The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels

by

Michael Shaara

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The Killer Angels Characters

James Longstreet

Nicknamed “Pete” by his men, Longstreet is Lieutenant General of the Army of Northern Virginia and Lee’s second-in-command. He is haunted by the deaths of his three children from a fever the previous winter… read analysis of James Longstreet

Robert E. Lee

Described as “formal and pious” in contrast to his dear friend Longstreet, Lee is the beloved Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia. He is a fatherly, even godlike figure to his men… read analysis of Robert E. Lee

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

The primary Union protagonist in the story, 34-year-old Chamberlain is Colonel of the Twentieth Maine regiment. He is not a career soldier; he took a leave of absence from his position as professor of rhetoric… read analysis of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Buster Kilrain

A former sergeant demoted to private for throwing a bottle at an officer, hard-drinking Kilrain assists Chamberlain in the regiment and has been loyal to him from his first day with the Twentieth Maine. Though… read analysis of Buster Kilrain

Tom Chamberlain

Tom is Joshua Chamberlain’s younger brother, newly a lieutenant in the regiment and “worshipful” of his older brother. Still boyish and inexperienced, Tom often calls his brother “Lawrence” instead of “Sir.” He is quick… read analysis of Tom Chamberlain
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Harrison

Harrison is a spy for the Confederate Army, hired by Longstreet. The novel begins with Harrison’s discovery of the position of the Union Army, which he immediately reports to Longstreet (who is somewhat surprised… read analysis of Harrison

John Buford

A Major General in the Union Army, 37-year-old Buford is “a tall blond sunburned man” who served for years in the Indian wars. He is methodical and patient, though given to moodiness and occasional outbursts… read analysis of John Buford

Arthur Lyon Fremantle

A Lieutenant Colonel in the Queen’s Coldstream Guards, Fremantle travels with the Confederates to record his observations for England. He is described as a scrawny man who resembles “a popeyed bird,” “perpetually astonished,” and “not… read analysis of Arthur Lyon Fremantle

Joseph Bucklin

Bucklin is a battle-scarred fisherman from Bangor, Maine, who serves as spokesman for the mutineers from the Union’s Second Maine regiment. He shares the disdain of many enlisted men for inept leadership. He argues that… read analysis of Joseph Bucklin

George Pickett

A gentleman who finished last in his class at West Point, Pickett has nevertheless displayed bravery in battle and is eager to distinguish himself further at Gettysburg. From a distance he looks like “a French… read analysis of George Pickett

Lewis Armistead

Armistead is a Confederate Brigadier General. He served with Longstreet, Pickett, Garnett, and Kemper in the Mexican War and leads a brigade under Pickett at Gettysburg. His peers have nicknamed him “Lothario,”… read analysis of Lewis Armistead

Richard Brooke (“Dick”) Garnett

Dick Garnett served with Longstreet, Pickett, Armistead, and Kemper in the Mexican War. At the Battle of Kernstown, he withdrew his brigade without orders, earning a reputation for cowardice from an enraged… read analysis of Richard Brooke (“Dick”) Garnett

Jim Kemper

Kemper is a Confederate Brigadier General. He served with Longstreet, Pickett, Armistead, and Garnett in the Mexican War and leads a brigade under Pickett at Gettysburg. He is known to be stoic… read analysis of Jim Kemper

Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson

Stonewall Jackson is a celebrated Confederate general who does not appear in the story, as he had died in the spring of 1863, but whose memory looms large in Southern consciousness. His influence is especially… read analysis of Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson

Winfield Scott Hancock

A Union major general, Hancock is also Armistead’s close friend, having served with him, Longstreet, and others in the Mexican War. He is a commanding presence and “picture-book soldier.” Stalwart in battle, he… read analysis of Winfield Scott Hancock

John Reynolds

Reynolds is a Union Major General, known as an immaculate, elegant solider. He is even offered command of the entire Union Army but declines, with the honor passing to Meade instead. When Buford sends him… read analysis of John Reynolds

Harry Heth

Heth is a Confederate general, who always appears grave and perplexed. Despite being ordered not to attack, he gets into a significant engagement with Buford’s dismounted cavalry on the first day at Gettysburg, having… read analysis of Harry Heth

Richard Ewell

Ewell is a Confederate Lieutenant General of such abilities that he has been chosen to succeed a portion of Stonewall Jackson’s former command. However, he lost a leg in battle the previous year and… read analysis of Richard Ewell

Jubal Early

A Confederate general, Early is a self-confident, cool-tempered prosecutor by training. He attacks the Union flank on the first day at Gettysburg. He tends to speak for less confident men, like Richard Ewell. He… read analysis of Jubal Early

George Gordon Meade

“An angry man with a squeaky voice,” the newly installed Commanding General of the Union’s Army of the Potomac first appears in the story in the wee hours of the second day of battle. Despite… read analysis of George Gordon Meade

Dred Scott

Dred Scott was an African American man who was born into slavery in Virginia in 1799. In the 1830s, Scott was purchased by an army officer, who took him into the free state of Illinois… read analysis of Dred Scott

The Escaped Slave

An injured black man, an escaped slave, is discovered by Kilrain around the midpoint of the story. He has only been in America for a few weeks and speaks little English. In Gettysburg, he is… read analysis of The Escaped Slave

John Bell Hood

Hood is a Confederate Major General, forced to attack on the second day of battle from a position where it is impossible to mount cannon and from which every movement is clearly observed by the… read analysis of John Bell Hood

J. E. B. (“Jeb”) Stuart

Stuart is a Lieutenant General with the Confederate Cavalry. A gifted and self-confident soldier but also flashy, he thinks of war as more of a game. His assignment is to keep Lee informed of Union… read analysis of J. E. B. (“Jeb”) Stuart
Minor Characters
Colonel Rice
Rice is the Union’s commander of the Forty-Fourth New York regiment, who takes over command of the entire brigade after the Battle of Little Round Top. His awe of Chamberlain’s charge makes Chamberlain realize that he has achieved something remarkable.
Johnston
Captain Johnston is Lee’s engineer, in charge of scouting the Confederate position and leading Longstreet’s corps into place on the second day of battle, only to discover—thanks in part to Stuart’s absence—that their route takes them within sight of the Union army.
G. Moxley Sorrel
Sorrel is Longstreet’s chief of staff. He is an ardent defender of the Southern “Cause.”
Ambrose Powell Hill
A. P. Hill is a Confederate Major General. He discounts reports of Union cavalry in Gettysburg, contra Longstreet’s spy, Harrison.
Dorsey Pender
His division is assigned to Longstreet on the final day of battle. He is mortally wounded.
Daniel Sickles
Sickles is a Union general who moves his men forward off of Cemetery Hill, stretching the line too thin and allowing the Confederates to flank him This puts Chamberlain’s regiment in a difficult position on Little Round Top.
Strong Vincent
Vincent is the Union colonel who orders Chamberlain and the Twentieth Maine not to withdraw from their position on Little Round Top under any conditions. He is mortally wounded in the day’s fighting.
George Sykes
Sykes is the Union general who summons Chamberlain on the morning after the battle of Little Round Top, asking to hear his account of the battle and commending his actions, saying that the Army needs more men like him.
T. J. Goree
Goree is a Confederate captain serving under and fiercely loyal to Longstreet him. He keeps an eye on the grieving Longstreet after Pickett’s Charge and warns him against getting himself killed.