A More Perfect Union: An Alternate History of the Land of the Free

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by HeX, May 22, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: United We Stand, Part One: Divided We Fall

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    "We'll fight 'em till Hell freezes over, Mister President. And then we'll fight 'em in the snow."
    -- Major General William Tecumseh Sherman

    "Why do men fight who were born to be brothers?"
    -- Major General James Longstreet, Commanding General of the Confederate States Army

    "If I owned the South and Hell, I would live in Hell and rent out the South."
    -- Major General Ulysses S. Grant

    "War means fighting, and fighting means killing."
    -- Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest

    "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."
    -- Major General Robert E. Lee, Commanding General of the United States Army



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    Abraham Lincoln's election was the final nail in the coffin on maintaining the Union. Civil Rights, the Panic of 1858, Carver v. Board of Ed., the reign of Roger B. Taney, the return of Nat Turner, and the March on Washington had all laid the path for the split of North and South, though the Secession Crisis' roots could be traced far further back, to the old days of slavery, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, and the Declaration of Independence. Practically every major event in American history up to that point had revolved around the grand question of free or slave, equal or segregated. The Civil War was inevitable.

    Lincoln's election proved something to the South: the North could easily walk all over them when it came to votes. It was clear that Rives and Taney had only been elected because of the Freedomite-Federalist Split. If all the states that had voted for the three Democratic-Republican candidates in the 1860 Election had just voted for one of them, even then, Lincoln would have won by a wide margin. Couple that with a Federalist-controlled Congress and a black man holding the second-highest elected office in the nation, and the South's worst nightmare had exited the bedroom closet and entered the real world.

    Tensions flared up all across the region. Marches in protest were held. Images and crude figures of Lincoln and Douglass were burned in effigy. A horrifying photo of a hanged Georgian black man with a sign around his neck reading 'Fredrick Douglas' (yes, the idiot who wrote it misspelled his name) was sent north and made its rounds in newspapers for months. Civil unrest, Lincoln could deal with. But what happened next, he didn't know if he could.

    Many, many high-ranking men in South Carolina--plantation owners, the governor, both state Senators, etc.--assembled in Charleston, an anti-Federalist hotspot. They began working on a list of impossible demands to send to Washington, D.C. as compromise for Lincoln in the White House. One of the included items called for the re-establishment of slavery south of the Mason-Dixon line with a constitutional amendment backing it. This list was assembled, with over fifty demands in all, and sent to the District of Columbia. On March 4, 1861, Honest Abe's first day on the job, it lay there waiting on his desk. President Lincoln showed it to Vice-President Douglass, who wrote one word--NO!--on the list and sent it back to Charleston. The people of South Carolina were not amused. On March 18, two weeks after Lincoln's inauguration, the state of South Carolina declared its bonds with the United States of America to be dissolved, and to be an independent entity. Secession had begun.

    South Carolina's exit from the Union was quickly followed by Georgia, Tennessee, East Florida, West Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Every state issued a statement as to why they were seceding from the Union, and all of them centered on equally racist reasons. Georgia's in particular accused Lincoln and the Federalists of conspiring to pass a national Civil Rights bill, which the Federalists denied, even as Senator Hannibal Hamlin worked on drafting exactly that. These seven states banded together on April 13, 1861 to form the Confederate States of America, a nation with a very weak federal government but a constitution guaranteeing segregation and states rights at their most extreme levels--a Southern dreamland. The CS Constitution drew from both the US Constitution and the old Articles of Confederation for inspiration, mixing elements of both to create something wholly new and definitely racist. The Confederacy named Jefferson Davis, one of the leading nominees of the Democratic-Republican Party in the Election of 1860, as the provisional president, and John C. Breckinridge as the provisional vice-president; both men were set to hold office for four years, until the CSA could hold proper elections.

    President Lincoln was furious, and refused to recognize the sovereignty of the so-called Confederate States of America. He continued to act as though what was happening in the Deep South was business as usual. One thing he continued to do was supply the garrison at Fort Marion, which sat upon a Union-controlled island in Confederate-claimed Charleston Harbor. Repeatedly, Davis pestered the Union to remove their troops from Fort Marion. Lincoln never responded, but kept the men there anyways. Eventually, Davis had enough, as the fort was frighteningly close to the Confederate capital of Charleston, and ordered for the state militia to take the outpost. The Battle of Fort Marion was a bloodbath. The Union troops utterly refused to surrender, despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered, and all one hundred and fifty men present were killed. The last remaining ten soldiers stood their ground in a tight-knit circle around the base of the fort's flagpole, disallowing the Confederate soldiers the ability of taking down the old Stars and Stripes and raising the new Stars and Bars over Charleston Harbor. In the end, though, the odds were not in their favor, and the flag of the Confederate States of America flew high over Fort Marion on May 13, 1860.

