Field of Lost Shoes (2014) Movie Script

Based on a true story.
Every year a parade is held at 1006
to honor cadets who gave their lives
at a turning point during the
American Civil War.
On May 15, 1864 seven friends marched
into the Battle of New Market
only four came out.
When I was 12 years old,
my father was the
Governor of Virginia.
And none of us knew it
at that time,
but our world was
about to explode
over the issue of
slavery in America.
My father's heart had long
since changed on the topic,
and one night, he took
me to a place
that would forever
change my own.
Reading theEnglishman again?
Will I be shot for treason,
Most likely.
Another one of those long
titles, is it?
"The Personal History,
Adventures, Experience,
"Observation of David
the Younger of
Blunderstone Rookery... "
You read it.
Guess that's why it's here.
Suppose so.
Get your coat, John.
We're going to take a
little ride.
I don't think I like these
surprise trips anymore, father.
'Cause they're usually
lessons in life?
Well, tell me about the play
your mother took you to
in Philadelphia.
You mean "Uncle Tom's Cabin"?
And why have we not
talked about it?
Because we'll disagree,
and disagreeing with you is
so disagreeable.
Your mother said you were
not impressed by it.
Think it's all made up
by the people who
don't like us.
Yes. Well,
there's lots of those
in Philadelphia.
All right, ladies
and gentlemen!
We are about to get started!
Step on up! Step on up!
You're gonna love what we have
in store tonight!
I'm holding at 275...
A slave auction.
Doubtless those people
in Philadelphia
would not approve.
Sold at $300.
You're not coming?
John, I have never known
you to need help
making up your own mind.
...for tonight's bidding.
These slaves are trained
by some of our most
respected citizens
in the central Virginia area.
Oyez! Oyez!
Step on up, ladies
and gentlemen!
Sale's about to begin!
A fine lot of slaves
belonging to the estate
of the late Colonel William
Jasper of Amelia,
sold in no fault, but to
sell the estate!
We got all kinds.
Old ones, young ones,
men and women, gals and boys!
And as some of you may
or may not know,
Colonel Jasper's
plantation slaves
made him a pretty penny for
the last 20 years!
Gentlemen, what we have to
offer here is so damn good,
old Mr. Lumpkin even up and
married one of 'em!
You won't find the mark of a
whip on a one of 'em!
We're not talking
some low-class
Louisiana branding-iron stock!
We got the best slave stock
from all of central
Virginia here tonight!
Colonel Jasper's staff represents
the finest stock in the state!
This is the best group of
dining room servants,
farmhands, cooks, milkers,
seamstresses, washerwomen,
and the most promising group of
sassy young females
just ready to breed.
Martha Ann is the favorite
of the household.
Perfectly healthy, no
blemish at all.
Look at that complexion.
I offer Martha Ann at a
reduced price,
because it is the wish
of all concerned
to keep them together. Now,
Israel here
is not what you would call
an able-bodied man,
having broke his leg
in the field,
which didn't
exactly mend right,
but he can do all sorts
of light work,
and you can have him and the
young'uns mighty cheap!
Masters, if you'll buy me,
the children and Martha Ann,
God knows I'll work
myself to death.
Come on.
No bids at all?
400. Do I hear 450?
Come on, people, 450!
Look at her! He can work!
This is one of the
best slave lots
we're gonna see all night,
ladies and gentlemen!
400 going once.
400 going twice. Sold!
Will you take Israel and the
young'uns with her?
No. I'm lucky to be able to
afford one as it is.
I don't need no more mouths
to feed than hers.
No, please!
Don't leave me!
Don't take me!
You'll have more children,
Come on! No! Israel!
No! Israel!
Ladies and gentlemen...
Five years later, the Civil War
began closing in on the
Shenandoah Valley,
the place that was home to
the military school
my father had sent me
when he became a general in
the Confederate Army.
I was 17 years old and in
my second year
at the Virginia
Military Institute.
Whoo! Johnny Wise!
Always in a hurry!
You think he'll do?
He's a rabbit, a mouse.
And he's perfect,
like he shipped
straight from heaven.
Round up the boys.
All right.
Good morning, young sir.
Let me give you a hand
to the barracks.
But, sir, you're an
This is true. One day,
you will be
magnificent yourself,
somehow find a way to
repay my kindness.
Well, imagine this.
A welcoming committee.
Robert, come on and meet
some of the boys.
This here's Duck.
Let's get you unpacked.
And this is Jack Stanard,
a real soldier and a
hard man indeed.
You want to grow up
and be a man,
you pay attention to
him and not me.
You looking for an easy ride,
you come to the wrong place.
This handsome creature is
our resident Jew.
His name is actually Moses,
and he's an artist.
He's got the best
heart of the bunch
if you ever need to cry on
somebody's shoulder.
We'll start by me telling you
all about Sammy here so you
can protect yourself.
you do one of them,
but without the clothes?
