettysburg.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • The same day

    Buford scouts Gettysburg and claims the high ground for the Union.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • July 1, morning

    Buford holds off the Confederate attack.

    Part 2, Chapter 2
  • Later that day

    Reynolds and the Union Army arrive, but Reynolds is killed and the Union is forced back.

    Part 2, Chapter 2
  • Early evening

    Ewell fails to take Cemetery Hill for the Confederates.

    Part 2, Chapter 3
  • Thursday, July 2, 4 pm

    Longstreet and Hood attack Little Round Top.

    Part 3, Chapter 3
  • Early evening

    Chamberlain holds Little Round Top, forcing the Confederates to retreat or surrender.

    Part 4, Chapter 4
  • Late that night

    Lee reprimands Stuart for not informing him of the Union Army's location.

    Part 3, Chapter 6
  • Friday, July 3, morning

    Chamberlain and his men are ordered to move to Cemetery Ridge.

    Part 4, Chapter 1
  • Around the same time

    Longstreet objects to Lee's plans, but Lee orders the attack on Cemetery Ridge anyway.

    Part 4, Chapter 2
  • That afternoon

    The Confederate bombardment of the Ridge begins, and Chamberlain is in the middle of it.

    Part 4, Chapter 3
  • A couple of hours later

    The Confederate troops march across the field toward Cemetery Ridge.

    Part 4, Chapter 4
  • Soon after

    The Confederate troops who survive make a chaotic attempt to take the Hill, but they fail.

    Part 4, Chapter 4
  • Soon after

    Survivors retreat, and Lee says the defeat is his fault.

    Part 4, Chapter 5
  • That evening

    Lee orders the retreat of the Confederate Army.

    Part 4, Chapter 5
  • Around the same time

    Chamberlain feels the battle is a tragedy.

    Part 4, Chapter 6

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
To the Reader and Foreword The author, Michael Shaara, explains his reason for writing the book: to let readers know what it was like to be in th... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 1 A spy witnesses the movements of two corps of Union soldiers advancing, and he rides to inform the Confederate Army of t... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is awakened by Private Buster Kilrain to learn of the impending arrival of 120 men f... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 Union cavalry commander John Buford arrives in Gettysburg and surveys the ground. He is an experienced soldier and leade... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Longstreet and his men relax in the camp that evening, playing cards with some foreign observers including Lieutenant Co... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 1 Robert E. Lee awakens on July 1st feeling frail. His heart often leaves him breathless and has done so for several month... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 2 On the morning of July 1 Buford hears the first shots of the battle. He is amused to think the Confederate Army is initi... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 3 Lee advances with his troops, hearing the explosions ahead as they fight the Union soldiers. He wonders why Heth didn't ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 4 Chamberlain and his soldiers march in the heat of the day toward Gettysburg. He hears his brother, Tom, telling one of t... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 5 Longstreet rides through the battlefield late that evening, passing piles of amputated limbs like white spiders and a he... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 6 Lee meets Ewell, Early, and Rodes. Ewell rejoices in the day's victory. Lee expresses disappointment that the hill was n... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 7 Union soldiers fortify their position along Cemetery Ridge. Buford rides in search of a commander to give him his next o... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 1 Fremantle awakes before dawn, delighted to participate in the camp breakfast. He thinks "what a joy to be with the winne... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 2 Kilrain tells Chamberlain they have a black man who is wounded. Chamberlain has seen very few black people before, and h... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 3 Longstreet reviews the map with Lee. He tells Longstreet to attack en echelon along the enemy's flank to draw forces awa... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 4 Chamberlain is ordered to move his men up the hill. Vincent tells Chamberlain that Sickles led his men down the slope ag... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 5 After the retreat from Little Round Top Longstreet sees Hood, who has a badly injured arm. Longstreet lies to Hood, not ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 6 Lee works through the night. He moves outside for quiet time with his horse to reflect on the choice before him. Longstr... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 1 Chamberlain looks down at the battlefield early Friday morning from a tree atop Little Round Top. He hears cannon fire f... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 2 Lee visits Longstreet in the morning to go over his plans. Lee explains Ewell has been ordered to attack to the north at... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 3 Lieutenant Pitzer leads Chamberlain and his regiment to their new position as reserve along the crest of Cemetery Ridge.... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 4 The Union begins to return artillery fire toward the Confederate position on Seminary Ridge. Armistead checks his watch ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 5 Longstreet watches the charge, feeling numb as he sees the neat lines break apart into smoky chaos. Retreating men begin... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 6 Chamberlain sits on a rock after dark looking over the battlefield, remembering the scene as the Confederate Army lined ... Read More
Afterword Lee will later offer his resignation. It is not accepted, and he serves for the remainder of the war. The eventual surre... Read More
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