32 episodes

History is, indeed, a story. With his unique voice and engaging delivery, historian and veteran storyteller Fred Kiger will help the compelling stories of the American Civil War come alive in each and every episode. Filled with momentous issues and repercussions that still resonate with us today, this series will feature events and people from that period and will strive to make you feel as if you were there.

Threads From The National Tapestry: Stories From The American Civil War Fred Kiger

    • History

History is, indeed, a story. With his unique voice and engaging delivery, historian and veteran storyteller Fred Kiger will help the compelling stories of the American Civil War come alive in each and every episode. Filled with momentous issues and repercussions that still resonate with us today, this series will feature events and people from that period and will strive to make you feel as if you were there.

    32 - The Election of 1860

    32 - The Election of 1860

    About this episode: 
    The year was 1860. The nation was coming apart and yet, its political parties made plans to come together - to gather in convention despite deep-seated and festering sectional issues, each to nominate a candidate and approve platforms that, as it turned out, united regions but not a nation. That meant dark consequences, ensuring this country would reap a cataclysmic whirlwind. With today’s polarization as an historical backdrop, this is the story of the most divisive presidential election in the history of this nation - the election of 1860.
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    Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 
    Stephen A. Douglas
    William Lowndes Yancey
    William Henry Seward
    Richard J. Oglesby
    John C. Breckinridge
    John Bell
     
    Additional References In This Episode:

    Map of Final Election Results, 1860
     
    Get The Guide:
    Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.
     
    Producer: Dan Irving

    • 51 min
    31 - Mr. Lincoln's Pilgrimage to the Banks of Antietam Creek

    31 - Mr. Lincoln's Pilgrimage to the Banks of Antietam Creek

    About this episode: 
    A few nights after September the 22nd, 1862, a band came to serenade the 16th president. Moved by the music and supportive crowd, Abraham Lincoln stepped onto the executive mansion’s balcony and, referring to his recent Emancipation Proclamation, remarked: “I can only trust in God I have made no mistake. It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment on it, and maybe, take action upon it.”
    But for the President, first things first: To put teeth into his executive proclamation, he would have to win the war - and that prompted him to leave Washington City and travel to the site of this country’s bloodiest single day. His ostensible purpose? To review the Army of the Potomac. His added incentive: to prod the army’s cautious commander, Major General George B. McClellan, into action. This is the story of the President’s visit to Sharpsburg, Maryland - his pilgrimage to the banks of Antietam Creek.
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    Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 
    George B. McClellan
    John A. McClernand
    Ozias M. Hatch
    Ward Hill Lamon
    Joseph C. G. Kennedy
    John W. Garrett
     
    Additional References In This Episode:

    President Lincoln on battle-field of Antietam, October, 1862 / Alex. Gardner, photographer.
    From left to right: Colonel Delos B. Sacket, Captain George Monteith, Lieutenant Colonel Nelson B. Sweitzer, General George W. Morell, Colonel Alexander S. Webb [Chief of Staff, 5th Corps], General George B. McClellan, Scout Adams, Dr. Jonathan Letterman [Army Medical Director], unidentified soldier, President Abraham Lincoln, Colonel Henry J. Hunt, General Fitz-John Porter, Joseph C. G. Kennedy, Colonel Frederick T. Locke, General Andrew A. Humphreys, and Captain George Armstrong Custer.
     
    Get The Guide:
    Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.
     
    Producer: Dan Irving

    • 39 min
    30 - "No Quarter!" - The Border War Between Kansas and Missouri

    30 - "No Quarter!" - The Border War Between Kansas and Missouri

    About this episode: 
    In a conflict that staged over ten thousand fights, Virginia led as a theater of war. The Volunteer State of Tennessee, second. What surprises many is that the third most active theater in the American Civil War was the border state of Missouri, a slave-holding state that remained within the Union. There, the curtain for violence rose long before Confederate forces open-fired on Fort Sumter. Indeed, on any night from 1855 until the summer of 1865, an attack on any town or settlement in Missouri or across the border in Kansas could strike like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky. In both states, lingering ill will and vicious fighting erased the line between civilian and soldier, armed violence with Old Testament vengeance and fury. In short, the worst guerilla war in American history. And now, the uncivil border war between Kansas and Missouri.
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    Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 
    Charles "Doc" Jennison
    James Henry Lane
    James Montgomery
    William Clarke Quantrill
    Frank James
    Thomas Ewing, Jr.
    William "Bloody Bill" Anderson
     
    Get The Guide:
    Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.
     
