How Few Remain  
Author Harry Turtledove
Language English
Series Southern Victory
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publisher Del Rey
Publication date September 8, 1997
Followed by American Front

How Few Remain is a 1997 alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first part of the Southern Victory saga. The book received the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 1997 and was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1999.



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 Orders 191, which detailed Lee's plans for the Battle of Antietam. 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. In Maryland, McClellan is caught by surprise, enabling Lee to lead the Army of Northern Virginia to victory. Lee next 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.

After the War of Secession[]

Kentucky, having been conquered by Confederate forces shortly after the Battle of Camp Hill, joins the 11 original Confederate states after the war's conclusion, and the Confederacy is also given Indian Territory (our timeline's state of Oklahoma). The Spanish island of Cuba is purchased by the Confederate States in the 1870s, thus also becoming a Confederate territory.

In the late 1860s, Russia attempts to sell Alaska to the United States. However, a $7 million price-tag is too much for a financially drained America.

The novel begins in April 1881. Republican James G. Blaine defeated Democratic incumbent Samuel J. Tilden in the 1880 presidential election, running on a hard-line anti-Confederate platform. Both American nations have sanctioned 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 ruled by Emperor Maximilian II, although this is not made clear until American Front) for CS $3,000,000. President Blaine uses the "coerced" purchase as a casus belli, leading to the commencement of what will later become known as the Second Mexican War.

Aftermath of war[]

In April 1882, the Confederates once again defeat the United States with the help of United Kingdom and France, which allows the purchase of Sonora and Chihuahua to stand. Along with losing the war, the U.S. loses, in fighting with Britain, the northern part of Maine (which is annexed into the Canadian province of New Brunswick).

Following a series of speeches in Utah, Montana, and a gathering of major Republican leaders at the Florence Hotel in Chicago, 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. This allows the Socialists to eventually become the primary opposition to the Democrats, who are driven to the right by conservative Republicans led by Benjamin Butler joining the party.

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.

The United States moves its center of government from Washington, DC to Philadelphia, as the District of Columbia is under Confederate guns located in Virginia. The Powel House in Philadelphia becomes the home of future U.S. presidents.

In order to receive assistance from both Great Britain and France, Confederate President Longstreet is obliged 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 began an alliance with the strengthening German Empire (formed in 1871), and eventually began to reform itself along Prussian lines.


The novel is narrated from the point of view of eight historical figures, four of whom died before 1881 in our timeline.

Southern Victory continued[]

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