The Killer Angels

by Michael Shaara

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In the first chapter of June 29, 1863 in The Killer Angels, what cover story did the spy tell the farmer?

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The mysterious spy and former actor, Harrison, appears in the first chapter of Michael Shaara's outstanding Civil War novel, The Killer Angels. He, not J. E. B. Stuart, is the first to inform Generals Lee and Longstreet of the Union troops that he has witnessed himself earlier in the day. Outside of Gettysburg, Harrison follows tracks to a farmhouse, where he receives information from a "small and bald man" who speaks poor English--a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer, no doubt. Harrison went into character. He tells General Lee:

"I'm a poor, half-witted farmer, do you see, terrified of soldiers, and me lovely young wife has run off with a drummer and I'm a-scourin' the countryside for her, a sorrowful pitiful sight I am. And people lookin' down their noses and grinnin' behind my back and all the time tellin' me exactly what I want to know about who is where and how many and how long ago..."

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