Blood Red Cotton- A Confederate Timeline

The Dixie Revolution/Introduction
Blood Red Cotton- A Confederate TL


Chapter One: The Dixie Revolution/Introduction


Well, for a start, I suppose that I ought to introduce this TL a bit more fully. There are a great number of fantastic CSA timelines on this site, and I hope to “throw my hat in the ring”, so to speak. In coming up with this idea, I have been influenced by TastySpam’s magnificent Dixieland, The Country of Tomorrow, Everyday, thekingsguard’s excellent To Live and Die in Dixie, and my own Half a Giant. However, I ought to give the usual disclaimer that in no way do I condone slavery or racism of any sort. So, the basic pitch here is that the South decides not to violate Kentucky’s neutrality, thus ensuring that the Western Theatre is never opened up. With substantially more men at their disposal, the Rebel armies are much stronger at Antietam, and are able to take Baltimore in late September. The British and French follow this up with diplomatic recognition. However, the Confederacy soon discovers that independence might be more trouble than it’s worth…


Some things I hope to include in this TL:

  • An independent Poland in the mid-1870s

  • Communism becoming a major political force without the formation of the USSR

  • India gaining independence twenty years earlier

  • An independent Kentucky

  • Japan never becoming a major power

  • A restored Byzantine Empire

  • And more!
Before we get going, I want to make something clear. A number of my posts on this site have pertained to the CSA, and I have taken an interest in numerous Civil War-related threads. However, I want to say that I wholeheartedly condemn Lost Causerism, slavery, etcetera. My interest in the historical question of the Confederacy's hypothetical future does not extend to any sympathy for the Southern cause.
So, here we go…

"When it is remembered that there was no guarantee, absolutely none, in the summer of 1861 that things would go as well for the Dixie cause as they did, the degree of spirit shown by the Southern people and government is really quite astounding. Now, of course, we know that there was every reason for optimism, that Jefferson Davis had, in effect, a royal flush sitting in his hands while Lincoln was left holding an off-suit flush, to use a poker analogy. Yet, the question as to why the Dixie people held out through trial and tribulation time and again in this Confederate project of theirs, is one well worth asking. And the answer, I think, is that once a drop of their blood had been spilt at Yankee hands, that there could never be any going back, that the die had been cast. As it turned out, just not being Yankees was enough to constitute a national identity..."
- Howard Zinn, A People's History of the Confederate States, Southern Publishing House, 1984

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May 13, 1861:

Rebel artillery poured down upon the beleaguered garrison of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina. The state had seceded from the Union several months before over the burning question of slavery, the question which had driven Abraham Lincoln to the White House. While hopes and expectations as to what the new leader might do were varied, the state authorities of South Carolina had not wanted to take the risk. On December 20, 1860, they had seceded from the Union. Nobody knew quite what might happen at the time, but a pattern quickly formed. The state had been joined over the next few weeks by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee, in that order. Now, in the name of the new Confederate States of America, the South Carolinian militia was shelling Fort Sumter. The garrison had been promised relief by President Lincoln, who was determined to take a hard line on this new, treasonous republic, but barring the arrival of a large number of fresh regiments immediately, there wasn't much that Washington, DC. could hope to do...

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May 20, 1861:

Jefferson Davis sat alone in his office in Montgomery, Alabama. The formerly sleepy Southern city was now the capital of a new nation, and he was its first president. Oh, to be sure, he had not been too sure at first about this project. War was hell, and inflicting it upon the people of his beloved Dixieland was something about which he felt extremely uneasy. Yet, the die had been cast, the Rubicon crossed. He would lead the Confederate States of America to victory… or death. At that moment, there came a knock on his door.

“Enter!” he cried, and in walked a young soldier. The boy couldn’t have been more than twenty or so, and still looked rather awkward in his grey uniform. Nonetheless, he was clearly awed to be in the presence of his new leader. “Aah, Simpkins. What is it?”

“Well, Mr. President, sir, this here just came for you, sir.” said Private Simpkins, handing Davis a brown envelope. “It’s from Lexington, sir, and they said it’s right important. More than that, sir, I don’t know.”

“Alright.” said Davis, wondering what this might be. “Thank you kindly. You just run along now.”

“Yes sir!”, said the young soldier, and he exited Davis’ office. Davis reached into his desk and removed a letter opener. He noticed that the stamp on the letter still bore the Stars and Stripes, and was mildly irritated by that. Still, with the war only a week old, such things were bound to occur. And Kentucky had never actually joined the new CSA, so it was to be expected.

Your Excellency,

When I received the news that the Yankee president Lincoln had come to power, determined to end once and for all the peculiar institution which we so cherish, I was, like so many of our good citizens, appaled. Thus, when our brave brothers in South Carolina took the step of declaring their independence from Yankee tyranny five months ago, emulating the actions of Washington and Jefferson eighty years prior, I was enthralled. My sympathies, and indeed those of the whole state of Kentucky, are with you and your noble crusade to create a purer nation through cannon and rifle.

