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This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a major character, remembers reciting to his father the speech from Hamlet: “What a piece of work is manin action how like an angel! Chamberlain’s father comments, “Well, boy, if he’s an angel, he’s sure a murderin’ angel. In late June 1863, General Robert E. Lee leads his army into Pennsylvania.

Union army into battle and inflict a crushing defeat, which will bring an end to the war. Harrison, a spy, tells General James Longstreet, Lee’s friend, that the Union army is drawing near. At the road junction of Gettysburg, Confederate infantry encounters the Union cavalry of General John Buford. He seizes the high ground and holds it against a Confederate attack at dawn on July 1. Troops of General John Reynolds come to support Buford. On July 2, he tries to persuade Lee that the Union position is too strong.

He urges Lee to march away and make the fight on more favorable ground. But Lee orders a flanking attack on the Union position. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Maine is told by his superiors that he occupies the end of the Union line, and that he must hold at any cost. In a brilliant, costly action, Chamberlain succeeds in repulsing the Confederate attack. On July 3, Lee orders a frontal assault on the center of the Union line.

Knowing it is doomed, Longstreet argues against it. But Lee is confident and Longstreet despairs. General George Pickett leads the charge, which is turned back with heavy losses. Chamberlain is now confident of Union victory. Beginning with the famous section about Longstreet’s spy Harrison gathering information about the movements and positions of the Federals, each day is told primarily from the perspectives of commanders of the two armies, including Robert E. Publication of The Killer Angels and release of the movie have had two significant influences on modern perceptions of the Civil War.