"The Passersby" is the fourth episode of the third season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in October of 1961. It starred James Gregory as an unnamed confederate sergeant, Joanne Linville as confederate war widow Lavinia Godwin, and included a small part for Austin Green as Abraham Lincoln, which was a reoccurring role in different productions for Mr. Green.
A long, silent line of wounded and wasted soldiers walks up a dark road, past the house of widow Lavinia Godwin. It is the closing days of the Civil War, and both sides are returning to their homes after the exhausting conflict. One of the members of the column, a sergeant, stops to talk to Lavinia, and plays his banjo for her. She is still angry about the outcome of the war, while the sergeant tries to convince her that the war is over and it is time to move on. During this, an American soldier rides by, and Lavinia attempts to shoot him with a shotgun. But in this strange and mysterious landscape, what will be the outcome of such an action?
(I had guessed the twist by this point, and perhaps even the reader of this summary has guessed the twist.)
This is the first episode of Season Three to deal with supernatural, foregoing the "hard" science-fiction of "Two" and the non-fantastical drama of "The Shelter". However, like those episodes, it focuses on warfare, and how human relationships weather its insanities. It is a question why this happened at this point: it could be that the Cold War was experiencing an uptick in tension at the time, or it could be that after two successful seasons, Rod Serling had more leeway to present topical and controversial material.
Another point of interest is how the Civil War was depicted. In this story, it is presented as a mythical conflict, lost in time, with no modern political ramifications. At the time this episode aired, there may have been people who could remember the Civil War watching it, and there were certainly people whose parents had witnessed the civil war watching it. And yet, at the time of broadcast, it might have been "further away" from the present day than it is in 2014, when there are some people who wish to reopen the issues which were decided in the Civil War.