Revealing mistake: In one of Pickett's charge scene the bayonets are obviously rubber.
Directed by: Ron Maxwell, Ronald F. Maxwell
Starring: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Richard Jordan
Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: Some of them, they load and load, they never fire. They just keep right on loading. Some of them come home with seven, eight bullets rammed up in the barrel, never fired a shot.
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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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).