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When Chamberlain makes this statement, he is responding to a comment about how hard the Confederate army was willing to fight for the institution of slavery. Despite losing the battle, the Confederates made a heroic attempt with Pickett's charge, and as Chamberlain surveys the dead men on the field, he seems to be commenting on the hopelessness of this war in particular, and maybe war in general. For no matter what any of those men believed about slavery, or states' rights, or protecting a Southern lifestyle or preserving an intact United States--regardless of any of it, all those men were now equally dead, and their loved ones were now to experience equal grief and loss when they get the same (equal) news.
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