Civil War The Untold Story


Austin Gilmore, an African American soldier, rescues wounded soldiers on Pigeon Hill during the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. From Episode 4 of "Civil War: The Untold Story."

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The surrender of General Prentiss at Shiloh. From Episode 2 of "Civil War: The Untold Story"

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Civil War: The Untold Story is a visually stunning and absorbing new 5-hour documentary series that breaks new ground by examining the war through the lens of the Western Theater - battles in the strategic lands between the Appalachians and Mississippi River.

Rather than revisit the oft-told stories of the battles of Bull Run, Antietam and Gettysburg in the eastern states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, this gripping and comprehensive new series instead tells the stories of Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Atlanta, and other battles in lands then known as "the West." Many historians believe that the Western Theater was where the war was won – and lost. In addition to the epic battles, Civil War: The Untold Story provides new insights into the relatively unknown roles African Americans played in the conflict – from enslaved to emancipated to soldier.


The Battle of Chickamauga saw casualties only exceeded by the carnage at Gettysburg. From Episode 4 of "Civil War: The Untold Story"

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Filmed in a sweeping cinematic style, Civil War: The Untold Story painstakingly recreates the battles of the Western Theater in a thoroughly authentic manner. Many scenes were filmed on the very grounds where these epic battles were fought, which add to the sheer magnitude of history felt throughout the films. The series also uses state-of-the-art 2D and 3D graphics, fascinating archival imagery, and incisive expert commentary by Civil War historians and scholars.

Timed to coincide with the 150-year anniversary of the pivotal "Campaign for Atlanta," the series also chronicles the presidential campaign of 1864 in which Abraham Lincoln was nearly defeated. In many ways, Civil War: The Untold Story can be considered a prequel to Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." Within the story of the Western Theater, the series highlights the causes of war, the home front, the politics of war, and the impact of war on Southern civilians and women. The authenticity of uniforms, voiceovers and scenery, makes it seemingly impossible to distinguish this modern adaptation from the actual war so many years ago.

Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern (Downtown Abbey), Civil War: The Untold Story is produced for public television by Great Divide Pictures, which, in addition to numerous cable television documentaries, has created more than 25 films shown in National Parks Visitor Centers around the country. The series is sponsored by Nashville Public Television and will be distributed to public television stations nationally by American Public Television (APT). Civil War: The Untold Story will premiere on public television stations throughout the country in April 2014. For more information, visit

Civil War: The Untold Story will premier in central Illinois on WILL-TV on Sunday April 20, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday, April 27, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Mary Loughborough, a resident of Vicksburg, clutches her child during the Union bombardment of the Confederate citadel on the Mississippi. From Episode 3 of "Civil War: The Untold Story."

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"The film is not just about who we were then. It's about who we are now," said producer Chris Wheeler. "In a nation arguably as divided today as we were 150 years ago, Civil War: The Untold Story is a compelling, relevant program that we believe will strike a powerful chord with Americans today."

Interspersed are compelling on-camera interviews with some of America's top Civil War historians – including Allen Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College; Peter Carmichael, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College; Amy Murrell Taylor, Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky; and Stacy Allen, the Chief Historian at Shiloh National Military Park.

The following summary and clips are from Episode 5 of Civil War: The Untold Story, which was shown at Lincoln Home National Historic Site as part of a special screening event on Sunday, February 9, 2014.


Emma Stephenson, an emancipated slave, volunteered as a nurse during The Atlanta Campaign. From Episode 5 of "Civil War: The Untold Story"

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Episode Five – With Malice Towards None

In the spring of 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman's force of 100-thousand men marches from Chattanooga toward Atlanta, Georgia, the industrial hub of the Deep South. Twenty miles north of Atlanta, Sherman's army is soundly defeated at Kennesaw Mountain. Sherman's defeat combined with Grant's stalemate in Virginia, enrages a Northern electorate already weary of war. The presidential election is in November, and Abraham Lincoln's chances for a second term are dwindling by the day. The Democrats nominate George McClellan. The party's platform calls for a negotiated peace with the Confederacy in which slaveholders will be allowed to keep their property. If McClellan is elected, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation will almost certainly be struck down. Though victorious at Kennesaw Mountain, the outnumbered Confederate Army falls back to a defensive position at Atlanta. After 6 weeks of bloody conflicts around Atlanta, Sherman wires Washington: "Atlanta is ours and fairly won." For the first time in the war, many in the North now believe victory can be achieved. Eight weeks later, the president defeats McClellan in a landslide. After the election, Sherman begins his March to the Sea. The largely unopposed march across Georgia to Savannah is a psychological blow to the Confederacy, and a stunning conclusion to the Western Theater.


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