Netflix Academy: The best streaming videos on the Civil War

Note: This post is part of our series, "Netflix Academy: The best educational videos available for streaming." Be sure to check out our previous Netflix Academy posts on Ancient Asian Culturesearly American civilizationsAncient GreeceAncient RomeNative American culturesChristopher Columbus and the Age of DiscoveryColonial America and the Revolutionary Warthe American founders; the Lewis and Clark expeditionmovie adaptations of classic children’s booksAmerican folk heroesdinosaursaquatic lifeinsectsfrogs and other amphibiansreptilesbirdsmammalshuman evolutionearthquakes and volcanoesouter spaceand the systems of the human body

Today is 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.


Special thanks to research interns Ashley Council and Liz McInerney for helping to compile these lists.

Best videos on the Civil War

1. 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

Provider: Amazon

2. 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

Provider: Netflix

3. 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

Provider: Netflix

4. 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

Provider: PBS

5. 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

Provider: PBS

6. 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

Provider: CBBC via Youtube

Michael J. Petrilli
Michael J. Petrilli is the President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.