The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels

by

Michael Shaara

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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,” or “Lo” for short—a joking reference to his being a scoundrel toward women—but, in actuality, he is a shy widower. He is from an old Virginia family with a long military heritage. A lifelong soldier with a courtly bearing, he does not seem aggressive, but is dependable in battle. Longstreet views him as an honest, dependable man of honor. Like many Confederates, Armistead reveres Lee and sees the Southern “cause” as a sort of holy endeavor. He listens to Longstreet’s tactical views and agrees that Longstreet is probably right, but he has little interest in applying them. He is close friends with Winfield Scott Hancock, a Union general, who served with him, Longstreet, and others in Mexico. He is troubled by a vow he has made that God should strike him dead if he ever lifts his hand against Hancock. Twice he expresses a longing to visit Hancock across enemy lines, and Longstreet encourages him, but there is no reunion before Armistead dies in battle during Pickett’s Charge. His last words are an apology to Hancock.

Lewis Armistead Quotes in The Killer Angels

The The Killer Angels quotes below are all either spoken by Lewis Armistead or refer to Lewis Armistead. 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:
Honor Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine edition of The Killer Angels published in 1974.
Monday, June 29, 1863: Chapter 4 Quotes

War has changed, Lewis. They all expect one smashing victory. Waterloo and all that. But I think that kind of war is over. We have trenches now. And it’s a different thing, you know, to ask a man to fight from a trench. Any man can charge briefly in the morning. But to ask a man to fight from a trench, day after day …

Related Characters: James Longstreet (speaker), Lewis Armistead
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

“But the morale is simply amazing. Really is. Never saw anything like it in the old army. They’re off on a holy war. The Crusades must have been a little like this. Wish I’d a been there. Seen old Richard and the rest.”

Longstreet said, “They never took Jerusalem.”

Armistead squinted.

“It takes a bit more than morale,” Longstreet said.

“Oh sure.” But Longstreet was always gloomy. “Well, anyhow, I’ve never seen anything like this. The Old Man’s accomplishment. Incredible. His presence is everywhere. They hush when he passes, like an angel of the Lord. You ever see anything like it?”

Related Characters: James Longstreet (speaker), Lewis Armistead (speaker), Robert E. Lee
Related Symbols: Angels
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 5 Quotes

Longstreet shook his head. That was another thing he did not think about. Armistead said disgustedly, “They think we’re fighting to keep the slaves. He says that’s what most of Europe thinks the war is all about. Now, what we supposed to do about that?”

Longstreet said nothing. The war was about slavery, all right. That was not why Longstreet fought but that was what the war was about, and there was no point in talking about it, never had been.

Related Characters: Lewis Armistead (speaker), James Longstreet, Arthur Lyon Fremantle
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lewis Armistead Character Timeline in The Killer Angels

The timeline below shows where the character Lewis Armistead appears in The Killer Angels. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Monday, June 29, 1863: Chapter 4: Longstreet
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Old World vs. New World Theme Icon
...Confederacy, but Longstreet doubts this will happen. Suddenly George Pickett arrives with his brigade commanders, Armistead, Garnett, and Kemper. Longstreet has known these men since they all served together in the... (full context)
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Longstreet and Pickett introduce Pickett’s officers to Fremantle. Armistead jokes that the army is called “Lee’s Miserables,” after the currently popular novel Les Miserables.... (full context)
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...itself dead last in the line of march. Longstreet promises that Pickett’s time will come. Armistead then comes up, and Pickett returns to the poker game. As Armistead talks with Longstreet,... (full context)
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Longstreet and Armistead discuss the fact that the war has lasted longer than either of them had imagined... (full context)
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Armistead, however, isn’t interested in talking tactics and returns to the subject of Hancock. Longstreet encourages... (full context)
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Armistead talks about the unprecedented level of morale he sees in the army. “They’re off on... (full context)
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Longstreet shakes his head at Armistead’s idealistic talk, as he “did not think much of the Cause. He was a professional:... (full context)
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Armistead changes the subject to Longstreet’s theories of defensive warfare. He allows that Longstreet is correct... (full context)
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Longstreet knows that Armistead is probably right about Lee, and it worries him. He thinks that “there was danger... (full context)
Thursday, July 2, 1863: Chapter 5: Longstreet
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Armistead joins Longstreet, and they discuss the day. Armistead shares his concerns for Dick Garnett, who... (full context)
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Armistead brings up Fremantle, the “not too bright” Englishman. He says he asked Fremantle why England... (full context)
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...as they listen to a young man singing a sentimental Irish song. It especially touches Armistead, who remembers playing the same song with Hancock the spring before the men went their... (full context)
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Armistead wants Longstreet to join the group around the fire. Longstreet resists, knowing his presence will... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 4: Armistead
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Armistead watches the assault begin. Longstreet sits motionless on a fence rail, and Pickett yells with... (full context)
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...moved; like Stuart, he is a soldier who “looked on war as God’s greatest game.” Armistead walks away, admiring the solidity of Longstreet’s unmoving presence in the distance; it reminds him... (full context)
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...He is still having trouble walking and says he will have to ride into battle. Armistead reminds him that Pickett has ordered that no one must ride; if he does, Garnett... (full context)
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Armistead does not pray for himself yet, believing it is all in God’s hands. He feels... (full context)
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...asks. Longstreet stands still in the dark of the woods. He says nothing, just stares. Armistead feels “an eerie turning, like a sickness,” as he realizes that Longstreet is crying. Tears... (full context)
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Armistead summons his brigade to its feet, feeling oddly sleepy. He moves up and down his... (full context)
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Armistead goes over to Garnett one final time, saying, “Dick, for God’s sake and mine, get... (full context)
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Remembering Longstreet’s tears, Armistead feels an acute depression for the first time. He thinks how desperate their situation is.... (full context)
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...fires, and gaps begin to open where shells have exploded within the line. Some of Armistead’s own men begin to be hit and to die. Cannonballs bounce like bowling balls. Then... (full context)
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They come to a road, clogged with the bodies of men. Armistead passes a crying boy, frozen and staring up the ridge. He tries to urge the... (full context)
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Armistead looks for Garnett, but there is so much smoke he can’t see. The charge comes... (full context)
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Armistead reaches the stone wall and sees Union men falling back. He feels incredible joy for... (full context)
Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 5: Longstreet
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...and then sits by the fire drinking coffee. Sorrel brings the figures from the day: Armistead and Garnett are dead; Kemper is dying. Seven of Pickett’s thirteen colonels are dead and... (full context)