Uh-oh. What have we here?
W-What's that?
Well, that looks like
food to me, son.
Anybody tell you there's
a war going on?
Concealed foodstuffs,
that's contraband.
Clear violation of
Institute regulations.
Immediate dismissal.
Might even be criminal.
Oh, Bobby, how could you?
Cadet Stanard, could
you please fetch
the Officer of the Day?
I-I don't know how
it got there.
This is Cadet
Garland Jefferson,
Officer of the Day,
whose jurisdiction
covers this matter.
And since his family are
direct descendants
of Thomas Jefferson and own the
eighth-largest plantation in all...
That'll do, Atwill.
Now, if I take charge, this
goes to the faculty,
which ends horribly
for the boy.
Oh, please, sir.
Could we have Duck
fetch John Wise?
Handle this within
the barracks?
Bobby, this is John Wise,
our unofficial
Chief Magistrate.
Now, his father was once
governor of this Commonwealth,
so he is as close to an aristocrat
as you can find in a democracy.
Look me in the eye, son.
Tell me the truth as if your
very life depended on it.
Did you do this?
No, sir.
I swear on my father's soul.
I believe this child.
I ask that we be allowed to
settle this here.
All right.
You understand, son,
if this gets out,
it could be bad for
Cadet Jefferson.
Therefore, there must be
some evidence of punishment.
Will you submit to a caning?
Yes, sir,
and thank you for
being so merciful.
Take your shirt off.
First-year cadets are
known as rats.
You are a rat.
But you're a special rat,
you understand?
You're my rat.
You're under my protection
and under the
protection of all here.
Are you with us, Robert?
O-Oh, yes.
Oh, yes, sir.
I want you always to remember
the horrible
injustice you thought
was gonna befall you here today
of one human using his
authority over another
without decency or conscience
and of the need to assert
a code of honor
that transcends the
temptations of power.
I hereby raise you above the
level of common rat.
You shall be known in this
company as Sir Rat.
Now put your shirt on, son,
before we find ourselves a
healthier specimen.
You hungry, boy? Oh, yes, sir.
What do you gentlemen say to a
little midnight requisition?
Never mind! It's tradition.
Right there. Shh.
All right.
All right. Shh, shh, shh.
Come around.
Help me with this doorknob.
Easy. Easy.
Go ahead.
Oh, smells good.
Oh, that does smell good!
There's us some bread, boys.
Here we go, huh?
That's pretty good right there.
That one's mine.
That one's mine.
Well, now, evening, Judge.
No need to be afraid of
Old Judge, boy.
He's just a grumpy old slave.
I may be the property of
this Institute,
but I have the ear of
the Superintendent
and the full trust and
confidence of the Commandant.
I'm the master of
this bakery.
You also have a cleaver.
There's nothing worse in a time
of conflict than a thief of food.
Tell the Judge why we're here,
Uh, we're...
we real hungry, Mr. Judge,
and those loaves
smell awful good.
I'm new just today,
but Mr. Wise here tells me
that the bread is the best
part of this school.
Go on and get yourself one of
these loaves, son.
I suppose I could spare
three or four.
Thank you, Judge.
Oh, that's good.
That's fresh.
I'm not here for a handout,
I'm here to negotiate a
business arrangement.
Now, you seen the best of us on
the shooting range.
Jewish boy's the best,
then you.
We'll bring in some squirrel,
rabbit and some possum,
harvest a fugitive
chicken or two.
Your people share in the meat.
In return, we
liberate some bread.
See, the terms of
this arrangement
is a little more serious for
some parties than others.
If this comes crashing down,
it will not fall on you.
Tell me this one is different.
We think so.
He's not afraid to take action.
It's a welcome change from
your other generals.
Some call Grant a butcher.
Well, sir, that may be
precisely what we need.
General, congratulations
on your victory and promotion.
Gentlemen, thank you.
They say you are the general
the nation has been
praying for.
They also say you fight
like a savage.
Oh, I agree with both.
War is not opera nor theater.
It is for winning.
Winning ends the death, ends
the destruction,
begins the healing.
And to win, brutality
is required?
Each game has its rules, Mr.
Are we to play chess or war?
And if I were to name you
General in Chief?
I will attack our enemies at
all times and all places.
I will take away his crops,
his animals,
the food he has sheltered,
his railroads, his industry,
his clothing,
his ammunition,
his gunpowder,
his steel, his armament,
his salt,
and I will take from him the
flower of his youth.
I will destroy everything
my enemy loves
and anything that might give him
the means or the hope to prevail.
Do you see me as a monster, Mr.
I see you as a true general.
The only way back across
the Blue Ridge
and into our flank...
...through the New Market Gap,
and that's where Grant
will send 'em.
Uh, sir, General Lee
does not believe
an attack will come
this spring.
Well, then, General Lee
is dead wrong.
