The Civil War (1990)
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War Is All Hell (1865) 

By the beginning of 1865, the Confederacy was coming to an end. Atlanta had been overrun and Sherman was marching to the sea. Lincoln approved Sherman's plan against the advice of those ... See full summary »


Ken Burns


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David McCullough ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Shelby Foote ... Himself - Writer / Various
Ed Bearss Ed Bearss ... Himself - Historian
James Symington James Symington ... Himself - 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 / Washington Roebling (voice)
Garrison Keillor ... Walt Whitman / Various (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 beginning of 1865, the Confederacy was coming to an end. Atlanta had been overrun and Sherman was marching to the sea. Lincoln approved Sherman's plan against the advice of those around him. Sherman set fire to Atlanta, burning anything that could be of use to the opposition. With 62,000 men, he set off toward Savannah. While Sherman went south, the bulk of the Confederate army outside Virginia was destroyed at the battle of Franklin, Tenn. and by early January, Sherman turned northward into the Carolinas. In Virginia meanwhile, Lee's army was under-equipped and underfed. He called on the legislature to arm slaves promising them freedom after the war ended. They complied. On March 4, 1865, Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term. Grant's army was firmly entrenched outside Petersburg for some 9 months. Lee's army was dwindling with an ever increasing number of deserters and when the battle eventually came, it was only a matter of time until the Union won. Richmond was ... Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

27 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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Did You Know?


References Patton (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

The South Begins to Lose Grip
14 November 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Civil War: War is All Hell (1990)

**** (out of 4)

The eighth and next to last episode takes a look at the events leading to the end of the war. Subjects include Sherman's March, John Bell Hood, the battle at Ft. Sumter, the high prices of food in the South, the South letting blacks fight for them, John Wilkes Booth, the fall of Richmond and the eventual surrender by Lee and the South. This episode in Ken Burns' terrific series is certainly one of the very best as the amount of drama built up by the director is hard to match from any documentary that you might see. It's obvious how badly defeated the South were at this time in history yet we still got stories of their bravery in trying to fight forward. It's pretty easy to see why the South is still so angry over their treatment and especially when you learn about Sherman's march where he destroyed so much and without much reason. Other great topics include the meeting between Grant and Lee once the South was to surrender as well as the emotions of their chat. Another great moment looked at Lincoln's re-election and the plans he had for the future. Film and history buffs are certainly going to enjoy this documentary as it's just so well made and captivating that it's hard to imagine anyone not being happy with it.

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