Gettysburg (1993)

17 corrected entries

(7 votes)

Corrected entry: During the fight on Little Round Top Chamberlain's scabbard takes a bullet and ends up bent in such a way that the sword itself must have been bent as well, yet later in the battle when Chamberlain calls for the bayonet charge he draws an unbent sword from an unbent scabbard.

Correction: If you watch the scene he has the sword in right his hand before during and after the scabard is shot. You will see the sword fall from his hand when he falls and the scabard on the otherside of his body on the left side. It is still in his hand when he's on the ground after and when he looks at the scabard and says "I'll be damned" watch at around 1:25

Corrected entry: In the sequence portraying the battle of Little Round Top, there is a miraculous lack of damage done to the vegetation. This was because that the filmmakers were given unprecedented permission to film the battle scenes at the actual battle site. This was only with the strict condition that no damage whatsoever was done to the landscape as Gettysburg is now a U.S National Park.

Correction: The Little Round Top scenes were not filmed on Little Round Top but several miles away. In the "making of" documentary on the DVD and the commentary track they mention the LRT scenes were filmed several miles outside of the Park.

Corrected entry: At the end of the movie, there is a scene where General Kemper is carried back to Confederate lines. He was actually captured by Union forces after Pickett's Charge and exchanged in early 1864.

Correction: The movie portrays this situation accurately. General Kemper was carried back to Confederate lines after Pickett's Charge, where he spoke with General Lee. However, he was left behind in the Confederate withdrawal from Pennsylvania after the battle (probably because his wounds were too severe for him to travel in the wagon train), and was subsequently taken prisoner by Union forces.

Corrected entry: Colonel Chamberlain didn't order the bayonet charge. It was his second in command, Spear. Chamberlain just followed along.

Correction: This film is not intended to be a historical documentary. Although the film is based on real events and real people, some of the characters and events have been altered for dramatic purposes. This is called artistic license.

Super Grover

Corrected entry: When General Longstreet is trying to talk General Lee into redeploying from Gettysburg, General Lee refuses saying that he has never left the enemy in possession of the field. But General Lee did retreat from the Battle of Antietam in September of 1862.

Correction: While General Lee did retreat from The Battle of Antietam, so did the Union forces. This left no one in control of the field at the end of the Battle of Antietam making Lee's statement of never leaving the enemy in possession of the field to be accurate.

That is incorrect. McClellan's army was still in the vicinity of the Antietam battlefield after Lee had left. Lincoln himself visited right after the battle.

Corrected entry: When Kilrain is lying wounded after the Battle of Little Round Top, the man on the far right helping him is breathing out vapor. I thought the Battle of Gettysburg was fought at the beginning of July, where they mention it's really hot.

Correction: One can assume that there's still lots of smoke hanging over the battlefield. It could be possible that lingering smoke produces this vapor seen whenever a person exhales. I've seen it a few times myself when being in a place where there's lots of smoke. Also, this is a historical movie, but it doesn't claim to be historically correct at all times. It could be regarded as artistic license. but I would rather believe that the lingering smoke would work better as a plausible explanation.

Corrected entry: In the opening, the spy is watching Union troops at dawn. He rides to Longstreet's headquarters and gets there in broad daylight. They then ride to Lee's headquarters and when they get there it is dawn again. Two sunrises in one day...

Correction: This follows the book- Harrison (the spy) is watching the Union Cavalry before they enter Gettysburg on the June 30th, and arrives at Longstreets camp that afternoon. Longstreet goes to talk to Lee in the late evening of the 30th, and the scene ends in the early morning of July 1- before Heth's Division has contacted Buford. In the extended cut of the film, there is a scene of the Cavalry entering Gettysburg that doesn't make it seem like 'two mornings in one day', but illustrates the intervening time better. It was cut for space.

Corrected entry: In the Civil War cannon shells that exploded on impact were not used. The cannon shells at Gettysburg had timed fuses so that the shells would explode in the air casting shrapnel downward to cause casualties. If a shell landed before exploding, it would just bury itself in the ground and scatter dirt harmlessly when exploding. In the movie, the cannon shots all explode when hitting the ground, not in the air, and are obviously preset charges. By the way, this is why the Confederates overshot the Union forces at Gettysburg. Their main supplier had burned down just prior to the battle and they were forced to use fuses from another source. The Confederates did not yet realize that these fuses burned slower than their previous ones so the shell would travel further before exploding.

Correction: This is untrue. 'Percussion' shells were used during the Civil War which would mean that shells would explode on impact.

Corrected entry: As the Rebels are advancing towards the center of the battlefield, a white truck can be seen passing by in the background. (01:12:05)

Correction: What appears to be a white truck is actually a man on horseback riding to and fro behind the lines, carrying a giant Confederate flag of the "second national flag" type, which is mostly white with the CSA battle flag design in the upper corner. This rider can be seen in other shots during the Pickett's Charge sequence.

