Saturday, 26 April 2014

What a fabulous DVD. I'm not totally up on American history, although I've certainly taught a lot about Canadian history. If I ever have questions about war I ask my better half. Hubby is an absolute pro. He's read every book ever written on one war or another, methinks.

Hubby told me that he learned new things from this DVD. I certainly learned a lot. I'm always ready to learn something new, if the teaching tools are good.

Mississippi River (more info Wiki)
I haven't much background in US political geography either, but the maps, and indications of troop movement uses dramatic battle recreations, compelling archival imagery, 3-D maps, and thoughtful interviews with top Civil War scholars. It's a five-part series which show why the West played such a vital part in the outcome of the war. This is a wonderful docudrama, featuring the narration of Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey).

 The battles at Shiloh and Vicksburg are complex in the ebb and flow of troops, wins and losses, and troop movement. It demonstrates the importance of the Mississippi River for transportation of supplies, troops and goods and services along an enormous 3700km (2300 mile) route.

At Shiloh there were 24,000 dead, wounded or missing troops, on both sides. Once the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, it was supposed to release the 3 million slaves in bondage.
Great graphics showing the two generals

There is much in the DVD about the 800,000 slaves who were in the four border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware. They speak of the 200,000 African-American enlisted in the army, with amazing black and white photos. Also, the families who had to hide in caves while 23,000 Confederate and 32,000 Union troops battled it out in Vicksburg. It follows real people, like Joshua Calloway (see the book below), a teacher, husband and father, who didn't own slaves, who went to fight for the Confederate Army and lost his life there. He wrote copious letters home, all this before such letters were thought to be censored. Also, they tell us that 25% of the Union troops were immigrants.
General Grant hangs on our wall!
We fetched it from Seattle.

We buy a lot of DVDs from Some of our faves include many mysteries:  Midsomer Murders, Foyle's War, Vera, Cadfael, Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis.

There will be more information at Civil War: The Untold Story, including a teacher's guide.

The DVD 2-Disc set includes five episodes, plus rare archival footage from the 50-year anniversary of the Siege of Vicksburg (14 min.), and 12-page viewer’s guide (276 min., plus bonus, $49.99,

There are lots of resources I have never even heard of. We do have a wonderful print of a photo of General Grant.

My Cave Life in Vicksburg
My Cave Life in Vicksburg,
was published in 1864. 

Front Cover

The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway


William Kendall said...

This is a series I haven't seen yet, but I'm quite familiar with the Civil War. Academically, it's one of my key focuses.

If you're looking for reading in terms of novels, Jeff Shaara picked up where his father left off. Michael Shaara wrote the Killer Angels, depicting the Battle of Gettysburg, and won the pulitzer. Jeff has written novels in both the eastern and western theatre, as well as for the Revolution, the Mexican War, and both World Wars.

Red said...

The cost of the civil war was staggering in deaths and destruction. It's a wonder that the U.S. stayed together after they beat the hell out of each other.