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The Killer Angels

  • Study Guide
Quotes

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

Quote 4

Chamberlain raised his saber, let loose the shout that was the greatest sound he could make, boiling the yell up from his chest: Fix bayonets! Charge! Fix bayonets! Charge! Fix bayonets! Charge! He leaped down from the boulder, still screaming, his voice beginning to crack and give, and all around him his men were roaring animal screams, and he saw the whole Regiment rising and pouring over the wall and beginning to bound down through the dark bushes, over the dead and dying and wounded. . . .

This passage is from July 2, Chapter 4. While The Killer Angels tells the story of a terrible, real-life battle, it is at its heart an adventure story, and there is no greater action scene in the novel than the charge of the Twentieth Maine down Little Round Top. For over an hour, the regiment has held off the Confederate soldiers attempting to climb the hill. They have hidden behind trees and rock walls and fired downward. But now they have run out of ammunition, and the Confederates are still coming. They have been told they cannot withdraw from the battle. Chamberlain sees only one chance: to charge down the hill, bayonets and swords aloft, and try to get the Confederates to flee. The plan works perfectly: the Confederates flee in terror from the screaming Union soldiers. It is a powerful moment, and this scene is also the centerpiece of the film Gettysburg. The novel and film have made the fighting on Little Round Top almost as famous as the Battle of Gettysburg itself.