Ken Burns: The Civil War

PBS
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9 videos in this collection

The Cause
Beginning with a searing indictment of slavery, this first episode dramatically evokes the causes of the war, from the Cotton Kingdom of the South to the northern abolitionists who opposed…
A Very Bloody Affair
1862 saw the birth of modern warfare and the transformation of Lincoln's war to preserve the Union into a war to emancipate the slaves. Episode Two begins with the political…
Forever Free
This episode charts the dramatic events that led to Lincoln's decision to set the slaves free. Convinced by July 1862 that emancipation was now morally and militarily crucial to the…
Simply Murder
The nightmarish Union disaster at Fredericksburg comes to two climaxes that spring: at Chancellorsville in May, where Lee wins his most brilliant victory but loses Stonewall Jackson; and at Vicksburg,…
The Universe of Battle
This episode opens with a dramatic account of the turning point of war: the Battle of Gettysburg, the greatest ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. For three days 150,000 men…
Valley of the Shadow of Death
Episode six begins with a biographical comparison of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and then chronicles the extraordinary series of battles that pitted the two generals against each…
Most Hallowed Ground
The episode begins with the presidential election of 1864 that sets Abraham Lincoln against his old commanding general, George McClellan. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of the…
War is All Hell
The episode begins with William Tecumseh Sherman's brilliant march to the sea, which brings the war to the heart of Georgia and the Carolinas and spells the end of the…
The Better Angels of Our Nature
This extraordinary final episode of The Civil War begins in the bittersweet aftermath of Lee's surrender and then goes on to narrate the horrendous events of five days later when,…

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1862 Antietam—The Civil War’s Bloodiest Day
At the time of this landmark battle in the American Civil War, the Confederacy seemed poised to achieve its goal of independence. Envision the protracted, bloody struggle between North and South, and consider the ways in which a marginal Union victory nevertheless altered the course of the war.
The Weapons of the Civil War
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From the North to the South the firearms that won the Civil War.
Rebel - Loreta Velazquez - Secret Soldier of the American Civil War
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In 1861, at the outbreak of the American Civil War, a teenager from New Orleans headed to the front lines. Under the alias Harry T. Buford, he fought at First Bull Run, was wounded at Shiloh, and served as a Confederate spy. But Buford harbored a secret-he was really Loreta…
Lincoln and Lee at Antietam
It's September 17, 1862 and President Abraham Lincoln needs a victory in order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and end slavery in the South. But Robert E. Lee has other plans - invade the North. When Lee's strategy falls into the hands of the Union Army, the result is the…
Medal of Honor: The Civil War
Part of the Series: Medal of Honor
Stories of Medal of Honor recipients of the Civil War
Petersburg: Union Digs Its Own Grave—1864
Follow the chain of events that led to the Civil War's ill-fated Battle of the Crater, a notable example of what can happen in warfare when a plan goes awry due to poor leadership, last-minute changes, and other unclear objectives. Then, look at the phenomenon of military blunders and what…
Full Battle Rattle
Full Battle Rattle is a revelatory look at the soul of the American war machine - an astonishing journey inside a once top-secret military base where U.S. soldiers train to confront a new kind of enemy. In California's Mojave Desert, the U.S. Army has built a billion dollar urban warfare…
The Better Angels of Our Nature - 1865
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The Civil War
This extraordinary final episode of The Civil War begins in the bittersweet aftermath of Lee's surrender and then goes on to narrate the horrendous events of five days later when, on April 14, Lincoln is assassinated. After chronicling Lincoln's poignant funeral, the series recounts the final days of the war,…
Gettysburg and Stories of Valor
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Narrated by Keith Carradine, Gettysburg and Stories of Valor focuses on one of the most exciting periods in United States history, America's Civil War. This 3-hour documentary captures the scenic beauty of the Gettysburg battlefield, examines rare Civil War artifacts and tells the personal stories of the men who fought…
The Wereth Eleven
During World War II, 1.2 million African-Americans served in America's Armed Forces. Fully 125,000 served overseas. 708 were killed. Among these were The Wereth Eleven. Their story was lost to history. Until now. The Wereth Eleven is an ambitious docudrama based on the true story of eleven African-American soldiers who…
In Country - The Vietnam War Re-Enacted
To many of us, the idea of Civil War re-enactment is a familiar concept. But the men of Delta 2/5(R) recreate the battles of a far more charged conflict: The Vietnam War. For one weekend a year, the woods of Oregon transform as a mix of combat enthusiasts, Iraq veterans,…