''How Few Remain'' is HarryTurtledove's excellent beginning to his Southern Victory (AKA "{{Timeline-191}}") series. It takes place in a universe where General Robert E. Lee's Special Order 191 was never discovered by Union troops, thus dramatically changing the course of history.

For those of you who aren't [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar US Civil War]] [[AsYouKnow 'buffs']], as they are apparently known in the USA, Order 191 contained extensive information about the rebel General Lee's proposed troop movements during his famous offensive campaign to take the US's capital. Because George [=McClellan=] had this information, he was able to position his troops in areas to ambush them. The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, and--both morally and mortally--diminished the Confederates. It was perhaps the most vital turning point in the entire war.

And [[MindScrew in this universe]], [[ForWantOfANail it never happened]].

Lee marched into Washington and the Confederacy was recognized as a nation-state by Britain and France, who mediated a peace settlement. UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln was never assassinated. Both Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart survive the war. [[Creator/MarkTwain Samuel Clemens]] stays in San Francisco, instead of writing fiction.

In short: HilarityEnsues.

The story picks up in 1881, when the Confederates' purchase of the Mexican territories of Chiuhuahua and Sonora [[InsaneTrollLogic prompts U.S. President James G. Blaine to declare war on the Confederacy]].

The story follows, in turn, eight [[HistoricalDomainCharacter historical figures]]:
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_Jackson Thomas J. Jackson]], old "[[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname Stonewall]]", General-in-Chief of the Confederate Army, is ready and eager to strike at the Yankees once more.
* General [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.E.B._Stuart 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 [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_A._Custer George A. Custer]], a frustrated Yankee cavalryman, serves on the Great Plains and helps put down the Mormon rebellion in Utah.
* UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt is a wealthy, patriotic young Montana rancher who raises his own [[TheCavalry cavalry force]], known as the "Unauthorized Regiment".
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass Frederick Douglass]], a former slave and a fiery orator, observes the Union forces at war.
* Colonel [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_von_Schlieffen Alfred]] [[TheVonTropeFamily von]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_von_Schlieffen Schlieffen]] serves as the German military attaché to the United States.
* [[Creator/MarkTwain Samuel Clemens]] is a [[DeadpanSnarker sharp-witted]] [[DaEditor newspaper editor]] in San Francisco.
* Former President UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln, influenced by the writings of [[DirtyCommunist Karl Marx]], is an orator struggling to keep the Republican Party united in the cause of the working man.

