Secrets of the Civil War

A&E Premiered Jan 01, 2009 Unknown


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • Most Daring Missions of the Civil War
      This special explores Civil War naval history, specifically the exploits of the war's greatest naval hero, Lieutenant William B. Cushing. The high point of his daring career was the attack on the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle at Plymouth, North Carolina. On a cold, rainy night in late October 1864, Cushing and a group of volunteers used a tiny steam launch and spar torpedo in a surprise attack. Their virtual suicide mission succeeded and the warship was destroyed. Of the 13 men in the launch, Cushing was the only one to successfully escape from the rebel-held river where the attack took place. The others were drowned, shot, or captured. From Naval Academy wash-out to flamboyant warrior, this is the story of the celebrated hero's bold raid that freed the Roanoke of the obstacle that had prevented Union forces from advancing in to eastern North Carolina.moreless
    • April 1865
      April 1865
      Episode 2
      Based on Jay Winik's bestseller April 1865: The Month That Saved America, our feature-length documentary special offers a new look at the Civil War's final days that will forever change the way we see the war's end and the nation's new beginning. These 30 most pivotal days in the life of the United States witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond, Lee's harrowing retreat, Appomattox, and Lincoln's assassination five days later. It's not only the tale of the war's denouement, but the story of the rebirth of our nation.moreless
    • Antietam
      Episode 3
      On September 17, 1862, there were 23,000 casualties on both sides of this Civil War battle, making this the bloodiest day in American history. The Union victory enabled President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, making foreign support of the Confederacy all but impossible.
    • Gettysburg
      Episode 4
      This authoritative series returns to chart some of the most remarkable battles and wars through history. Line of Fire not only explains what sparked these battles but crucially shows how they were fought. Archive material and innovative 3D graphics transport the viewer to the site of the conflict, illustrating the topography and mapping the movements of the opposing forces. Leading experts explain the battle's strategic significance and analyse the tactics of both sides while survivor accounts convey the conditions. Modern footage of the battlefields completes the picture.moreless
    • Civil War: Shiloh
      Before dawn on Sunday, April 6, 1862, shots rang out near Shiloh, on the west bank of the Tennessee River. A Confederate army had launched a surprise attack on their unsuspecting Union enemy. The Confederates had chosen the battlefield and the moment to attack. And they achieved almost total strategic and tactical surprise. Twelve hours later they seemed to be in a commanding position--but on the next day they withdrew in disarray. For nearly 150 years, Confederate failure has been blamed on the fact that they lost valuable time at a place called the Hornet's Nest--where a detachment of Union soldiers held the line. But now forensic history is uncovering a very different story of why things went so badly for the Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh.moreless
    • Secret Missions of the Civil War
      In the Annals of the Civil War, the great battles dominate. Names like Gettysburg, Chancellorsville or Antietam are famous by sheer weight of blood and horror. Where armies of men by the tens of thousands opposed each other, these were the vast, open, visible spectacles of the conflict. But the well-worn archives of that time are also filled with the details of far lesser known actions. They were clever, daring, covert operations designed to frighten the enemy, disrupt his supplies and destroy his morale. Clandestine plans, fueled by ingenuity and bravado, they defied the odds for a chance at success. They were... the "Secret Missions of the Civil War."moreless
    • The Lost Battle of the Civil War
      October 25, 1864--the sky is clear and the air brisk in Kansas. Perfect weather for soldiers as they charge into battle. At the Battle of Mine Creek, 2,800 Union Cavalry soldiers defeat a Confederate cavalry of 7,000--in a mere half-hour. The bravery and cunning exhibited ranks the battle alongside the charges at Gettysburg and Brandy Station. What made this a successful battle for the Union Cavalry and why is it excluded from historical records? The battle unfolds through interviews with members of the Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation and local historians, archival letters, diaries, and the one known historical account of the battle written by Lumir Buresh in 1977. And as we walk the battlefield with a tactician from the US Army, we divulge new information about its size, weapons used, and the brigades that met there from all over the country to fight at Mine Creek.moreless
    • Guns of the Civil War
      It was a war in which brother fought brother. Where battlefields became slaughterhouses. Where the astonishing technology and ingenuity of a country in the midst of an industrial revolution, was put to the task of making the most destructive killing machines the world had ever seen. More Americans were killed in the Civil War than in all other American wars combined. Ominously foreshadowing the horrors of the first World War, the guns of Civil War became the first truly modern weapons.moreless
    • Eighty Acres of Hell
      "To the Victor, Belongs the Silence." Hidden until now, we uncover an important and shocking chapter of the American Civil War. Although our nation is well-versed about the atrocities committed against Union POWs at Andersonville, Georgia, few have heard of the wholesale annihilation of Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois (12,000 inmates were incarcerated, 6,000 never left). Unlike Andersonville, Camp Douglas had the resources necessary to house and care for its prisoners, but calculated cruelty, torture, and neglect by the US military conspired to exterminate Southern soldiers who entered this "80 Acres of Hell." But, Southern prisoners were not the only victims. Under martial law, prominent Chicago citizens were unjustly tried and imprisoned by a ruthless military tribunal. From 1862 to 1866, more than 6,000 Rebel prisoners and 14 civilians died at the hands of a corrupt and murderous system with tentacles to the White House.moreless