Out of Time: An Alternative Outcome to the Civil War

It is November 1864 and General Sherman’s army is marching through Georgia. Sherman has recently burned much of Atlanta and meets very little opposition as his 60,000-man army aims for Savannah. General Hood’s Confederate army will soon be defeated in Tennessee by General Thomas’s Union forces. General Grant is squeezing the vise he has placed around Petersburg, and the Confederate capital Richmond is threatened. General Lee’s troops are demoralized, many shoeless, and some are deserting to return home so they can help feed and protect their family. The South has all but lost the Civil War and leaders on both sides sense the end is near. It is just a matter of time, yet the Confederates do not give up or in. They are hoping for a miracle.

Across the ocean comes a foreign fleet of submarines, promising to save the South from inevitable defeat. Is that possible? What could be their motive? And why — oh why — do they come at the last hour?

This ‘alternative history’ of how the Civil War ends presents both real and imagined events of that momentous conflict. Alternate Civil War history is now a common genre, with many essays and novels that posit a different ending. A subgroup of this genre invokes time travel to effect a different ending to the war. In Out of Time you will find my own unique alternate-outcome scenario.

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