Ken Burns: The Civil War

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9 videos in this collection

The Cause - 1861
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
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 - 1862
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 - 1863
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 - 1863
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 - 1864
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 - 1864
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 - 1865
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 - 1865
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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The Ultimate Civil War Series: Sins of the Fathers
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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…
The Vietnam War - A Series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
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An immersive documentary film series directed by acclaimed filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the epic story of one of the most divisive, consequential and misunderstood events in American history, as it has never before been told on film. Winner of Best Limited Documentary Series at the Critics' Choice…
Our American Storytellers
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Three iconic American storytellers have spent their lives chronicling the lives of others, while knowing almost nothing about their own family history. Ken Burns confronts the reality of his southern ancestors' role in the Civil War, including Confederate soldiers held captive and a slave-owning Virginian. Anderson Cooper, scion of one…
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.
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From the North to the South the firearms that won the Civil War.
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Pride of Our Nation
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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,…
The Weight of Memory (March 1973-Onward)
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While the Watergate scandal rivets Americans' attention, the Vietnamese continue in a civil war. When North Vietnamese troops pour into the South, Saigon collapses. For the next 40 years, all sides search for healing and reconciliation.
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…