    [​IMG]
    The Battle of Fort Marion

    [​IMG]
    The Stars and Bars are raised over Fort Marion, May 13, 1860

    The Confederate victory in Charleston Harbor swayed many of the on-the-fence Southern states to the side of the CSA. In the wake of the Battle of Fort Marion, North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Pecos (the only state that didn't practice segregation to join the Confederacy), and, most surprisingly, the Indian Territory (due to its large white population in the territory's western reaches) all pledged their allegiances to the Stars and Bars and Jefferson Davis. Maryland and Delaware did not hold votes on the subject of secession, but Virginia did. However, before the official vote could take place, all Democratic-Republicans in the Virginian state legislature were arrested by General John C. Frémont, leaving just a handful of Federalists to vote in favor of remaining in the Union. Washington, D.C. was safe for the time being. As the nation collapsed, President Lincoln managed to keep a straight head and began working towards a more permanent solution to ensuring the South would never rise again, assuming they could put this rebellion down now…

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    May 15, 1860

    Major General Robert E. Lee didn't know exactly why he'd been summoned to Washington, D.C. by Abe Lincoln, but he had a pretty good inclination. President Taney had recalled Lee and most other high-ranking military brass from China a few months prior, just as the Qing and Liberty Expeditionary Forces were at the cusp of victory, though Taney had believed then that it would be the North to secede from the Union, not the South.

    Lee had a great attachment to the Union, but he thought of himself as being a Virginian first and foremost. And he would go where his home went. So, if Virginia--God forbid--decided to join the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee's military skills would be going with it. Hopefully that wouldn't happen. Lee had, during his time spent in China, grown as a man, and had come to the same realization that cultural and enthic differences should not be stomped out, but embraced. It seemed that northern Virginia, where his home at Arlington was, had changed with the general, but the southern parts of the state still had a long way to go.

    Lee entered the double doors separating the Residence from the rest of the White House. He stepped into the room, and took note of the surroundings. The magnificent portrait of George Washington saved by the First Lady Elizabeth Hamilton in the Canadian War graced one wall, while a portrait of Alexander Hamilton hung nearby, personally placed there by President Lincoln himself. The White House was, in fact, currently undergoing renovations and an expansion to give the President a more traditional office space to work in, but that wouldn't be finished for another few years at the least. Abraham Lincoln sat at his desk, pounding out a letter as his pen danced across a page. Frederick Douglass sat on the far end of the desk, chatting with Lincoln. Lee knocked on the door he'd just entered through, and both executives looked up.

    "Ah, General Lee! You got my letter, I take it?"

    "Of course, Mister President," replied Lee.

    "I'll leave you both to it, then," said Douglass, striding out of the Residence. He looked at Lee as he left, and, with a nod, said, "General Lee."

    "Vice-President Douglass," responded Lee, with the same nod of respect, as he side-stepped the vice-president to let him by.

    "General Lee," began Lincoln, "Let's just cut to the chase. I have a letter of recommendation from Major General Winfield Scott, who as you know is the Commanding General of the United States Army. He fears he is getting to old for such an occupation, and that his mind is not fit for something as important as a war on our own soil with the South. I requested he give me a suggestion as to who could replace him, and General Scott sent back a twelve-page report on all your military victories in Oregon, Mexico, and China. And, of course, you handled your most recent tour in Tennessee putting down dissent with truly outstanding efficiency. I don't think there's another man in this Union more qualified for such a job than you."

    Lee was in shock, but managed to splutter, "Oh! I, um... I'm flattered, Mister President."

    "So, you'll take the role?"

    "...No."

    Lincoln was taken aback. "No? What do you mean, no? General Lee, this is something men have spent their whole lives longing for. I know you've spent the better part of your adult life trying to rise through the ranks of the US Army. This is your chance. It's the grandest, highest military position in all the land."

    "I know, this... this feels surreal. I've been dreaming of this day since I was a child. But... well, I can't serve in the Union Army. Not if I'll be fighting my homeland."

    "Your homeland? America is your home, unless you're secretly British or something."

    "No, Sir, Virginia is my home. She may have her ups and downs when it comes to human rights... but she's still my home. The people of Virginia are my people. I would agree in an instant if I was certain Virginia would not secede and leave for the Confederation down South, but as I cannot be certain, I cannot accept such a position. Waging cruel warfare upon my people would be too much for me to bear."

    "...And you are immovable on the subject?" pressed Lincoln. General Lee nodded, and the president let out a sigh. "Well, I suppose I can't argue with that. But, if you discover Virginia has voted to stay in the Union, let it be known the door is always open."