The Federals will
come and soon.
Inform my brigade commanders to
concentrate the army
and move at best speed
towards New Market.
And I am going to need
everything they got.
you're asking me
to tell the commander
General Lee is wrong?
Well, thank God you
been listening.
I won't have to repeat myself.
If General Grant is the wolf
and we are the lamb,
then New Market Gap is
surely our throat,
and trust me, the
wolf will come.
Shoulder arms!
Order arms!
Shoulder arms!
Order arms!
Shoulder arms!
I'm okay. I'm okay.
Order arms!
Shoulder arms!
I got it. I'm good.
Sam, help me. Come on. Come on.
Sir, the battalion is
formed and ready!
All cadets are present or
accounted for, sir!
Ladies, can you help us out?
Can we, uh... Thank
you very much.
Oh, watch him. Thank you.
we, uh...
May we help you?
Uh, we, uh...
Order arms!
Is he dead?
What kind of thing is
that to say?
Shoulder arms!
Uh... We got company!
Sam, what happened?
I don't know.
Uh, ma'am?
Oh, my goodness. He isn't dead,
is he?
No, ma'am,
notwithstanding what that girl
decided to the contrary.
Well, young man, that girl
is my daughter,
and we're not from these parts,
and she has never seen
a cadet before,
so she would not know what is
normal or not normal around here.
And the only thing she decided
is that there is an
intellectually impaired cadet
at my doorstep with...
perhaps a drunken colleague,
Well, bring him in.
Let's see what we can do.
Let's go. All right.
You're, uh, not from
around here?
I should say not.
My aunt lives here.
We live up at New Market,
you know, up north where
Jackson fought.
So is this the best you can do?
At conversation?
Well, I...
Pleasure chatting with you.
While I'm taking the main army
south towards Richmond,
I'm sending General Sigel west
to the Shenandoah Valley,
Lee's breadbasket.
If we take the Valley before
the summer harvest,
we'll cut off Lee's food
supply and end the war.
Excuse me, gentlemen.
This campaign is going to be
something of a family affair.
Our First Lady, Mary
Todd Lincoln,
is a cousin to the
Rebel general
we're going to be facing
in the Valley,
John C. Breckinridge.
You're wondering what the hell
you're doing here.
As a matter of fact, sir, I am.
Well, Franz Sigel is a
politician, not a soldier.
All he has to do is
take the railroad,
but I'm not gonna
take any chances.
I'm gonna attach you
and your guns
and a regiment of Ohio boys.
Ah, is that your daily
briefing from Mary?
Ever since she turned 10,
the girl just won't let me run
the war without her.
Well, then, what does
your daughter
say about the New Market Gap?
She says that Grant has
a big problem.
Yeah, the only sizable force
he has to throw at us
is Franz Sigel.
Heh. Ah, she says
Grant knows that
Sigel's an idiot,
so he will surely send a real
soldier along to help him out.
But she thinks Sigel
is almost certain to
take offense
and resist the help.
Smart girl, huh?
So then at New Market...
We will break Grant's back
and save Lee's Army.
Unless, of course
the soldiers I asked for
don't arrive in time.
Which case, we'll lose the war.
It's my fault,
it's your fault,
and from the Union
gallows next to you,
I'll surely remark that
I told you so.
We already got our delivery,
This is from me.
This is extra.
One slave to another?
Not exactly.
I just thought, you know,
some families could use these.
Of course I do.
This ain't about your
people and the Pharaoh
and you feeling something them
other boys can't feel, hmm?
What's that you got there?
Oh. Oh, nothing.
You let me be the
judge of that.
my, my, look at this.
I thank you for these.
There are some children
who won't be hungry tonight.
And, uh, who's this?
Someone who will go hungry.
All right, sir. 18 credits.
Thank you, sir.
How much are the sausages, sir?
Get behind, rat!
Hey! I said get behind!
No! I was here first, sir.
What's going on here?
This is my rat! Hands off!
Butt out, John, if you know
what's good for you.
You have no right to push a
cadet out of your way.
He's just a rat.
Don't pretend to boss me
around, Johnny.
Wasn't it your father,
the governor,
who opposed secession?
The old fool.
Whoa. Whoa.
Come on!
Hey, stop it!
Down there, stand fast!
You're all under arrest!
This ain't over, Johnny!
You bet it ain't!
Come on. We gotta go!
Hey! Hey!
Ho, boy.
General Sigel, my respects.
I have the honor of providing
artillery support for
your advance.
Welcome, dear Captain DuPont.
You have been sent by General
Grant to spy on us, eh?
I wish only to provide
the best possible support for
your command, sir.
Are there any maps
of the route?
Any intelligence of the enemy's
dispositions or intentions?
General Grant is your patron.
Let him provide
whatever you need.
Libby, Miss Clinedinst, I need
to tell you something.
