Accuracy

The first major inaccuracy in this film was the creation of the character Buster Kilrain, Colonel Chamberlain’s spunky, Irish aide-to-camp.[1]Author Michael Shaara hinted that this was his way of including himself in the story; however Kilrain is not a real person and this is not made clear during the movie, especially when he is the only main character in the film who is fictional.[2]

Colonel Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) and Buster Kilrain (Kevin Conway) discuss the arrival of a runaway slave to their camp, Gettysburg (1993)

Many characters in the film interact that would never have come into contact during the actual conflict. For example, it is Thomas Chamberlain who speaks with a dying Lewis Armistead after Pickett’s Charge; this is obviously done for simplification, but it is important to note where lines are blurred to maintain the narrative and mood of the film.

Tom Chamberlain (C. Thomas Howell) speaks with a dying Lewis Armistead (Richard Jordan) after Pickett’s Charge, Gettysburg (1993)

There are other minor inaccuracies with chronology and tiny details that, overall, do not impact the film or the viewer’s understanding of the events. The film was well-researched, and many historians were involved in its production. The main issues with this film lies in its interpretation, not in miniscule anachronisms.


[1] Thomas A. Desjardin and NetLibrary, Inc., These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2003), 179.

[2] Ibid.