Yet, I regret to tell you that I will be unable to take an active part in your project. My state is a deeply divided one, sir. While a great many of our people live a way of life akin to those in your country, all too many seek for us to follow the Yankee route of industrialization and trade. I find myself caught between two extremes, sir. Furthermore, should the state of Kentucky join the Confederacy, we would no doubt be assailed by a most vicious Yankee torrent of force, which would rapidly lay waste to our beloved land and leave your own territory exposed to attack. Thus, I declare to you, sir, that Kentucky will remain neutral in this conflict. Any encroachment upon our territory by men under the banner of the Confederate Army will leave us with no choice save to welcome Yankee troops in, and vice versa. You may rest assured, sir, that I am sending a considerably less comradely letter to President Lincoln, warning him that should Yankee troops enter our country without invitation, we will unhesitatingly align ourselves with the Confederate cause.

Respectfully,

Beriah Magoffin

Governor of Kentucky


“Damnation.” muttered Davis. With Kentucky out of the war, his goal of unifying the South had already suffered a considerable setback. Yet, Magoffin had made himself very plain. Kentucky would not, for the moment at least, voluntarily join the Confederacy. An invasion would only allow the Yankees to swiftly move into Tennessee. And on the bright side, Kentuckian neutrality would shorten the Confederate front considerably. Davis picked up a pen, dipped it in ink, and began to draft a letter to Leonidas Polk, Confederate commander in the west. Under no circumstances would a single man in grey be permitted to enter into Kentucky.

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By the end of June 1861, it was inescapably clear that Lincoln's attempts to preserve the Union intact by peaceful means had failed. The Confederate States of America had been formed, with Jefferson Davis as President, a capital in Richmond (it had been moved from Montgomery on May 29), and a Constitution in the works. Whether or not Lincoln liked it, there was not a series of insurgents to be stamped out down South. There was a nation to be conquered.



The Union high command saw success right around the corner in the first few months of the war. In their eyes, a short, sharp, powerful blow into northeastern Virginia would blow the Army of Northeastern Virginia to smithereens, take Richmond, and force the Confederacy to capitulate. To that effect, Brigadier General Irvin McDowell led his forces a short distance from Washington, DC. to the town of Manassas, starting what would become known in Union circles after the fact as the Battle of Bull Run, and in Confederate ones as the Battle of Manassas. Both sides expected a quick and thrilling victory: in fact, some civilians from Washington, DC. and Manassas both came to view the battle, cheering and as happy and carefree as though it were a football match. McDowell started things off on the wrong foot straight away by launching a failed attack on the left of the Confederate forces. The defending Confederate troika of PGT Beauregard, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Joe Johnston managed to repulse the attack, and the battle dragged on. In the early afternoon, numerous junior Federal commanders tied themselves down in attacks on Rebel positions on Henry Hill, a local piece of high ground, and it was then that the Confederates unleashed their counterattack. As the Union armies attempted to shove south-east, Colonel JEB Stuart's cavalry charged north into the Union right. The broken Federal forces fled, leaving Manassas solidly in Confederate hands and the eager Washingtonians fleeing in panic. Triumphant Rebel yells scattered across the plain for the rest of the day. With the field in Confederate hands, the first major threat to the CSA had been quelled. There was now little threat to Richmond, at least in the short term, and some in Union circles feared an attack on Washington, DC. The Confederates, however, had other plans...



Following the fiasco (from the Northern perspective, at least) at First Manassas, the Union reshuffled its command. A new force was created, the so-called Army of the Potomac, under the command of Major General George B. McClellan, who would ultimately become one of the most important figures in the fight for the Union. The Army of the Potomac had responsibility for defending Washington, DC., as well as ensuring that the Army of Northern Virginia did not try to break out into Maryland or the Delmarva peninsula. However, they need not have worried. Robert E. Lee, McClellan's opposite number, was uninterested in a knockout blow for the remainder of 1861, content to build his Army of Northern Virginia and make his move in 1862. Several skirmishes and minor battles took place in western Virginia, which had considerable pro-Union sympathies, as its population consisted largely of impoverished miners and small farmers, for whom trade with Yankee states was an essential pillar of the economy and saw no need to fight and die for slavery. This had the effect of shoving Rebel lines southeast in the state.


All things considered, the Confederacy had done reasonably well in 1861. Fears that they would have been swamped by US forces had been shown to be baseless. The only ground gained by the Americans had been northwestern Virginia and a few strips of land in Missouri, in the so-called “Western Theatre”. They could effectively afford to stand on the defence for now and wait for the Yankees to make a mistake. In the leadership category, the Rebels were certainly superior. Lee, for example, was in every way a better general than McClellan.


The most important objective for the Confederate government was to obtain diplomatic support. If another country was willing to provide them with treatment as an equal, then there was no doubt in Davis’ mind that he could win. And indeed, some in Europe were eying the Confederate project with interest, wondering how they could turn it to their own ends…

By the end of 1861, the first phase of the Dixie Revolution was over. Already, a separate Confederate identity had been formed, one based around being Americans of a kind, but most certainly not Yankees. Already, the Confederate people looked upon themselves as the real Americans, the ones following the legacy of 1776 through to its logical conclusion...
 
