The Civil War: Episode 4 – Simply Murder (1863) | Ken Burns Documentary

Episode Four includes the Battle of Gettysburg.  I think it is no understatement to say the treatment of Gettysburg in this episode is horrid.  Anyone who listens to this as their introduction to the Battle of Gettysburg will not just have a necessarily incomplete understanding, which can be forgiven because the episode has a time limit and they can only cover so much, but will actually have a very inaccurate view of the battle, which cannot be forgiven.  Not even Ed Bearss can rescue this poor treatment of the battle.  Vicksburg is a comparative footnote, which again is understandable due to time constraints.  Shelby Foote sounds great, but he hardly has anything accurate to say.  Of course, one wonders throughout why James Symington was used in the series at all.  The rest of the episode is fairly good, though.



  1. I’d love to see a detailed blow-by-blow “Ken-Burns-got-Gettysburg-wrong” post sometime.

    1. That would take some time. It’s mostly what was left out, but you can start with the silly “North came in from the south and the South came in from the north” part. One division came in from Carlisle, to the north. One division came in from York, to the east. The rest of the confederates came in from Chambersburg, to the west.

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