The Best Streaming Videos on the Civil War and Reconstruction

2014 marks the 151st anniversary of Pickett’s Charge, the last Confederate offensive of the Civil War—one that ended in a massive, bloody defeat, now seen as the turning point in that epic conflagration. So it’s as good a time as any to feature educational videos on the Civil War. As has been the case with other historical topics, it’s not easy to find excellent, age-appropriate materials, but we’ve located a few. Of course, because of the nature of the topic, these are surely ones you should watch with your kids. And as always, let us know if we missed some good ones.

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    America: The Story of Us (Season 1, Episodes 4 and 5)

    This six-part documentary-drama miniseries from the History channel portrays more than 400 years of American history. In “Division,” you’ll learn how cotton was king in the mid-1800s but slavery fueled a growing divide. In “Civil War,” you’ll learn about how the Confederacy was no match for the Union’s mastery of technology.

    Length: Two 45-minute episodes

    Rating: TV-14

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    Dear America: A Picture of Freedom

    In the pre-Civil War South, a young slave girl learns how to read and write. She determines to help and teach other slaves.

    Length: 27 minutes

    Rating: TV-Y7

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    Dear America: When Will This Cruel War Be Over?

    Living in the South during the Civil War, a young confederate girl faces a dilemma when a Union soldier is injured at her doorstep.

    Length: 26 minutes

    Rating: TV-Y7

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    Tennessee Civil War: Songs and Stories

    From pride and patriotism to death and defeat, Civil War Songs and Stories describes how music was as much a part of Army life as a musket. The narrative explains how both sides were accompanied by professional regimental brass bands mustered to preserve morale. The music inspired soldiers and consoled them.

    Length: 58 minutes

    Rating: NR

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    Tennessee Civil War: The Women and the War

    As husbands departed, wives and daughters had to shoulder the full burden of daily life. Hardship and hunger forced changes in long held cultural and societal beliefs, breaking boundaries confining most women, while breaking chains for others.

    Length: 29 minutes

    Rating: NR

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    Horrible Histories: American Civil War

    Via this quick clip of a British children’s sketch comedy television series, learn about war technology and General Stonewall Jackson.

    Length: 3 minutes

    Rating: NR