Joshua Chamberlain: We cannot retreat. We cannot withdraw.

“Gentleman. You are the left flank.”

Chamberlain is addressing his junior officers before the Confederate assault on Little Round Top] Gentlemen… the 83rd Pennsylvania, 44th New York, and 16th Michigan will be moving in to our right. But if you look to our left, you will see that there is no one there. It’s because we’re the end of the line. The Union army stops here. We are the flank. Do you understand, gentlemen? We cannot retreat. We cannot withdraw. We are going to have to be stubborn today. So, you put the boys in position, you tell them to stay down. Pile the rocks up high; get the best protection you can. I want the reserve pulled up about 20 yards. This is sloping ground, it’s good ground. If you have any breakthroughs, if you have men wounded, if you have a hole in the line, you plug it with the reserve. — Joshua Chamberlain


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