Until Every Drop of Blood Is Paid: A More Radical American Civil War

The idea of kind ol' Bobby Lee, the gentleman military genius, opposed by careless butchers was a powerful one. I think any semblance of honor must be stripped from the architects of secession. Meaning, poor whites can happily believe that their grandparents fought honorably for home and hearth, but the Confederate leadership must be denounced as traitors to humanity who tricked the poor Southern man into fighting against his interests. Something of a "clean Wehrmacht" myth to allow the Confederates to rationalize their defeat and still condemn their leaders, as horrible as that myth is in real life and would be ITTL since those Southern soldiers have taken willing part in terror and massacre, would be useful for Reconstruction.

Thats the other thing, what will happen to the union gorillas and the confederate ones. I can see the army's personal being punished for their crimes but its a little more difficult with partisans given that there are union loyal ones.
I think some committees should be established to punish the worst Union criminals. Those who fought because it allowed them opportunities to kill and loot, rather than because of Union and Liberty; and those who were so brutal that no one would question them being hanged. Undoubtedly, some criminals will escape unscathed because they sided with the Union, but some should be hanged to show the South that justice will be impartial and swift.

It is an interesting balance of ideological imperatives at work with Radical Republicans. On the one hand there is the stain of America's Original Sin that has to be obliterated, by whatever means necessary. On the other hand, there was a deep belief that the U.S. constititional order was the best ever devised by man, which is why they were so dedicated to preserving it whole, everywhere. The more you tinker with the actual structures, the more that imperative gets called into question.
Some radicals were willing to even advocate for Northern secession IOTL, so I could see them reasoning that as long as the principles are the same, it's permissible to change the structure. But yeah, it wouldn't fly with the moderates. Besides, some radicals were opposed to disenfranchisement IOTL because it's an obvious contradiction to advocate republican government yet rule over large swathes of people without a say in public affairs. They may not have such qualms ITTL, but although I think that disenfranchisement will go farther and last longer than IOTl, it's not a permanent solution. That's why land and guns for the Black community will be so important, together with stronger laws.
 
So this was the high-water mark of the Confederacy... I'm really not feeling it. The battle just feels like a "best hits", of Malvern Hill, Glendale, Gettysburg, and even Union Mills in Gingrich's "Gettysburg" novel. Even more, it doesn't really feel like a Union victory. If Reynolds had learned from Lee's moves and countered them, or even Lee's victory disease (which I have some issue with, because OTL it took him many victories over almost two years to get to that point while here he's only won one and a half times (even if that one was huge)) had been the cause it would have been fine. But most of the victory was from outside sources: Hill sick and Jackson fatigued. It doesn't feel "earned" because the AoNV was far from 100%.

Still, I'm looking forward to them being ground down into dust. I'd love it if you had Lee actually pull off his North Anna plan, only for the Union to shrug it off and replace all their loses in days/weeks, just to show the South how truly lost their cause was.
 
So this was the high-water mark of the Confederacy... I'm really not feeling it. The battle just feels like a "best hits", of Malvern Hill, Glendale, Gettysburg, and even Union Mills in Gingrich's "Gettysburg" novel. Even more, it doesn't really feel like a Union victory. If Reynolds had learned from Lee's moves and countered them, or even Lee's victory disease (which I have some issue with, because OTL it took him many victories over almost two years to get to that point while here he's only won one and a half times (even if that one was huge)) had been the cause it would have been fine. But most of the victory was from outside sources: Hill sick and Jackson fatigued. It doesn't feel "earned" because the AoNV was far from 100%.

