Beginning with a searing indictment of slavery, this first episode dramatically evokes the causes of the war, from the Cotton Kingdom of the South to the northern abolitionists who opposed it. Here are the burning questions of Union and states' rights, John Brown at Harpers Ferry, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the firing on Fort Sumter, and the jubilant rush to arms on both sides.
See the birth of modern warfare and Lincoln’s war to preserve the Union transform into a war to emancipate the slaves. Follow the battle of ironclad ships, camp life and the beginning of the end of slavery. Re-live the war’s bloodiest day, on the banks of Antietam Creek, and the brightest: the emancipation of the slaves.
Follow Lee, Jackson and Grant through battles and northern opposition to the Emancipation Proclamation. Watch the Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the war, unfold. See Vicksburg’s fall, New York draft riots, the first African-American troops, western battles at Chickamauga and Chattanooga — and Lincoln’s dedication of a new Union cemetery at Gettysburg.
Visit ghastly hospitals in the North and South and follow Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. While causalities mount, Lincoln’s re-election chances dim. Learn why the stakes were high for the 1864 presidential campaign, where Lincoln faced George McClellan. Also follow Union battle victories at Mobile Bay, Atlanta and the Shenandoah Valley, and the creation of Arlington National Cemetery.
Follow Sherman’s March to the Sea, Richmond’s fall to Grant’s army, and Lee’s surrender to Grant. Follow the events of Lincoln’s assassination and burial, and Booth’s capture, as the war finally comes to a close. Explore the consequences and meaning of a war that transformed the country from a collection of states to the nation it is today.