MU American History Gettysburg Movie Discussion

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Gettysburg Video



Background (Please read before class):

It was the summer of 1863. The South’s Army of Northern Virginia had been largely victorious. But the Confederacy was having increasing difficulties supplying its troops with food, clothing, guns and ammunition. The Union Army continued to grow in strength and its advantage in men and material continued to improve. The rebel commander, Robert E. Lee, believed that he had two choices; either to retire to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, and try to withstand a siege, a tactic that he knew would ultimately be unsuccessful, or to invade Pennsylvania. Lee chose invasion hoping that a brilliant victory in the North would force the Union to the bargaining table or encourage England to enter the war on the side of the South. At least he would be able to feed his troops from the rich Pennsylvania countryside. By bringing the summer’s campaign into the North, Lee would give some respite to the war ravaged Virginia countryside and disrupt the Union Army’s plans to again march on Richmond.



At Gettysburg, the Union fielded 85,000 men and sustained 23,000 casualties. The Confederacy fielded 75,000 men and sustained 28,000 casualties. The Union Army of the Potomac entered the battle under a new untested commander, General George Gordon Meade.



Some historians disagree with the view that the Battle of Gettysburg was the “The High Water Mark of the Confederacy.” They point out that Lee left the field with his army intact and that the South was able to sustain the fight for another 21 months. In any case, combined with Grant’s capture of Vicksburg later that month, Gettysburg gave the Union hope of victory. As the film makes clear, Lee made a terrible mistake in having Pickett’s division charge uphill into entrenched Union lines.



The Gettysburg Address was given by President Lincoln on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. It was a key document of American history and shows how, by that time, Lincoln was combining the twin goals of saving the Union and “a new birth of freedom” (abolition of slavery).



Cast

Tom Berenger as Lieutenant GeneralJames Longstreet (CSA)

Jeff Daniels as ColonelJoshua Chamberlain (USA)

Martin Sheen as GeneralRobert E. Lee (CSA)

Kevin Conway as SergeantBuster Kilrain (USA)

C. Thomas Howell as LieutenantThomas Chamberlain (USA)

Richard Jordan as Brigadier GeneralLewis A. "Lo" Armistead (CSA)

Richard Anderson as Major GeneralGeorge Meade (USA)

Royce D. Applegate as Brigadier GeneralJames L. Kemper (CSA)

Stephen Lang as Major GeneralGeorge Pickett (CSA)

Sam Elliott as Brigadier GeneralJohn Buford (USA)



John Buford’s Stand at Seminary Ridge

Actor Sam Elliott plays the Union General John Buford. How does Sam Elliott attempt to portray Buford in this scene in the beginning? How does Sam Elliott make Buford look more “human”?





Frequently during the segment, there are several references made about the area around Seminary Ridge as being “such lovely ground” for a battle. What characteristics, in your view, make the area around Seminary Ridge “lovely ground”?





General John Buford mentions the significance of having or holding the “high ground”. Why is the “high ground” so important for the Union to possess it?





Describe the difference in numbers(soldiers) between Buford’s forces and the Confederate troops? Why would Buford deploy his force against a force such as that approaching Seminary Ridge?





How do the Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet assess the Union General George Meade as a commander and his strategy for the upcoming battle?





How do the Union officers describe the Confederate soldiers and officers?

Compare/contrast this view with how Lee and Longstreet viewed the Union forces?





What role did Buford’s forces play in the overall battle at Gettysburg the first day on Seminary Ridge?





Thomas Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Little Round Top

What objections/statements does Confederate General Hood make regarding attacking Little Round Top? What alternative does Hood suggest to Lee’s order?







How does the film suggest that it was vital that Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine hold the position, “defend this place to the last”?





In your view, how does Colonel Chamberlain interact with the men (officers and

enlisted men) of the 20th Maine in the period immediately before the attack on Little Round Top?





As another Confederate regiment arrives at Little Round Top, how does Chamberlain decide to re-deploy his forces?





What could be a possible reason for the Confederates continually trying to advance up Little Round Top?





As the Confederates make one more charge up Little Round Top, what order does

Chamberlain give to repel the advance? What advantages does Chamberlain see in

this type of response?





What was the result of this tactic? How successful was it?





How do Chamberlain’s men respond to him after the battle? How do officers from other regiments who observed Chamberlain respond to Chamberlain after the attack?





George Pickett’s Charge

In your own words, describe the mood of General James Longstreet as he orders General George Pickett to begin the attack?



