Gods and Generals Speech

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rbortega

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Does anybody know if the Stonewall Jackson "You Are The First Brigade" speech depicted in Gods and Generals based on a real speech or fiction? I was wondering because I recall reading somewhere that Jackson was apparently uncomfortable giving speeches in front of large audiences.
 

luinrina

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There was a speech, but there's no definite record of it. James I. Robertson in his biography on Stonewall quotes the speech as written by "Langhorne to mother, Nov. 4, 1861. Langhorne recorded the presentation immediately after Jackson gave it, his account is short and to the point in typical Jackson style. This rendition alone among all others closes with an appeal to God, which is characteristic of every formal message Jackson ever sent." Apparently, Kyd Douglas and even Henderson in his bio embellished their accounts of the speech.

The speech as written by Langhorne/Robertson:

"Officers and men of the First Brigade! You do not expect a speech from me. I come to bid you a heartfelt goodbye.
"This brigade was formed at Harper's Ferry and the command of it assigned to me. You have endured hard marches, the exposure and privations of the bivouac, like men and patriots. You are the brigade which turned the tide of battle on Manassas Plains and there gained for yourself imperishable honor, and your names will be handed down with honor attached in future history.
"You were the First Brigade in the Army of the Shenandoah, the First Brigade in the Army of the Potomac, the First Brigade in the Second Corps, and are the First Brigade in the hearts of your generals. I hope that you will be the First Brigade in this, our second struggle for independence, and in the future, on the fields on which the Stonewall Brigade are engaged, I expect to hear of crowning deeds of valor and of victories gloriously achieved! May God bless you all! Farewell!"

p. 282/283, fn. 116 on p. 839

If you haven't already seen it, there's a Behind the Scenes video in four parts, telling about the reenactors' involvement in making the movie. Stephen Lang practiced the speech in front of the reenactors before the scene was filmed, and I personally find that practice much more compelling than the scene in the movie. Here's the link to it.
 
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7thWisconsin

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I've always thought that speech is one of the better "talky" parts of GaGs. It keeps mostly to the historical record (I knew that speech was real, just not where it was recorded), and captures the awkwardness of Jackson in public, not only in general, but trying to address emotion specifically.
 
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Cavalier

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As much as I like it,, the only actor I could name on sight in that movie is Robert Duvall. Now Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, John Wayne, those guys I would recognize instantly.
 
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PapaRob

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Can you tell us what your memories are?
I can tell you there was nary a dry eye at the end of the practice....when he gave the speech he was channeling Ol' Blue Eyes pretty seriously...One of my most vivid memories of being in that production was we were standing in a line in the woods about 10 yards from the edge and every body was yakking and joking as we are want to do...then it became noticable off to our right that the line was getting quiet..then Lang on horseback (as Jackson) accompanied by his staff came slowly riding by us and we just stared in silent awe...it really felt like Jackson was riding past us inspecting us...still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Talk about a first impression...WOW. Whenever the man was around he definitely had our full attention. After filming each day he would come over and chat with us, ask questions, sign autographs and just kinda hang out. Like I said, A Real Class Act.
 

JonnyReb_In_MI

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I seem to be the only one who likes this move, except too many d--- speeches, with the exception of this one.
No there are a lot of us out there! Don't let the few "noisy" nay-sayers drown out the silent majority.
Let me add my voice as one who LOVES this movie; I may be in an even more exclusive group within the "silent majority" who thinks that G&G was a far better film than Gettysburg, and that Robert Duvall makes a much better Lee than Martin Sheen.

I make a point to watch G&G & Gettysburg once a year as a reminder of the sacrifice made by the men of the Confederate armed forces for the honorable cause of Southern independence.
 

JonnyReb_In_MI

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I overall love the movie too. I just don't like a couple of scenes, those with Booth for example. These could've been left out IMO.


I fully agree. Lang was a wonderful pick for that role.
The Booth scenes are only in the extended Director's cut. You can avoid them by picking up a copy of the theatrical cut on DVD (not sure if that cut is available on Blu-Ray or not), but you'll also lose the Battle of Sharpsburg scenes (or 'Antietam' as the Yankees call it) by doing so.
 
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Cavalier

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It does my old, very old, heart good to hear that I am not alone in liking this movie. I intend to confront my better half with this most joyous bit of news forthwith!

John
 

Yankee Brooke

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I like the movie. It's good entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. There are certain parts though that I cringe at("Bonnie Blue," any time Chamberlain opens his mouth), this speech is not one of them. It's very well done and faithful to what Jackson is recorded to have said.
 
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