Still, I'm looking forward to them being ground down into dust. I'd love it if you had Lee actually pull off his North Anna plan, only for the Union to shrug it off and replace all their loses in days/weeks, just to show the South how truly lost their cause was.
I understand if this doesn't feel like a great narrative moment, and that's because life often doesn't make narrative sense. Victories are often the result of outside factors or coincidences. I do think the victory is the fault of the Confederates' hubris, which has been bolstered by 3 previous triumphs (Peninsula, Bull Run, Frederick). In this case, I think the victory disease is somewhat justified because when Lee took the reins, everything had been going wrong for the Confederacy in the East. They had lost the First and Second Maryland Campaigns and Anacostia, and the enemy was at the gates of Richmond. Enter Lee and not only he turned the tide, he destroyed the enemy. Up to Union Mills it seemed that indeed he was capable of doing anything, for Hooker failed at Bull Run and Reynolds at Frederick. This hubris was also shown in how they thought the Black troops were useless and would simply break. It also responds to factors outside the story, in this case, that I partially wrote myself into a corner - another big Confederate victory or just a semi-triumph like OTL's Antietam would have turned this into a Confederate victory TL.

I mean, the Peninsula Disaster is already kind of like that - Lee destroyed two corps but the Army of the Susquehanna was back on the field very soon. Another similar moment may take place in the future, when trench warfare starts.
 
Abner Doubleday is definitely gong to be one of the most written-about, most-debated Union heroes of TTL's Civil War. Historians are going to be going as far as getting into drunken brawls at bars for at least the next 150 years over whether he was really a good general or just someone who was lucky enough to be in exactly the right place, at the right time, with troops of the right caliber to win great tactical victories twice in rapid succession. His aforementioned nickname "Forty-Eight Hours" is going to be repeated with affection as often as with derision TTL; I can envision a period humorist writing an affectionately satirical piece about how Doubleday drives everyone crazy with his painstaking deliberation, only to always end up where he's most needed at the most crucial moment and pull out the victory for the Union. And yeah - he might not want to go into politics any more TTL than he did OTL, but TTL he may not have a choice; state (I believe he was from New York?) and national Republican politicians are going to be banging on his door day and night to beg him to run for something.
 
True, they have a much better claim than OTL that there would have been a LIncoln victory by popular vote.But, I don't like the idea of a 2nd Civil War - nobody would want to start that much devastation. Even generations later.

Here's what might work well - an election that not only goes tot he House, but stays there. The election has had to go to the tates, and they can't decide. The Vice President elect can be acting President, but it would potentially cause huge conflict. Yes, it's been done in a TL at least once (on 1968), but you can do it again or do it in a different way.

Longstreet can't become head of the ANV, I don't think. Unless he leaves quickly - perhaps he is canned after ordering his troops to be humane to the black troops. He could do that now, in fact.

Reynolds can die or be killed anytime with Grant taking over. Or just seriously wounded.
 
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My only concern is that I would still like for Grant to end up as commander in-chief... but there's another way to accomplish that. I don't know if Doubleday had political ambitions? He never sought office OTL, and I don't think it's because of poor war service. Generals with far less auspicious careers did end up elected to political office.
IIRC he never sought office as he saw no reason to at first then when he joined the Theosophical Society he couldn't. Here as the Unions hero(again assuming things continue as is) he'd be the natural first choice as Lincoln's successor (assuming he's radicalized enough that is) and I can see him taking it.
 
Something of a "clean Wehrmacht" myth to allow the Confederates to rationalize their defeat and still condemn their leaders, as horrible as that myth is in real life and would be ITTL since those Southern soldiers have taken willing part in terror and massacre, would be useful for Reconstruction.
I appreciate you having the presence of mind to remain conscious of political strategy even when the implications of it are this unpleasant.

Many older Germans today remember a counter-culture beginning in 1968 that in some ways was even more bitter with the old guard than its contemporaries in the US or Britain - what else can you expect from a generation that had to deal with the fact that their parents were Nazis, or at least were ok with their Jewish neighbours being outed? The comforting fiction that all the Nazis either died in the war or were hanged in Nuremberg helped get Germany through the first few unstable years where the concrete had to set on a new democracy, but it set Germany up to have a severe generational confrontation once the first kids born after the war started entering adulthood, and they started really questioning Mutter und Vater about the 'Brown' years. The introduction to Peter Watson's The German Genius (a history of German intellectuals up to 1933) went into how post-war Germany's engagement with its own recent past changed - the first couple of decades saw little engagement with the Holocaust, then starting in the late 60s the intensity at which the Nazi past is grappled with increases, with a turning point reached in the 90s.

