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Southern Victory

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Southern Victory (also called Timeline-191 after General Robert E. Lee's special order #191) is a series of 11 books by Harry Turtledove, with an alternate history starting in 1862 during the American Civil War, where the South (CSA) wins the war after allying itself with France and Britain, and ending in 1945 following a war similar to World War II.



The War of Secession Edit

series: How Few Remain

The Uneasy Peace Edit

series: How Few Remain
  • late 1860s: Russia attempts to sell Alaska to the United States. However, a $7 million price tag was too much money for a financially drained America.
  • 1870s: Cuba is bought by the Confederate States from Spain.
  • 1871: Germany unified into a single sovereign state (as in OTL - Original Time-Line).

The Second Mexican War Edit

series: How Few Remain
  • 1881 : The CSA purchases Sonora and Chihuahua from the Mexican Empire for $3,000,000. The USA uses the purchase as a pretext for declaring war upon the Confederacy.
  • 1882: James Longstreet enters the CSA into an alliance with Britain and France. This results in a victory for the Confederacy once more. Part of northern Maine is annexed into the Canadian providence of New Brunswick. The only major victory for the U.S in the war was in Montana, where forces under Theodore Roosevelt and George Armstrong Custer were able to repel the British and Canadian invaders, albeit after the official end of the war. The USA creates an alliance with the German Empire. As part of its negotiations with France and Britain, the Confederacy phases out slavery, although heavy segregation remains. The day of the Armistice (April 22) becomes Remembrance Day in the USA. It is treated as a somber commemoration holiday.

In the aftermath of the war, the Republican party splits in the USA, with the Socialist Party forming under leadership of former President Abraham Lincoln. Democrats become an ongoing majority party. The Confederates keep their new Mexican states and makes plans to build railway from Texas to the Gulf of California / Pacific Ocean.

Before the Great War Edit

series: none
  • 1882: Former President Abraham Lincoln splits Republican Party, forming a new Socialist Party. CSA builds railway connecting Texas with port city of Guaymas, Sonora, on the Pacific coast.
  • 1884: President Blaine loses the 1884 Presidential Election to the Democratic candidate in a landslide.
  • 1902: US President Thomas Brackett Reed dies in office and is succeeded by his vice president.
  • 1903: Russia joins Britain, France, and the Confederacy to form the alliance known as the Quadruple Entente.

The Confederacy aligns with Britain, France, and Russia in the Quadruple Entente. By necessity, the USA allies with Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. US Military reorganized along German lines.

The Great War Edit

series: The Great War


  • June 28: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Pro-Serbian terrorists hit Franz Ferdinand's car with a bomb (in OTL the bombers fail, and the Archduke is instead shot by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the same cell).
  • Late July: Mobilization of the USA and Germany.
  • August: The Austro-Hungarian Empire accuses Serbia of backing the assassination; this leads to war between the two. The Alliance system means that Russia, France and Britain side with Serbia and Germany with Austro-Hungary. The United States declare war on the Confederate States and Canada (Britain), and launch an invasion of both countries; in the CSA, Kentucky and western Virginia are attacked. The Confederates launch a counter-invasion through Maryland and Pennsylvania, and succeed in occupying Washington, DC. In the Pacific Ocean, the USA captures the Sandwich Islands aka Hawai'i from Britain.

As presaged by the attempted invasion of Kentucky by the USA in 1882, trench warfare soon develops on most fronts in North America. The series concentrates on the deadlock on the Maryland / Pennsylvania border, the Kentucky front, the Roanoke Valley front, and skirmishes in Sequoyah (OTL Oklahoma).


  • Winter: The armies on the North American continent are slowed down by the cold. In both Europe and North America Christmas truces bring the fighting to a tantalizingly temporary halt.
  • Early part of the year: The Mormon population in Utah attempts to secede from the USA in rebellion. US Army troops are sent to quash the rebellion.
  • Autumn: Red Rebellion of the black population of the Confederacy. Communist cells pop up throughout the South, particularly in areas with a high black population.

