In Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, what does Lee mean about being "blind"? What will Lee miss?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Confederate General Robert E. Lee first questions the possibility of advancing into Pennsylvania "blind" during his momentous march toward Gettysburg in Michael Shaara's superb Civil War novel, The Killer Angels. When the Southern spy, Harrison, speaks to General James Longstreet and the two report to Lee, the Confederate commander learns of a change in Union leadership: George Meade has replaced Joe Hooker as leader of the Army of the Potomac. Harrison tells the two Confederate generals what he knows of the Army of Northern Virginia's position, and Longstreet realizes that "if this one knows it, they will know it." Lee then comments that "Stuart would not leave us blind."

General J.E.B. Stuart, Lee's cavalry commander, has taken off on a raid with most of his men that leaves Lee "blind" to the movements of the Union army. Known as "the eyes and ears of the army," Stuart's expert surveillance abilities have been crucial to many previous Confederate victories. However, he will not return until Lee has already been attacked at Gettysburg. Without Stuart to advise him of the Union army's position, Lee must fight in the little Pennsylvania college town without proper reconnaissance.

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The Killer Angels

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