Pharaoh’s Army dramatizes tensions within the border state of Kentucky, focusing on the arrival of Union troops at the farm of a woman whose husband is fighting for the Confederacy. Tensions arise as the small band of soldiers is forced to stay with the woman and her son.
This film was produced during the era of war films that focused on the conflict itself, yet it reflects a growing interest in the experience of the war at an individual level. Pharaoh’s Army does not consider issues like slavery or the cause of the war; however, it does show the human impact of the conflict.
Despite having a limited audience, largely unknown cast, and small budget, the film was positively received by those who saw it. Many appreciated seeing the conflict between the Union and Confederacy play out on such an intimate scale.
Berry Craig, Kentucky Confederates: Secession, Civil War, and the Jackson Purchase, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2014.
Kent Dollar, Border Wars: The Civil War in Tennessee and Kentucky, Kent: Kent State University Press, 2015.
William Penn, Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016.
Brian Dirck, “Pharaoh’s Army,” The Journal of American History 83, no.3, (December 1996).
Jeff Wilkinson, “Film Uses Civil War as the Setting to Explore Emotions,” The Civil War News, 1996.
Caryn James, “Civil War Enemies, Drawn to Each Other,” The New York Times, September 4, 1996.
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