Sunday, March 23, 2014

Documentary Review: Ken Burns' Civil War 4: Simply Murder

The title of this section of the Civil War documentary refers to George Burnsides repeated attempts to take the stone wall at the top of Marye's Heights.  The Union forces were attacking at Fredericksburg, having cross the Rappahannock.  The then tried to attack the Confederates in a well defended location, and only served as target practice for the defenders.  I thinks this battle was the most lopsided of the war.
Ar the conclusion of this battle, the film takes looks at both presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.  It also examines the politics which surrounded both men at the time.  The Confederacy was stuck on state's rights, which prevented the federal control needed to win the war.  On the other hand, the faced desertion by those who did not want to fight  for emancipation.
The next scene is Chancellorsville, which again proved to be a disaster for the North.  Joe Hooker was now commander of the army, and after a brilliant opening move in which he flanked General Robert E. Lee, but then lost confidence in himself, and gave away their edge.  Lee divided his troops, sending Stonewall Jackson to attack Hooker's right flank.  The fourteen mile march took most of the day, so the surprise attack came towards the end of the day.  They routed the Yankees, but were unable to follow up.  Jackson was scouting for a night attack, when he was mistakenly shot by his own men.  He would die a couple days later.  His last words, "Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees."  Jackson's loss would be greatly felt.  Again a Southern victory, but at a great cost. 

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