When I first saw you...
your eyes... No, not "your
eyes. " Something else.
Your... Your mouth...
All right, then I say,
"Good evening. "
S-She's gonna say,
"Good evening... "
She doesn't know my name.
She doesn't know my name.
You need to come inside?
Uh, well, I better not,
given my recent problems
with conversation.
A wise boy.
Shall I get you something?
Conversation would be nice.
Are you counting on
an uncontrollable
attraction to the uniform?
Wouldn't help.
You'd soon find out I'm not
much of a soldier.
See, I didn't think that I
believed in anything
enough to fight for it...
until tonight.
And what is that, Mr...
Mr. Sam.
What is it you
believe in tonight?
I believe in something
more than just sudden,
superficial attraction.
Tonight I believe in love
at first sight.
Get him.
That's what you get for
giving away food!
I think you should
stick to drawing.
That's a
woman's work.
I see how you could pick up on
a local with that. Nice.
Well, what do we have here?
I hope he's got warm bread.
It's Old Judge, sir!
I went to the bakery to
make our delivery,
and the soldiers were all
in there with him!
Dear God.
Do you know where
they took him?
To the faculty Captain,
the one called Chinook.
Get Jefferson.
Was it very bad?
Ain't gonna be nothing
compared to what the
hanging's gonna be.
This don't make no sense.
They need the Judge.
They can't need a slave, son.
But they can forgive one.
Oh, yeah. Captain Chinook's
just dripping with the
honey of forgiveness.
Y'all, it's time to go.
weren't your fault, son.
Hungry got fed.
I promised.
Don't you know it's the
other way around?
Old men make the promises
the young'uns got to pay on.
That's war, ain't it?
I'm coming back for you, Judge.
I'll stay.
All right.
Let's go, boys.
He fed people who
were starving.
And hanging is the consequence
a slave faces for
stealing food.
He didn't steal it.
I did, sir.
No, Captain, it was I.
I did it, sir.
I as well.
And I bring the confession
of Moses Ezekiel,
so it's five gallows, then.
Shall I organize a detail to
assist the hangman?
You know very well you
won't be hanged.
Are you so willing to
end your careers?
With all due respect, sir,
who would offer a career to
five dishonorable men?
What kind of satisfaction could
such a life bring?
You too, Colonna? Jefferson?
Honor is honor, sir.
It is the most precious quality
in our profession.
All for one, sir.
That's the honor thing, sir.
Get out of my sight.
And don't be late for
morning class.
And, Jack, looks like
I'm gonna get
some baked bread this morning.
Get 'em out of here.
So Echols and
Wharton are, what,
joining us on foot?
60 miles for Echols,
75 for Wharton.
They can make it.
If they march through the
night, don't eat,
kill most of their horses,
Well, there is one more
possible solution.
We have 250 trained
troops and artillery
less than 50 miles
from Staunton...
Jesus, Charlie, the
schoolboys again?
Cadets. Just in reserve
and only if Wharton and
Echols are delayed.
In reserve to fight.
And if we have to put those
children in to fight,
then what kind of dire
will they find themselves in?
Yes, they are young,
and, yes, you have told me on six
occasions in the last four days
that you will not permit
them near the Gap.
And I won't.
But we do need them
in reserve...
just in case, sir.
The Yankees burned his home.
The mill's gone.
Everything's gone.
His sister Margaret?
His baby brother?
No one knows.
That there is your Grant,
That's how he is.
You take me...
where I could get revenge.
Son, I must speak to the
We do not expect General
Sigel's forces
to proceed south through the
valley at best speed,
but if they do...
I understand. Of course.
Thank you, Major.
200-odd boys really gonna
make the difference?
Is the situation
really that dire?
I am quite sure.
I have promised
General Breckinridge
that you will be in
Staunton by Thursday.
That's 50 miles in 2 days.
Yes, sir.
Battalion, fall in!
Quickly now!
I said fall in!
Attention to orders!
Enemy in heavy force
is advancing
up the Shenandoah Valley!
General Lee cannot spare forces
from the Army of Northern
Virginia to meet this advance!
All available forces from
southwestern Virginia and elsewhere
are hereby ordered to
assemble in Staunton
to defend the valley!
The battalion of cadets
of the Virginia
Military Institute
is ordered to march with four
companies of infantry
and one section of artillery
by the Valley Pike!
All cadets will appear with
canteen, blanket and weapon
at 8:00 tomorrow morning
prepared to march!
That is all!
Revenge, Johnny. Revenge.
Are we really going to fight?
They tell us no.
We're gonna be held
back in reserve,
but we can't be sure.
Is that supposed to make
me feel better?
What makes you think I want
you to feel better?
I want you to stay safe.
Whatever happens, you
stay with me.
I guess we should
declare a truce.
Of course.
This ain't over, though.
I'm still gonna whup you good.
That boy is outside.
Come to say goodbye, have you?
