Crowd sneaks peek at new Civil War movie

Published 12:30 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

A scene from Civil War: The Untold Story

A scene from Civil War: The Untold Story

A near capacity crowd filled the Southern Cultural Heritage Center on Thursday night for a sneak preview of a new documentary that prominently features the Vicksburg Campaign.

Episode three of the new documentary “Civil War: The Untold Story” previewed in front of an audience of about 120 people.

The episode, which focuses on 1863, contained segments on the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Vicksburg Campaign, and the first day of the Battle of Chickamauga. The five-part series tells the story of the Civil War with primary focus on the area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, said Chris Wheeler, the film’s director.

“Hopefully this series will shift people’s perception and let them know this is where the war was won and lost,” he said.

The film, which draws on battle accounts and the stories of civilians and common soldiers fits well with the mission of the National Park Service, said Rick Martin, director of operations for Vicksburg National Military Park.

A 22-minute portion of the episode focused on the Vicksburg Campaign and showed battle re-enactments and a look at life inside one of the city’s many caves that were dug for protection from constant bombardment by Union forces.

“By telling these stories and getting them out, we are trying to make connections with our visitors,” Martin said.

“All of these are very compelling stories and they are tightly woven into the fabric of who we are as Americans,” said Ray Hamel, site supervisor for the USS Cairo Museum.

The documentary begins airing at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 20 on PBS, which should help create a renewed interest in Vicksburg and the military park, said Bess Averett, director of Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign.

“It’s very good for the park for the western theater to have its story shown,” Averett said. “It’s nice to have the national attention and have our story told.”