Winter Break extra credit assignment-50 points
The Killer Angels (1974) is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for
Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil
War: June 29, 1863, as the troops of both the Union and the Confederacy move into battle around the town
of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and July 1, July 2, and July 3, when the battle was fought. The story is
character driven and told from the perspective of various protagonists.
o Robert Edward Lee (Commander, Army of Northern Virginia)
o James Longstreet (Lieutenant General)
o George E. Pickett (Major General)
o Richard Stoddart Ewell (Lieutenant General)
o Ambrose Powell Hill (Lieutenant General)
o Richard Brooke Garnett (Brigadier General)
o James Ewell Brown Stuart (Chief of Cavalry)
o Jubal Anderson Early (Major General)
o Lewis Addison Armistead (Brigadier General)
o James L. Kemper (Brigadier General)
o John Bell Hood (Major General)
o Henry Heth (Major General)
o Arthur Lyons Fremantle (Lieutenant Colonel, British Coldstream Guards)
o Henry Thomas Harrison (Confederate spy)
o Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Colonel)
o Thomas Davee Chamberlain (Lieutenant)
o Ellis Spear (Captain)
o John Buford (Brigadier General)
o John F. Reynolds (Major General)
o George Gordon Meade (Commanding general, Army of the Potomac)
o Winfield Scott Hancock (Major General)
o Buster Kilrain (Sergeant)
Students are to:
1. Annotate the novel. It will be checked for notations.-25 points
2. Answer the following questions in 2-3 paragraphs each.
1. One of the major conflicts in the novel is the disagreement between Confederate generals Robert E. Lee
and James Longstreet on how they should fight the battle. What does each man think the army should do
and why? What is significant about Longstreet's plan?
Is Longstreet wrong to obey Lee's orders, even though he disagrees? Should he have tried to get the other
generals to help him change Lee's mind? Why doesn't Longstreet try to take command from Lee?
2. Why is Chamberlain so bothered about having his brother serving with him in his regiment? Why would he
want to order his brother out of the regiment?
3. Author Michael Shaara changes some of the historical facts about the battle—for instance, he puts
Chamberlain in the middle of the Union line during Pickett's Charge, when in fact Chamberlain was more
than a mile south at the time. Why do you think Shaara does this? Do you think it is good or bad to change
the facts in a historical novel?
4. Discuss how the issue of slavery is dealt with by the characters in The Killer Angels. Be sure to cite
examples from both Confederate and Union characters.
5. Discuss death and the way it is dealt with by the characters in The Killer Angels.