Gettysburg Quotes

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"Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [Lee and Longstreet are discussing Harrison's report on the Union army on the night of 30 June] He says the lead element is here with the Third Corps...
[he points on the map]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: ... the Sixth right behind...
[he points to a different spot]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: ... supported by a column of Federal cavalry. Seven corps altogether. The First and Eleventh are above Taneytown, and there's more cavalry two hours east. There may be as many as 100,000 altogether.
General Robert E. Lee: Do you believe the man, this Mr. Harrison?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: No choice. Oh, you remember him, sir; the actor from Mississippi?
General Robert E. Lee: An actor? We move on the word of an actor?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Can't afford not to.
General Robert E. Lee: [Lee takes off his glasses and sits down in a camp chair] There would be some word from General Stuart. General Stuart would not leave us blind.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Oh, one other thing. Hooker's been replaced. George Meade's the new commander. Harrison read it in the Yankee papers.
General Robert E. Lee: [thoughtfully] George Meade. Pennsylvania man. Meade would be cautious, I think. Take him some time to get organized. Perhaps we should move more swiftly. There may be an opportunity here.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: Well...
[Lee gets up and walks back over to the map table]
General Robert E. Lee: ... no reason to delay. I think we should concentrate here.
[he points to a spot on the map]
General Robert E. Lee: All the roads converge just east of this gap, and this junction will be very necessary.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: I left my spectacles over there. What is the name of this town?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: [Longstreet leans over and reads the name on the map] "Gettysburg."
General Robert E. Lee: Very well."
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"General Robert E. Lee: Can I accompany you General Longstreet?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes sir it's always a great pleasure having you here
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: it's almost as hot as in Mexico
General Robert E. Lee: Yes but down there the climate was dry
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I remember the assault to the walls of Chapultepec with the good George Pickett, Reynolds, Ulysses Sam Grant, a lot of good and brave men. Some of them are waiting for us over there on those rocks
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I don't know sometimes it seems to me impossible that those boys, those men in blue are really our foes I led many of them I fought with them
General Robert E. Lee: I know it
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I could never fight against Georgia or South Carolina not against my family
General Robert E. Lee: This is our great aim and I think there are no doubts about it
General Robert E. Lee: Do you see General for the soldiers there is a great trap, to be a good soldier you must love the army, to be a good commander you must be ready the order the sacrifice of what you love
General Robert E. Lee: We don't fear death. You and I , oh certainly we expect some empty chairs , an homage to the fallen mates but this war makes slaughter and the price is higher and higher
General Robert E. Lee: We will be ready to lose some of them but we will be never ready to lose them all
General Robert E. Lee: We are assisting to a real slaughter and I want it to finish . I want it to be the final battle
General Robert E. Lee: For a moment I feared George Meade went away this morning
General Robert E. Lee: I was afraid he had gone away and the war would have gone on and on
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Sir We will make him repent of having stayed
General Robert E. Lee: That god Might be with you
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: And with you sir
"
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"Col. Arthur Freemantle: I'm told you're descended from an illustrious military family.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: [scoffs] Who told you that? Kemper?
Col. Arthur Freemantle: He tells me it was your uncle who defended Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, and that he was therefore the guardian of the original Star-Spangled Banner. I must say, I do appreciate the irony of it all.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: Colonel Freemantle... it does not begin or end with my uncle... or myself. We're all sons of Virginia here.
[he motions with his eyes; Freemantle follows his gaze]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: That major out there, commanding the cannon... that's James Dearing. First in his class at West Point, before Virgina seceded. And the boy over there with the color guard...
[he nods in the boy's direction]
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: ... that's Private Robert Tyler Jones. His grandfather was President of the United States. The colonel behind me... that's Colonel William Aylett. Now, his great-grandfather was the Virginian, Patrick Henry. It was Patrick Henry who said to your King George III, Give me liberty, or give me death. There are boys here from Norfolk... Portsmouth... small hamlets along the James River. From Charlottesville and Fredericksburg... and the Shenondoah Valley. Mostly, they're all veteran soldiers now; the cowards and shirkers are long gone. Every man here knows his duty. They would make this charge, even without an officer to lead them. They know the gravity of the situation, and the mettle of their foe. They know that this day's work will be desperate and deadly. They know, that for many of them, this will be their last charge. But not one of them needs to be told what is expected of him. They're all willing to make the supreme sacrifice... to achieve victory, here... the crowning victory... and the end of this war. We are all here, Colonel. You may tell them, when you return to your country... that all Virginia was here on this day.
"
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"General Robert E. Lee: Gen. Longstreet, do you mind if I accompany you?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Not at all. I am very glad to have you with us, Sir.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: The heat reminds me of Mexico.
General Robert E. Lee: Yes, but the air was very dry.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: That was a good outfit. I remember storming the ramparts of Chapultepec with old George Pickett, REynolds, my old friend Ulysses Sam Grant. There was some good men in that army.
General Robert E. Lee: Yes sir, there were indeed.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Some of those men are waiting for us now up ahead on those ridges.
[pause]
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I don't know. I sometimes feel troubled. Those fellas - those boys in blue - they never quite seem the enemy.
