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About Ken Burns’ The Civil War

“A Very Bloody Affair — 1862” — 1862 sees the birth of modern warfare and the transformation of Abraham Lincoln’s war to preserve the Union into a war to emancipate the slaves. Political infighting threatens to swamp Lincoln’s administration, and Union General George McClellan wages an 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, and rumors swarm about Europe’s readiness to recognize the Confederacy. Episode two of nine. “Forever Free — 1862” — Convinced by July 1862 that emancipation is now morally and militarily crucial to the future of the Union, Abraham Lincoln must wait for a victory to issue his proclamation. But there are no Union victories to be had, thanks to the brilliance of Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. With Lee’s September 1862 invasion of Maryland, the bloodiest day of the war takes place on the banks of Antietam Creek, followed shortly by the brightest — the emancipation of the slaves. Episode three of nine.

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