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American Experience: Death And The Civil War

From acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns, "Death And The Civil War" explores an essential but largely overlooked aspect of the most pivotal event in American history: the transformation of the nation by the death of an estimated 750,000 people – nearly two and a half percent of the population – in four dark and searing years from 1861 to 1865. The program premieres in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.

A soldier looking upon a Union soldier's grave with the body of a Confederate soldier seemingly tossed aside in Antietam, Maryland, September 1862.

A soldier looking upon a Union soldier's grave with the body of a Confederate soldier seemingly tossed aside in Antietam, Maryland, September 1862.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Dr. Richard Burr at work embalming a soldier's body in 1860.

Dr. Richard Burr at work embalming a soldier's body in 1860.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Dead Federal soldiers on battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 7, 1863.

Dead Federal soldiers on battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 7, 1863.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Unfinished Confederate graves near the center of the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1863.

Unfinished Confederate graves near the center of the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1863.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Dead Confederate soldiers at the scene of Ewell's attack near the Spottsylvania Court House in Virginia, May 19, 1864.

Dead Confederate soldiers at the scene of Ewell's attack near the Spottsylvania Court House in Virginia, May 19, 1864.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Dead Confederate soldier from the siege of Petersburg in the trenches at Fort Mahone in Petersburg, Virginia, April 3, 1865.

Dead Confederate soldier from the siege of Petersburg in the trenches at Fort Mahone in Petersburg, Virginia, April 3, 1865.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Burial of Federal dead at Fredericksburg, Virginia, April 15, 1865.

Burial of Federal dead at Fredericksburg, Virginia, April 15, 1865.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia one year earlier, April 1865.

African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia one year earlier, April 1865.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Three women looking at graves in the Confederate Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina, 1903.

Three women looking at graves in the Confederate Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina, 1903.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Unidentified girl in mourning dress holding framed photograph of her father as a cavalryman with sword and Hardee hat, 1861.

Unidentified girl in mourning dress holding framed photograph of her father as a cavalryman with sword and Hardee hat, 1861.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Unidentified woman wearing mourning brooch and displaying framed image of unidentified soldier, 1861.

Unidentified woman wearing mourning brooch and displaying framed image of unidentified soldier, 1861.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

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