How Few Remain


How Few Remain

infobox Book |
name = How Few Remain
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Cover of first edition (hardcover)
author = Harry Turtledove
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series = Timeline-191
genre = Alternative history novel
publisher = Ballantine Books/Del Rey
release_date = September 8, 1997
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = ISBN 9780345416612 (first edition, hardback)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"How Few Remain" is a 1997 alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first part of the Timeline-191 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.

Plot summary

The point of divergence is September 10, 1862, during the American Civil War. In our timeline, 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 defeat the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Antietam.

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 Great Britain 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 November 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 Timeline-191 state of Sequoyah). The Spanish island of Cuba is purchased by the Confederate States in the 1870s, 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, purchases the provinces of Sonora and Chihuahua from the financially-strapped Mexican Empire (which is still ruled by 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

Infobox Military Conflict
date=1881–1882
place=Principally in California, Utah, Montana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Virginia and Maine
casus=Confederate purchase of Sonora and Chihuahua from the Second Mexican Empire
result=Confederate Victory. UK annexes Northern Maine. Otherwise status quo ante bellum.
combatant1=
combatant2= Indians
commander1=James G. Blaine William Rosecrans John Pope Theodore Roosevelt George A. Custer Orlando B. Willcox
commander2=James Longstreet Stonewall Jackson Jeb StuartE. Porter Alexander Satanata Geronimo

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 declare 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, Great Britain and France, both Confederate allies, blockade and bombard US port cities.

During the war, the Mormons in Utah rebel by severing trans-continental 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 executed.

The Unites 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, as including the appointment of Stonewall Jackson as the commander of the defense, the negligence of U.S. commanders, and most of all, the use of breech-loading artillery and repeating rifles making taking a position very difficult. The Confederate army under Jackson never tries to invade more United States territory than it possessed before the war, 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 reality). The Louisville campaign quickly bogs down for the United States, and results in a bloodbath with little territory gained. Great Britain and France continue to shell the Great Lakes ports; France also shells Los Angeles, while the British bombard San Francisco and raid the mint.

The United States receives some good news when a young volunteer cavalry colonel, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Armstrong Custer rout a British army 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 powerful German Empire. The alliance sets up events for the next three series, which cover an alternate First World War, Inter-war period, and Second World War.

Characters in "How Few Remain"

The novel is narrated from the point of view of several 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 and the Apaches.
*Colonel George A. Custer, a frustrated Yankee cavalryman, serves on the Great Plains.
*Theodore Roosevelt is a wealthy, patriotic young Montana rancher.
*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, has become an orator struggling to keep the Republican Party united in the cause of the working man, against the Democratic Party and big business; if the Republicans are unable to meet his challenge, he'll find someone who can.

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 Great Britain, the northern part of Maine to the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

Following a series of speeches in Utah, Montana, and Illinois, 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.

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, there is no Statue of Liberty on Bedloe's Island, nor does the name get changed to Liberty Island - as the United States and France are on poor terms, 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 more grim statue 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 Great Britain and France, Confederate President Longstreet had to propose a constitutional amendment calling for the manumission of all the country's slaves; however, the free blacks will not have any of the same rights that whites have.

After losing two wars within twenty years, the United States begins an alliance with the strengthening German Empire (formed in 1871), and will eventually start to reform itself along Prussian lines.

Timeline-191 continued

"How Few Remain" is followed in the Southern Victory series by the Great War and American Empire trilogies, and the Settling Accounts tetralogy.


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