I say all this because of the obvious comparisons one can draw to that faced by the Reconstructed South. Following the war will be a generation of Southern whites born after slavery, who live parallel to black communities that are enfranchised citizens, legally-recognised as equal to whites, and that these communities began with very little and started slowly building something out of the ruins of the post-slavery economy just like how veterans of the Confederacy and their families had to. At some point, maybe with the help of an education outside the home or just a taste of the world outside of Pa's farm, it's going to dawn on many of those young whites, who never knew a world where blacks were legally inferior to white, that all of "those people", who work in factories and own farms and run small businesses and have professions and even serve in public office, just a couple decades ago were born and had died as property, worked and whipped in the field their entire lives as if they were animals, and their parents did nothing to stop it. It'll dawn on them that what they understand as "normal"- whites and blacks being equal and, at least de jure, integrated - was presented to generations of their ancestors, Ma and Pa included, as being a situation so horrifying to imagine, so apocalyptic, that avoiding it justified enslaving and torturing millions of human beings. Germans facing a similar horrible realisation at least had the succour that the unspeakable crime was the act of one generation and lasted "just" twelve years. Germany, coming to terms with the Third Reich, still has Goethe and Beethoven, but the South's crime engulfs it almost wholly; Washington and Jefferson had slaves too. The Civil War generation, taking some Sisyphean pride in their sacrifices to "Defend Hearth and Home" and then rebuild afterwards without having to have their noses shoved into their puddle of urine, can at least put the national mythos of the "Southern Way of Life" on life support; the Reconstructed generation, growing up after the cataclysm and realising that the fanaticism which forced the Civil War to happen and reach the depths it did was actually completely meaningless other than as a death ride for rich slaveowners, might be compelled to turn the life support off. Lord knows how white Southerners end up filling the nihilistic void that is left after that.
 
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Something of a "clean Wehrmacht" myth to allow the Confederates to rationalize their defeat and still condemn their leaders, as horrible as that myth is in real life and would be ITTL since those Southern soldiers have taken willing part in terror and massacre, would be useful for Reconstruction.
My thoughts exactly!
I mean, the Peninsula Disaster is already kind of like that - Lee destroyed two corps but the Army of the Susquehanna was back on the field very soon.
I think the main difference is that the union had the requisite manpower and the industrial oomph to recover from its crippling catastrophe, much like in the real world but this time its less of a drawn out slog.
Another similar moment may take place in the future, when trench warfare starts.
In the civil war?
Historians are going to be going as far as getting into drunken brawls at bars for at least the next 150 years over whether he was really a good general or just someone who was lucky enough to be in exactly the right place, at the right time, with troops of the right caliber to win great tactical victories twice in rapid succession.
Isn't that a big part of being a good general?
At some point, maybe with the help of an education outside the home or just a taste of the world outside of Pa's farm, it's going to dawn on many of those young whites who never knew a world where black was legally inferior to white that all of "those people", who work in factories and own farms and run small businesses and have professions and even serve in public office, just a couple decades ago they were born and had died as property, worked and whipped in the field their entire lives as if they were animals, and their parents did nothing to stop it. It'll dawn on them that what they understand as normality - whites and blacks being equal at least de jure integrated - was presented to generations of their ancestors, Ma and Pa included, as being a state so horrifying to imagine, so apocalyptic, that avoiding it justified enslaving and torturing millions of human beings. Germans facing a similar horrible realisation at least had the succour that the unspeakable crime was the act of one generation and lasted "just" twelve years. Germany, coming to terms with the Third Reich, still has Goethe and Beethoven, but the South's crime engulfs it almost wholly; Washington and Jefferson had slaves too. The Civil War generation, taking some Sisyphean pride in their sacrifices to "Defend Hearth and Home" and then rebuild afterwards without having their noses shoved into their puddle of urine, can put the national mythos of the "Southern Way of Life" on life support; the Reconstructed generation, growing up after the cataclysm and realising that the fanaticism which forced it to happen was actually completely meaningless other than as a death ride for slaveowners, might be compelled to turn the life support off. Lord knows how white Southerners end up filling the nihilistic void that is left after that.
This is incredibly intelligent. I wonder how much it might have been reflected in the real world had reconstruction been enforced. Also Washington emancipated his slaves upon his death and Jefferson despite owning slaves was an advocate of gradual emancipation.
 
