Beginning with an examination of slavery, this episode looks at the causes of the war and the burning questions of union and states' rights. Significant events include John Brown's rebellion at Harper's Ferry, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the firing on Fort Sumter and the jubilant rush to arms on both sides. Introducing the series' major figures -- Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant -- the episode concludes with the disastrous Union defeat at Manassas, where both sides realize it is to be a very long 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. The episode follows the battle of ironclad ships, camp life and the beginning of the end of slavery. Ulysses S. Grant's exploits come to a bloody resolution at the Battle of Shiloh. The episode ends with rumors of Europe's readiness to recognize the Confederacy.
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, there are no Union victories to be had thanks to the brilliance of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The episodes comes to a climax in September 1862 with Lee's invasion of Maryland. On the banks of Antietam Creek, the bloodiest day of the war takes place, followed shortly by the brightest - the emancipation of the slaves.
This episode begins with the nightmarish Union disaster at Fredericksburg and follows two clashes that spring: at Chancellorsville in May, where Lee wins his most brilliant victory but loses Stonewall Jackson; and at Vicksburg, where Grant is prevented from taking the city by siege. Also covered is the fierce northern opposition to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the miseries of regimental life and the increasing desperation of the Confederate home front. As the first part of the episode ends, Lee decides to invade the North again to draw Grant's forces away from Vicksburg.
This episode opens with a dramatic account of the turning point of the war: the Battle of Gettysburg - the greatest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. For three days, 150,000 will fight to the death in the gentle 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 of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. 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.
This episode begins with a biographical comparison of Grant and Lee and then chronicles the extraordinary series of battles that pitted the two generals against each other from the wilderness to Petersburg in Virginia. With Grant and Lee finally deadlocked at Petersburg, the episode moves to the ghastly hospitals in both the North and South, and follows Sherman's Atlanta campaign through the mountains of northern Georgia. As the horrendous casualty lists increase, Lincoln's chances for re-election begin to dim and with them, the possibility of Union victory.
Ulysses S. Grant
Joshua L. Chamberlain
© 1990 American Documentaries, Inc.
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