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Title: Gettysburg in Literature, Film and History: Pickett’s Charge and Epilogue

Description: Today Sean, James and I continue our discussion of the real events and background of the Battle of Gettysburg as portrayed through the 1993 film Gettysburg. One last cavalry charge just might be the answer to break the gridlock of this battle. We will also discuss the aftermath of Gettysburg and its place in the Civil War.

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James Early and Sean McIver
Key Battles of American History Podcast

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Begin Transcript:

, [00:00:00] this is beyond the big screen podcast with your host, Steve Guerra. Welcome back to beyond the big screen. We have another installment of Hollywood hates history today. This is the fourth and final part of our four-part conversation on just the wonderful and historically accurate. But also highly entertaining, 1993, classic Gettysburg.
We’re joined as we have been in the past three episodes by two civil war, fanatics and podcast, or Sean MacGyver of the common take it, Texas history podcast and professor James early, a frequent contributor to beyond the big screen, but also the history of the papacy podcast and Scott ranks history unplugged podcast.
Today, we will wrap up the battle, which [00:01:00] will include. Dissection of how the movie lines up with the main source material for the movie in the 1974 historical fiction, novel and Pulitzer prize winner, the killer angels by Michael Shaara. We have a ton to talk about this episode to you think we talked a ton about the other parts of the book and movie will have even more.
If you have a historical movie, you either love or hate. Let me know. And maybe we can work together to create another episode of Hollywood hates history. I have a ton of ideas, but I’d love to hear yours. Thank you again for listening and I will see you next time beyond the big screen.
all right, welcome back everybody. Now we’ve, we’ve discussed the prelude to the battle day to day one day two. And now we’re finally at the ultimate [00:02:00] day of the battle day three Friday, July 3rd, 1863. James, why don’t you set us up with day three. All right. Well, the overall, uh, description of what happened on this day is actually fairly simple to state.
Generally, even though the Confederates had been driven back on day two, he felt they’d come so close. He felt, oh, if we just hit them one more time. Uh, as we’ve already seen, long street did not want to do a nother head-on assault against veteran, federal troops who were dug in on high ground. But Lee, just in, I’ve heard, it said his blood was up, his fighting spirit was up.
He really felt just one more push and they will break. He felt like the center was especially weak. So he ordered once again, a general. To attack Culp’s hill, which again, using my analogy of a clock that’s about one o’clock and the [00:03:00] union line swings around from two or one all the way around to six.
O’clock going counterclockwise, but it’s really more like a fish hook or an ear. But anyway, so general Yule attacks about. Uh, in the morning and it, it even takes part of Culp’s hill, but the Federalist drive them back and around 11 o’clock that is over with then Lee decides he wants to hit the center.
He feels like because the center has the center, didn’t get hit very hard on day two, but they, the center. Or I should say Mead, the overall union commander had to strip the center and send troops to the right and to the left to support them because they were under assault. He felt like the center would be spread really thin.
Now the center is on cemetery Ridge. So on my clock analogy go from 12 o’clock down to about five or so that is the union center. But again, they’re on a Ridge [00:04:00] and the. Confederate troops are off to the west a little bit about a mile to the left, and they’re going to have to March across almost a sloping ground wide open ground.
No. Uh, just fields of grass going uphill and over almost about a mile long March. I’ve heard anything from a quarter of a mile to a mile. So something but along March, but Lee thinks they can do it. And he orders long street to lead it. Now, long street doesn’t want to lead it. He realizes that it’s going to be a complete disaster and he asks actually, Uh, Lee would put AP hill in charge of it, but Lisa’s know you’re my best core commander.
I want you to lead it. So, uh, as we’ve mentioned before, long street had three divisions. One led by general hood, one led by general McCloskey and the third led by picket hood. And my claws were really banged up and really hurting from day two. So they’re going to stay out of this one long [00:05:00] streets. Only division that’s going to attack is going to.
Pick it division, which was fresh. They had not so far participated in the battle, but that’s not enough. And Lee realizes that. So he strips away a couple of Hills divisions, one led by Johnson pedigree and one led by, uh, Isaac Trimble. And so those three divisions are going to do what is now called pickets charged.
They’re going to March across. As I mentioned about a mile long open area, gradually uphill to attack the federals on cemetery Ridge. And before that there’s going to be a candidate, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Um, so there’s going to be a candidate and then they’re going to March up there and push the Federalist back, take the high ground and, and maybe persuade, pursue the federals all the way down to Washington, perhaps.
So that is the plan. We will see how that works out when we actually talk about the movie. And [00:06:00] so Chamberlain is, um, oh, I’m sorry. Did you wanna introduce it, Steve? No, you go ahead and yeah. Let’s um, yeah, let’s hear where Chamberlain is because he’s kind of in an interesting spot. And yet again. Yeah. So his, his men have just been fighting a difficult battle the previous day.
And so, uh, he gets orders to go reprint report to the, save a spot in the, in the union lines, right in the center. Yeah. Because there’s not any kind of thing happened there. Um, and so he goes there. Um, so the interesting things about the movie, um, tremble was the, the general earlier who had, was Trimble part of Hills division core, or was he part of UL’s core?
Actually, I believe he was part of UL’s I missed. Okay. So he takes her regimen from. Hill and you’re in a regiment from you. You’ll okay. Yeah. Uh, he’s the one who complained about all earlier, um, pedigree is played by, uh, if you’ve ever seen one [00:07:00] of the heels only James Bond in one movie, but George Lazenby.
So you have a former James Bond playing a Confederate general. Um, I didn’t notice that until I watched it. So a long street has self doubt. He doubts, he thinks this attack’s going to fail. And he tells me that, and Lee says, you need to do what you do your duty. And he doesn’t think meat has that many men in the center, which is wrong.
Uh, and then long street asks if another commander can lead the attack. And did he say no? Or did he just not. Uh, no, uh, I think in the book he just doesn’t respond. He’s embarrassed by the, by the request. And so he just ignored him. I don’t recall. It’s been a little while. Yeah. So, uh, George Pickett comes up with his division and long street tells him he’s going to lead the attack and pick it’s excited.
He says, we’re going to do it. We’re going to, we’re going to take, we’re going to take. We’re going to charge and we’re going to take it. And they cheer for long for Lee as he rides by and the cheer for long [00:08:00] street and then long street orders, uh, that his, our chiller commander, Colonel Alexander, uh, he’s a young guy.
So Alexander, uh, became a Colonel, uh, after the Fredericksburg battle earlier, uh, in December, uh, because he had, uh, held off, uh, basically a whole union division with just his battery of horse out to artillery on the Confederate. Uh, and prevented the main Confederate line, which was, uh, behind the Stonewall from being flanked.
Uh, and basically union just had to March up and get killed. Like the Confederates are about to do here in Gettysburg. Uh, so Alexander was the, was long streets, uh, artillery, commander, uh, and he tells them, I need you to clear out the federal artillery. Uh, and Alexander says, they’re going to do it, but they’re short on ammunition.

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"Gettysburg in Literature, Film and History: Pickett’s Charge and Epilogue" History on the Net
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June 15, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/gettysburg-in-literature-film-and-history-picketts-charge-and-epilogue>
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