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Close Enough Ain't Good Enough
Chapter Two- Close Enough Ain’t Good Enough


“Materially speaking, the Confederacy was at an extreme disadvantage from the get-go. The United States was a third as large again as the territory under its control, and held almost all of the important war industries in the USA. Furthermore, it retained access to the wider ocean, something denied to the Dixielanders throughout the entire war. Yet, one attribute of the Rebels ensured that their suave diplomacy could see them through against the odds- generalship.”

-William Culpepper, Professor Emeritus of History at Richmond University, speaking in a lecture in 1973.


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By Christmas Day of 1861, all the factors for a real “nation” in the conventional sense were in place. The Confederacy had a government, constitution, army in the field, and national identity. Granted, it had yet to achieve foreign recognition from any other power, but plans were being devised to do that. Yet, the top figures in Richmond were aware of the essential problem they faced. Namely, using almost any objective standard by which one can measure the quality of an army, the Union was superior. Were it to fully mobilise, it would outweigh the Rebels, very approximately, by 3:1 in terms of manpower, and the gap in industry was astronomically larger than that. The US Navy, too, could run rings around its barely existent Confederate counterpart. Finally, all of these factors combined to produce a depressing truth: namely, that the Union could afford one or two major defeats, whereas the Rebels could not. Confederate strategy throughout 1861 was thus to let the Yankees wear themselves down periodically in a series of minor battles, and to only actually engage when victory was certain. This would then be followed by one gigantic offensive to convince Lincoln that no end was in sight and that the best course of action would be to part ways with the South.



Four major defeats in only a few months- Manassas, Wilson's Creek, Carnifex Ferry, and now Ball's Bluff- proved a serious blow to Union morale and seemed to confirm the Rebel strategy. Although they were, for the most part, not extremely serious losses, the fact that even typically jingoistic wartime newspapers kept reporting of Confederate victories here and there without corresponding Union victories played its part in increasing frustration amongst the Union high command. On December 9, 1861, the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War was founded. Its main philosophy was that somewhere in the USA, there was a pro-Southern conspiracy that had led to these stunning reverses. Its main targets were officers and senators who were Democrats, as they were viewed as a fifth column. Its chairman was the Ohio senator Benjamin Wade, who was a known Radical Republican- namely, a fanatical abolitionist who wanted to eradicate slavery entirely and pursue a harsh reconstruction postwar. Anyone (barring, of course, President Lincoln) who was not known to be a Radical Republican could fall prey to the Committee. In particular, officers who were defeated often found themselves hauled before this most unpleasant of tribunals.


After Ball's Bluff, the remainder of 1861 was spent in relative quiet. A number of inconclusive skirmishes were fought, including one which evicted the majority of pro-Union Native Americans from Oklahoma, but other than that, a relative calm came to the Civil War. For the North, the year had been one of stunning defeat. They had achieved no major successes in the border region, occupying northern Missouri but with the rest of the state firmly hostile to them. Kentucky still marched down its own path of neutrality, and only Maryland and Delaware were firmly on their side. The Rebel strategy, then, had proved itself beautifully. A new strategy would, however, be required for 1862...


“The best way to describe what the Yanks tried to do to us in 1862 is, I think, to think of a bullfighter and a bull. The bull is infuriated by the bullfighter’s red cape, and in its stupidity thinks that this tiny little man can’t really hurt me, can he? Thus, a single heavy charge, horns down, to crush the little man into a pulp ought to get the job done. Now, you tell me- is there any bullfighter in the world worth his salt who doesn’t know what to do in that situation? McClellan, he was the bull, and my father, he was the bullfighter. So were Lee and Longstreet all our generals. And look how it turned out.”

-General Thomas Jackson, Jr., CS Army, in a 1901 interview.


The best example of this “bull in a china shop” style of fighting was the Peninsular Campaign, which stretched from mid-March of 1862 to late May. In it, McClellan attempted to seize the Virginia Peninsula by means of an amphibious landing, followed by a long campaign westwards. The logic went that should the Rebel defenders crack, then Richmond, which lies just to the west of the peninsula, would be ripe for the taking. In theory, it was a decent enough idea, one which would no doubt make maximum use of the naval superiority enjoyed by the Union. And furthermore, at least from the Union perspective, this was surely the moment when they could reap the fruits of superior manpower and industry. One big push across this small peninsula and Richmond would be theirs!


