The Civil War (1990)
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Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864) 

By 1864, Union forces had the upper hand, though the end of war was not yet in sight. President Lincoln named U.S. Grant the overall commander of the Union army, 533,000 strong and the ... See full summary »


Ken Burns


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David McCullough ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Shelby Foote ... Self / Pvt. John W. Haley
Ed Bearss Ed Bearss ... 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)
George Plimpton ... George Templeton Strong (voice)


By 1864, Union forces had the upper hand, though the end of war was not yet in sight. President Lincoln named U.S. Grant the overall commander of the Union army, 533,000 strong and the largest army in the world. He was made a three star Lieutenant General, a rank last held by George Washington. He brought a different approach than his predecessors, choosing to aggressively pursue Lee's army, realizing that to do so would likely see them take control of Richmond. Success was not assured and did not come quickly. Their first encounter went to Lee, but Grant used a flanking maneuver to push Lee's army ever closer to Richmond. The Confederate side suffered a major blow with the death of J.E.B. Stuart, perhaps Lee's most trusted General. At Cold Harbor, Grant suffered a terrible defeat, losing thousands of men. He subsequently bypassed Richmond and went further south to Petersburg and dug in, leading to a long siege. Grant ordered Gen. Sherman to push toward and eventually attack Atlanta. ... Written by garykmcd

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User Reviews

Lee and Grant Meet on the Field
6 November 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Civil War: Valley of the Shadow of Death (1990)

**** (out of 4)

Episode six is yet another winner from Ken Burns. This episode focuses in on both Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. We get a more detailed look at their lives leading up to the Civil War. We also get a detailed look at their Battle of the Wilderness. Other subjects include Jeb Stewart, William Sherman and the role of nurses in the war. Once again there's no question that history and movie buffs are going to love this episode as Burns once again gives an incredibly detailed account of the events and really makes one understand the various strategies going on in the battles and why many people felt the war would never end. While other films have given more detailed biographies, the looks at both Grant and Lee give just enough detail for one to understand what they were doing leading up to what they would eventually become legends for. Some of the most interesting moments deal with the nurses and what they were required to do. There's even talk about how every nurse needed to look plain so that she didn't gain any additional attention.

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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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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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