!!Tropes in the novel:
* AnyoneCanDie: As the end draws near, [[spoiler:Jeb Stuart and Tom Custer both die. Tom is in battle, so it's sad but not surprising--but killing off one of the main characters, out of ''nowhere,'' is a real shock.]]
* TheAlcoholic: Ulysses S. Grant, embittered by the outcome of the war, gets a brief scene as an old, drunken vagabond.
* AllohistoricalAllusion: A Turtledove specialty. Overlaps a lot with the {{Historical In Joke}}s.
** There's a Colonel Sherman stationed in San Francisco, who has a rather [[IncrediblyLamePun burnt-up]] attitude toward what [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea he might have done]] in the last war.
** von Schlieffen, at the end, coming up with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlieffen_Plan his brilliant new battle-strategy]].
*** ... which wasn't a real strategy, just a thought experiment (just look at that Other Wiki article - not a single primary source, albeit on account of the fact that ''none exists''). But the breadth and depth of the stuff Turtledove touches makes it inevitable he'll fall behind the cutting-edge of historical research ''somewhere'', especially as new research surfaces. Though there was that egregious depiction a WWII Chinese peasant as both liking the Chinese Communist Party and believing that it fights Japan (and that the Guomindang doesn't!) that sounds like it was lifted verbatim from a PRC school-textbook.
* AlternateHistory
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar
* AntebellumAmerica: Unlike [[Film/CSATheConfederateStatesOfAmerica some attempts]] to show what the world would be like if the Confederates won, ''How Few Remain'' actually explores socio-economic and cultural issues that ''don't'' have to do with slavery.
* BadAss: Custer and Roosevelt live their lives doing this. The rest of the main cast have their own, in their own ways.
** Lincoln and Douglass are both [[RetiredBadAss retired badasses]], who are really getting too old for this, but that doesn't stop either of them for a minute.
* BadassInCharge: Roosevelt and Custer.
* TheCaptain: Custer was born to be the Captain, and will do anything to show people how awesome he is as a commander.
* BoisterousBruiser: According to George Custer, his brother Tom is more of this than he is.
* CallARabbitASmeerp: In-universe variation; Alfred von Schlieffen has a little trouble remembering that they're ''states'' in America, not ''provinces''.
* TheCavalry: Custer ''loves'' being the Cavalry.
** The Unauthorized Regiment does this too.
* ColonelBadass: Yet again, Custer and Roosevelt. Eventually, they have to compete.
* CultColony: The Mormons. Plus, having ''Custer'' stationed there...
* DaEditor: Sam Clemens has become one--complete with [[CigarChomper chomping cigars]].
** Unlike most instances of this trope, where we mostly see DaEditor shouting at people, we actually get to see a lot of his editorials. And they're awesome.
* DeadpanSnarker: Abe Lincoln basically walks around doing this all the time. Oh, and being a DirtyCommunist.
** And Sam Clemens, of course. Who seems to speak pure Snark.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: As a consequence of Confederate victory in the Civil War.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Hosea Blackford, for later in the series. He's just a kid from a mining town who runs into Lincoln on the train. There's also a ''very'' brief appearance by the girl who will later carry the name of Nellie Semproch; she's a child who runs out into the street in Washington, D.C.
* ForWantOfANail: The novel--and [[{{Timeline-191}} the ten-novel series that follows it]]--is all happening because ''one'' tiny detail, the finding of Order 191. Which could ''so'' very easily have happened in this universe. And if it did, it would have (if not necessarily guaranteed a Confederate victory) given Lee an incredible strategic advantage which might well have changed the course of the war.
** It's even [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in the prologue, where the messenger who dropped the Order is effusively telling the two soldiers who noticed it how grateful he is, and how "this could have cost us the war!"
--> Then, as he rides off, one of them turns to the other and says "[[CrowningMomentOfFunny Lost the whole war? He don't think much of himself and the papers he carries, now does he?]]"
* GermanicEfficiency: von Schlieffen is constantly amazed that Americans get anything done.
* GloryHound / GlorySeeker: Custer [[ExactWords would die to be a hero...]]
** In the prologue, he's on the verge of making a one-man charge against the Confederates.
* HeroicBSOD: Custer is an ass, but when [[spoiler: Tom is killed while fighting the Brits in Canada]], it's hard not to feel bad for him.
** Douglass shuts down for a bit after having to {{Mercy Kill}} a suffering soldier, despite the man's own cousin thanking him for it.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Aside of the eight main characters, there are ''many'' more, both obvious and obscure.
** Many of the family-members of the main characters (i.e. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Custer Tom Custer]], Jeb Stuart Jr.)--but emphatically ''not'' in Sam's case.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Blaine James G. Blaine]] (now President of the United States)
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Longstreet James Longstreet]] (now President of the Confederate States)
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rosecrans William Rosencrans]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Pope_%28military_officer%29 John Pope]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_B._Willcox Orlando B. Wilcox]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Porter_Alexander E. Porter Alexander]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_George_Gordon Charles George Gordon]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geronimo Geronimo]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanta_%28White_Bear%29 Satanata]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_S._Grant ex-General Grant]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_young Brigham Young]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tecumseh_Sherman William Tecumseh Sherman]]
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wilkes_Booth The Booth brothers]]
* HeroicWillpower: It has been confirmed that Teddy Roosevelt is made of solid Willpower.
* HistoricalInJoke: Too many to count.
** Custer standing at the top of a ridge as the Indians ride toward him, thinking "This could be our last stand" [[spoiler:'''This''' time, [[MoreDakka Custer has Gatling guns]]. It goes considerably better for him.]]
** Clemens speaking sarcastically about what might have happened if he'd tried writing fiction.
** Someone telling Roosevelt that he should think about going into politics.
*** Fulfilled in the next book of the series (the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne Great War]] trilogy), where TR has become president (though a good ten years after he did in RealLife).
* {{IKEA Erotica}}: As usual for Turtledove, with the extra {{Squick}} that the man of the couple is ''Mark Twain''.
* InThePastEveryoneWillBeFamous: Given, we're following eight historical figures to begin with, but they do seem to bump into an inordinate number of familiar faces (see HistoricalDomainCharacter, above).
** Not as much so in the rest of the {{Timeline-191}} series, where the famous people rub elbows with an extensive cast of Turtledove originals.
* InvadedStatesOfAmerica: San Francisco is shelled and raided by the British. A British invasion of Montana is defeated in what turns out to be the highlight of the war for the USA. Northern Maine is ceded to Canada as part of the peace settlement.
* LargeHam: TruthInTelevision, for Custer and Roosevelt.
* MercyKill: A soldier with his guts hanging out begs Douglass to put him out of his misery, and the man's cousin thanks him for it. He's still badly affected.
* MoreDakka: George Custer. With Gatling guns.
* MilitaryMaverick: Custer comes close, sometimes.
* NotSoDifferent: After coming face to face, [[spoiler:both Jackson and Douglass are surprised at how human they find each other--things aren't quite as [[IncrediblyLamePun black and white]] as they thought.]]
* NumberTwo: Tom Custer is this for his older brother.
* OddCouple: Lincoln and Douglass.
** Douglass gets a bonus for, in the middle of a heated argument, saying that they're having a "[[JustForPun Lincoln-Douglass]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln%E2%80%93Douglas_debates debate]]"
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Jackson, to the letter.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Turtledove plays with this in the first section following "Thomas Jackson", knowing that most of the readers won't catch on until someone says "Hey, Stonewall!"
* OnlySaneMan: At times, Lincoln expresses the feeling that he might be one of these. [[CassandraTruth Not that anyone cares.]]
** Mark Twain's newspaper editorials, providing running commentary on the events leading up to the war, fill the role nicely.
* PromotedToScapegoat: After losing the War of Secession, Lincoln gets this treatment from basically everyone.
* {{Pun}}: Roosevelt dubs the coach he uses for going into Helena (the nearest large town to his ranch) "the Helena Handbasket".
* RubberBandHistory
** Teddy Roosevelt leading a charge somewhere...
* ShownTheirWork: Turtledove ''does''. All the time. So much so that it's easy to forget you're reading a work of fiction.
* SlidingScaleOfAlternateHistoryPlausibility: Type I. It's actually scary how very plausible it is. Even given that [[RubberBandHistory all the main characters would done pretty much the same thing as they did in this universe]], it's remarkably well thought out on every level.
* StartMyOwn: When his local recruiting-station won't take volunteers, Roosevelt takes it on himself to pull together his own Unauthorized Regiment.
* StartOfDarkness: After being humiliated by the Confederacy again, von Schlieffen offers the USA an alliance with the German Empire, later leading to the USA becoming a brutally ultra-militaristic, German-trained power.
* TookALevelInBadass: Teddy Roosevelt ''vaults'' from level to level.
** Douglass has some intense moments in Louisville.
* WhatMightHaveBeen
* YoungFutureFamousPeople: Most prominently with Theodore Roosevelt, who is 22 years old when the story begins.
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