Yet, again, the Peninsular Campaign was a failure for the same reasons that Manassas, Wilson’s Creek, Carnifex Ferry, and Ball’s Bluff had been- namely, that while the Union possessed material superiority, it did not know what to do with said superiority, while the Confederates were skilled at extracting everything they possibly could from the resources at their disposal. Now, Richmond judged that the moment was right to strike, so as to prove to certain possibly sympathetic governments that they really did know what they were doing, and were worthy of aid…


In June of 1862, with McClellan's Peninsula campaign having failed, Lincoln created a new formation: the Army of Virginia. This was done at least in part to relieve the overstretched Army of the Potomac, which presently had de facto responsibility for all Union operations save the guerrilla fighting in Missouri and the border skirmishes in New Mexico. The question was, however, who ought to command this new force? Lincoln looked around and found no-one with adequate experience for the task. No other general had done nearly as much as McClellan, and the commanders on the Missouri front were viewed as too inexperienced for a major task such as this. As such, Lincoln made the risky- and, it was later proven, deeply unwise- decision to entrust McClellan with the command of both armies. The Army of Virginia's mission was to protect the capital by drawing Rebel forces west. McClellan, however, moved with his typical inertia, thus giving Lee the time he needed to make plans for battle on his terms. His goal was to crush the Army of Virginia before the Army of the Potomac could receive reinforcement from the Virginia Peninsula garrison. With his two best corps commanders, Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet, each commanding half of the army, Lee began his offensive on August 15. After five days of combat, McClellan gave the order to retreat to the Rappahannock River line, which he quickly reached. Lee made no concerted attempt to prise the line open, instead opting to fight a series of skirmishes for five days. On August 26, however, Jackson routed the Yankees at the Battle of Manassas Station, working his way around Union corps commander Joseph Hooker's right flank to capture an important supply depot. McClellan panicked and ordered a retreat still further, undoing many of the gains made by Union forces in the first year of hostilities. When the Northern armies wheeled around and gave Lee battle, it was on the site of the very first Confederate triumph of the war: Manassas. The battle's result was rather predictable: General Lee, who many were already calling the "Confederate Alexander" licked the Northerners handily.

The defeat at Second Manassas tilted the strategic balance of the war towards the Confederacy. With the Army of Virginia thrown back to Washington, the world was, so to speak, Lee's oyster. Although the US capital itself was very heavily fortified and to strike directly towards it would entail very many casualties, it was a theoretical possibility. Another was to move north through the Shenandoah Valley to advance into and conquer Maryland, thus bringing the war to the US population while also threatening Washington, DC. Another advantage of a campaign in Maryland was that it might spark enough discontent with US rule that the largely pro-Southern population might rebel and join the Confederacy. Lee opted for the latter and drew up a very ambitious plan for the campaign. Confederate forces would cut through the Shenandoah Valley, take Baltimore, and force the US to come to terms. To accomplish this, Lee decided to spread his force out rather thinly. More and more troops were being pulled from the Confederate garrisons of Tennessee and on the Kentucky border, taking advantage of the so-called 'Western Theatre' being limited to skirmishes in Missouri and Arkansas.

The Army of Northern Virginia, when it crossed into Maryland, was roughly 75,000 strong. Of this force, much had come from the Confederate heartland in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, as well as along the border with neutral Kentucky. However, Lee found an unwelcome surprise waiting for him. Much of the population was unwilling to risk joining the Confederates as the poor farmers of the state had little stake in slavery and were more or less content with the status quo. McClellan, meanwhile, moved at his traditional snail's pace. He had a certain numerical superiority over Lee, roughly by a margin of 10,000. Unbeknownst to McClellan, however, Lee had undertaken a major gamble by dividing his force into four to capture the strategically significant town of Harper's Ferry. James Longstreet led one arm of the Army of Northern Virginia to Hagerstown, while Stonewall Jackson was entrusted with the capture of Harper's Ferry. Lee himself kept the remaining two columns under his control. Each Rebel column was just under 20,000 strong. And in one of those bizarre accidents of history, a Confederate messenger carrying copies of Special Order 191- Lee's instructions to his commanders detailing the campaign plans and revealing how far apart his force was spread- stopped to answer the call of nature on the road and in doing so accidentally lost the order! It was discovered by Corporal Barton Mitchel, a soldier from an Indiana regiment, who gave it to his superiors. When McClellan got his hands on the document, he must have smiled a wide smile of relief, for now, he knew that he had the weapon with which he could beat Lee.
And indeed, September 13, 1862, did belong to McClellan... only in that, it did not belong to Lee. Had a more decisive commander been in charge on that day, the fabled Army of Northern Virginia could have been crushed, or at the very least badly broken. As it was, McClellan decided to wait a fateful eighteen hours before attacking, giving Lee (who had heard about the loss of Special Order 191) critical time to withdraw. Lee decided to concentrate his force at the town of Sharpsburg, thus forcing McClellan into a battle, not on his terms. Along the way, Stonewall Jackson managed to deliver the Yankees a nasty blow at the Battle of Harper's Ferry, where a whopping 12,000 Union soldiers were captured. This had the effect of reducing the Army of the Potomac to the same numerical strength as the Army of Northern Virginia. And when it is remembered that Lee was a superior commander to McClellan and that the Federal troops were fighting on their soil, the Confederates had a good reason for optimism...


