The Civil War (1990)
3 user 1 critic

The Universe of Battle (1863) 

In trying to draw Union troops away from the siege of Vicksburg, Robert E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania and over three days 150,000 men would do battle at Gettysburg. Confederate soldiers had ... See full summary »


Ken Burns


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David McCullough ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Shelby Foote ... Self - Writer
Barbara Fields Barbara Fields ... Self - Historian
Daisy Turner Daisy Turner ... Self - Daugher of Alexander Turner
Ed Bearss Ed Bearss ... Self - Historian
Stephen B. Oates Stephen B. Oates ... Self - Historian
James Symington James Symington ... Self - Former Congressman
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 / Various (voice)
George Black George Black ... Robert E. Lee (voice)
Garrison Keillor ... Walt Whitman / Various (voice)
Arthur Miller ... William Tecumseh Sherman (voice)


In trying to draw Union troops away from the siege of Vicksburg, Robert E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania and over three days 150,000 men would do battle at Gettysburg. Confederate soldiers had gone into Gettysburg as they had heard there was a large supply of shoes available. The town soon became the focus of the battle that would shape the rest of the conflict. On the first day at Gettysburg, the Union forces were pushed back and by mid-afternoon, Confederate soldiers occupied the town. The second day focused on positioning leading to the battle of Little Round Top. an ideal position from which to gain the high ground and battlefield. The Union quickly gained control of the site and repelled several Confederate attempts to oust them. On day three, Lee ordered Gen. George Pickett to lead the charge against the Union forces on Cemetery Hill. Gen. Meade anticipated the attack and the rout of Confederate forces was complete with 6,500 casualties including most of the commanders. The next day,... Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


Joshua L. Chamberlain: We must attack or retreat. It must not be the latter. But how can it be the former?
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Battle Hymn Quickstep
Performed by The Heritage Americana Brass Band
Conducted by Robert Garofalo
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User Reviews

Famous Battles And The Role Of Women
12 August 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

The famous year of 1863 is portrayed here, beginning with the infamous battle of Gettysburg in the first week of July. The carnage of Pickett's suicidal charge, ordered by the usually- reliable Gen. Robert E. Lee, is described vividly. It's not a pretty picture with heads literally flying in the air and other brutalities.

The women's role in the Civl War is detailed in this segment. They help the men by supplying food and medical help, as well as moral support. Women, especially in the South, were anything but casual bystanders. Once again, the South has almost no resources and the average citizen's' house is turned into a hospital.

Also interesting here was the account of the shelling of Vicksburg, where people were literally living in made-do caves to escape the intense bombing.

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Release Date:

25 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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