The film tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg as it progressed from July 1 to July 3, 1863. The film switches back and forth between the perspectives of various Union and Confederate commanders. On the first day of fighting, the Confederates were drawn into a fight but were able to push the Union troops back. Then, on the second day, the Confederates met disaster with failed assaults on Little Round Top. On the final day, Lee decided to attack the Union center at Cemetery Ridge. The attack, known as Pickett’s Charge, was a huge failure and Lee had to retreat. Gettysburg consists of dramatic, touching speeches about the war’s purpose and hardships, elaborate battle scenes carried out by reenactors, and portrayals of heroic acts and moments of humanity during a bloody war.

Confederates reach the stone wall during Pickett’s Charge, Gettysburg (1993)

“…the one and last idea passing through the mind was, ‘This is the last of earth’…Minie balls were falling through the leaves like hail in a thunderstorm.” -Private Ward, 4th Alabama [1]

[1] Richard Wheeler, Witness to Gettysburg, 1st ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 191.