I like to study history, and the civil war is one of my favorite points in American History. Mainly because it was so controversial, the reasons, the bad guys, the death toll, etc..... It was one of the bloodiest battles in our history, not because both sides were american, but because of the percentage of dead per battle, sometimes reaching 30%.
I do believe that the South got a raw deal for a long time. They weren't blameless, but they also weren't the evil group of racists that were potrayed. Plus this delves into the fact that the war wasn't about slavery until the later stages, something the North didn't even want. But that is all up for debate in another forum.
This movie is well filmed, the characters feel more three dimensional and close to their real life counterparts, and the recreation of some of the battles are done in an almost loving fashion done by those who spend their pasttime recreating major events. It shows two major early battles where the confederacy won stunning victories causing heavy losses for the Union. The battle of Fredericksburg cost over 17,000 troops on the side of the Union.
The main complaint from people who like this movie was that it left a lot out, there were a lot of smaller battles that where, but it would have added another 2 hours easily to the already 4 hour movie. Maybe we can hope for a special edition some day.
This movie is very pro southern, so if your views tend to favor the union, this is probably not for you. If you don't love history or recreations of battles, especially ones using Napoleonic Tactics and weapons, it probably also is not for you. It is like marzipan, not a lot of people like it, but those that do, love it.