Loved the chapter, sorry I missed it yesterday.
But, I don't like the idea of a 2nd Civil War - nobody would want to start that much devastation. Even generations later.
I disagree with the idea that people would be completely hesitant to start that sort of devastation. Civilization is a long story of people who really should know better than to kill each other continuing to kill each other. We're stubborn, ignorant things a lot of the time and there are always going to be fools who don't get the message.

That said, I agree that there wouldn't be the stomach for a general out-and-out civil war again. Though my reasons are mostly a function of material conditions, this current war is going to impoverish the south and if any sort of conflict comes out of what's left of the present generation after the war, or the next two or so generations to come, it's going to have a much shorter wick. They don't have the reserves or the means to sustain a large - drawn out conflict.

The demographics aren't there for it, the culture isn't there for it (some of the old Southerners will definitely have learned the right lessons, whether that's 30% or 80% , and the rest will be Negroes and Yankees) and any rebellion needs popular support to have legs.

But that doesn't preclude something relatively limited, but still a major rebellion.

I'm picturing something like an 1866 Riots spiralling into an short lived, but very explosive few weeks of conflict as leftover guerrillas use the insurrection to set up a Quixotic Revived Confederate government. They manage to set up enough of a government to put out a call to arms that only a trickle of men answer the call to and they hold out against the most initial attempts to put them down, but succumb the moment reinforcements show up.
It'd be a nice farcical capstone to the rebellion.

Or, down the line you could have something even less conventional, but still very consequential.

Read this if you want to hear my fanctiony idea for a more limited Civil War in the future:

Farther down the line you might be able to have something of an armed constitutional crisis.

I imagine that if an unreconstructed/reactionary candidate manages to take power through an electoral fluke and then a 1919/Bleeding Kansas style conflict breaks out regionally that a hot constitutional crisis can sustain itself long enough for it to be considered a civil war. But as something decidedly more limited than the OTL Civil War.

Something close to an American Paulista War maybe. At least in terms of intensity.

The regional conflict can be between Freedmen descendants and Neoconfederates, it could be some kind of Blair Mountain analog, it only matters that the President be on the side that the more popular opposition parties aren't, so that the conflict remains contained. All that it needs to be is ongoing, organized, and capable of escalation/expansion from its initial location.

The worse the situation gets, the more bloody reprisals there are, and the more that the governments involved refuse to either act against either side or are implicated in the conflict themselves, the more the battle lines can get drawn first within civilian politics and then in military terms. Sympathetic governors start mobilizing national guard militia units along the border to the state(s) affected, some send weapons, some send money, eventually some threaten to intervene directly.
The tensions eventually reach a fever pitch as groups stop launching raids and start holding down territories instead both within their respective states as well as on the borders with those outside of them.

Maybe it happens because some rogue militia happens to get ballsy or mistakes their level of popular support outside the region. Like say.... a Neoconfederate militia in South Carolina takes over a town in Freedmen controlled Georgia. All that matters is that the situation starts spilling over.

After which point, the calls for the president to act against the insurrectionaries will be unignorable.

When the President refuses to act against them (on account of dubious loyalties) through federal power, the situation falls into the hands of the governors bordering the states in question. But when the attempt is made to make good on the interventions to keep the peace, the president nationalizes the units being sent over state lines and orders a stay/countermand to the governors' orders. Most units ignore the nationalization and continue on with their mission. That's when the conventional conflict can truly be considered to start.

Most states outside of the affected region see to it to remain officially neutral, either because they're too geographically disparate to be of much good to the insurrection, too cautious, or they're controlled by parties opposed to the President and are thus, on the side of the Governor's mutiny rather than the President and Insurrectionaries.

While at the same time, the President's bold actions to not just remain aloof but actually run interference for what, at that point, would be considered a Confederate revival causes a split in the the national government.

