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 he admires Chamberlain’s lofty views on human equality, he does not share them. Familiar with discrimination because of his Irish roots, he hates aristocracy and believes the war is being fought to ensure that a good person cannot be enchained by the past, regardless of descent. Kilrain is shot twice during the Battle of Little Round Top, and later his heart gives out in the hospital.
Buster Kilrain Quotes in The Killer Angels
The The Killer Angels quotes below are all either spoken by Buster Kilrain or refer to Buster Kilrain. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 2 Quotes
What I’m fighting for is the right to prove I’m a better man than many. Where have you seen this divine spark in operation, Colonel? Where have you noted this magnificent equality? … There’s many a man worse than me, and some better, but I don’t think race or country matters a damn. What matters is justice.
Related Characters: Buster Kilrain (speaker), Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
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Buster Kilrain Character Timeline in The Killer Angels
The timeline below shows where the character Buster Kilrain appears in The Killer Angels. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Monday, June 29, 1863: Chapter 2: Chamberlain
Chamberlain is awakened from a dream about Maine by Buster Kilrain. The former is recovering from sunstroke after an eighty-mile march over four days. Kilrain explains... (full context)
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 2: Chamberlain
...violence … a well-bred, well-mannered, highly educated man challenging you to a duel.” Just then, Kilrain appears with the news that he has found an injured black man. (full context)
...flutter of unmistakable revulsion” he had never suspected was there. He feels ashamed. Looking on, Kilrain says, “And this is what [the war is] all about.” (full context)
As they wait, Chamberlain asks Kilrain what he thinks of “Negroes.” Kilrain broods and finally says that one cannot judge an... (full context)
They sit in silence for a while. Kilrain finally says that he sees a great difference between them, which he can’t help but... (full context)
Kilrain goes on to explain his personal philosophy and motive for fighting: “There’s many a man... (full context)
Kilrain tells Chamberlain that the “strange and beautiful” thing about him is that he actually believes... (full context)
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 4: Chamberlain
...seems to be repelled. As Chamberlain checks on the dead and injured, he comes upon Kilrain, shot in the armpit. He sends Tom for a surgeon. Chamberlain is shot in the... (full context)
Chamberlain goes back to check on Kilrain, who has been shot twice. There is a silently emotional moment, “like coming back to... (full context)
...with ammunition, he asks that they occupy nearby Big Round Top. Chamberlain says goodbye to Kilrain, having never known a day in the regiment without him. As he and his men... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 1: Chamberlain
...a sleepless night, hungry and exhausted. Tom brings him coffee, and they chat, Chamberlain missing Kilrain. Tom talks about his fear in battle the day before, and Chamberlain remembers the exultation... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 3: Chamberlain
...is a mess, with amputations being done out in the open. Chamberlain asks him about Kilrain. Tom finally admits that Kilrain has died. Chamberlain’s senses come sharply into focus as he... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 6: Chamberlain
Chamberlain is thinking of Kilrain: “no divine spark.” He also thinks, “Animal meat: the Killer Angels.” He watches as bodies... (full context)