On the 3rd and final day, before the charge commences, What are the spirits of the confederate soldiers?





As the scene progresses, note the facial expressions and demeanor of the Confederate soldiers as they cross the field. Describe their emotions as they advance?





During the charge, Pickett exclaims, “I can’t see what’s happening to my boys!”

What does this statement say about Pickett as a leader and a commander?





After the charge, when General Armistead learns that Union General Hancock has also been wounded, he cries, “not both of us… not ALL of us…” What does this statement say about the feelings Northern and Southern soldiers and commanding officers had for each other before the war?





At the end of the charge, General Lee mutters several times, “It’s my fault… it’s all my fault…” Evaluate Lee’s decision to send Pickett’s men on this sort of charge.

Should Lee have been reprimanded or possibly removed from command for his

decision? Explain your answer.





At the end as the confederates are retreating back to the tree line, General Lee tells Pickett that he “must look toward his division”. Pickett replies, “General Lee… I have no division…” How does this statement sum up not only Pickett’s Charge, but perhaps the entire battle?





Follow up questions:

In your opinion, do you feel the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War? Why or why not? Explain your answer.





Describe to me what you think would have happened if the Union/North would have lost the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War?





In a few words, explain to me what you think would have happened if the Confederacy would have won the battle at Gettysburg and the Civil War where or what do you think our country would be like today?

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Gettysburg Video Background (Please read before class): It was the summer of 1863. The South’s Army of Northern Virginia had been largely victorious. But the Confederacy was having increasing difficulties supplying its troops with food, clothing, guns and ammunition. The Union Army continued to grow in strength and its advantage in men and material continued to improve. The rebel commander, Robert E. Lee, believed that he had two choices; either to retire to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, and try to withstand a siege, a tactic that he knew would ultimately be unsuccessful, or to invade Pennsylvania. Lee chose invasion hoping that a brilliant victory in the North would force the Union to the bargaining table or encourage England to enter the war on the side of the South. At least he would be able to feed his troops from the rich Pennsylvania countryside. By bringing the summer’s campaign into the North, Lee would give some respite to the war ravaged Virginia countryside and disrupt the Union Army’s plans to again march on Richmond. At Gettysburg, the Union fielded 85,000 men and sustained 23,000 casualties. The Confederacy fielded 75,000 men and sustained 28,000 casualties. The Union Army of the Potomac entered the battle under a new untested commander, General George Gordon Meade. Some historians disagree with the view that the Battle of Gettysburg was the “The High Water Mark of the Confederacy.” They point out that Lee left the field with his army intact and that the South was able to sustain the fight for another 21 months. In any case, combined with Grant’s capture of Vicksburg later that month, Gettysburg gave the Union hope of victory. As the film makes clear, Lee made a terrible mistake in having Pickett’s division charge uphill into entrenched Union lines. The Gettysburg Address was given by President Lincoln on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. It was a key document of American history and shows how, by that time, Lincoln was combining the twin goals of saving the Union and “a new birth of freedom” (abolition of slavery). Cast ● Tom Berenger as Lieutenant General James Longstreet (CSA) ● Jeff Daniels as Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (USA) ● Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee (CSA) ● Kevin Conway as Sergeant Buster Kilrain (USA) ● C. Thomas Howell as Lieutenant Thomas Chamberlain (USA) ● Richard Jordan as Brigadier General Lewis A. "Lo" Armistead (CSA) ● Richard Anderson as Major General George Meade (USA) ● Royce D. Applegate as Brigadier General James L. Kemper (CSA) ● Stephen Lang as Major General George Pickett (CSA) ● Sam Elliott as Brigadier General John Buford (USA) John Buford’s Stand at Seminary Ridge 1. Actor Sam Elliott plays the Union General John Buford. How does Sam Elliott attempt to portray Buford in this scene in the beginning? How does Sam Elliott make Buford look more “human”? 2. Frequently during the segment, there are several references made about the area around Seminary Ridge as being “such lovely ground” for a battle. What characteristics, in your view, make the area around Seminary Ridge “lovely ground”? 3. General John Buford mentions the significance of having or holding the “high ground”. Why is the “high ground” so important for the Union to possess it? 4. Describe the difference in numbers(soldiers) between Buford’s forces and the Confederate troops? Why would Buford deploy his force against a force such as that approaching Seminary Ridge? 5. How do the Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet assess the Union General George Meade as a commander and his strategy for the upcoming battle? 6. How do the Union officers describe the Confederate soldiers and officers? Compare/contrast this view with how Lee and Longstreet viewed the Union forces? 7. What role did Buford’s forces play in the overall battle at Gettysburg the first day on Seminary Ridge? Thomas Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Little Round Top 1. What objections/statements does Confederate General Hood make regarding attacking Little Round Top? What alternative does Hood suggest to Lee’s order? 2. How does the film suggest that it was vital that Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine hold the position, “defend this place to the last”? 3. In your view, how does Colonel Chamberlain interact with the men (officers and enlisted men) of the 20th Maine in the period immediately before the attack on Little Round Top? 4. As another Confederate regiment arrives at Little Round Top, how does Chamberlain decide to re-deploy his forces? 5. What could be a possible reason for the Confederates continually trying to advance up Little Round Top? 6. As the Confederates make one more charge up Little Round Top, what order does Chamberlain give to repel the advance? What advantages does Chamberlain see in this type of response? 7. What was the result of this tactic? How successful was it? 8. How do Chamberlain’s men respond to him after the battle? How do officers from other regiments who observed Chamberlain respond to Chamberlain after the attack? George Pickett’s Charge 1. In your own words, describe the mood of General James Longstreet as he orders General George Pickett to begin the attack? 2. On the 3rd and final day, before the charge commences, What are the spirits of the confederate soldiers? 3. As the scene progresses, note the facial expressions and demeanor of the Confederate soldiers as they cross the field. Describe their emotions as they advance? 4. During the charge, Pickett exclaims, “I can’t see what’s happening to my boys!” What does this statement say about Pickett as a leader and a commander? 5. After the charge, when General Armistead learns that Union General Hancock has also been wounded, he cries, “not both of us… not ALL of us…” What does this statement say about the feelings Northern and Southern soldiers and commanding officers had for each other before the war? 6. At the end of the charge, General Lee mutters several times, “It’s my fault… it’s all my fault…” Evaluate Lee’s decision to send Pickett’s men on this sort of charge. Should Lee have been reprimanded or possibly removed from command for his decision? Explain your answer. 7. At the end as the confederates are retreating back to the tree line, General Lee tells Pickett that he “must look toward his division”. Pickett replies, “General Lee… I have no division…” How does this statement sum up not only Pickett’s Charge, but perhaps the entire battle? Follow up questions: 1. In your opinion, do you feel the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War? Why or why not? Explain your answer. 2. Describe to me what you think would have happened if the Union/North would have lost the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War? 3. In a few words, explain to me what you think would have happened if the Confederacy would have won the battle at Gettysburg and the Civil War where or what do you think our country would be like today?
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Explanation & Answer

