On the 12th of April 1861 Confederate forces attacked the US Military's Fort Sumter, thus beginning the bloodiest war in American history. It is this conflict, more than the American Revolution or World War Two that has had the most dramatic impact on the nation's character. This year marks its 150th anniversary.
In a war of brother against brother; the conflict created a tragic human drama as the country struggled to define itself. America's most distinguished poets were affected by unprecedented levels of carnage. Herman Melville wrote a chronological, impressionistic volume of poetry on the Civil War.
Walt Whitman, a volunteer nurse during the war wrote heart-wrenching poems about wounded soldiers beside piles of amputated limbs. Emily Dickinson was most productive during this time, though she never wrote directly about the war. However, her meditations on death, violence and the bloody landscape provide a deep insight into the nation's character.
In this programme, we'll hear music and poetry from before, during and after the war.