The Civil War. Eps. 1-3

United States, 1989

TV show
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Episode of Series “The Civil War”.
THE CAUSE: In this introductory episode the background of the war is dramatically evoked and the commanders and ordinary soldiers march on stage - along with the diarists and letter writers who will put it in perspective. In 1861 the nation witnesses the inauguration of two rival presidents and the first shots are fired at Fort Sumter and Bull Run. Subtitled “At the crossroads of our being”, this episode is summed up in the words of Mary Boykin Chesnut of Charleston, “We are divorced now, North from South, because we hated each other so”. A VERY BLOODY AFFAIR: 1,000,000 men are massing along a 1,600 km. front. Washington is a madhouse with hordes of opportunists jostling for advantage. General George McClellan slowly leads his huge Army of the Potomac up the Virginia Peninsula towards the Confederate capital of Richmond, but when he encounters only a tiny Confederate force he doesn’t fight, he halts and digs in. To the west, however, Ulysses S. Grant meets the South’s Albert S. Johnston in a battle called Shiloh. For two days 100,000 men slam viciously into each other. At the end the Union holds the field and 23,000 soldiers have fallen, the first of many huge losses on the battlefield. FOREVER FREE: The Union giant appears helpless. McClellan abandons his attempt to capture Richmond. The talk in Washington is that the North may lose the war, but Lincoln grimly pursues his course. What started as a struggle to preserve the Union is now becoming a crusade against slavery, but Lincoln needs a victory and at a small creek called Antietam he achieves it, at the cost of 23,000 lives, the bloodiest day of the war. General Robert E. Lee retreats and Lincoln issues his Emancipation Proclamation. Narrated by David McCullough.

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Ken Burns


Ric Burns

Ken Burns

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Florentine Films



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United States
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The Civil War

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The Civil War


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Armed Forces, Military, War & Weapons → Grant, Ulysses, S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885

Armed Forces, Military, War & Weapons → United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865


Documentary → Documentary films - United States

Educational & Instructional

Educational & Instructional → Educational films

History → Grant, Ulysses, S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885

History → History

History → Slavery

History → United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865

People → Grant, Ulysses, S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885


Television → Television programs

Television → Television programs → Television programs - United States

Television → Television series




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VHS; Access Print (Section 1)

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