The last major battle of the Dixie Revolution commenced on September 17, 1862. 87,000 men fought under the Stars and Stripes, 50,000 under the Stars and Bars. McClellan, however, was convinced that anywhere between 100,000 and 120,000 Confederate troops opposed him, and made the fatal decision to commit his forces piecemeal, only feeding sixty thousand of his men into the battle. Lee, by contrast, attacked with his whole 50,000-strong force. An offensive by Union General Joseph Hooker early on in the day bogged down into a series of bayonet duels, while a mid-morning attack designed to bend back the Confederate left was also a dismal failure. By lunchtime, both sides had lost roughly 13,000 men, and two Federal corps commanders had become casualties. In the middle hours of the day, a series of Union attacks against the Rebel line faltered, due in large part to the strong earthworks in which the Rebels had entrenched, as well as Confederate artillery superiority. In the central sector of the front, known as 'Bloody Lane', there was little progress made, with the fighting disintegrating into a vicious back and forth that cost many lives. The afternoon was no different, with attritional fighting wearing both armies down, but neither side breaking through. The Northerners had lost 12,000 men, the Confederates 10,000. Lee now judged that he had enough strength to hold, and on the night of September 17-18, ordered his men to entrench. McClellan, meanwhile, judged his failure to crush Lee as a sign that the Confederates were far stronger than anticipated. Instinct told him to stand on the defensive, however, such a thing was impossible for political reasons. Every day that the Army of Northern Virginia stood on the soil of Maryland was an embarrassment for Lincoln and the whole United States, and McClellan remembered Lincoln's threat of firing him hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles. He resolved to throw absolutely everything he had at Lee on the next day, come what would.


Little sleep was had by either the Union or Confederate soldiers that night. The first day of Antietam had been exhausting for both sides and nearly every soldier shuddered at the thought of what they had been through in yesterday's gridlock. In the Union camp, there was fear and resignation. The men had just fought a vicious battle, one of the bloodiest in their nation's history, and achieved nothing. It had now been approximately eighteen months since the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and the Federal soldiers were well aware of the fact that their country had not managed to make any real progress in combatting the rebels. Especially after the horrors of yesterday, there was a real lack of confidence in McClellan. Nonetheless, as all soldiers do, they would do their duty come sunup. In the Confederate camp, the men were acutely aware of what would happen if they failed in the next day's fighting- the Yankees would crush them by weight of numbers. Added to this was the ferocity with which they entrenched. When sleep came to the Army of Northern Virginia, it came too late and was broken too early. There was much writing of letters to loved ones and praying on both sides of the line that night...


The men of the Army of Northern Virginia saw the sun ascend into the sky on the morning of September 18, 1862. When it rose, it saw the Confederate rifles and artillery pointed at it, as though it were the enemy. Filled with coffee and hardtack, but more importantly with elan and Dixie patriotism, and feeling somewhat secure behind the fortifications, Lee's men were ready to do their bit for the C.S.A. In the Union camp, there was tremendous nervousness as the men set out in blue, clutching their rifles. McClellan had buggered up offensive after offensive, throwing men away wastefully and trivially. Who was to say that they wouldn’t be next? The shadows were still long and the dew on the grass had yet to shorten as the first rifle shots rang out. The fighting simply continued where it had left off yesterday: the Union attacks across Antietam Creek against the Confederates all ran into Rebel artillery superiority and in many cases, a local numerical advantage. Today, McClellan was throwing everything he had into the battle, but the entrenched nature of the Confederate defence made up for this. By lunchtime, it was painfully clear that Lee would survive. Casualty levels for the Union were roughly 7,600, for the Confederates, 5,000. Should the battle be permitted to drag on for the rest of the day, simple math dictated that the Union would lose over four thousand more men than the next day, while the Confederates would lose a further 10,000. McClellan was simply unwilling to suffer such losses, and as such at 1:12 PM gave the order to retreat eastwards. Lee, however, was unwilling to let the Federals go so easily, and gave orders to pursue the retreating Northern troops. Longstreet's men came thundering down the Boonsboro Road, crashing into the Union right. Major George Sykes' V Corps, already battered, was utterly crushed, with Skyes himself killed. Although it had been a bloody two days, costing Lee nearly a third of the Army of Northern Virginia, the Battle of Antietam was his.


For Lincoln, Antietam was the last straw. On September 20, McClellan was given a dishonourable discharge and replaced by Ambrose Burnside. Burnside, however, inherited a seriously weakened Army of the Potomac. The losses would require time to recoup, and patching the front back together after the Army of Northern Virginia had disintegrated it would require scarce resources. Lee, by contrast, had the initiative, and the promise of further reinforcement from the Western Theatre, President Davis being more than willing to trade space in Missouri and Arkansas for resources for his top commander in a critical theatre. Having now won a major battle to the north of Washington, DC. he could roam more or less free in Maryland. While a head-on assault on the US capital was out of the question for the moment, as it would require bloodletting on a scale not possible for the damaged Army of Northern Virginia, a drive on Baltimore was the next logical conclusion. Lee began to rest his army, and positioned it so that a drive on Washington seemed more likely. Thus, when on September 28, the Army of Northern Virginia turned towards Baltimore, Burnside was in no real position to halt its progress straightaway. He had been too badly weakened by Antietam to prevent the city from falling into Lee’s hands, which it did on October 3.


