Any person with half a brain spending 5 minutes thinking about the tactics used would realize that marching up a hill armed with a musket (a primitive rifle sometimes better wielded as a hammer) in tight mass formations against an enemy behind a stone wall with cannon guns - is plain suicide.
That the Union Army attempted this FIVE bloody (literally) times is beyond insane. Yet at the same time it speaks volumes about the courage of the men in that era - where words like honor, dignity, and freedom meant something.
The most amazing thing is that the enemy - the Confederates - led by the famous General Robert E. Lee - did the same thing in a subsequent battle, Gettysburg.
The man is lauded as a military genius. But it confounds me how these sorts of geniuses can order their men to do these kinds of suicidal frontal assaults. Its beyond insane. They were packed like sardines in their formations. One cannon ball - the size of a soccer ball - would hit and maim or kill a dozen men. One bullet would plow through three men.
It makes about the same sense as a school teacher ordering the school band to march down the wrong side of the highway together with the entire primary school.
That the moron generals can repeat these sorts of mistakes in WW1 shows how horribly stupid experts can get.
Anyhow this is a movie for the guys. We can admire their mind bogglingly stupid courage and thank our lucky stars we weren't born in that era. As for the women, you can see how men can be so pigheadedly stupid.
There's another similar movie - Gettysburg- done by the same director over 10 years ago- but this one looks much better.
I was particularly impressed with Robert Duvall's acting of General Robert E. Lee - he not only looks the same as the historical figure but he carried the same steely presence as General Lee was said to have. I think Duvall had to shed a lot of weight to play Lee - but anyhow look at the historical photos and see the amazing similarities. Apparently he is related to Lee. I hope to see Duvall gets to play Lee in new Civil War films.
Add-on... I found a particular good review of the film here by Rod Dreher:
"The film is about conflicting ideas of patriotism, God, personal conscience, and history. Its basic point is that Lee and Jackson (like many southerners) fought not because they loved slavery or detested the Union, but because they felt honor-bound to defend their homeland."