How Few Remain
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|How Few Remain|
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Series||Southern Victory Series|
|Publisher||Ballantine Books/Del Rey|
|Publication date||September 8, 1997|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0-345-41661-2 (first edition, hardback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 21|
|LC Classification||PS3570.U76 H69 1997|
|Followed by||The Great War: American Front|
How Few Remain is a 1997 alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first part of the Southern Victory Series saga, which depicts a world in which the Confederacy won the American Civil War. The book received the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 1997, and was also nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1998. It covers the Southern Victory Series Earth period of history from 1862 and from 1881 to 1882.
The point of divergence is September 10, 1862, during the American Civil War. In actual history, a Confederate messenger lost General Robert E. Lee's Special Order 191, which detailed Lee's plans for the Invasion of the North. The orders were soon found by Union soldiers, and using them, George McClellan was able to halt the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Antietam, after which it returned to Virginia.
In How Few Remain, the orders are instead recovered by a trailing Confederate soldier. McClellan is caught by surprise, enabling Lee to lead the Army of Northern Virginia towards Philadelphia. Lee forces McClellan into battle on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and destroys the Army of the Potomac in the Battle of Camp Hill on October 1. Lee goes on to capture Philadelphia, earning the Confederate States of America diplomatic recognition from both the United Kingdom and France, thus winning the war (which is known as the War of Secession in the alternate timeline) and independence from the United States on Nov. 4.
Kentucky, having been conquered by Confederate forces shortly after the Battle of Camp Hill, joins the eleven original Confederate states after the war's conclusion, and the Confederacy is also given Indian Territory (our timeline's state of Oklahoma, later the Southern Victory Series state of Sequoyah). The Spanish island of Cuba is purchased by the Confederate States in the 1870s for $3,000,000, thus also becoming a Confederate territory.
In 1881, Republican James G. Blaine has ridden a hard-line platform of anti-Confederatism into the White House, having defeated Democratic incumbent Samuel J. Tilden in the 1880 presidential election. Both American nations have been sanctioning Indian raids into each other's territory. The international tension between the United States and the Confederate States peaks when Confederate President James Longstreet, desiring a Pacific coast for the Confederacy so that the South can have a transcontinental railroad for itself, purchases the northwestern provinces of Sonora and Chihuahua from the financially strapped Second Mexican Empire (which is still ruled by France's Maximilian) for CS $3,000,000. Blaine uses the "coerced" purchase as a casus belli, leading to the commencement of what will later become known as the Second Mexican War.
Second Mexican War
|Second Mexican War|
|Part of Southern Victory Series|
|United States|| Confederate States
|Commanders and leaders|
|James G. Blaine
George Armstrong Custer
Orlando B. Willcox
| James Longstreet
Jeb Stuart †
E. Porter Alexander
Charles George Gordon
After the Confederate purchase of the northern Mexican provinces of Sonora and Chihuahua, which extends the CSA-USA border and gives the Confederates a Pacific port (Guaymas), the United States declares war on the Confederacy. Early on in the war, Confederate troops under Jeb Stuart capture a large quantity of gold and silver ore from a Union mining town after successfully occupying the newly purchased provinces. Meanwhile, a Union cavalry colonel, George Armstrong Custer, successfully uses Gatling guns against Kiowa Indians and Confederate cavalry in Kansas. Soon, the United Kingdom and France, both Confederate allies, blockade and bombard US port cities, including those on the Great Lakes.
During the war, the Mormons in Utah rebel by severing transcontinental communication and transportation around Salt Lake City. John Pope is appointed as the military governor, puts down the revolt, and imposes martial law. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is classified as a political organization and the Mormon leaders are hunted down and executed.
The United States' attempt to invade Virginia is easily thrown back by General Stonewall Jackson as the United States struggles to find a man his equal. A key reason for the Confederate success in the war, in addition to fighting a defensive war, is that the Confederates are led by excellent generals like Jackson, while the United States's military, despite possessing a massive advantage in numbers and resources, suffers from incompetent leadership. William Rosecrans, the commander of the entire US army, casually reveals at one point that there is no overall strategy for winning the war whatsoever. He envisions a vague idea of the opposing armies making counteroffensives back and forth against each other, which he feels the United States would assuredly win. This lack of planning leaves the German military observer, Alfred von Schlieffen, aghast.