Now, the Confederate strategy was paying its dividends at last. In the year and a half since the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the Union, in spite of an almost 3:1 advantage in men and material and near-total naval superiority, had failed to do anything except occupy northwestern Virginia. The CSA had, in effect, passed the litmus test for two countries: Britain and France. The most important geopolitical decision of the 19th century was about to be made, as the British and French ambassadors to the United States paid a rather unpleasant call to Abraham Lincoln, who still fondly believed that the Union could remain whole...
 
Map #1: 1862
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The situation after Anglo-French mediation brought an end to the Dixie Revolution.
 
So the US is going to be decidedly anti or at least ambivalent towards the Entente (Anglo-French) and the Confederacy is a poor substitute.
 
So far so good. Now that the war is over what's the plan? Do you plan to have the CSA recuperate before moving westward and gain the Pacific or maybe go down south and make new states in the Caribbean or parts of Mexico? I would guess Abraham Lincoln's chances of winning re-election are pretty much shot to all hell seeing as he just lost like 1/3 of the nation in under two years.
 
An independent Kentucky would seem pointless even to Kentucky, more likely it divides itself like Virginia. Also a restored Byzantium is far too late, Greeks of the time have nothing in common with their Roman past. An enlarge Kingdom of Greece is possible though.
 
So the US is going to be decidedly anti or at least ambivalent towards the Entente (Anglo-French) and the Confederacy is a poor substitute.

Most certainly.

So far so good. Now that the war is over what's the plan? Do you plan to have the CSA recuperate before moving westward and gain the Pacific or maybe go down south and make new states in the Caribbean or parts of Mexico? I would guess Abraham Lincoln's chances of winning re-election are pretty much shot to all hell seeing as he just lost like 1/3 of the nation in under two years.

The CSA would like to expand into Mexico as the first step to building a Caribbean empire, but for the moment French patronage of Maximilian is making that impossible. Lincoln will lose the 1864 election, although his opponent will not be George McClellan.

An independent Kentucky would seem pointless even to Kentucky, more likely it divides itself like Virginia. Also a restored Byzantium is far too late, Greeks of the time have nothing in common with their Roman past. An enlarge Kingdom of Greece is possible though.

A Republic of Kentucky update is coming soon, I promise. As for independent Byzantium, it will look very different from simply picking up where history left off in 1453.
 
A Nation Is Born
Chapter 3- A Nation Is Born

"The astounding thing about the latter twelve days of September 1862 is that Lincoln showed such little resolve to carry on the fight once Britain and France had made their positions known. That great resolve with which he had been previously credited upon numerous occasions was found to be lacking. And that was truly something which we in Richmond were taken aback by. After Great Britain extended relations to my administration seven days following our licking of General McClellan on the eighteenth of September, I discussed with General Lee via our correspondence the possibility of the British and Canadians opening up a second front in the vast north of the United States, and he was in agreement that his potential drive towards Baltimore was obliged to go ahead regardless of the political situation in place. It was assumed that it would take a further year's campaigning in conjunction with Great Britain for us to receive recognition by the United States Government, and it was a pleasant surprise to find that this was not in fact the case."
- Jefferson Davis, in an interview in his mansion in Vicksburg, June 6, 1888, a year and a half before his death.

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When the Army of Northern Virginia repelled McClellan's failed assault at Antietam on September 18, 1862, everyone assumed that that was just one more in a long string of Confederate successes since First Manassas. Lee had defeated McClellan countless times, yet somehow the Union managed to hold on, its sheer stubborness being all that prevented it from parting ways with the South. Lee immediately began to see what he could do to follow up on the taking of Baltimore, assuming- as was only logical- that the United States would fight on.

Yet, behind closed doors, the situation in Washington, DC. had radically changed. The American people had lost their appetite for war. Their sons had been thrown at the Confederates since June of 1861 and had failed to halt Lee, let alone capture any meaningful piece of Confederate territory. Why, with the taking of Baltimore, Washington DC was in fact encircled, and if something was not done fast, Confederate troops would stand on the White House lawn, and Lincoln would be made a prisoner. From the Yankee perspective, at least, the war had been lost.

Meanwhile, Great Britain was watching from the sidelines and saw an opportunity to carve out a new puppet state on the North American continent, thus punishing the United States for winning the Revolutionary War and for fighting the British Empire to a de facto draw in 1812. In fact, parallels between the situation of Dixieland in October 1862 and that of the United States in 1783 are worth mentioning. Washington had had no hope of paralysing the British, nor of driving the British off of all of North America. Likewise, an actual conquest of the United States by Confederate troops was pure fantasy. Yet, following the defeat at Yorktown, King George had lost his resolve to continue to throw men and money into the quagmire across the Atlantic, and decided to cut his losses. Thus, on September 22, British foreign minister Lord John Russel made a covert ploy to recognise the Confederacy. He expressed his abject horror at the losses caused (the two days of Antietam alone cost both sides 34,000 men) and requested that both Lincoln and Davis accept his proposal for a truce. At the same time, he pressured Prime Minister Lord Palmerston to move troops to Canada, and several brigades were sent to the Canada-New England border. Palmerston also offered to host a tripartite peace conference in London, and Davis was only too happy to agree. Lincoln sensed that if the United States did not participate, the Rebels would walk away from the conference with British diplomatic recognition, but also saw the horrid truth that if a United States delegation was sent, it would confer a certain legitimacy upon Richmond. Nonetheless, what choice was there but to go?

