The Civil War (1990) PBS. A Film by Ken Burns

The Universe of Battle (1863)

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Video Description


Episode 5: THE UNIVERSE OF BATTLE (1863)



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 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.



Prologue

Shelby Foote discusses an emblematic Civil War photograph - of three confederate prisoners at Gettysburg.



5.1 Chapter I - THE CIVIL WAR Series Title

Lee, seeking to "conquer a peace" and take pressure off Vicksburg, leads his army north.



5.2 Chapter 2 - 1863: The Universe of Battle


Lee marches into Pennsylvania. Union troops clash with Jeb Stuart at Brandy Station, Virginia in the biggest cavalry engagement of the war. The Union army Linder George Meade follows Lee into Pennsylvania.



5.3 Chapter 3 - Gettysburg: The First Day

Footsore Confederate forces enter Gettysburg in search of shoes and run headlong into the Union cavalry. All divisions in the area converge on Gettysburg. The Union takes the high ground and much to Lee's chagrin, Jeb Stuart arrives late.



5.4 Chapter 4 - Gettysburg: The Second Day

The two armies amass overnight - by morning, 65,000 Confederate troops face 85,000 Union troops. The rebels try to take the crucial Big and Little Round Tops but the Union holds, thanks in part to the brilliance of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and his 20th Maine. Lee pronounces the day a Confederate victory, and plans to attack the center of the Union line the next day.



5.5 Chapter 5 - Gettysburg: The Third Day


Pickett's charge is Lee's greatest mistake and the turning point of the war. Entire Southern regiments disappear. The rebels suffer 28,000 casualties; almost a third of all the men engaged- 51,000 men-are lost. The South will never invade the North again. Lee offers to resign.



5.6 Chapter 6 - She Ranks Me


North and South, women find ways to participate in the war effort, forming Sanitary Commissions, nursing the wounded, running family farms, etc.



5.7 Chapter 7 - Vicksburg

As Grant's siege drags on, conditions inside the city become unbearable. After 48 days, on July 4, 1863, the Confederates Surrender. "the Father of Waters," Lincoln says, "again goes unvexed to the sea."



5.8 Chapter 8 - Bottom Rail On Top

Lincoln issues the first federal draft call, but for $300, men can hire substitutes and most of the wealthy elite do so. Resistance to the draft causes riots throughout the North. Lincoln authorizes the first black troops. The 54th Massachusetts regiment, under Robert Gould Shaw, attacks Fort Wagner, South Carolina. The battle is a Confederate victory but it proves that blacks can fight as well as whites.



5.9 Chapter 9 - The River of Death

The Battle of Chickamauga, Tennessee is a Confederate victory and the Union army retreats to Chattanooga. U.S. Grant arrives, takes charge and brilliantly wins major victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.



5.10 Chapter 10 - A New Birth of Freedom

At the dedication of a new national military cemetery at the Gettysburg Battlefield, Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg address.Episode 6

Documentary Description


The Civil War is an acclaimed documentary film created by Ken Burns about the American Civil War. It was first broadcast on PBS on five consecutive nights from Sunday, September 23 to Thursday, September 27, 1990. Forty million viewers watched it during its initial broadcast, making it the most watched program ever to air on PBS, to this day remaining one of the most popular shows broadcast by PBS. It is considered to be Ken Burns's magnum opus.



The documentary is 11 hours in length, consists of nine episodes and makes extensive use of more than 16,000 archival photographs, paintings, and newspaper images from the time of the war. These are intermixed with contemporary cinematography.

Episodes



* Episode 1: The Cause (1861)

* Episode 2: A Very Bloody Affair (1862)

* Episode 3: Forever Free (1862)

* Episode 4: Simply Murder (1863)

* Episode 5: The Universe of Battle (1863)

* Episode 6: Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864)

* Episode 7: Most Hallowed Ground (1864)

* Episode 8: War Is All Hell (1865)

* Episode 9: The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865)



WHY I DECIDED TO MAKE THE CIVIL WAR

By Ken Burns



Ken Burns Nearly 20 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1984, I finished reading a book that literally changed my life – a wonderful, historical novel called The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It told the story of the most important battle in our nation's history: Gettysburg.

