I read this story in the 1960's or 1970's. A platoon of modern soldiers accidentally time travel into the midst of a crucial civil war battle. They have their modern weapons in their possession. They struggle with the ethical question, to intervene or not? I cannot remember the title or the author.

  • I feel certain I've heard of this, but I can't find the specific one. Some close (but not close enough) matches include Ward Moore's "Bring the Jubilee" (1953) and Harry Turtledove's "The Guns of the South" (1992), or maybe something by Harry Harrison. You could also check the Wikipedia list of American Civil War alternate histories.
    – ConMan
    Dec 10 '14 at 23:25
  • There was an old Twilight Zone episode where a "modern" (60's) tank crew find themselves at Little Big Horn (Custer's Last Stand).
    – Joe L.
    Dec 11 '14 at 1:32
  • I've read this. The lads were WWII Paratroopers training the hills outside Oak Ridge TN. Something happened and they ended up in the Civil War, pretty close to the end. The southern Sargent wants to go over to the Rebs but looses the knife fight and so the company will help the Union. In the real world the Union army was able to sneak through the Confederates during the night and occupy the defenses of Nashville and defeat the Rebel attack...
    – tday
    Dec 11 '14 at 21:02
  • ...In the story, our lads, using their commando skills, carve a silent path through the Confederate sentries and, with their superior firepower, destroy the Confederate's attack. In the battle all of the up-time enlisted men are killed. The surviving officers gather up the modern weapons and throw them down a well.
    – tday
    Dec 11 '14 at 21:02
  • Can you remember anything else about the plotline?
    – Valorum
    Feb 8 '15 at 9:59

This is the short story "The Chronicle of the 656th" by George Byram. You can find it in the short story collection "The Fantastic Civil War" edited by Frank McSherry and S.M. Stirling of which I have a copy.

The story concerns the US Army's 656th RCT, on manoeuvres in Tennessee, in WW2. As I recall, they're equipped with mules. They are accidentally sent back in time by the undisclosed "first" nuclear bomb test made by the U.S. government. After scouts are sent out when firing is heard, and there are a number of incidents, the officers and men find that they are somehow back in the US Civil War. They're faced with the decision of what their next course of action is to be. The platoon is made of up men descended from both sides of the Civil War conflict. Hence, tensions rise as they realize they are in a position to swing the results of the Civil War one way or another.

I do no have a subscription so cannot verify. However, from what I understand, should you desire a slightly more "risqué" viewing, apparently there is also an online copy available in the March 1968 issue of Playboy (the first printing), and is available at the "Playboy Cover to Cover" site. WARNING -adult content...

Playboy Cover to Cover

656th Cover

  • You can read the full story online here in Playboy March 1968. Note that this link is (unsuprisingly) NSFW.
    – Valorum
    Feb 8 '15 at 16:12
  • 1
    This answer was confirmed correct by the OP in a comment on Literature.
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 11 at 15:30

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