The bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil is thoroughly examined in Lincoln & Lee at Antietam: The Cost of Freedom
, a worthy addition to anyone's Civil War video collection. Directed and written by Robert Child and narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell (the director of the definitive Civil War epics Gettysburg
and Gods and Generals
), this straightforward, no-nonsense documentary emphasizes the tactics, strategies, and historical context of the battle at Antietam, in Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862. Further emphasis is placed on the wartime conditions (political agendas, ready status of armies, etc.) that led to President Abraham Lincoln's orders to defeat Gen. Robert E. Lee's exhausted army at Antietam. Lee and other Confederate strategists had hoped to stage a surprise invasion, but Lee's battle plans fell into the hands of the Union army, and Lincoln's victory--which was essential to his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery--turned Antietam into the pivotal battle of the war. Although Child (who also directed Gettysburg: Three Days of Destiny
) uses dramatic readings, maps, and photographs (especially the legendary battleground photos of Matthew Brady) in a manner similar to Ken Burns' epic-length documentary The Civil War
, the look and presentation of Lincoln & Lee at Antietam
is entirely different, with many sequences involving contemporary Antietam reenactments. Many of the Civil War's most colorful and important figures factor into this detailed 90-minute account, which clearly benefits from impeccable in-depth research. A 25-minute interview with Maxwell reveals the filmmaker's massive 15-year commitment to bringing his epics to the screen, and his feature-length commentary with Child lends another layer of detailed information to this authoritative DVD. --Jeff Shannon
It's September 17, 1862 and President Abraham Lincoln needs a victory in order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and end slavery in the South. But Robert E. Lee has other plans - invade the North. When Lee's strategy falls into the hands of the Union Army, the result is the single bloodiest day in American history at the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Battle of Antietam results in more casualties than the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Spanish American War combined. In fact, the bloodiest day of World War II, D-Day, amounts to only one quarter of the casualties suffered at Antietam. Narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell, director of the epic Civil War films "Gettysburg" and "Gods & Generals," and written, produced and directed by Robert Child, "Lincoln and Lee at Antietam - The Cost of Freedom" vividly brings to life the story of America's fight for freedom in a battle that changed the course of the Civil War. Through first person accounts, an original music score from Composers Steve Heitzeg and Nicholas Palmer and scarce Antietam commemorative battle footage from the 125th, 135th and 140th Antietam Reenactments, this film tells the tale of the 14-hour epic Battle of Antietam. Historical insight provided by: - James M. McPherson, Princeton University, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom" and "Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam" - Allen C. Guelzo, Gettysburg College, America's only repeat winner of the Lincoln Prize; Nominated by President George W. Bush to the National Council of the Humanities - Dennis E. Frye, National Park Service (NPS) Historian at Harpers Ferry, author of "Antietam Revealed" and the Associate Producer of "Gods and Generals" - Patrick Falci, actor/performing historian portrays General Ambrose Hill at Antietam - Paul V. Chiles, National Parks Service (NPS) Historian at Antietam National Battlefield Park - Features Stanley Wernz, President of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, as Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Black as General Robert E. Lee Special Features: - 25-minute On-Screen Interview with Ronald F. Maxwell - Feature-Length Commentary Track with Writer/Director Robert Child and Narrator Ronald F. Maxwell - Original Music Score from Composers Steve Heitzeg and Nicholas Palmer - Trailers for: "EXPO-Magic of the White City," "Gettysburg and Stories of Valor - CIVIL WAR MINUTES® III," "Johnstown Flood," "Horses of Gettysburg - CIVIL WAR MINUTES® IV," "Winters of War," "Civil War Life - Shot to Pieces," "CIVIL WAR MINUTES® - Confederate"