Corrected entry: In the first day's battle at Gettysburg, it shows John Budford's Union Cavalry defending their ground from the Confederate Army. Budford's boys use a stonewall for protection from enemy fire. The thing is that there was really no stonewall there in 1863 for Budford to hide behind.

Correction: First, the name is Buford, not Budford. Second, I checked the battle scenes several times and haven't spotted anything even faintly resembling the stone wall you mention. All I can see is wooden fence, some parts of which have a low stone foundation, and some hastily assembled barricades.

Corrected entry: When John Buford's cavalry are engaging Confederate infantry on the first day of battle, they are seen to be firing muzzle loading rifles, something which cavalry in 1863 would not be using. Rather, they would have had Sharps or Spencer breech loaders, the latter capable of firing eight shots before reloading. Later, when you see the cavalrymen firing from behind a fence, they now have breech loaders.

Correction: Actually, there were several cavalry units in the Army of the Potomac that were equipped with muzzleloading carbines (i.e. several units from Illinois.) Soon AFTER Gettysburg, Gen. Sheridan's overall command of the Army of the Potomac's cavalry forces enabled almost every cavalryman to be equipped with Sharps and Spencer carbines. Granted, most of Buford's men carried Sharps carbines (and several sawed-off Spencer RIFLES) but a company or so of men equipped with muzzle-loaders was quite possible at this point.

Corrected entry: There's a time when a battle is starting (either the third or fourth wave, I think) it shows groups of soldiers heading into battle. However, there is a time when a guy falls when they're charging even though no guns have been fired.

Correction: This mistake occurs at the point of the 20th Maines bayonet charge, nothing is wrong. Just after Spears men charge, a faint shot is heard (obviously from a crack Confederate Sharpshooter) then a man falls down dead.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Tom and Lawrence Chamberlain are on Little Round Top and Lawrence is drinking coffee, way in the distance a vehicle is moving.

Correction: The white object that is moving is more likely to be a confederate rider that a vehicle. The giveaway is that it is in the Confederate lines.

Corrected entry: In the panning scene of cannons firing, way in the distance a car is visible.

Correction: This "car" is frequently described as a van or a truck, but is actually a large flag being carried by a mounted soldier. It is visible in other scenes, but at a distance it does appear to be a vehicle traveling from right to left.

Corrected entry: During the battle of Little Round Top, the camera pans along the defensive line of 20th Maine soldiers firing from behind rocks. Irishman Kilrain begins to raise his musket only to have it go off too early. Evidently hoping that no one has noticed, he goes through the motions of aiming it even though the weapon is now empty.

Correction: It's actually the muzzle flash of Chamberlain's pistol. The two are next to each other and with his arm extended, the barrel of his pistol is about even with the barrel of the rifle.

Corrected entry: Colonel Vincent tells Colonel Chamberlain that the 20th Maine Inf. is the extreme left of the Union line, but in reality there was another regiment, the 19 Michigan, which was to their left. They were moved before the action began, but left behind about 60 skirmishers.

Correction: The filmmakers do not claim this film to be a historical documentary, and as such, they are not obligated to be factually accurate. It is a standard accepted movie convention to alter, add or disregard historical facts. This is called artistic license.

Super Grover

Corrected entry: Chamberlain's shoulder insignia change from Lt. Colonel (Silver Oak Leaves) to Full Colonel (Eagle) in the course of the three-day battle.

Correction: Somewhere immediately before, immediately after or during the battle of Gettysburg Chamberlain was promoted to full Colonel and was given command of the 20th Maine from then Brigadier General Ames. It is not known when exactly Chamberlain received word of such other than it was after June 1, 1863 (around which time the promotion would have been approved by the Governor of Maine) and before July 11, 1863 (Chamberlain belatedly writing to acknowledge his promotion), so it is perfectly reasonable that he received the promotion during the battle. At the very least, it is an effective device to indicate his change in status from the first movie in the series, Gods and Generals, which Ted Turner knew he wanted to make when Gettysburg was made, and Gettysburg, just as there are tie-ins from Gettysburg to an epic scale Last Full Measure, should they choose to ever make one.

Revealing mistake: In one of Pickett's charge scene the bayonets are obviously rubber.

More mistakes in Gettysburg

Major General George E. Pickett: My boys! What's happening to my boys?

More quotes from Gettysburg

Trivia: Ted Turner's brief appearance is not the only notable cameo in the film. During the artillery bombardment on the Union positions prior to Pickett's charge, Union General Hancock is seen calmly riding through the barrage. A young officer begs him to come down and take cover. The officer is played by Ken Burns, the filmmaker who produced the acclaimed documentary series The Civil War.

More trivia for Gettysburg

Question: Why didn't General Ewell think taking the hill was practical?

Answer: Mainly because his soldiers were tired after a long march and he didn't think they could make a direct assault on an elevated position (the hill was not quite as "bare" as the film suggests). There were also reports of Union reinforcements arriving to the area, and Ewell was afraid that his army might be exposed and overwhelmed if he attempted to take the hill without assistance (Ewell had requested, and been denied, reinforcements of his own).

More questions & answers from Gettysburg

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