58 pages 1 hour read

Michael Shaara

The Killer Angels

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1974

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Symbols & Motifs


Rain appears in the novel multiple times and plays both a negative and a positive role. Before and during the battle, some of the commanders anticipate it causing issues with their ability to move. Longstreet reflects on the fact that too much rain will make the roads harder for his division to travel on. Later, Lee makes the same observation, noting that “too much rain will muck up the roads” (75). Here, Shaara uses the same wording for both commanders, showing that both men are aware that rain could be detrimental to their plans. It also cements how similar Lee and Longstreet are and how much they think alike. On the Union side, Buford talks to Bill Gamble as they watch their men hold against Heth’s attack on the first day of the battle as they await Reynolds’s infantry. Gamble says, “Glad the rain is gone. Don’t want anything to slow up Reynolds” (86). T weather affects not just the movement of an army, as in the case of Lee and Longstreet, but the army’s ability to help and support itself.

Another potential problem is the rain’s effect on the soldiers’ weapons. Before Chamberlain reaches Gettysburg, his regiment is sitting in a field awaiting orders to move out.