Revisioning the Civil War

Historians on Counter-Factual Scenarios


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About the Book

What if Douglas instead of Lincoln had won the presidential election of 1860? What if the Confederates had pushed their advantage and advanced on Washington following their victory at Bull Run? What if Lincoln had not been assassinated? Questions like these help historians answer other broader queries such as: Was the Civil War inevitable? Could the South really have won the war?
This book examines key events and decisions of the Civil War, giving some of the subject’s foremost experts a chance to reflect on the actualities of what could have (and what could not have) happened. Each of the chronologically arranged sections briefly introduces a topic, poses a counter-historical question and presents the responses of several leading scholars, and synthesizes and recaps these often divergent opinions. The work concludes with survey results from the panel of experts regarding several all-encompassing Civil War topics.

About the Author(s)

Broadcast journalist Jim Bresnahan is also the author of Play It Again: Baseball Experts on What Might Have Been (2006). He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jim Bresnahan
Foreword by Keith E. Gibson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2392-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1843-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Keith E. Gibson      1

Acknowledgments      3

The Panel of Civil War Experts      5

Preface      11

1. On the Brink: Secession      15

2. The Pinch Comes: Fort Sumter      26

3. Like a Stone Wall: Bull Run      36

4. Grant’s Beginning, Johnston’s End: Fort Donelson and Shiloh      46

5. Saving Richmond: The Peninsula, the Valley and the Seven Days      61

6. Rebels on the Move: Second Manassas, Antietam and Perryville      82

7. Stalemate: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Stones River      105

8. Showdown in Pennsylvania: Gettysburg      124

9. Mortal Wounds: Vicksburg, Chickamauga and Chattanooga      148

10. Grant against Lee: The Overland Campaign      166

11. Wearing Down the South: Atlanta, Petersburg and the Election of 1864      180

12. A Just and Lasting Peace: Appomattox and Assassination      198

Appendix: Surveying the Experts      219

Chapter Notes      223

Bibliography      229

Index      231

Book Reviews & Awards

“entertaining read…thought-provoking…entertaining and fascinating”—The Civil War News; “delightful…profusely illustrated…this is a work that you should add to your library”—Staunton News Leader; “different and refreshing”—The Free Lance-Star.