In Depth with Jeff Shaara | vervililiva.ml
Large Print. Audio Other. He lives in Gettysburg. But Union commander George McClellan captured Lee's plans; for once in his life he moved quickly to pin the Confederates down in the fields around the town of Sharpsburg, by Antietam Creek. On September 17, , the two armies clashed in the bloodiest day of the entire war. McClellan launched a series of uncoordinated attacks on Lee's outnumbered army.
Joshua Chamberlain served in the Union army's reserve, waiting all day to be ordered into the bloody fight. Excerpt They reached a small village, Porterstown, and marched through wide streets, the townspeople standing in doorways, leaning out windows, some waving, others just staring. The rebel forces were dug in, back, away from the creek, and to their front the Federal army was spreading out, into lines of attack, were crossing the creek and preparing for the assault.
The battle had begun on the far right, just after dawn, and now, as the sun began to rise up behind them, Chamberlain could hear the steady rumble, and as they moved closer, the sharp sounds of single cannon. He sat high on his horse, moving along with the same slow rhythm of the march, but now the men did not fall out, did not feel the weight of the hot September morning, but stared to the front, marching steadily, closer to the sound of the guns. He heard the steady clatter of muskets now, still off to the right of the road, to the northwest.
The battle isnot in front of us, he thought. Strange that we should move this way In front of them, Chamberlain saw a rise, a long, wide hill, and as they began to move up, he saw guns, rows of black cannon set into shallow, round depressions before the crest of the hill. Just then they began to fire, quick bursts of gray smoke, and a sudden shocking boom that startled him and his horse. He bounced around on the road, had to grab the horse hard to calm him.
From over the hill he saw Ames, riding hard, past lines of troops that were moving away now, to the right, toward the sounds of the battle. Ames reined up his horse, and Chamberlain saw he was sweating. Keep the men in column lines. Let's move them out into this field.
Wait for further orders. We are part of the reserve. With the signal, the men moved quickly off the road. Then Ames rode up again, toward the front of the column, slowed his horse as he reached Chamberlain, said, "Colonel, keep them tight, keep them ready. I am to survey the field to our front. The guns began to fire again, a loud and thunderous volley, and the hill became a great, thick fog bank. He stayed on his horse, saw now across the road, on the left, vast numbers of troops, lines disappearing into a distant grove of trees, and the men not moving, keeping their formations.
He rode out the other way, to the right, into the grass, saw more troops farther out that way, a great field of blue, waiting. He looked to his own men, saw the companies staying in their formations, coming off the road, and he rode up to the head of one column, saw Captain Spears of Company G, a small, sharp man who had also been a teacher. He had a narrow, thick beard, sat on a horse, watched Chamberlain approach, puffed on a large round pipe.
We'll see, Captain. Right now we must be ready The battle sounds had continued to the northwest, and he wondered, Are they moving away, around us?
REVIEW: 'Gods and Generals,' a faith-filled epic
He glanced at Spears, said, "I'll be right back This wasn't a parade. He jumped down, felt his belt, his pistol, began to walk toward the thick cloud of smoke.
The guns continued to fire, every minute or so, and he wondered, How far away is the enemy? There had been no explosions, no incoming shells, none of the sounds he'd been told about, coached about, by Ames, just the deadening thunder of their own big guns Now, from the sounds of the battle, he saw his first troops, thick lines of blue, uneven and ragged formations, moving toward a cornfield, and then smoke, solid lines of gray, and in a few seconds the sound reached him, the chattering musket fire, and the blue lines were in pieces, men moving back, some still advancing, some not moving at all.
He saw more lines now, solid blocks of blue spreading wide, advancing, and more smoke, and more sounds, and then, farther away, a glimpse through the smoke, other lines of men, some moving, some firing, quick flashes of white and yellow, and the big guns beside him firing again He turned to watch the men working the cannon, and was startled to see more men, his men, watching the battle, lying on the ground, creating a neat blue patch on the hill.
He had not thought anyone else would be up here, should not have been up here; he should not be up here, but he knew they could not just wait, could not sit behind some big hill and hear it all and not see. Chamberlain stood up, began to wave his arms, fast and high, motioning to his men, and another blast came from the guns. He braced himself, did not fall, kept waving, back, move back, wondering if they saw him or were ignoring him. He moved along the hillside, tried to yell, but the sound of the guns took his voice away, and suddenly he heard a high, distant scream, louder now, whistling toward him, dropping down on him from behind.
He turned, saw nothing, but the sound pierced his ears, and the ground suddenly flew high around him, dirt spraying him, knocking him down, and he lay still, shook his head Then another scream, overhead, and behind the hill, down where the rest of his men sat waiting, there was another explosion, and he tried to see, but it was beyond the crest. Suddenly, someone had him under the arms, lifting him, and he said, "No, I'm all right," and he saw the face of an officer, a man with black crust under his eyes, around his mouth and nose, glaring at him with eyes of cold steel.source site
Lesson Plan Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara
Get these men back off this hill! You're drawing fire to my guns! This new novel by his son Jeff Shaara describes the interconneted paths that brought these men together at this crossroads of our history. On Monday, July 14, barnesandnoble. Moderator: Civil War buffs and fans of historical fiction, don't miss this chat!
Tonight in the barnesandnoble. Good evening, Jeff Shaara!
Thanks for being here! Jeff Shaara: Good evening -- thank you! Pleasure to be here. Jeff Shaara: I did not set out to mimic my father's style, but I have been told there are similarities. I just tried to tell the story in my own way, and it came out very close to my father's way. I don't have a better answer than that. What makes your book fictional?
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How much is fact, and how much of it is fiction? Jeff Shaara: The history is as factual as I could make it. That was critically important. By definition, what makes it fiction is the dialogue and the thoughts of the characters. But I knew historians would jump on this if the history wasn't correct, so I really tried to make the history as accurate as I could. That's what is interesting about these characters -- you don't have to embellish what they did. It's a wonderful story just telling the truth. Tell me, do you welcome comparisons to your father's work, or are you ready to be considered as your own writer?
I knew that going into this, and had to accept it from the start.
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What I did not expect were the positive comparisons, which are wonderful. I don't mind the comparisons a bit.
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Maybe after I've done this for a while, I hope that people will hear my voice, instead of just me and my father. But I'm too new at this to expect that. Francine X. We learn about characters like this in history textbooks, usually in one-dimensional ways. It was an adventure for me to feel like I knew this man. The problem with that is that learning to love a character like this meant that it was a very, very difficult thing to have to write his death. Howard Raleigh from Spokane, Washington: Jeff, how do you compose dialogue for historical figures like Joshua Chamberlain, who lived and spoke themselves once but are not here now to defend themselves?
Does anyone get up in arms about your liberties in essentially "putting words into the mouths" of famous figures? Jeff Shaara: I have had people question my right to put words in the mouths of these characters. There is no other way to tell a story like mine or my father's without doing that. My research gave me a very personal insight into who these people were, how they thought, and how they spoke, and I felt comfortable with the dialogue that I gave them.
If I am not comfortable with what they are saying, then the reader will not be comfortable either, and the whole story falls apart. If I don't believe it, neither will you. Eugene Rossman from Highridge, NJ: Jeff, do you feel that there is any inherent danger in historical fiction as a genre? Impressionable people, or young students, who read your book could easily mistake your fictions for fact, and thus the truth is obscured.