Burnside's bridge, Sharpsburg, Maryland, 1996
A deluge of US Civil War books will be upon us as the 150th anniversary passes. Many will mention this bridge. I'm not a fan of "what if" when it comes to war. But many say that had Burnside not become so fixated on this bridge that he forgot about the battle, the Civil War might have ended in on this battlefield in September 1862. Its a tempting idea, but supposes McClellan would have pressed a decisive victory. This was not in his character.
In any case, to play with such an idea misses the entire point of that war; we had entered an age where it was insufficient to defeat an army, you had to defeat the nation. Its been the theme of almost every major war since.