The United States next attempts to launch a massive invasion of Louisville to knock the Confederates out of Kentucky but it soon becomes a bloody stalemate. The decision of Stonewall Jackson to command the defense personally, the negligence of U.S. commanders, and most of all, the use of breech-loading artillery and repeating rifles make taking the city very difficult. The Confederate Army never tries to invade any United States territory for two reasons. First, it does not have the resources for an offensive into hostile lands. Second, the Confederacy's success hinges on the support of Britain and France, who feel they are aiding a smaller nation wrongfully attacked by a larger one, and launching attacks into the United States would be seen as aggression for which they might lose foreign support. Galled by orders to wage a purely defensive war, Jackson takes them to the extreme, pioneering tactics of full-scale trench warfare which devastates Louisville (in scenes reminiscent of the World War I of mainline reality). The Louisville campaign quickly bogs down for the United States, and results in a bloodbath with little territory gained. The United Kingdom and France continue to shell the Great Lakes ports; France also shells Los Angeles, while the British bombard San Francisco and raid the Federal mint.
The United States receives some good news when a young volunteer cavalry colonel, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Armstrong Custer rout a British division under Charles Gordon invading Montana from Canada. However, the British also invade northern Maine and annex it into the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
Finally, facing defeat on almost all fronts, Republican president James G. Blaine is forced to capitulate. A Republican is never again elected to the White House. The United States, learning the importance of strong allies, seeks an alliance with the newly formed and powerful German Empire. The alliance sets up events for the next three series, which cover an alternate World War I, Inter-war period, and World War II.
Primary Characters in "How Few Remain"
The novel is narrated from the point of view of eight primary historical figures.
- Thomas J. Jackson, old "Stonewall," General-in-Chief of the Confederate Army, is ready and eager to strike at the Yankees once more.
- General J.E.B. Stuart defends the new Confederate territories from the Yankees, the Apaches under Geronimo being first his allies and then his foes.
- Colonel George Armstrong Custer, a frustrated Yankee cavalryman, serves on the Great Plains and helps put down the Mormon rebellion in Utah.
- Theodore Roosevelt is a wealthy, patriotic young Montana rancher who raises his own cavalry force, known as the "Unauthorised Regiment".
- Frederick Douglass, a former slave and a fiery orator, observes the Union forces at war.
- Colonel Alfred von Schlieffen serves as the German military attaché to the U.S.
- Samuel Clemens is a sharp-witted newspaper editor in San Francisco.
- Former President Abraham Lincoln, influenced by the writings of Karl Marx, is an orator struggling to keep the Republican Party united in the cause of the working man.
Aftermath of war
In April 1882, the Confederates once again defeat the United States, which allows the purchase of Sonora and Chihuahua to stand. Along with losing the war, the United States loses, in fighting with the United Kingdom, the northern part of Maine to the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
Following a series of speeches in Utah, Montana, and Illinois, former president Abraham Lincoln leads a group of left-wing Republicans into the Socialist Party; this action leads to the sharp decline of the Republican Party, allowing the Socialists to eventually become the primary opposition to the Democrats who, consequently, are driven to the Right.
After U.S. defeat in the Second Mexican War, President Blaine declares April 22 of every succeeding year to be Remembrance Day, to remember the humiliation of defeat, and vow revenge. The holiday parades will be somber, with the U.S. flag being flown upside down as a sign of distress, signifying the two losses to the Confederate States.
In effect, while conceding defeat in this war, Blaine was setting the stage for the next one, instilling in U.S. citizens an ever-present desire for and expectation of revenge upon the Confederacy (and upon Canada) while embarking on an intensive program of systematic militarization on the German model, with the vision of making the United States a kind of second Prussia. Turtledove's model in our history was evidently the French desire for revenge on Germany ("Revanchism") following their defeat in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and the loss of Alsace and Lorraine.
In this timeline's New York City, there is no Statue of Liberty on Bedloe's Island, nor does the name get changed to Liberty Island – as relations between the United States and France are poor, due to France's support for the Confederacy, and there is no question of the French donating such a statue to the Americans. Instead, the island is taken up by a similar but more grim statue known as the Statue of Remembrance, given to the United States by Germany, of "Remembrance, holding aloft her bared sword".
Meanwhile, the United States will move centers of administration from Washington, DC, to Philadelphia due to the District of Columbia bordering the Confederate state of Virginia (which is making governing increasingly difficult and impractical for the United States). The Powel House will become a secondary White House whenever tensions between the CSA and USA are high.
In order to continue to receive assistance from both the United Kingdom and France, Confederate President Longstreet had to propose a constitutional amendment calling for the manumission of all the country's slaves making them resident aliens; however, the free blacks will not have the same rights that whites have.
Southern Victory Series continued