Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 13, 2023
December 6, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Chamberlain and his regiment march into the
center of Cemetery Ridge. An aide tells Chamberlain that General
Meade had wanted to retreat that morning, but the other generals
had gathered together and forced him to remain, confident that the
Confederates would attack again and that they could be repelled. General
Hancock even predicts that the Confederates will attack the center
of the line.
Chamberlain places his regiment, then heads over to the
area where Meade and the other generals are having breakfast. He
meets with his general, Sykes, who praises Chamberlain’s actions
the previous day on Little Round Top. Sykes hints that Chamberlain
may become a brigade commander. Chamberlain returns to the area where
the generals are and manages to get some chicken.
Chamberlain goes to rest and is joined by
his brother Tom. Tom tells him that Kilrain has died. Suddenly,
the Confederate artillery opens fire, and the world explodes around
Chamberlain. He crawls around, trying to get out of the fire, and
finally hides behind a stone wall, where he drifts in and out of
sleep as the cannon shells land all around him. As the fire dies
down an hour later, Chamberlain realizes an attack is coming and
that he must form his regiment. But tired and weary from the blood
loss of his foot wound, Chamberlain falls asleep again.
General Lew Armistead watches the
Confederate guns fire upon the center of Cemetery Ridge. He sees
General Pickett writing a letter to his young girlfriend. Armistead
wanders around the lines, remembering his late wife and feeling
gloomy. He knows that he will die soon. Armistead gives Pickett
his wedding ring, and asks Pickett to send it to Armistead’s girlfriend.
After about an hour, the artillery fire subsides. The attack will
soon begin. Armistead sees Dick Garnett, who has chosen to ride
a horse into battle, though it is against orders. His foot is injured
and, since he will be the only man riding a horse, he will be an
easy target. Garnett realizes this risk, but he is riding to save
his honor, and expects to die.
Armistead and Pickett ride into the woods to meet with
Longstreet, who is gloomily sitting on his horse. Longstreet is
crying. Then Longstreet gives the order for the charge, and Pickett
rides away gleefully.
Armistead forms his brigade, and it begins to move toward
the Union line. It is a steady, strong march, full of determination.
Soon the Union artillery begins to open up, blowing huge holes in
the Confederate lines. The Confederates repeatedly close up the
holes, but soon the shells are falling all around them. Once they
come close enough to the Union lines, the Union soldiers open up
with musketry, riddling the front lines with bullets. Armistead
sees Garnett’s horse, without a rider. Screaming begins, and the
lines begin to falter in their march. Soon the Confederates are
fleeing, though some, like Armistead, continue to march and make
it all the way to the clump of trees they were assigned to reach
before they are shot. Armistead is shot, and he dies telling a soldier
to send his regrets to his friend on the Union lines, General Hancock.
Chapter 4 focuses on
a character who has not previously had his own chapter, General
Armistead. Armistead is one of the well-known figures in the battle,
primarily due to his tragic friendship with Winfield Hancock of
the Union army. Armistead and Hancock have metaphorically squared
off in this battle, but Armistead simply misses his old friend.
He never makes the trip over to speak to him, though he considers
it several times throughout the novel. Their friendship highlights
one of the more tragic aspects of the Civil War, since friends and
even families were often pitted against each other in battle.
Historically, the Confederate losses during
Pickett’s Charge were staggering. The Confederates, well known to
be fairly bad at artillery, overshot their targets, and few of the
Union batteries were damaged. When the Confederates charged, the
Union artillery simply mowed them down, and as the remaining Confederates
approached the Union line they were killed by rifle fire. Pickett
lost sixty percent of his men, and all thirteen of his colonels
were either killed or wounded. Pickett emerged unscathed, but he
was emotionally devastated and remained bitter toward Lee for the
rest of his life.
The Battle of Gettysburg was as close as the
South ever came to winning the war. If the army of the South had
broken through the Union army and captured Washington, D.C., the
war would have been over. With some better strategies
on the Lee’s part, it is -possible that the South could have won
the Battle of Gettysburg, which might have allowed it to win the
war—but such speculation can be made about many Civil War battles.
Nonetheless, Pickett’s Charge was prefaced by the one of the largest artillery
exchanges ever in the western hemisphere, and the battle itself
was one of the largest ever between two armies. The Confederate
army was at the height of its power and strength, but it could not
break the Union’s -fortified position. The Confederate forces soon
broke into a swift retreat.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Killer Angels!