The war remains stalemated, with USA forces unable to break through to Guaymas, Nashville, Washington, DC, Winnipeg, Montreal, or Quebec City. Use of poison gas merely causes increased misery for the infantrymen.


  • Stalemate remained the rule on all fronts. Even a new USA invention, the barrel (OTL Tank), did not live up to expectations due to poor tactical deployment. The only progress took place in the West, where the Mormons were crushed and US forces made progress in Texas and Sequoyah. The Confederacy is forced to divert military resources to take on the Red forces rampaging throughout many parts of the South.


  • Thanks to a rare flash of insight by aging General George Custer, the US Army finally learns to deploy barrels en-masse. US forces under Custer finally smash through Confederate lines in Tennessee, seizing Nashville. In Canada, Winnipeg and Quebec City fall, and a puppet Quebec government declares independence from Canada. Soon the Confederacy's ally, France, is forced to capitulate to the Germans (in OTL, American soldiers reinforce the French by this time). Using Custer's barrel tactics, a breakthrough is achieved in Maryland, and Washington, DC, is retaken by US forces. Despite a last-minute use of Black soldiers by the CSA, the war is lost by late 1917.
  • The Confederates fared quite poorly in the aftermath of the Great War. Areas north of the Rappahannock River in Virginia were added to West Virginia; Kentucky re-joined the Union; Sequoyah was seized; a small northeastern portion of Arkansas was added to Missouri; and portions of West Texas joined the Union as the new state of Houston.

Interwar PeriodEdit

series: American Empire

Just as in our own time-line, the initial euphoria after the Great War soon collapses into a Great Depression. Among the former members of the defeated Quadruple Entente, the Confederacy and Great Britain develop nascent Fascist movements and France re installs the monarchy under King Charles XI. In the Confederacy, the newly formed Freedom Party exploits racial animosity and the memory of the Red Negro uprisings of 1915-16. This gains the attention of the very bitter Jake Featherston. The Confederacy begins to rearm.

Second Great WarEdit

series: Settling Accounts

Similar themes by other writersEdit

Prof. James M. McPherson, an expert on the American Civil War at Princeton University, New Jersey, dealt with the same subject in the essay "If the secret orders had not been lost" (published in "What if?", G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1999; reprinted in "What ifs? of American History", G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2003). McPherson's account of what might have been is slightly different in military details fron Turtledove's (Lee does not occupy Philadelphia, as in the preface to How Few Remain, but fights the Battle of Gettysburg nine months ahead of schedule, resulting in an overwhelming Confederate victory). McPherson's thesis, however, is the same as Turtledove's: had Lee not lost the orders, he would have gained a victory impressive enough to make Britain and France recognise the Confederacy, forcing Lincoln to concede defeat in the war as a whole. McPherson's account stops at that point.

McPherson briefly mentions an opposite scenario, also concerning Special Order 191. As he notes, in OTL Union General George McClellan failed to make full use of having possession of Lee's secret orders, instructing the Army of Northern Virginia to separate into several detachments and detailing the route each of these detachments was to take. While McClellan did stop Lee's advance and inflicted a defeat on him, it was not a decisive one, and Lee's army remained very much a going concern, able to fight on for three more years. McPherson argues that had Lee's lost orders been delivered to a more energetic and decisive Union general than McClellan, he might have used the same information to engage and defeat the different sections of Lee's army, destroy it altogether as a fighting force and possibly kill or capture Lee himself. That would have left Virginia and the Confederate capital Richmond highly vulnerable already in 1862, and might have considerably hastened the Northern victory. In that case, the Civil War may have ended before the Emancipation Proclamation, and slavery would have remained in being even though the North won the war - with far reaching consequences for later American history. However, neither McPherson nor anyone else ever explored these possibilities in detail.

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