[during the Battle of Bull Run]
Confederate private: General, the battle is going against us!
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: If you think so, sir; you had better not say anything about it.
Capt. James Power Smith: General Jackson, how is it you remain so calm in the midst of battle?
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: Mr. Smith, my religious faith teaches me that God has already fixed the time of my death; therefore, I think not of it. I am as calm in battle as I would be in my own parlor. God will come for me in his own time.
Union private: [quoting Abraham Lincoln's Letter after the Battle of Fredericksburg] We are thankful that the casualities have been comparitively so small...
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Compared to what? The Scots at Culloden? The English at Bunker Hill? The French at Waterloo?
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: I regard the crime of desertion as a sin against the army of the Lord. Duty is ours, the consequences are God's.
Col. Porter Alexander: [Speaking with General Lee on the Confederate positions on Marye's Heights] General, they going to come at us here?
General Robert E. Lee: Colonel Alexander, Federal troops amassed across that river are watching us prepare for them. If I were General Burnside, I would not attack here. I'd move back upstream, come across from above us. But Burnside is not a man with the luxury of flexibility. He's being pushed from behind by loud voices in Washington, by newspapers who demand quick action. But we're here, and so he will attack us here.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: Tell me general, do you expect to live till the end of this war?
General John Bell Hood: Oh... I do not know, but... I'm inclined to think I will. I expect I will be wounded. And you general?
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: I do not expect to live to see the end of this war. Nor can I say that without victory I would desire to do so.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: All these thousands of men. Many of them not much more than boys. Each one of them some mother's son, some sister's brother, some daughter's father. Each one of them a whole person loved and cherished in some home far away. Many of them will never return. An army is power. Its entire purpose is to coerce others. This power can not be used carelessly or recklessly. This power can do great harm. We have seen more suffering than any man should ever see, and if there is going to be an end to it, it must be an end that justifies the cost. Now, somewhere out there is the Confederate army. They claim they are fighting for their independence, for their freedom. Now, I can not question their integrity. I believe they are wrong but I can not question it. But I do question a system that defends its own freedom while it denies it to an entire race of men. I will admit it, Tom. War is a scourge, but so is slavery. It is the systematic coercion of one group of men over another. It has been around since the book of Genesis. It exists in every corner of the world, but that is no excuse for us to tolerate it here when we find it right infront of our very eyes in our own country. As God as my witness, there is no one I hold in my heart dearer than you. But if your life, or mine,is part of the price to end this curse and free the Negro, then let God's work be done.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: [actual quote from the Battle of Bull Run] Up, men! Up, Virginians! Hold your fire until they are within fifty yards, and then give them the bayonet! And when you charge, yell like furies!
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: [last words] Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: [Chamberlain meets Kilrain for the first time]
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Mornin' to ya, sir. Colonel Ames sent me to get ya. Thought you'd be needin' a drop o' this.
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: [offers Chamberlain a mug of coffee]
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Oh, thank you. Uh...
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Kilrain, sir, Sergeant Kilrain. Glad to be of service. You know, Colonel... the boys, well... we've been watchin' you, sir. That we have. You've learned fast. It's becomin' a pleasure to serve under ya.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Yes, well, thank you. Are you a veteran, Sergeant?
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Aye, sir. I suppose you could say that. Did me duty in the regular army for a while. Did the great long walk with General Scott down south of the Rio Grande.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Hmm. Some of the men you fought with in Mexico are on the other side. Almost all of their generals.
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Oh, it gets worse than generals, Colonel. Some o' the lads that I left Ireland with are on the other side as well. Imagine that. We left together to escape a tyranny... and end up shootin' at one another in the Land of the Free.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: I, too, have friends on the other side, Sergeant. And enemies.
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Yes, sir. No shortage of enemies, that's for sure.
Title Card: A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of a native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead. - George Eliot
General Robert E. Lee: It is well that war is so terrible... or we should grow too fond of it.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: Just as we would not send any of our soldiers to march in other states, and tyrannize other people... so will we never allow the armies of others to march into our states and tyrannize our people.