I remember closing that book and telling my father, "Now I know the subject for my next documentary. It's going to be the Civil War."



"What part of the Civil War?" he asked.



"All of it," I answered.



My father just shook his head, and left the room – like many others I would meet in the early days of the project, convinced that this story was obviously much too big to be captured in one film.



Nearly six years later, when the documentary was finally finished, I realized that we had taken longer to make a film about the Civil War than it took the nation to fight it in the first place.



But the long and painstaking process had permitted me to refine a filmmaking style that we had been evolving for more than 10 years: the careful use of archival photographs, live modern cinematography, music, narration, and a chorus of first-person voices that together did more than merely recount a historical story. It was something that also became a kind of "emotional archaeology," trying to unearth the very heart of the American experience; listening to the ghosts and echoes of an almost inexpressibly wise past.



The Civil War was the greatest event in American history – where paradoxically, in order to become one, we had to tear ourselves in two.



In making this documentary, co-produced with my brother Ric, we wanted to tell the story of the bloodiest war in American history through the voices of the men and women who actually lived through it. And, to the greatest extent possible, we wanted to show the war and the people who experienced it through a medium that was still in its infancy in the 1860s – photography.



A photograph of citizens scanning the casualty lists to learn which of their sons, fathers, and husbands would be coming home – and which would not – speaks volumes about the grief and horror that washed over our country, becoming part of domestic routine without ever quite being domesticated.



And yet, what better way to "see" a soldier's life than through the simple, unvarnished sentences of Private Elisha Hunt Rhodes's diary; what better way to "feel" the combination of anxiety and determination before a battle than through the moving words of Sullivan Ballou's letter home to his wife, Sarah?



These "verbal and visual documents" of the past convey meaning and emotions and stories on their own, if they're allowed to speak for themselves. They can make the past, present. They can breathe life into history. They can illuminate the dramatic sweep and the minute details of important American moments – make them more memorable, more understandable than a recitation of dry facts, dates, and names.



We visited more than 80 museums and libraries, where we filmed some 16,000 photographs, paintings, and newspapers of the period. With the help of an extraordinary group of scholars and consultants, we also examined countless written accounts -- diaries, letters, reminiscences -- to glean a stockpile of quotations to accompany our stockpile of images.



I am fortunate to work with a team of talented colleagues – writers, producers, editors, cinematographers, musicians, and actors – who I believe are the best in the nation at taking this raw material and transforming it into what we hope is an unforgettable experience.

But our greatest debt is to the past itself, to those people who recorded their own moment in history with their own pictures and in their own words.



It is their story we tell. And it is their story we try to honor by remembering it as accurately – and as vividly – as possible.



When The Civil War first appeared on PBS in the fall of 1990, no one – myself included – was at all prepared for the overwhelming national response that followed.



The number of visitors at Civil War battlefields skyrocketed. Sales of all books about the war went up. "Ashokan Farewell," the hauntingly beautiful theme song written and performed by Jay Ungar, began to be played at people's weddings and funerals.



Johnny Carson talked about the series in his monologue on "The Tonight Show." Shelby Foote became a national celebrity – even got proposals of marriage through the mail. Different people gave different reasons for all this.



At the time, the United States was on the verge of a war in the Persian Gulf, and some commentators believed Americans were therefore especially interested in the story of our nation's bloodiest conflict.



Others said that, in an era which the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. has described as "too much pluribus, and not enough unum," the film was a timely reminder of the frightful cost our ancestors had paid to make this nation a truly United States.



Whatever the reasons, for myself, I was merely grateful that a documentary film which my colleagues and I had worked so hard to produce could begin the kind of national conversation I have always believed television ought to be able to ignite.



And it strengthened my commitment to making historical documentaries for public television – to continue an investigation of the past to see what it can tell us about who we were and what we have become.



In many ways, each film I have made asks one deceptively simple question: "Who are we Americans as a people?" Each film offers another opportunity to pursue this question, and while never answering it fully, nevertheless deepens the question with each succeeding project.



Source: http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/film/



 



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