On April 12, 1861, American soldiers intentionally fired on other American soldiers for the first time, sparking a Civil War that would claim upwards of 700,000 lives. The fate of the young, fragile country rested on a knife’s edge.
Father vs. Son. Son vs. Father. Brother vs. Brother.
Many stories are told of famous Civil War generals and the great battles they fought, but no film has tried to capture the experience of the ordinary soldiers on the front lines like Cries from the Ground.
Cries from the Ground follows two soldiers in the Civil War. Both are courageous and brave. Both leave behind families and loved ones. Both fight for the right reasons.
But one wears blue, the other gray.
What was it like to give up everything – family, friends, homes – to fight for a country you love?
What was it like to line up for battle in the early hours of the morning and know your odds of survival grow slimmer every day?
What was it like to experience the horror of battle – the crashing artillery, the shouts and screams of the soldiers, the shrieking whistles of bullets whizzing by and the heart-wrenching thuds that echo as they find their targets?
What was it like to face down your fellow countryman and know it’s kill or be killed?
“Few Americans born after the Civil War know much about war. Real war. War that seeks you out. War that arrives on your doorstep - not once in a blue moon, but once a month or a week or a day.” – Nick Turse.
“Getting history right is pretty much the most important thing a citizen can do in a nation at war with itself as ours was. And is.” – Brooke Gladstone
“To a mankind that recognizes the equality of man everywhere, every war becomes a civil war.” - Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
One of the most important events in America’s history, the Civil War forever shaped the political, social, and economic climate of the country. Over 150 years later, its memory has faded, relegated to history books and museums. It is our duty to preserve this history both to honor the memory of the fallen and to avoid repeating it. This film comes at a time when tensions along racial, political, and social divides in the United States are ever rising, and these divisions that separate us threaten to once again tear the fabric of our country apart.
Cries from the Ground is a celebration of what makes this country great: the men and women who were willing to give their very lives to shape this land. It is also, however, a sobering reminder of what happens when we let jealousy, fear, and hatred divide us. We come from many different backgrounds: black and white, rich and poor, young and old – but we are all Americans.