Union private: [after trading coffee for tobacco] Have you got a lame horse?
Confederate: What do you be wantin' to trade for a lame horse?
Union private: Would you take General Burnside?
Confederate: [laughs] No. I guess I'll keep the horsehide.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: ...it appears the Virginia Military Institute will be heard from today.
[the Georgia Irish Brigade is defending the stone wall at Fredericksburg against the Union Irish Brigade]
Confederate Irish Captain: That's the Irish! What are those boys doin' fightin' in blue? They know we're fightin' for our freedom! Have they learned nothing at all at the hands of the English?
Confederate Irish Colonel: They're brave Irishmen. They're our brothers! They've been misled to their fate!
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: [the 20th Maine is about to attack the stone wall at Fredericksburg]
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Seems a terrible long distance up that hill.
Sgt. Thomas Chamberlain: It'll be shortened by those in front.
Sgt. Buster Kilrain: Beggin' your pardon, sir; the only thing that will be shortened by those in front is their lives.
General Robert E. Lee: If Washington will end their side of the fighting and recall their armies, this war will be over. We must show the enemy that they can not win. If we threaten the northern cities, if we threaten to bring the blood into the North, great pressure on Mr. Lincoln to end this war.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: In the Roman civil war, Julius Caesar knew he had to march on Rome, which no legion was permitted to do. Marcus Lucanus left us a chronicle of what happened. "How swiftly Caesar had surmounted the mighty alps and in his mind conceived immense upheavals, coming war. When he reached the water of the little Rubicon, clearly to the leader through the murky night appeared a mighty image of his country in distress, grief in her face, her white hair streaming from her tower-crowned head, with tresses torn and shoulders bare, she stood before him and sighing said, "Where further do you march? Where do you take my standards warriors? If lawfully you come, if as citizens, this far only is allowed." Then trembling struck the leader's limbs, his hair grew stiff and weakness checked his progress, holding his feet at the rivers edge. At last he speaks, "Oh Thunderer, surveying Rome's walls from the Tarpeian Rock. Oh Phrygian house gods of Iulus, Clan and Mystery of Quirinus who was carried off to heaven, Oh Jupiter of Latium seated in lofty Alda and Hearths of Vesta, Oh Rome, equal to the highest deity, favor my plans! Not with impious weapons do I pursue you. Here am I, Caesar, conqueror of land and sea, your own soldier, everywhere, now too, if I am permitted. The man who makes me your enemy, it is he who be the guilty one." Then he broke the barriers of war and through the swollen river swiftly took his standards. And Caesar crossed the flood and reached the opposite bank. From Hesperia's Forbidden Fields he took his stand and said, "Here I abandoned peace and desecrated law; fortune it is you I follow. Farewell to treaties. From now on war is our judge!" Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!
[Commenting on the assault on the stone wall by the Union Irish Brigade]
Brigadier General Lewis Armistead: Their bravery is worthy of a better cause.
General Robert E. Lee: I never thought I'd see the day when the President of the United States would raise an army to invade his own country. No, Mister Blair, I cannot... I will not lead it.
General Robert E. Lee: He's lost his left arm. I've lost my right.
General Bernard Bee: Look! There is Jackson standing like a Stonewall! Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer, Rally behind the Virginians!
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Hail Caesar! We who are about to die, salute you!
[at the Battle of Fredericksburg]
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: General Lee, if they put every man they have on this side of the Rappahannock; you give me enough ammunition and I'll kill every one of them.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: [commenting on the elaborate uniform of General Trimble] There goes the best dressed man in this whole army.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: In the Army of the Shenandoah, you were the First Brigade! In the Army of the Potomac you were the First Brigade! In the Second Corps of this Army, you are the First Brigade! You are the First Brigade in the affections of your general, and I hope by your future deeds and bearing you will be handed down the posterity as the First Brigade in this our Second War of Independence. God Speed!
Col. Porter Alexander: No, sir, a chicken couldn't live on that field.
Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: You are the first brigade!