Articles of impeachment are drawn up in the house/passed in the senate without a hearing by a majority from the President's opposition (probably some flavor of Republicans) and the Sergeant at arms is sent to arrest the president.

Declaring that the Congress has attempted to coup him, the president manages to flee to friendly territory as most of the cabinet is apprehended and held in indefinite detention.

The Speaker of the House assumes presidential authority after passing a motion providing for the transition of power in the case of the Chief Executive (and any officers preceding the Speaker in the line of succession) having been found in contempt of Congress.

The now ex-president (probably in his home state) raises a militia and seizes control of any military units willing to join with and arms any die hard supporters willing to volunteer.

The war of the Two Presidents probably wouldn't last too long once the former Speaker makes sure that their ascension is at least tolerated in the rest of the country. After which point the former President's uprising is put down, while initial regional conflict is cleaned up with it.

The situation gets historicized as a singular event even as the President/Insurrectionaries only remained tenuously connected even after the coup. The whole year is considered a bloody stressful mess and the scars in the region still run deep, but most of the casualties of the war are political.
 
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As a final point; Germany's mainstream consensus finally processing what had happened obviously doesn't mean that the country is completely united in condemning its past actions. In fact, one can argue, modern Germany is more divided about the Nazis than it was immediately after the war. Back then, everyone other than the tiny portion of the population that really resisted Nazi rule were, at least, all in one basket in having accepted the unacceptable and had gotten their hands bloody. As later generations were born, grew up, and reacted to the history, things have polarised between the majority who are disgusted by what happened and the minority who have only doubled down. There will inevitably be sons and daughters of rebels who, realising the promised race war hasn't come after a generation of the slaves being free, instead just pivot towards claiming that racial equality and multiculturalism is the race war, a long con to prepare for the final extermination of Dixie and that Knights for the White Race have to rise and strike first before it happens. Polarisation between the children of the Confederacy who claim the South must rise again and those who instead reject their heritage and embrace the new Union could make for the most bitter dividing lines in a second civil war - families and friend groups will be fractured, with on one side people who see their opposite as degenerate traitors to the white race and to Dixie herself, and on the other people who see their opposite as barbaric cultists will would start up the torture and bloodshed all over again, squandering the South's chance to be born anew.
 
racial equality and multiculturalism
Racial equality maybe... But multiculturalism seems extremely anachronistic. What multiculturalism? Between what cultures? If de jure racial equality persists and and de facto racial equality is realized in large pockets within the next few decades Ebonics might not be extant in the modern era, rather southern blacks might be completely culturally subsumed into Yankeedom. Further the south had a Jewish cabinet member who served as secretary of state and secretary of war, they also made extensive use of Native American troops. Now replace multiculturalism with miscegenation and maybe you have a point.
 
But that doesn't preclude something relatively limited, but still a major rebellion.

I'm picturing something like an 1866 Riots spiralling into an short lived, but very explosive few weeks of conflict as leftover guerrillas use the insurrection to set up a Quixotic Revived Confederate government. They manage to set up enough of a government to put out a call to arms that only a trickle of men answer the call to and they hold out against the most initial attempts to put them down, but succumb the moment reinforcements show up.
It'd be a nice farcical capstone to the rebellion.

Or, down the line you could have something even less conventional, but still very consequential.
Honestly, if it gets this bad - and it might - I wonder if the postwar government wouldn't decide it's just better to create some wholly, 100% freedmen states.

The kind of cultural change you really want to achieve is a multi-generational project, at the least. And in the 19th century? It will be especially difficult.

Reading Thaddeus Stevens at certain moments, I almost think he would entertain something like that. Maybe pick a few Deep South states, and do some population exchanges. Or just redraw boundaries to find something that works.

It's a drastic step, but if it turns out people simply can't live together without lots of violence, then maybe they have to live apart: Or at least, that might be a last ditch epiphany. This obviously isn't getting them to the goal of a harmonious multi-racial society, but if the alternative is massive bloodshed and Northern society just doesn't have the commitment and agility to take the long and hard road, it could end up being the least bad option.
 