I'm gonna miss this old house.
Women's work,
darning socks,
mending uniforms,
packing food and blankets,
and of course, pulling together
medical supplies and bandages
for those who'll follow to
help if needed.
Well, I hope you're not
gonna do that.
It's a war, not a party.
Of course not.
Why would I go?
There's nothing I believe in
enough to fight for,
while you, on the other hand...
Oh, yes. Love at first sight.
Let's go!
Fall in!
Fall in!
Battalion, fall in!
Eyes front!
Battalion of cadets,
Virginia Military Institute!
Forward, march!
Why is the answer no
insufficient for you?
General, with all respect...
There is no respect,
not in your face, your voice,
your words!
There is no respect in you.
When I'm comfortable, then
I will advance.
Sir, if we do not reach
New Market Gap
before Breckinridge
gathers his troops,
it will be too late.
If I advance before
I'm comfortable,
that will be too early.
And early comes before late.
Why would he do that, Sigel?
Just sit there?
Oh, I'm sure it's a whole
bunch of reasons,
cowardice near the top.
And with General Wharton
on the train...
Yes, things would appear to be
going better, Charlie.
Observe my elation.
You won't have to use the boys.
No. They still on the way?
Yes, sir.
The young ladies of Staunton
have invited you to a
welcoming social tonight!
Look sharp, boys!
If you insist, sir.
Orders are orders.
Sorry, boys.
Down to just bread
and dried beef.
Thank you very much.
You think there's gonna be a
lot of ladies at this dance?
I hope there's more than one.
Otherwise, you boys
are out of luck.
I know I'll be looking for
one in particular.
Do you think Captain Chinook
will let us rats go tonight?
My goodness, I forgot to ask
him in our last intimate chat.
Sorry, I won't be
able to make it.
Got guard duty.
Looks like I'll be dancing with
old Chinook instead.
Oh, I hear old Chinook's known
for his waltzing abilities.
Ah, you could do far worse
than Captain Chinook.
Be careful, Johnny.
He might just sweep you
right off your feet.
Well, now, that's making me
mighty uncomfortable.
Hey, rat.
You want to splash a little?
Rat! Come on now!
I'm in the middle of shaving.
I just did my hair!
I gotta move and
get some food
I never meant to stay
Is it all right
that I don't have a
uniform like you do?
Not to worry,
One day, you will be
magnificent, remember?
When you're an upperclassman,
you will have a coat just
like this one.
But for tonight,
you're perfect.
Now let's find you a lady.
Excuse me, miss. I'd
like you to meet
a real Southern gentleman.
Hi. I'm Robert.
Go enjoy yourselves.
Go on.
Well, welcome, soldier.
Can I persuade you to a dance?
No, thank you.
I knew I should have worn
the red dress.
Miss, you are lovely
in that dress,
and whoever dances with you is
gonna be the envy of all.
The hair, then? I can
take it down.
Please, don't trouble yourself.
This is about a girl I left
behind in Lexington.
Married, are you?
Not yet.
Childhood sweethearts.
Been together as long as...
long as I can remember.
I just came here tonight
for the refreshments and music.
Do you know if all the other
ladies have arrived already?
I'm sure I wouldn't know.
All right, of course.
Would you just excuse
me a moment?
I hope I'm not
interrupting anything.
I told you not to come.
Yes, you did.
I know where you're going,
to New Market.
I'm going, too.
You haven't seen
the last of me.
Still not much at conversation.
Or anything else.
I'll be the judge of that.
You are absolutely right.
Oh, Miss...
no way to talk to a soldier on
the eve of battle.
You'll be fine.
That's the plan.
For good luck.
So you won't forget me.
No, Sam, this is the plan.
A farm, a shop, a trade.
Your choice.
Four babies, my choice.
That'd be all?
We'll fight a good deal.
We will, will we?
I'm sure of that,
even when we're old on a
porch together
with nine grandchildren
and our teeth falling out.
Well, we'll laugh some, too,
I believe.
And there will be conversation.
I do like conversation.
You missed a good party.
Cadet Wise, I'm here
to relieve you.
If you ask me, something
big is coming.
Only one day's march
from New Market.
By Saturday night,
the battle will begin
the next day.
You and Breckinridge
figure it all out?
Well, I have it from Grant
himself, actually.
We shared a whiskey,
foul cigar.
He said let's end this whole
bloodstained mess
Sunday at New Market Gap.
I'm sure of it, actually.
It's an omen.
Stonewall Jackson always
fought on a Sunday.
I'm worried about you, John.
If you don't believe in
what you're fighting for,
you won't make it out
of this valley.
A man must believe his
cause is just
in order to gladly die for it.
Defending our homeland
against strangers?
You know I come from a
family of bankers.
We don't own slaves,
but the South's way of life's
depended on slaves for
over 200 years.
You rip it to pieces
all at once,
and you destroy the rest of us.
