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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Today is, of course, the anniversary of the Second Day of fighting at Gettysburg, and it seems fitting to Ol’ Robbo to keep up with my theme below concerning the movie about the battle which I still haven’t decided whether I’ll watch again.

For the reasons I discuss below, I believe the movie (and the novel on which it’s based) does an inadvertent disservice to its audience to the extent that said audience believes it to be anything like a full recounting of the Battle.  This is nowhere more evident than in its portrayal of the Second Day, which in the movie is confined almost completely to a depiction of the fighting at Little Round Top, and the actions of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain therein.  (Bowdoin College and the Brunswick, Maine Chamber of Commerce both say Thank You!, by the bye.)

Col. Strong Vincent of the 83rd Pennsylvania, who recognized the importance of occupying Little Round Top and did so on his own authority., thus arguably making him the true hero of that part of the Battle. (You’re welcome, Vic!)

Not that I would argue that the movie gets much wrong about this fight (except that it sets the action in a forest and Little Round Top was clear-cut) or overstates its critical importance to the Union cause.  Rayther, by the time it’s over, one would think that Jeff Daniels won the entire Second Day of the Battle all by himself.  This simply isn’t the case.

The novel, at least, spends somewhat more time on Longstreet’s development of his attack against the Union Left, and discusses the Wheat Field, the Peach Orchard, and the Devil’s Den.  But neither novel nor movie have much of anything to say about the Confederate attacks along other parts of the Union line, including Ewell’s movement against Culp’s and Cemetery Hills and A.P. Hill’s probe toward the Union center.  Again, Little Round Top was a crisis that the Union managed to survive, but there were plenty others that day as well.  (This is where I always mention the emergency charge of the 1st Minnesota to plug a hole along Cemetery Ridge until reinforcements could be brought up.  They went in and suffered something like 90% casualties, but they held the line.)  The fighting lasted well into the evening, by the bye, and was nip and tuck right up until the end.

So there.

Of course, I’m indulging in nerdy quibbling here, and I suppose I really ought to be grateful that the movie was made in the first place.  As I remarked in comments below, it couldn’t have been done at all nowadays because although it clearly sides with the Northern Cause, it treats just about all the players on both sides with sympathy and respect.

And we certainly can’t have that now, can we?

 

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