Ken Burns: The Civil War

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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,…

Related videos

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…
Our American Storytellers
Part of the Series: Finding Your Roots
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…
The Ultimate Civil War Series: Sins of the Fathers
Part of the Series: The Ultimate Civil War Series
The Road to Civil War, battles over Slavery turn violent in Kansas and Harper's Ferry. The election of Lincoln, Secession, Fort Sumter and the First Battle of Manassas.
The Weapons of the Civil War
Part of the Series: Guns - The Evolution of Firearms
From the North to the South the firearms that won the Civil War.
Emancipation Road: 1625-1863 - The Shadows of Slavery
Part of the Series: Emancipation Road
This first episode takes a look into the history of slavery in the United States, from the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade to the Civil War.
Up From Slavery
Up From Slavery is a powerful, compelling and haunting 7-part documentary series that examines the history of slavery in America, from the arrival of the first African slaves through Nat Turner's Rebellion to the Civil War and beyond. In 1860, as the American Experiment threatened to explode into a bloody…
The Reconstruction Revolution
The era of Reconstruction following the Civil War was a turbulent and divisive period in American life. Learn about governmental policies and legislation that were enacted to safeguard the welfare of former slaves and average citizens, and how these policies were then progressively dismantled, ultimately returning the South to white-dominated…
The Civil War - Emancipation Proclamation
Part of the Series: Up From Slavery
This portion of the series talks about the causes of and start of the Civil War; the evolution of the drive to win on each side of the conflict and of President Lincoln's bold step towards freedom for all slaves in the United States.
Civil War: Promise of Reconstruction
What the future would hold for slaves after the Civil War was presaged by the Port Royal "experiment" re-created in this program. Gideonite missionaries set out to educate 7,000 slaves abandoned by plantation owners in South Carolina, and to teach them small business management. Tragically, the noble experiment was lost…
Forever Free - 1862
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The Civil War
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 future of the Union, Lincoln must wait for a victory to issue his proclamation. But as the year wears on…
Medal of Honor: The Civil War
Part of the Series: Medal of Honor
Stories of Medal of Honor recipients of the Civil War
A Very Bloody Affair - 1862
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The Civil War
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 infighting that threatened to swamp Lincoln's administration and then follows Union General George McClellan's ill-fated campaign on the Virginia Peninsula,…