Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will preview an episode of a forthcoming Civil War documentary on Saturday, March 1.
"Civil War: The Untold Story -- Episode 4: Death Knell of the Confederacy" will be screened at 7 p.m. in the theater of the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center, 3370 LaFayette Road in Fort Oglethorpe.
Producer/director Chris Wheeler of Great Divide Pictures will introduce the film and give insights to the production process. Afterward, he and park historian Jim Ogden will conduct a question-and-answer session.
Episode 4, which focuses on the Battle of Chickamauga, is part of a new five-part documentary series narrated by Elizabeth McGovern ("Downton Abbey") and produced for public television by Great Divide Pictures. The series breaks new ground by examining the war through the lens of the Civil War's Western Theater. Filmed with sweeping cinematic style on the grounds where the epic battles were fought, it re-creates authentic scenes and features interviews with prominent historians to provide new insights on the war and the relatively unknown roles that African-Americans played in the conflict.
The series is sponsored by Nashville Public Television and will be distributed nationally to more than 100 public television stations, including WTCI in Chattanooga, this spring.
Admission to the screening is free, but seating is limited to 150.
For more information, call 706-866-9241, 423-821-7786 or visit www.nps.gov/chch.
Episode 4 begins on Sept. 19, 1863, amid the Battle of Chickamauga. Miscommunication, confusion and fatigue with Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans and his generals have left a gap in the Union line more than a quarter-mile wide. Gen. James Longstreet's Confederates pour through the gap and split the Union army in half. Rosecrans and his beaten troops barely escape north to Chattanooga. Chickamauga's combined casualties of over 34,000 are topped only by the carnage at Gettysburg.
In October, Rosecrans is replaced by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who immediately plans an offensive. In November 1863, Grant routes the Confederate stronghold atop Missionary Ridge just outside the city. As the gray-clad soldiers escape south into Georgia, an officer calls the devastating defeat "the death knell of the Confederacy."
Chattanooga is the gateway to the Deep South, and in May 1864, a large Union army marches from Chattanooga bound for Atlanta. The final chapter of the Civil War is about to begin.