The Civil War (1990)
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Most Hallowed Ground (1864) 

By the summer of 1864, the Union push had been stopped. At Petersburg, Union troops had been entrenched in an intricate network trenches for two months. The key to victory lay in Sherman ... See full summary »


Ken Burns


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David McCullough ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Shelby Foote ... Self - Writer / Various
Ed Bearss Ed Bearss ... Self - Historian
Stephen B. Oates Stephen B. Oates ... Self - Historian
Sam Waterston ... President Abraham Lincoln (voice)
Julie Harris ... Mary Chestnut (voice)
Jason Robards ... Ulysses S. Grant (voice)
Morgan Freeman ... Frederick Douglass (voice)
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ... Joshua L. Chamberlain / Washington Roebling (voice)
Garrison Keillor ... Walt Whitman (voice)
George Black George Black ... Robert E. Lee (voice)
Arthur Miller ... William Tecumseh Sherman (voice)
Christopher Murney ... Pvt. Elijah Hunt Rhodes (voice) (as Chris Murney)
Charles McDowell Charles McDowell ... Pvt. Sam Watkins (voice) (as Charley McDowell)
Horton Foote ... Jefferson Davis (voice)


By the summer of 1864, the Union push had been stopped. At Petersburg, Union troops had been entrenched in an intricate network trenches for two months. The key to victory lay in Sherman capturing Atlanta and on July 22, the battle began and by September, Confederate Gen. Hood abandoned the city. In Virginia, Gen. Sheridan was laying waste to the Shenandoah Valley. For Lincoln, he faced an election in the midst of a civil war, something unknown at the time. Lincoln seemed unelectable and the Democrats were running the ousted Gen McClellan as their candidate. The Democrats had as their platform the immediate cessation of all hostilities. The election became a referendum on the war itself. By November, Lincoln and his running mate won a resounding victory with 55% of the popular vote. In the South, discouragement set in with the realization that they could not win the war. Written by garykmcd

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User Reviews

Most Hallowed Ground
14 November 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Civil War: On Hallowed Ground (1990)

**** (out of 4)

The seventh episode in Ken Burns' terrific documentary continues with stories about the following topics: Nathan Bedford Forrest, the role of former slaves, The Battle of the Crater, lice races, the 450 plus brothels in Washington, D.C., equal pay for black soldiers, the Fort Pillow Massacre, prison camps, Thanksgiving becoming an official holiday, Lincoln's re-election and the start of the Arlington National Cemetery. Once again Burns has done a terrific job at really making the viewer understand everything that was going on in the country during this period. As usual, Burns' uses his great storytelling techniques like the narration and countless photographs from the actual events. Some of the most haunting stuff comes from stories about the prison camps and especially the ones in the South where they didn't have enough food to feed their own men let alone all the Union soldiers being held captive. There are several disturbing photos shown of the men pretty much skin and bones just like we'd see decades later during the Holocaust. Film buffs as well as history buffs should really enjoy this documentary as it's certainly one of the best of its kind.

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Release Date:

26 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Florentine Films, WETA See more »
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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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