We should not be fighting to
keep people in chains.
Will you or will you not
defend Virginia?
I will defend my family.
My friends are my family.
This school is my family.
I will fight for that.
But if God grants us victory,
we must change.
Keep your thoughts to yourself,
The others, they... they may
doubt your resolve.
They would be fools
if they did.
Sir, Union Cavalry in force
approaching from the east
just on the other side
of that hill.
So it is to be tomorrow.
We'll have Wharton?
Almost certainly.
God damn it, Major!
Can you not speak
plain English?
Is that half certain?
Is that more than certain?
At least half.
We will win tomorrow, sir,
because we have to.
I didn't hear that, Charlie.
I said... I do not want to hear
the language of losers
from you, Charlie.
Victory will not come because
we think it must.
Well, then, what is the
language of the winners, sir?
I will lose, and I will die,
and I will fail everything
and everyone that I love
unless I find the way to win.
The Confederates
cannot sustain the losses.
Is that what Grant says?
The general doesn't speak
in predictions.
Nor in boasts. Mm.
What news does he give of
the Valley campaign?
We're better fed,
better supplied,
more experienced.
The report is that Breckinridge
has actually
conscripted schoolboys,
cadets from the Virginia
Military Institute,
he's so desperately
So we've stooped to
massacring schoolboys?
Only if he chooses to use them,
Help me, please! Somebody!
Please, sir, can you
spare a moment?
Can you help us, sir?
My sister, sir. Get
away from me.
Her leg is... Please.
Somebody help me!
Please, somebody help us.
Help me!
Please, sir. Mister.
Help me!
Anyone asks, I'll
be right back.
Keep marching!
Please, sir, help us.
We're gonna get you
out of here!
Please, help me!
Go to the other side. Please,
help me!
Moses, let's go.
I got it.
Men, come on.
Help me!
Step to it, Moses!
Think it's stuck on something.
It's gonna be okay.
Are you okay, Miss?
What are you doing here?
Don't break rank!
But you are, sir!
Let him help. What are
you doing, Jack?
Somebody needs help,
don't they?
Don't you worry. We're
gonna get you out.
Jack, take this side. Yeah,
pull her out!
Ready? Lift!
You okay?
Thank you.
Of course.
You all right, darlin'? Okay.
Don't you worry. We
gonna send help.
All right.
You're gonna be okay now.
I promise.
All right, boys!
We got a battle to fight,
Let's kill some Blues!
Let's go.
Thank God! Thought you had a
sudden attack of humanity.
Ah, it's gonna be all right.
Stand easy, men.
Do you have time for this?
If I might be asking them to lay
down their lives in the morning,
then I can surely make time.
Oh, right.
Cut your toe off.
Bet you you cut your toe off.
I'll grow it back.
John C. Breckinridge.
John Wise, sir.
Governor Wise's son?
Yes, sir.
I did not know you
were out here.
I have the privilege of
knowing your daddy.
He is an extraordinary man
and a very able general.
I'll send him a wire.
You have a message for him?
That I love him.
'Course you do.
All right, stand easy.
Sit down.
Sit down.
Well, purpose of this
little visit
is because it's my
fault you're here.
In many ways, it's my fault that
everyone is here in this valley,
'cause when I was
Vice President,
I tried to solve this problem,
and I...
I could not.
And now good men of the North
and the South will die here,
and I will have some difficult
decisions tomorrow,
some of which may
involve you.
So I'd like to know what you
think of the war,
what your plans are
for afterwards.
Young man?
We find ourselves invaded by
a conquering army
whom I must consider
foreign invaders.
Defending our homeland is
an imperative,
and I can't understand anyone
who thinks otherwise.
Who might you be, sir?
I'm Thomas Garland Jefferson,
Are you, indeed? Yes, sir.
Well, my family's
owned a plantation
for close to 150 years,
so I'm defending my
heritage and my future,
but that ain't the whole of it.
I believe folks of a
certain class
have a heavy responsibility.
We must use our position
to see that the common folk
among us are cared for.
Well, we common folks surely
do appreciate that.
I meant no offense, sir.
None taken.
Your good heart does you
credit, soldier.
Who's next?
Young man?
I think war is stupid and cruel
and nowhere near as necessary
as those leading the fighting
like to tell themselves.
I see.
And do you think I
could negotiate
our way out of this
thing tomorrow?
No, sir, not any more.
We will stand with
you and fight.
And what of your future?
All I know I really want
is to find the right woman,
settle down, provide somehow
for her and our children.
That sounds like a good plan.
I will fight Grant's bullies,
I thank you.
I tell everybody I'm going
to be a farmer,
but if Mr. Wise would let me,
I'd like to help him
be governor.
Is that so?
You seem very quiet, young man.
My family and my home
were burned.
I'll kill as many
Blues tomorrow
as God permits, sir.
