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"Gettysburg" is an episode of The Outer Limits television series. It first aired on 28 July 2000, during the sixth season. It correctly predicted that the first African-American President of the United States would be in office in 2013.

Perhaps as importantly it also correctly predicted the controversy, handled better in this fictional world than in real life, over the symbolic and literal rewriting of America's history.

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Contents

  • 1 Opening narration
  • 2 Plot
  • 3 Closing narration
  • 4 Cast

Opening narration

It is said that great conflicts are not settled by words but by iron and blood. But what if we could revisit those decisions? Would we still surrender to violence?

Plot

Two friends, Andy and Vince, take part in an American Civil War re-enactment at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A time traveler disguised as a photographer takes their picture and transports them back to the eve of the real battle.

The time traveler, Nicholas Prentice, has done this because Andy will one day assassinate the President of the United States. In 2013, at a ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, Andy will shoot the president to honor the flag of the Confederate States of America. Prentice wants to show him that "there is no glory in this or any other war."

The two are confused about why they were sent back there and demand to be sent home. Prentice tells them that he cannot return them until he has completed his mission, which he keeps a secret from them.

Prentice's camera/time machine is confiscated by the Confederates. Their commander, Col. Angus Devine (played by Meat Loaf) is transported to November 19, 2013 after Vince accidentally turns on the time travelling device while the colonel is in front of it.

Vince drops his book, a novel about historic battles of the Civil War; it is found by one of the civilians, but it has little impact on the episode. The woman returns the book towards the end of the episode.

Andy tries to stop Pickett's Charge and alter history, even after Prentice explains why he has been sent back there. Andy is deemed a coward and shot by a Confederate major.

Meanwhile, Colonel Devine finds himself on November 19, 2013, at a Gettysburg monument, during an official government ceremony to finally and symbolically bury the Confederate flag – and all the hatred that it represents. Devine shoots a man symbolically dressed as Abraham Lincoln, thinking he really is Lincoln. As he is being taken down by the Secret Service, Devine fires two more shots from his revolver, hitting the real black president in the chest, possibly killing him.

The episode ends with Prentice shaking his head in despair, as he witnesses the scene.

Closing narration

Despite everything we do, we may never free ourselves from the bonds of fate.

Cast

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