General Robert E. Lee: I know.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: I used to command some of those boys. Swore an oath too. Ah... I - I couldn't fight against Georgia, South Carolina. Not against my own family...
General Robert E. Lee: No Sir. There was always a higher duty to Virginia. That was our first duty. There was never any question or doubt about that.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Guess so.
General Robert E. Lee: Let us no think about that now. The issue is in God's hands. We can only do our duty.
General Robert E. Lee: General, soldiering has one great trap: to be a good solider you must love the army. To be a good commander, you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. We do not fear our own death you and I. But there comes a time...
General Robert E. Lee: We are never quite prepared for so many to die. Oh, we do expect the occasional empty chair. A salute to fallen comrades. But this war goes on and on and the men die and the price gets ever higher. We are prepared to loose some of us, but we are never prepared to loose all of us. And there is the great trap General. When you attack, you must hold nothing back. You must commit yourself totally. We are adrift here in a sea of blood and I want it to end. I want this to be the final battle."
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"James L. Kemper: [Kemper, Pickett, Garnett, and Col. Freemantle are sitting around a table playing cards, while Kemper expounds on the Confederate cause] You see, Colonel, uh... the government derives its power from the consent of the people. Every government, everywhere. Well, let me make this very plain to you, sir: we do not consent, and we will *never* consent. And what you've got to do is -
[he stands up and looks straight at Freemantle]
James L. Kemper: - you've got to go back over there to your Parliament, and you've gotta make it very plain to *them*. You've gotta tell them that what we're fighting for here is the - is the freedom from what we consider to be the rule of a foreign power! I mean, that's all we want. That's what this war is all about.
Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett: Jim -
[he tries to pull Kemper back into his chair]
James L. Kemper: [brushes Garnett off] No, no, no, no. Now-now, we-we established this country in the first place with very strong state governments just for that very reason. I mean, uh... let me put it to you this way: my home is in Virginia. The government of my home *is* home. Virginia would not allow itself to be ruled by... by some, uh, king over there in London. And it's not about to let itself be ruled by some president in Washington! Virginia, by God, sir, is gonna be run by *Virginians*!
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead: [Armistead and Longstreet are walking by and overhear this] Oh, my. "The Cause."
Major General George E. Pickett: [looks at his cards] Actually, Jimmy, I got a pair of kings.
[laughs]
James L. Kemper: [keeps plowing on] And it's all for the Yankees, the damn, money-grubbin' Yankees. I mean, those damn fools, they don't get the message! Always the darkies, nothin' but the darkies.
Major General George E. Pickett: You know, Jim... ahem. Sit down.
[he abruptly pulls Kemper back into his seat]
Major General George E. Pickett: I think that my idea, my, uh... my analogy of a gentlemen's club is-is fair enough. It's clear enough.
[he turns to Freemantle]
Major General George E. Pickett: Colonel, think on it, now. Now you suppose that we all join a club, a gentlemen's club. And then, well, after a time, several of the members began to, uh... began to *intrude* themselves into our private lives, our home lives. Began tellin' us what we could do, what we couldn't do. Well, then, wouldn't any one of us have the right to resign? I mean, just...
[he snaps his fingers]
Major General George E. Pickett: ... resign. Well, that's what we did. That's what *I* did, and now these people are tellin' us that we don't have that right to resign.
James L. Kemper: Well...
[he starts chuckling]
James L. Kemper: I gotta hand it to you, George. You certainly do have a talent for trivializin' the momentous and complicatin' the obvious. You ever considered runnin' for Congress?
Brig. Gen. Richard B. Garnett: Oooh.
Major General George E. Pickett: [laughs] It's a thought."
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"Lieutenant General James Longstreet: This is almost perfect, now we got them where we want them. Swing south and east, down the road, get between them and Lincoln, find some good high ground, then they'll have to hit us, they'll have to, we'll have them, sir.
General Robert E. Lee: You mean disengage?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Well sir, I've always been under the impression that it was our strategy to conduct a defensive campaign wherever possible in order to keep the army intact.
General Robert E. Lee: Granted, but the situation has changed now.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: In what way?
General Robert E. Lee: We've already pushed them back, they're on the run, vacating the town. How can we move off to the south and the east in the face of the enemy? What are you thinking, General?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Maybe we should not have fought here?
General Robert E. Lee: I know that. But we have prevailed. The men have prevailed.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Yes sir, they have always done that. But in the morning we may be outnumbered, and they'll be entrenched on the high ground.
General Robert E. Lee: General, you know as well as I, we have never concerned ourselves with being outnumbered.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: That is true, sir, you are right. If we move to the south to Washington, they have to pursue us, and then we can fight on ground of our choosing.
General Robert E. Lee: But the enemy is here! We did not want the fight but the fight is here! How can I ask this army to retreat in the face of what they have done this day?
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Not retreat, sir. Re-deploy.
General Robert E. Lee: Our guns will move them off that hill or Ewell will push them off. But if Meade is there tomorrow, I cannot move this army away, no sir, I will attack him.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: General, if Meade is up there tomorrow, it is because he wants us to attack him. We pushed back two corps, but there are five more coming."
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