    Producer: Dan Irving

    • 51 min
    29 - The New York City Draft Riots

    29 - The New York City Draft Riots

    About this episode: 
    Far too many see the Union war effort in the American Civil War as a monolith - patriotic men across the north from Maine to Minnesota, flocking en masse together under national colors - to fight to preserve the Union, and to rid the nation of the hateful institution of slavery. As will be evidenced in this episode, nothing could be farther from the truth. Within the federal union in the summer of 1863, there was war-weariness. Men of influence like New York politician Samuel J. Tilden, and artist/inventor Samuel F.B. Morse dared to call for peace at any price. And it wasn’t only men of power - there were some men and women representing several societal classes who professed pro-southern sentiments. Indeed, New York City had its share of these so-called copperheads. In February of 1863, a development added to their disaffection: the passage of the Enrollment and Conscription Act. A draft. So by the 4th of July that year, with word that R.E. Lee was at the head of a Confederate army in Pennsylvania, and U.S. Grant’s siege dragging on and on down at Vicksburg, Mississippi, not everyone felt like celebrating independence. Too many saw no end to the conflict, and now, men were going to be forced to fight in it. Taken altogether, a cauldron of simmering, seething fuel - all that was needed was a spark, and it came on a Monday, the 13th of July. What followed, still the largest civil and most racially charged urban disturbance in American history. And now, its story.
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    Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 
    Samuel J. Tilden
    Samuel F.B. Morse
    Horatio Seymour
    George Opdyke
    Thomas C. Acton
    Horace Greeley
     
    Source For This Episode:

    James McCague, The Second Rebellion: The Story of the New York City Draft Riots of 1863, 1968
     
    For Additional Reading:

    Iver Bernstein, The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War, 1990
     
    Get The Guide:
    Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.
     
    Producer: Dan Irving

    • 53 min
    28 - "Useless! Useless!" - The Flight of John Wilkes Booth

    28 - "Useless! Useless!" - The Flight of John Wilkes Booth

    About this episode: 
    For John Wilkes Booth, time was ticking down to the moment he knew he would act. At a tavern next to Ford’s Theatre, he asked for a bottle of whiskey and water. While steeling his nerve for what he would soon do, there came a voice from the back of the dark and smoky bar: “You’ll never be the actor your father was!”
    Booth smiled, nodded, and said quietly, “When I leave the stage, I will be the most famous man in America.”
    In less than an hour, he would be the most wanted man in America. For this episode, we look back over time’s shoulder - from about 10:15 in the evening of April the 14th, 1865 to the sun’s rise on the morning of the 26th. This is the story of selected dramatic events within those fateful thirteen days. And now: the flight, capture, and killing of this democracy’s first presidential assassin.
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    Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 
    John Wilkes Booth
    Davey Herold
    Samuel Mudd
    Edward P. Doherty 
    Boston Corbett
     
    Other References From This Episode

    Map of John Wilkes Booth route, April 14th - April 26th, 1865
     

    Wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators
     
    Get The Guide:
    Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.
     
    Producer: Dan Irving

    • 43 min
    27 - April 14th, 1865

    27 - April 14th, 1865

    About this episode: 
    Eight decades ago, popular historian Bruce Catton, and journalist/author Jim Bishop wrote works that profoundly affected my life and future profession: teaching. Catton's This Hallowed Ground and Bishop's The Day Lincoln Was Shot were both written in such dramatic prose that the events, people - indeed, the very era itself - came alive for me. Even today, both authors and their works reinforce my passionate belief that history is alive, relevant, and should be conveyed as a story. For this episode, it is with great reverence and pleasure that I take my lead from Bishop's book, which was published in 1955, sold over 3 million copies, and was translated into 16 languages. He began his research for the day Lincoln was shot in 1930. Then, after two decades had passed, in 1953, in an effort to expand his research, Bishop began reading seven million words of government documents. The result: an absolutely riveting hour-by-hour account of Abraham Lincoln's last 24 hours. In respectful tribute to the two authors that most influenced my professional coming-of-age, and stoked my drive to recount history as a story, I dedicate this effort. With Bishop's work as my central point of reference, here: hour-by-hour, from seven in the morning of April the 14th to 7:22 and 10 seconds the next morning, is the story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
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    Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode: 
    John Wilkes Booth
    William H. Seward
    George Atzerodt
    David Herold
    Lewis Paine/Payne
    Mary Surratt
     
    Get The Guide:
    Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.
     
    Producer: Dan Irving

    • 53 min

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