The Killer Angels: Novel Summary: Foreword: June 1863
Foreword: June 1863
The Killer Angels begins with a foreword that briefly describes the events immediately leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. The first section describes the two armies. On June 15, 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia, numbering seventy thousand men and commanded by Robert E. Lee, crossed the Potomac at Williamsport and invaded the North. By the end of June they have advanced almost as far as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Their aim is to draw the Union Army out into the open and defeat it.
At the same time the Union army, the Army of the Potomac, numbering eighty thousand men, has turned north in pursuit of the rebels.
The second section of the foreword lists and briefly describes the main characters who will feature in the battle: on the Confederate side, Robert Edward Lee, the commander; Lieutenant Colonel James Longstreet, his right-hand man; Major General George Pickett, who desperately wants to be in what he thinks will be the last battle of the war; Lieutenant General Richard Ewell, uncertain of his abilities to command; Major General Ambrose Powell Hill, who does not like to follow orders; Brigadier General Lewis Armistead, who is a close friend of Winfield Scott Hancock, who fights with the Union; Brigadier General Richard Brooke Garnett, accused of cowardice in a previous battle; Lieutenant General J. E. B. Stuart, whose job it is to keep track of the Union Army; Major General Jubal Early, competent but bitter; on the Union side, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a professor rhetoric who has always wanted to be a soldier; Major General John Buford, who trails Lee’s army and is the first into Gettysburg; Major General John Reynolds, said to be the finest soldier in the Union Army; Major General George Gordon Meade, who takes command of the Army two days before the battle; and Winfield Scott Hancock, a painter and old friend of Armistead.