View attached explanation and answer. Let me know if you have any questions.

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American History: Gettysburg Movie

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Professor
Course
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2

Gettysburg Movie
1) General John Buford's role is well played by Sam Elliott. Sam Elliott was able to
identify a high ground he took and held the only advantage they had over the confederate army,
which portrays General John Buford's stance against the Confederate army ("Gettysburg", 2021).
Sam makes a reasonable decision any person of his role would have, choosing survival and
activating survival instincts which make Buford look more human.
2) Seminary ridge was regarded as "lovely ground" because the area was highly elevated
compared to other regions; therefore, they could see the Confederate army easily without them
being able to spot them easily ("Gettysburg", 2021). The location could also be the lovely ground
because it provided them enough cover compared to the other areas, which were bare and open.
3) The union knew that it was imperative to possess the "high ground" because it was the
only advantage they had over the Confederate army, being that they were few in numbers
("Gettysburg", 2021). Also, General Bufford realized that the Confederate army would hold a
strong defense if they got the high ground, a situation the union army would not withstand if they
chose to pursue them.
4)The confederate army had the advantage of numbering approximately 7600 men
against Bufford's army, only 2748 ("Gettysburg", 2021). Despite the massive difference in
numbers, Bufford still chose to deploy his force against the confederate army because he realized
that if he did not take the first advantage, the Confederate army would have killed them all and
formed a strong defense that would also be fatal for the Union army which was pursuing them.
5) James Long Street and Robert E. Lee, who are confederate army generals are
confederate army generals, view general Meade as a severe general who articulates all he says
("Gettysburg", 2021). They recognized that general Meade had a powerful strategy that would

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overthrow them; hence they chose to go to Pennsylvania, where they hoped to invade
Pennsylvania with hopes of bargaining with the Union army.
6) The union soldiers viewed the Confederate soldiers as determined people who did not
know how to retreat qui...


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