Young man, I am truly
sorry for your loss.
This cadet here, his name
is Moses, sir.
He's a genius artist.
You should see his portraits.
I would like to try my
hand at sculpture.
It's a hard way to
make a living.
Yes, sir.
Look, I know that you
must be afraid,
and I know because I'm afraid.
We all are, but we must
all take strength
from your teacher,
Stonewall Jackson.
Do not take counsel
of your fears,
to which I would add,
do not let anger
ruin your lives.
This war will end,
I swear to you,
and you boys,
you're the future of
this country.
And having met you,
the future is bright.
So you all sleep well,
and God bless you tomorrow.
God bless all of us.
Duck, gather the boys.
Yes, sir.
Company, at attention!
Fall in on me!
Don't make me say it again.
I'm tired!
Bow your heads, gentlemen.
Heavenly Father, this morning,
we march into the valley of
death as brothers in arms.
Help us to be strong.
Help us to do our duty
for our mothers,
for our fathers,
for our sisters and for
our brothers,
wherever they may be.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Form 'em up, and move 'em out.
Company, fall in on me!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Looky here!
You boys are babes in
arms we got!
Looky here.
You little boys want a
sugar rag to suck on?
Hey, does your mommy
know you snuck out
so early in the morning?
Poor little boys,
little old boys!
Poor boys.
Confederate infantry already?
Sir, General
Breckinridge just arrived
with the units of the
Virginia Cavalry
forming just south of the
village of New Market.
Bring the 34th
Massachusetts forward,
back from their
defensive positions.
Get the cavalry to go east
toward that mountain!
Where is Echols?
He's getting into position.
Calvary probes?
Already commenced.
Reserve units?
All in position,
including the cadets.
I want those boys at
the very rear.
You understand me? And I
want 'em protected.
Of course they are.
Everybody ready?
Wake up the Yankees.
Time for breakfast.
Lay down your colors, Virginia!
Slow down!
Six paces behind the colors!
Drop excess gear,
and prepare to march!
Drop gear!
And prepare to move out!
Put that on the ground.
Captain! Captain,
shall we advance?
No. He wants us to commit.
We will not take the bait!
Send this to Sigel!
Facing large combined
rebel force!
reinforcements required!
Commence fire!
Wharton's brigade is in
position on the west side, sir,
commanding from the
hills to the Pike.
I can see that,
but I do not see Echols.
He has arrived, sir.
He's filling in on the east
side of the Pike as we speak.
Commence fire!
Libby! Help me, please!
No matter how many bandages,
there will never be enough.
Colonel Wharton, you
move your brigade
from your current position down
the hill at best speed
into that depression below
the Union artillery.
You'll be protected there.
You see it?
And take the reserve with you.
The cadets will be in
last position.
Under no circumstances
can they engage.
Send orders to the reserves
to conform their
movements with mine.
Men, move out!
Drop in!
Gentlemen, as soon as we go
over the crest of this hill,
I want you to drive your men
straight down into the valley.
You run like hell.
Go! Go! Go! Go!
Company, forward!
Forward, march.
Hit the front side
of that hill!
They can't reach us here!
Where the hell are
the reserves?
My order was for them to
conform to my moves!
One piece of luck.
Load shells! 2,000 yards!
Give 'em everything you've got!
Fire! Fire!
This is not a parade!
My God, they're
holding formation.
Get back!
Close up!
Close up, battalion!
Forward, march!
Forward, march!
Mark time, battalion!
I'll be damned.
If I didn't see it with
my own eyes...
We're losing 'em
behind the house!
Aren't they trapped there now,
Only till they
decide to charge.
But we're vulnerable here,
We defend this hill for as
long as we can!
And halt!
Did y'all see that?
Even the rats held
up under fire.
We showed those old boys,
didn't we?
Sugar rag, is it?
I can't believe it.
You two actually smiled
at each other.
Get ready!
He'll be coming along
Bushong's farm!
We'll give him an Ohio hello!
Follow me,
but keep at least 300 yards
back, well to the rear!
Do you understand, Captain?
Yes, sir!
Virginians, forward!
Come on, boys! Hustle up!
Come on. Come on, boys!
Hustle up.
Battalion, prepare to advance!
Come on now.
First and second rank, ready!
Steady! Steady!
Wait for my command!
Fire! Fire! Fire!
God bless those
Pennsylvania boys.
Holding fast!
Reload! Hurry up!
Now! Now! Now! Now!
Ready! Fire!
Fire! Fire!
They've torn a hole in the
center of our line!
If we can see it, so
can the Blues.
Sir, you must put in the
reserves to restore the line.
When the Union forces regroup
and counterattack,
that line will divide in two.
They'll pull right through the
hole in the center.
Sir, you must put
in the cadets.
Send the boys in.
May God forgive me.
Battalion, forward to the line!
Forward to the line!
Come on!
