Thursday, June 11, 2009
Error in Ken Burns: The Civil War
I found an error in one of the first hand accounts contained in Ken Burns: The Civil War. The issue concerns Confederate Colonel William C. Oates comments regarding the Round Tops. The series introduces Oates as the commander of the 15th Alabama which is not a lie but when he refers to "Within half an hour I could convert" the big hill into a Gibraltar." In his account after the battle, Oates was referring to the first hill that his regiment climbed and that was what later became Big Round Top not Little Round Top. However, in Burns' series, the words "Within half an hour I could convert 'Little Round Top' into a Gibraltar. Another incorrect statement by Ken Burns The Civil War was that Lee wanted the Round Tops taken. There is no evidence that Lee ever made that statement or wanted them unless you refer to his statements in the days, months and years following Gettysburg.
Lafantasie, Glenn W. Twilight at Little Round Top July 2, 1863--The Tide Turns at Gettysburg (Vintage Civil War Library). New York: Vintage, 2007.
Burns, Ken. The Civil War.