On October 18, one month after Lee's victory at Antietam, the London Conference opened. The British 'mediators' (if that word, conjuring up notions of fairness and impartiality, can, in fact, be utilised here) were Lord John Russel, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Lyons, British minister to the USA, and Benjamin Disraeli, who many suspected was Palmerston's pick for minister to the Confederacy. The United States sent Secretary of State William H. Seward and Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton, while the Confederate team consisted of Judah P. Benjamin, their own Secretary of State, and G.W. Randolph, the Confederate secretary of war. Kentucky Governor James Fisher Robinson, who had come into power the month before and followed the state's policy of vigilant, armed neutrality, was also present. The meetings were held at No. 10 Downing Street and dragged on from October 18 to November 2. It became painfully clear to the American team (and delightfully clear to the Southern one), that the British were essentially treating the Rebels as an independent country. Both sides kept their respective presidents informed of every development, and both Lincoln and Davis sent their delegations instructions via telegraph. Eventually, after two weeks of painstaking negotiations, the Treaty of London was signed, containing the following provisions:

  • One: All hostilities between the United States and the Confederate States shall cease immediately upon the signing of this document
  • Two: The boundaries of the Confederate States of America shall be designated forthwith: the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
  • Three: The area of Virginia under the occupation of the forces of the United States shall remain under the control of the United States.
  • Four: In the Indian Territory, a plebiscite is to be held, the choices to be between joining the Confederate States as a Territory or remaining in the United States as a territory.
  • Five: The United State of Missouri is to be partitioned along the thirty-eighth parallel, with the northern half remaining as the United State of Missouri. Its capital is to be in Columbia. The southern half is to be incorporated into the Confederate States of America as the eleventh state, under the name of Davis. The capital of Davis is to be Springfield.
  • Six: Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Government agrees to henceforth open diplomatic relations with the Government of the Confederate States of America with all deliberate speed, and to recognise the above as a sovereign nation amongst nations. The above agrees to open diplomatic relations with Her Majesty's Government with all deliberate speed.
  • Seven: The United States shall hereby and forthwith renounce, now and forever, any and all claim to the territory of the Confederate States of America
  • Eight: The United States does hereby agree to terminate forthwith the naval blockade of those stretches of coastline belonging to the Confederate States of America.
  • Nine: The United States shall withdraw all forces from the territory claimed by the Confederate States of America within fifteen days of the signing of this document
  • Ten: Not more than fourteen days from the signing of this document, a plebiscite shall be had in Kentucky, to determine the future of the territory. The inhabitants may seek admission to the United States of America, to the Confederate States of America, or to enter the community of nations as a sovereign state. In the event that the third option prevails, the Governments of the United States, Confederate States, and Great Britain do hereby agree to welcome the above into the family of nations and to establish diplomatic ties.
At 2:20 PM on November 2, 1862, the Treaty of London was signed. The Confederate States of America was now a nation, and the Dixie Revolution was over. It had been a quick conflict, one which had seen the CSA gain independence at a relatively low cost. Furthermore, the new nation now had allies in the form of Britain and France, to protect it from Yankee wrath. Additionally, a new Dixie identity had been crafted, one which the people would loyally fight for. Their resolve would be tested time and again throughout their nation's tumultuous history, however...
 
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If You Rebs Like Washington So Much, You Can Keep Him!
Chapter 4- If You Rebs Like Washington So Much, You Can Keep Him!

"The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were, it cannot be denied, wise men. They had a vision for a nation built around freedom and liberty, and of creating a genuinely perfect democracy. Yet, their first attempt failed. As much as it pained us to fight the state they created, I imagine that they'd be pretty pleased with the end result."
-Jefferson Davis, in a letter written in 1867.

"It is a fact that this nation was set up, at least in part, by men who hailed from the south of our border with what is now the Confederate States of America. That could no doubt explain a great many of the travails which this republic has so poorly managed over the past years. Would Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, have approved in the slightest of the calamity which we have suffered? Would they have handled it better?"
- Ulysses S. Grant, 1864
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Whole books have been written on the manner in which the people of Dixieland considered themselves the better Americans, the real Americans, the uncorrupted ones. To your average educated Confederate in 1863 (because granted, your average Confederate in 1863 was not exactly a scholar), the United States had started out alright. Even those Massachusetts, New England Yankee ones had been tolerable. For the first decade or so of the CSA's existence, many pamphlets were published and speeches given praising George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for their parts in writing the US Constitution, for example. In fact, the Dixie Founding Fathers had so much respect for Washington and Jefferson that they modelled the CS Constitution heavily off of its US counterpart. And of course, both Washington and Jefferson were slaveowners from Virginia of the quintessential Old South type. Thus, Confederate academia reached a consensus pretty early on that Washington and Jefferson were perfectly alright men. It was Ben Franklin, John Hancock, Sam Adams... all of those Yankees who had made conditions in the United States simply too hostile towards the Southern tradition for secession to be avoided any longer.