Let's go! Get to the fence!
To what? To the fence!
Let's go!
Get to the fence!
Get to the fence!
Fire at will! Fire at will!
The cadets are filling the gap.
Come on! Keep shooting, boys!
I'm right here, Moses!
Fire! Fire!
We can't stay here!
Must be somewheres a
little more useful.
Gentlemen, what do you we say
we charge those guns?
Well, gentlemen, I bet that
sounds a bit dangerous.
John Wise, that was what I
was suggesting.
I was just being subtle.
No sense in dying if we can't
figure out who takes the
credit, right?
Sir, battalion is
ready to attack!
We don't have further orders!
No, I don't suspect we'll
get further orders!
The cadets are ready to charge,
I suggest we attack and
take those guns
before we get blown apart!
Fix bayonets!
Go get 'em, boys.
Everybody ready! Face front!
Charge! Charge!
But they're just a bunch of
damn schoolboys.
Kill 'em!
Kill 'em all!
We showed them, didn't we,
Jack, stay with me!
You can't die.
I still gotta whup you good.
I can't carry you forever,
It's up to you now.
Come on, Jack!
Jack, come on!
Retreat now! Now!
Let's go, gentlemen!
Someone's gotta cover this
godforsaken retreat!
Let's go! Hyah.
My God, sir, the cadets have
taken Bushong Hill.
Must be an illusion, Charlie.
Their general told them
not to fight.
Where's Jack?
He's dead,
torn to pieces during
the final charge.
And Johnny?
A shell exploded.
Come on.
Here you are. here you are.
Hey, hey, hey! You
come over here!
Give me a stretcher!
Come on.
You'll be all right!
Oh, God.
Ah, you hear me?
Here you go. Here you go.
You hear me?
Hear me, Johnny?
There you go.
There you go.
Can you hear me?
Hey, we won the battle,
all of us.
People are gonna
call us heroes.
They're the heroes,
all of them.
Bring them inside!
Look at that wound. Take that
young man to the back bedroom.
Could I speak with Libby
just for a minute?
Oh, son, Libby's not here.
She's up at the field with
the older girls.
He's at the house.
That boy, he's wounded, but
he's asking for you.
Thank you so much.
Will he survive?
Bullet went through his chest
and lodged in his back.
Is this your son?
These are all my sons.
Let's stitch him.
Ma'am? Ma'am?
Uh, do you have a
New Testament?
This is a Christian Bible.
I understand you're Jewish?
I'm a Jew.
It's for my friend.
He requested it.
I do not believe my
faith will object.
Thank you.
Are you all right?
From the 14th chapter
of Saint John.
"Let not your heart
be troubled:
"You believe in God,
"believe also in me.
"In my Father's house are
many mansions:
If it were not so... "
"I would have told you. "
"I go to prepare a
place for you. "
Would you... Would you
light me a candle?
I don't want to
listen in the dark.
My, my, my.
Find me a man who knows
how to set a fire.
Next time we go into that
godforsaken valley,
we'll burn it to cinders.
If I can.
Thank you.
Let's leave him, gentlemen.
We were gonna spend the rest of
our lives together.
Stand easy.
Mr. Wise. Mr. Colonna.
I am told that you cadets
decided to lead the charge of
your own volition.
Is that so?
Are they not teaching
you the value
of the chain of command
at the Institute?
I am sorry, sir.
Are you? Hmm.
Then what in good God's name
were you thinking?
My father says the best thing
about doing what's right is it
requires no thought...
no thought at all.
I guess I have to thank you
for not thinking.
Well done, Virginians.
Well done, men.
Thank you, sir.
The legacy of those who fought
and died at New Market is remembered
by the Cadets of The Virgina Military
Institute every year
Private Stanard died on the
field of honor, sir!
Private Jefferson died on the
field of honor, sir!
Corporal Atwill died on the
field of honor, sir!
Sergeant Cabell!
Private Crockett!
Private Hartsfield!
Private Haynes!
Private Jefferson!
Private Jones!
Private McDowell!
Private Stanard!
Private Wheelwright died on the
field of honor, sir!
''Old Judge'' became a free man and continue
running the bakery at VMI until
he retired after 30 years of service
Moses Ezekiel, the first Jewish Cadet
to attend VMI, became an
internationally famous sculptor
His work is featured around the world
and Arlington National Cemetery
where he is burned
Duck Colonna rebuilt his family
home, became a school teacher, and
entered a long career in U.S.
government service
To this day VMI Cadets, both male and famale
refer to their classmates as Brother Rat
John Wise served in the United States
Congress and helped to rebuild the Union.
Former slave Mary Lumpkin converted the
auction house known as
''Lumpkin's Jail'' to a school for
freed slaves
which became today's Virginia Union
Following the war,
the Virginia Military Institute resumed
its appointed mission of educating leaders
for Virginia and the Nation.
In Grateful Memory