Former Shows & Episodes

Word Patriots

Mark Seinfelt

Word Patriots – David Alan Johnson’s “Decided on the Battlefield”

Welcome everyone. My guest this week is David Alan Johnson, the author of “Decided on the Battlefield: Grant, Sherman, Lincoln and the Election of 1864,” which was published by Prometheus Books this past January. David is the author of many popular histories, including “Betrayal: The True Story of J. Edgar Hoover and the Nazi Saboteurs,” “Righteous Deception: German Officers against Hitler,” “Union: The Archives Photographs Series” and seven other books. “Decided on the Battlefield” examines a pivotal election year in U.S. history, a time of great flux and uncertainty. The fate of the United States, perhaps even the world, was at stake and things needn’t have turned out as they did. Had Jubal Early been able to successfully mount an attack on Washington D.C, had Jefferson Davis not relieved General Joseph E. Johnston of his command in Georgia, had the Democratic candidate for President campaigned more vigorously, history may have played out quite differently. Indeed, in the summer of 1864, Abraham Lincoln made a gloomy prediction about the outcome of the upcoming presidential election. He wrote: “I’m going to be beaten… and unless some great change takes place, badly beaten.” The American Civil War had dragged on for over three years, and the public blamed the president for the current stalemate against the Confederacy and for the appalling numbers of killed and wounded. Without a change in the fortunes of the war, Lincoln believed that he had no chance of being elected for a second term, and that he would be defeated by the Democratic candidate George B. McClellan, the former Union general and hero of Antietam. In “Decided on the Battlefield: Grant, Sherman, Lincoln and the Election of 1864,” Johnson examines the events of a critical year in United States’ history, when the course of American history might have taken a radically different direction. If McClellan had won the election, everything would have been different: the Democrats planned to end the war immediately, grant the South its independence, and let the Confederacy keep its slaves. If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: See also the Amazon pages for “Decided on the Battlefield”: .