Generals of the Civil War

Sunday afternoon is “theme day” on WOSU TV and we, of course,  air programs that fit the selected theme of the day.   Most of the time I take a look at the calendar to help determine what the theme of the day should be.  For example, it might be Grammy awards time so an afternoon of music programming would be appropriate.  Sometimes I like to offer an alternative to viewers, for example on Super Bowl Sunday we’ll be airing the entire season one of the” Masterpiece Classic Cranford” series.   It’s not always easy coming up with a theme for the day and I do welcome suggestions hint, hint.

This Sunday afternoon our program theme will honor the ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.  We’ll start at 3:00pm with “Robert E. Lee: American Experience“.  Nearly a century and a half after his death, Robert E. Lee, the leading Confederate general, remains a source of fascination and, for some,veneration.  Having lived in Atlanta for over 20 years, his name certainly evokes a response from the current southern population.  This film examines the life and reputation of the general, whose military successes made him the scourge of the Union and the hero of the Confederacy, and who was elevated to almost god-like status by his admirers after his death.

We’ll then move to the winning side at 4:30pm with another excellent biography from “American Experience, U.S. Grant: Warrior“.  Some would call him the greatest hero of the Civil War.  Ulysses S. Grant was a brilliant military strategist who rose from obscurity to a rank held previously only by George Washington.   There are lots of stories about Grant, many in the South labeled him “a butcher” because of the type or warfare he conducted. We also heard he tended to indulge in something a bit stronger than apple cider.  Whatever the truth, one thing is for certain, he won the war for Lincoln and preserved the Union.

Finally beginning at 6:00pm we’ll focus on the place where it all began, with “America’s Iliad: The Siege of Charleston“.   This powerful documentary focuses on one of the most pivotal  military campaigns of the war – the battle for Charleston, South Carolina. We’ll hear the stories of the battle’s military leaders, civilian diarists, African Americans, slaves and free blacks on both sides, including the infantrymen of the now legendary 54th and 55th Massachusetts.   We’ll also see how the battle caused destruction and social upheaval  for the citizens of Charleston.

Robert E. Lee: American Experience” airs Sunday, January 29 at 3:00pm on WOSU TV.

U.S. Grant: Warrior, American Experience” airs Sunday, January 29 at 4:30pm on WOSU TV.

America’s Iliad: The Siege of Charleston” airs Sunday, January 29 at 6:00pm on WOSU TV.