My only concern is that I would still like for Grant to end up as commander in-chief... but there's another way to accomplish that. I don't know if Doubleday had political ambitions? He never sought office OTL, and I don't think it's because of poor war service. Generals with far less auspicious careers did end up elected to political office.
I mean, the thing is Lincoln was very reluctant to bring Grant to the status of commander-in-chief. While Lincoln celebrated Grant's achievements at Chattanooga, he was worried that Grant had political ambitions and a lot of politicians on the more conservative bent were trying to promote Grant to push back on emancipation. Also, Grant here seems less successful compared to the other three commanders. Thomas and Reynolds have smashed their respective opponents while Grant still faces a defiant A.S. Johnston at Vicksburg. Mind you, Vicksburg was a tougher nut to crack than the other two, but that's not what the politicians see.
 
So this was the high-water mark of the Confederacy... I'm really not feeling it.
To add other musings I've had, I think one of the issues is that I'm working backwards, so to speak. First, I decide what I want to happen, and then I decide how it happens. In this case, I wanted Lee defeated and the Black troops to play an important part in that. After deciding on those goals, I looked for justifications for those events to take place. This because I started the TL with an overarching goal of a more successful Reconstruction. Originally, I was going to simply do a Lincoln lives TL, but decided that was not enough to change things. There is also how I feel way more comfortable with political and social aspects, both when it comes to knowledge and to writing. I still think my finest updates deal with political affairs, and as a result most of my battles end up like a "greatest hit" compilation of OTL battles. I was, to be completely frank, a little unhappy with how the battle turned out because I felt the events previous to the battle weren't dramatic enough, and that I was unable to make the charge of the USCT a victorious moment. But well, those are my limits as a writer, I suppose. I would be open to a partial rewrite in order to give the update a tighter narrative and improve it, if anyone with more writing experience is willing to lend a hand. I would even be willing to allow a more talented writer to rewrite the update themselves.

Ultimately, all of what I write is to serve the main goal of Reconstruction, and thus I first consider politics and then the military situation. That, I feel, makes my military updates somewhat lacking. I apologize if anyone found the update not good enough and are as always welcome to criticism and advice.

Abner Doubleday is definitely gong to be one of the most written-about, most-debated Union heroes of TTL's Civil War. Historians are going to be going as far as getting into drunken brawls at bars for at least the next 150 years over whether he was really a good general or just someone who was lucky enough to be in exactly the right place, at the right time, with troops of the right caliber to win great tactical victories twice in rapid succession.
Oh yeah, I can definitely envision that. He will be a controversial figure, and I can see schools of thought of Doubleday the lucky bastard and Doubleday the second Napoleon and even Doubleday, the decent one. A consensus would be difficult to reach, to say the least. And yes, Doubleday would probably be forced to be a politician at some point. I don't know if he would be the talented President Reconstruction needs, however, but let's add his name to the list of possible Lincoln successors.

True, they have a much better claim than OTL that there would have been a LIncoln victory by popular vote.But, I don't like the idea of a 2nd Civil War - nobody would want to start that much devastation. Even generations later.

Here's what might work well - an election that not only goes tot he House, but stays there. The election has had to go to the tates, and they can't decide. The Vice President elect can be acting President, but it would potentially cause huge conflict. Yes, it's been done in a TL at least once (on 1968), but you can do it again or do it in a different way.

Longstreet can't become head of the ANV, I don't think. Unless he leaves quickly - perhaps he is canned after ordering his troops to be humane to the black troops. He could do that now, in fact.

Reynolds can die or be killed anytime with Grant taking over. Or just seriously wounded.
Sorry for not being clear, but I meant a Second Civil War many years in the future, like 1930 or so.

I have some interesting plans for Longstreet. I'll just say that come the end of the war he won't be a Confederate anymore.

IIRC he never sought office as he saw no reason to at first then when he joined the Theosophical Society he couldn't. Here as the Unions hero(again assuming things continue as is) he'd be the natural first choice as Lincoln's successor (assuming he's radicalized enough that is) and I can see him taking it.
At the very least I suppose Doubleday would never abandon the Black community. Btw, I'm looking for a Radical Republican candidate, military or not, for Lincoln's successor. Anybody got any candidate in mind?

