What is your favorite “what if?” of the Civil War?
What if Lee had cut off union troops at white oak swamp during 7 days battles?
What if Jacob Cox/Ambrose Burnside had started the final attack at Antietam at 2 PM instead of 3? The Army of Northern Virginia, teetering on the edge of defeat all day, could have been wiped out.
Sub-plot: What if somebody other than Fitz John Porter (Manton Marble’s favorite soldier) had been advising McClellan late in the aftern…..ah, never mind. He still wouldn’t have listened..
It’s not my favorite, but it is the one that strikes me the most: what if Lincoln had not been assassinated?
The one we always hear; what if Jackson would have been at Gettysburg (and alive so that we don’t get the common response that people give that he wouldn’t have smelled too good).
Thanks for not mentioning Cemetery Hill, at least. That one’s been beaten to death more than any other conceivable historical “what if”, including “what if Harry Frazee hadn’t sold Babe Ruth to the NYY” and “what if somebody in the USN had been awake on December 6”.
Lee had accepted command of the Federal army
What if, instead of Bernard Bee being killed at the first battle of Manassas, it was Thomas Jackson. As a result, the Confederates would have lost this first conflict of the Civil War. The entire rebellion might have collapsed with the Federals sweeping the field and moving onto Richmond for the capture of that city. Jefferson Davis might have escaped but the Federals would be in the position to dictate terms of surrender. From the very beginning, Lincoln’s position was always that he wanted to preserve the Union, so if the rebellion was on the verge of total disintegration, could he have passed up this opportunity to end it now? I think not. So as a result, I feel that there would have been a chance that slavery would have continued to exist in the post Civil War South.
I wonder how Thomas Jackson would have affected Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Would he have been able to convince Lee not to? Or would he have supported it? In general, how would Jackson have affected any of the battles that happened after Chancellorsville? It seemed that after he died, everything went down hill for the Confederacy.
You mean what if Stonewall actually got promoted to the “Bigs” and had to go up against some real opposition?
What if people quit obsessing over counter-factual questions and instead concentrated on studying the history as it actually happened? (Sorry—my inner-curmudgeon is coming through this Monday.)
Yeah–what he said! What if we quit responding to polls like this and read more?
What if Lee had had a squadron of M1A1 Abrams tanks at Gettysburg?
He would have used the Inter-Vehicle Information System and issued vague orders to assault the Yankees “if practicable”.
What if Joe Johnston had not been wounded at Fair Oaks?
What if the people at Jamestown had not bought the slaves in 1619?
What if Lord Howe hadn’t sat on his back side for two days after decisively hammering Washington on Long Island in late August 1776.
What f Special Orders No. 191 had not been lost and recovered by the 27th Indiana?
What if a shell hadn’t hit the column supporting Chancellor House and Hooker, knocking him silly?
What if Lincoln had kept Hannibal Hamlin on the ticket for 1864?
I’ve been thinking of this one a lot lately myself, actually. Great minds…! 😉
I just reviewed a book about Congress before da war, & HH was a force to be reckoned with!
What if I just mix myself another Martini and avoid this QOTW?
what if we return to what made E.C.W. great and study history as it happened and not play make believe . Please .
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