Gettysburg

Factual error: During the engagement of the 20th Maine in defense of Little Round Top there is a tremendous amount of firing going on as they repel charge after charge of Confederates. Yet, there is not a single leaf, or tree branch, that falls to the ground. With that amount of lead flying around there would have been debris everywhere. There are actual Civil War accounts where whole trees were cut in half by bullet fire.

Factual error: When General Buford looks back toward Gettysburg from the cupola of the Lutheran Seminary building to see if the First Corps is approaching, the director used a colorized photograph of the town taken by Matthew Brady a few weeks after the battle to illustrate Buford's view. Unfortunately, the photo was taken from a point north of the Chambersburg Pike and the Lutheran Seminary is south of it.

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Factual error: There are several scenes which show an American flag with way too many stars for that time period.

Factual error: There is one minor anachronism in the scene in which several Confederate officers are discussing politics with the British officer, Freemantle, while playing cards near a campfire. General Pickett is seen holding some paper money in one hand. The only note visible is a Confederate twenty dollar bill, with the back of the note exposed. While the note appears to be genuine, the back design is unique to Confederate twenty dollar bills issued after February 17, 1864 - more than seven months after the battle.

Factual error: As Buford's Cavalry is approaching Gettysburg there is a scene filmed from behind as Buford stops by a fence and peers out over some fields. One of the fields appears to be a corn field and the corn appears to be about 5 to 6 feet high, much too high for June 30th in that part of the country. Having been raised on a farm in New Jersey corn that was "knee high on the 4th of July" was considered a bumper crop. The height of the corn was much higher than "knee high" on what was suppose to be June 30.

Factual error: Pickett's charge moved from west to east and was made about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. When Pickett rides down the line to encourage his men before the attack, it is clear from the shadows that the scene was filmed early in the morning.

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

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Private Bucklin: I'm tired, Colonel. I've had all of this army and all of these officers, this damned Hooker, this damned idiot Meade, all of them, the whole bloody lousy rotten mess of sick-brained, pot-bellied scabheads that ain't fit to lead a johnny detail, ain't fit to pour pee out of a boot with instructions on the heel.

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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.

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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).

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