The Civil War

  • 1990
  • TV Show
  • TV-PG

Ken Burns' acclaimed history of what Lincoln called America's `fiery trial' blends vintage stills with dramatic voice-overs and on-camera commentary.

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War Is All Hell, 1865 Season 1, Episode 8 Sep 27, 1990 Subscription

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 Confederacy. In March following Lincoln's second inauguration first Petersburg and then Richmond finally fall to Grant's army. Lee's tattered Army of Northern Virginia flees westward towards a tiny crossroads town called Appomattox Court House. There the dramatic and deeply moving surrender of Lee to Grant takes place. The episode ends in Washington where John Wilkes Booth begins to dream of vengeance for the South.

Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1864 Season 1, Episode 6 Sep 26, 1990 Subscription

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 other from the wilderness to Petersburg in Virginia. In 30 days the two armies lose more men than both sides have lost in three years of war. With Grant and Lee finally deadlocked at Petersburg we visit the ghastly hospitals north and south and follow General Sherman's Atlanta campaign through the mountains of north Georgia. As the horrendous casualty lists increase Lincoln's chances for re-election begin to dim and with them the possibility of Union victory.

The Universe of Battle, 1863 Season 1, Episode 5 Sep 25, 1990 Subscription

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 150000 men will fight to the death in the Pennsylvania countryside culminating in Pickett's legendary charge. This extended episode then goes on to chronicle the fall of Vicksburg the New York draft riots the first use of black troops and the western battles at Chickamauga Georgia and Chattanooga Tennessee. The episode closes with the dedication of a new Union cemetery at Gettysburg in November where Abraham Lincoln struggles to put into words what is happening to his people.

Simply Murder, 1863 Season 1, Episode 4 Sep 25, 1990 Subscription

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 where Grant's attempts to take the city by siege are stopped. During the episode we learn of fierce Northern opposition to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation the miseries of regimental life and the increasing desperation of the Confederate homefront. As the episode ends Lee decides to invade the North again to draw Grant's forces away from Vicksburg.

Video ClipsSee all »

The Civil War Trailer
01:13 — Acclaimed PBS documentary series examines the causes and effects of the tragic war, as well as individual battles. Nine volumes.
Civil War 360
Join Ashley Judd, Dennis Haysbert, and Trace Adkins as they delve into the untold stories of the Civil War.
Fort Sumter
02:41 — Confederate gunners fired on Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC on April 12, 1861. Ft. Sumter fell 34 hours later. It was a bloodless opening to the bloodi (more…)

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  • Premiered: September 23, 1990
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Premise: Ken Burns' acclaimed history of what Lincoln called America's `fiery trial' blends vintage stills with dramatic voice-overs and on-camera commentary. (more)

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