However, as the 1860s wore on, certain changes to this idea were made. For a start, talking about the "Second American Revolution" generally fell out of academic vogue, since the British and French were the ones keeping the Confederacy alive. Glorifying Washington's struggle against the British was undiplomatic and therefore unwise under such circumstances. But more importantly than that, the halo of victory had faded by 1870. More progressive politicians saw that the Dixie Revolution had been, first and foremost, fought for the planter class to preserve slavery and that that had been the country's sole raison d'etre. Such people (James Longstreet being one prominent example) also saw that such a platform was not a stable one on which to permanently build a nation. So, much as the Articles of Confederation, which had reflected in many ways the immediate grievances of the 1776 revolutionaries, were eventually scrapped and replaced with the Constitution, so public mythology of the Dixie Revolution changed in the 1870s, with Davis seen less as a second Washington and the CSA as the better America, but more as the Dixielanders as a separate people altogether from those of the USA, and Jefferson Davis as founding a separate nation for a separate people. Incidentally, by 1870 the term "Southron" had become somewhat of a slur in the Confederacy, as it implied that they were the southern half of something- that something being the USA. The fact that the Confederacy had far fewer Irish and Germans than the Union, for instance, was played up, as Confederate "social scientists" (basically racists who dressed well, worked in Richmond offices, and gave vent to their racism in quasi-academic papers) emphasised that the larger amount of English blood in your average Dixielander as compared to your average Yankee made them a better class of person.


Inferior class of people or not, the people of the United States were regally pissed off throughout the 1860s. The damned Rebs (that slur quickly caught on in the USA, as did Yanks in the CSA) had just delivered easily the most humiliating blow in the country's history, in cahoots with the British and French. It looked as though the Founding Fathers (well, not those damned Virginians, at any rate!) had been right to oppose the British, as they had to oppose democracy itself. All of their actions pointed squarely in that direction...right?

Just as in the immediate wake of the Dixie Revolution, Jefferson and Washington retained considerable respect in the CSA, opinion of them in the USA plummeted. If only they had taken firm action against slavery right from the beginning, went thought of the time, then surely the country would not be in this mess now! In fact, John Fremont, victor of the 1864 election, took the extremely controversial step in 1865 of renaming Washington, DC, to Franklinburg (after Benjamin Franklin) and of formally annexing the city to Maryland, before moving the capital up to Philadelphia. That ought to provide an effective measure of how much contempt Washington and Jefferson fell into following defeat...

The "melting pot" theme of American identity was also played up during the 1860s. In America, went this line of thought, we have all sorts of ethnicities rubbing shoulders. The Irish of Boston, the Germans of the Midwest, and to a much lesser extent the Chinese of the West Coast and Eastern Europeans of New York, were all compared to the mainly Anglo-Saxon white population of the CSA, which was portrayed as uniformly interested only in holding down its slaves. In this way, multiculturalism became a part of the American identity in the 1860s, in contrast with the much more Anglocentric CSA (at least when it came to whites).

Next up will be the issue of slavery and of approaches to it in both US and CS
 
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John Adams, as he was the first President from New England and stood up to the French.
Zachary Taylor is also much-admired for being the last president to win a war.
 
The CSA has twelve states?

1. Virginia
2. North Carolina
3. South Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Tennessee
6. Florida
7. Arkansas
8. Louisiana
9. Texas
10. Davis (southern half of Missouri)
11. Mississippi

What is the last one?
12.
 
The CSA has twelve states?

1. Virginia
2. North Carolina
3. South Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Tennessee
6. Florida
7. Arkansas
8. Louisiana
9. Texas
10. Davis (southern half of Missouri)
11. Mississippi

What is the last one?
12.

edit: Alabama
 
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Oops, well spotted. Thanks
In “A Nation is Born” section 2 of the Treaty of London you write down the Confederate States. Need to add Mississippi.

Wonder since the CSA is very close to England and is very Anglocentric if there will be a good amount of immigrants from Britain who may get into the whole slavery system to become de facto Southern aristocracy.

So do Confederates refer to themselves as Confederates (since they dropped Southron/Southerners)or is Dixielanders the common one?
 
Ah, thanks.

At this point, the only British who are immigrating in noticeable numbers to the CSA are investors hoping to make a quick buck. The Confederate aristocracy has almost no British immigrants in it.

Dixielanders is the most common term, followed by Confederates.
(Incidentally, ITTL, "Americans" refers solely to the people of the USA)
 
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