The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels

by

Michael Shaara

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The Killer Angels: Friday, July 3, 1863: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Chamberlain sits in a tree overlooking Gettysburg after 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 he felt, the sense of being alive. Tom says he thinks they will win the war, and Chamberlain confirms it, but he is too tired to think of “high and golden” ideals.
In the aftermath of battle, Chamberlain is surprised how jubilant he feels, and how disconnected from the very ideals he had agonized over the day before.
Themes
Idealism vs. Disillusionment Theme Icon
Chamberlain gets down from the tree and hears battle to the north, on the army’s opposite flank, as he limps along on his injured foot. He is almost disappointed not to be facing another assault. On the other hand, his regiment is worn down to two hundred weary men, who have nothing to eat. Eventually a sergeant struggles up the steep hill with word that Colonel Rice wants them to fall back and get some rest. As Chamberlain readies his men, he looks around the hill and knows they will never forget the spot. They are being led to a “safe” spot in the middle of the line, where it is said to be very quiet.
Unbeknownst to them, Chamberlain’s regiment is about to be led to the most dangerous part of the coming battle.
Themes
Idealism vs. Disillusionment Theme Icon