The Civil War

PBS (ended 1990)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • The nation faces the tragedy of Lincoln's assassination and the war's implications for human rights and the power of the federal vs. state government. The long road to reconstruction is planned, and in conclusion, the surviving veterans of North and South come together in remembrance fifty years later - an event captured on early motion picture film.moreless
    • 9/27/90
      The war rushes to a conclusion as Sherman cuts the South in half and obliterates its supply lines and Grant chases Robert E. Lee's famous Army of Northern Virginia to the point of eventual surrender at Appomattox.
    • 9/26/90
      At a time when many in the North fear the war can't be won outright, Lincoln must defeat one of his own failed generals in the 1864 presidential election. Finally, the Union's superiority in men and materials begins to destroy the Confederacy's ability to make war and ruins the South's chances of victory or independence.moreless
    • Grant and Lee match wits and forces in a number of engagements - from "Wilderness" to a stalemate at Petersburg, Virginia. Lincoln worries that the prolonged war will destroy his chances of re-election, but General Sherman begins a string of successes marching through Georgia.
    • 9/25/90
      The story of the precarious Union victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Lincoln's later address at the scene of the battle. Also chronicled are battles deep in the South and social unrest in the North.
    • 9/25/90
      Continuing losses to the South and opposition to the ending of slavery within his own party make Lincoln's presidency increasingly unpopular. Lee presses his advantage and prepares to attack in the North again.
    • 9/24/90
      General Lee and Stonewall Jackson outwit superior Union forces and advance into Maryland, Antietam leads to extremely heavy losses on both sides, and despite heavy political opposition, Lincoln decides to issue a proclamation abolishing slavery in all territories of the United States.
    • 9/24/90
      The war initially goes badly for the North - McClellan fails in Virginia, ironclad ships change the nature of conflict on the waters for all time, Europe flirts with allying with the South after adverse pressure on cotton prices from the Confederate States of America, and a bloody stalemate ensues at Shiloh in Tennessee.moreless
    • The Cause (1861)
      Episode 1
      The build-up to war between the North and South, including disputes over slavery, State's rights, and the protests and compromises of the 1800s that finally led to armed conflict in 1861. The war begins and the first battles are chronicled.