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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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.
His division is assigned to Longstreet on the final day of battle. He is mortally wounded.
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.
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.
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.