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Episode Nine: The Better Angels of Our Nature

Abraham LincolnThis extraordinary final episode of THE CIVIL WAR begins in the bittersweet aftermath of Lee’s surrender and then goes on to narrate the horrendous events of five days later when, on April 14, Lincoln is assassinated. After chronicling Lincoln’s poignant funeral, the series recounts the final days of the war, the capture of John Wilkes Booth and the fates of the Civil War’s major protagonists.
The episode then considers the consequences and meaning of a war that transformed the country from a collection of states to the nation we are today.


Detailed Episode Description with time code:

Prologue :00 - :02:29
Barbara Fields and Shelby Foote discuss the meaning of the war.

9.1 Chapter 1 - THE CIVIL WAR Series Title :02:30 - :06:24
The war is over and the soldiers are going home.

9.2 Chapter 2 - The Better Angels Of Our Nature :06:25 - :11:18
Word of Lee's surrender spreads across the country. In the North there is joy and exaltation. In the South, despair.

9.3 Chapter 3 - Assassination :11:19 - :25:47
On April 14, 1865, a ceremony at Fort Sumter marks the end of the war. On that same day, John Wilkes Booth learns that Lincoln will be attending a play at Ford's Theater that evening. That night, he assassinates the President at the theater. Lincoln is moved across the street to a boarding house, where he dies the next morning. All across the country people are horrified. Lincoln's funeral train makes its way from Washington back to Springfield, Illinois.

9.4 Chapter 4 - Useless, Useless :25:48 -:33:55
Union cavalry capture and kill John Wilkes Booth in a Virginia barn. In Georgia on May 10th, Union soldiers arrest Jefferson Davis. On May 23, victorious Union troops parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Grand Army Review. Booth's conspirators are tried and executed.

9.5 Chapter 5 - Picklocks Of Biographers :33:56 - :55:16
The war took a heavy toll on the country - three and a half million men fought in it and 620,000 men died. Now, the survivors are going home. We learn of the fates of major characters - Elisha Hunt Rhodes (Union soldier); Sam Watkins (Confederate soldier); William Tecumseh Sherman; Joe Johnston; Mary Chesnut; Jefferson Davis; Alexander Stephens; Mary Todd Lincoln; Clara Barton; Henry Wirz (commandant of Andersonville Prison); Phil Sheridan, George McClellan; Pierre G. T. Beauregard; Nathan Bedford Forrest; Dan Sickles; John Bell Hood; James Longstreet; George Pickett; Frederick Douglass; Julia Ward Howe; Robert E. Lee; U. S. Grant. At the 50th reunion of the battle of Gettysburg, in 1913, the veterans stage a reenactment of Pickett's Charge.

9.6 Chapter 6 - Was It Not Real? :55:17 - :1:04:10
Barbara J. Fields, James Symington and Stephen Oates sum up the meaning and legacy of the Civil War. Shelby Foote makes a closing statement on the war.


Click here for the Educator's Index PDF (208k)
[The Educator's Index is an alphabetical and timecode specific listing of topics covered in each episode.]

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