I appreciate you having the presence of mind to remain conscious of political strategy even when the implications of it are this unpleasant.

Many older Germans today remember a counter-culture beginning in 1968 that in some ways was even more bitter with the old guard than its contemporaries in the US or Britain - what else can you expect from a generation that had to deal with the fact that their parents were Nazis, or at least were ok with their Jewish neighbours being outed?
I envision such a reckoning around the 1890's and 1900's, when Populist movements swept the United States IOTL. It's a very complex issue, especially because slavery was an evil sustained during centuries not by a Party, a government, or a few individuals, but by an entire society.

In the civil war?
Later in the war, especially after the Overland Campaign, both Union and Confederate lines were reinforced by many lines of trenches, making assaults difficult and bloody. That's why the Civil War is sometimes said to be a direct precursor of WWI.

Loved the chapter, sorry I missed it yesterday.
Thank you! Always glad to count with your support!

I'm picturing something like an 1866 Riots spiralling into an short lived, but very explosive few weeks of conflict as leftover guerrillas use the insurrection to set up a Quixotic Revived Confederate government. They manage to set up enough of a government to put out a call to arms that only a trickle of men answer the call to and they hold out against the most initial attempts to put them down, but succumb the moment reinforcements show up.
It'd be a nice farcical capstone to the rebellion.
I like this idea, as a way to show the North that Southern terrorism is real (whereas many dismissed it as rumors or exaggeration IOTL) and that Southern opposition to Reconstruction is an attempt to revive the Confederacy, if not formally at least in ideals.

There will inevitably be sons and daughters of rebels who, realising the promised race war hasn't come after a generation of the slaves being free, instead just pivot towards claiming that racial equality and multiculturalism is the race war, a long con to prepare for the final extermination of Dixie and that Knights for the White Race have to rise and strike first before it happens.
It's a sad fact that even this wouldn't be able to eradicate racism and prejudice. In fact, free from the Lost Cause, some Southerners would probably unabashedly and proudly claim that they were fighting for White Supremacy and should fight for it again.

Reading Thaddeus Stevens at certain moments, I almost think he would entertain something like that. Maybe pick a few Deep South states, and do some population exchanges. Or just redraw boundaries to find something that works.
The prospect of ethnic cleansing is an uncomfortable one, but it'd be possible, I agree. I can also see some Confederates voluntarily abandoning states where the Republicans are especially strong due to large Black populations as a way of escaping "Black rule". I do not know if they would redraw states. Perhaps if the theory that the South forfeited their status as states and reverted to territories gains steam... But, I don't think Lincoln would approve of this "territorialization".

I mean, the thing is Lincoln was very reluctant to bring Grant to the status of commander-in-chief. While Lincoln celebrated Grant's achievements at Chattanooga, he was worried that Grant had political ambitions and a lot of politicians on the more conservative bent were trying to promote Grant to push back on emancipation. Also, Grant here seems less successful compared to the other three commanders. Thomas and Reynolds have smashed their respective opponents while Grant still faces a defiant A.S. Johnston at Vicksburg. Mind you, Vicksburg was a tougher nut to crack than the other two, but that's not what the politicians see.
I hadn't considered those. And yes, Grant has not achieved such success yet. Well, ending the war as one of the heroes of the Union instead of the only and greatest hero is still a fitting end to our Grant. And it leaves the possibility of Grant the President open, since lesser war heroes were often able to leverage their status.

He can always buy one from the Russians through Seward's Folly.
The prospect of Confederates sent to Alaska is a funny one. I suppose there's nothing ITTL that would change the events surrounding Alaska, so it would probably end as American territory anyway, right?
 
Longstreet no longer a Confederate by wars end? Does Pete end up defecting back to the Union before things really get bad? Also Benjamin Butler I could actually see as president with a more radical Republican party.
 
on this grant disscussion perhaps lincoln wanting to get reelcted chooses grant as he's politicaly neutral and lincoln is surer of him then Reynolds ?
lincoln was still a politician after all and he may take the decision that with so many talented generals he can afford to have the general in chief title for political reasons?
 
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