    Lee nodded, smiled, and shook hands with President Lincoln, thanking him all the way. As the general turned, he swore he heard Lincoln cursing under his breath that he'd have to let someone named George McClellan take charge of the Union Army. A messenger boy slid past Lee on his way out, delivering a telegram to Lincoln. The general chuckled, remembering his days as a young child, and all the trouble he would get into with his friends.

    "Wait!" exclaimed Abraham Lincoln, dashing out of the Residence, telegram in hand. "General Lee, this is a telegram directly from Governor Jackson in Richmond. He's got the results of the vote on secession... and... the state of Virginia has decided it will remain a part of the United States of America."

    A grin broke across Lee's face. "That's all I needed to hear. Mister President, I'll be your army commander. We're gonna end this war before the goddamned South even knows what hit 'em."

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    [​IMG]
    Map of the Americas ca. 1860
    The United States of America

    States:

    • Delaware (1787)
    • Pennsylvania (1787)
    • New Jersey (1787)
    • Georgia (1788) (Seceded)
    • Connecticut (1788)
    • Massachusetts (1788)
    • Maryland (1788)
    • South Carolina (1788) (Seceded)
    • New Hampshire (1788)
    • Virginia (1788)
    • New York (1788)
    • North Carolina (1789) (Seceded)
    • Rhode Island (1790)
    • Vermont (1791)
    • Kentucky (1792) (Seceded)
    • Tennessee (1796) (Seceded)
    • Ohio (1803)
    • Louisiana (1812) (Seceded)
    • Indiana (1816)
    • Illinois (1818)
    • Maine (1820)
    • Missouri (1821) (Seceded)
    • Mississippi (1824) (Seceded)
    • West Florida (1825) (Seceded)
    • Arkansas (1826) (Seceded)
    • Texas (1833) (Seceded)
    • Michigan (1835)
    • Cuba (1839)
    • East Florida (1844) (Seceded)
    • Iowa (1846)
    • California (1846)
    • Pecos (1846) (Seceded)
    • Wisconsin (1848)
    • Lakota (1853)
    • Hawai'i (1854)
    • Oregon (1856)
    • Kansas (1859)
    • Superior (1860)

    Territories:
    • Dakota Territory
    • Nebraska Territory
    • Columbia Territory
    • Sierra Nevada Territory
    • Utah Territory
    • Hamilton Territory
    • Indian Territory (Seceded)
    • Arizona Territory
    • Aztlán Territory
    • Colorado Territory
    • Jamaica Territory
    • Yucatán Territory
    • Bermuda Territory

    The Confederate States of America

    States:

    • South Carolina (1860)
    • Georgia (1860)
    • Tennessee (1860)
    • East Florida (1860)
    • West Florida (1860)
    • Louisiana (1860)
    • Texas (1860)
    • North Carolina (1861)
    • Kentucky (1861)
    • Missouri (1861) (State of Rebellion)
    • Arkansas (1861)
    • Pecos (1861)

    Territories:
    • Cimarron Territory
    • Indian Territory (State of Rebellion)
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  2. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Interesting to see that while Virginia opted to remain in the Union Kentucky and Missouri are firmly in the Confederate camp instead of split, as they were OTL. This may end up being an actual war.
     
  3. farmerted555 Active Member

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    It begins. The Union Forever!
     
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  4. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    I had to even out the playing field somehow, since taking Virginia out of the Confederate equation is very, very bad news for them.
     
  5. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red Gone Fishin'

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    This is gonna be good!
     
  6. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red Gone Fishin'

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    It looks like there's substantial pro-Union resistance in northern Missouri? I would also assume that Kentucky and Virginia are absolute disasters of guerilla internecine combat (sure a pro-Southern coup can take Kentucky but can they hold it? Debatable), and with the North having a stable flank protecting the vulnerable bit between the Delaware and the Appalachians, it's gonna suck to be a Rebel TTL no matter what, especially since the South's only halfway competent general from OTL is fighting for the Union and my man Grant is undoubtedly coming to town.

    Hopefully the war's over faster and with less loss of life!
     
  7. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    The road ahead for the South certainly looks dark and stormy. However, they've got an ace up their sleeve that will make the war a lot better for them...

    Northern Missouri and the Indian Territory are both attempting to pull a West Virginia by seceding from the secession to rejoin the Union as states, as there is a significant Revolutionary Spirit presence in both places.
     
  8. Joriz Castillo Well-Known Member

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    Unleash Stonewall Jackson
     
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  9. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Stonewall Jackson, sadly, will not be participating in this fight. He only did so IOTL because Virginia seceded, and he felt called to do so. Also... he's a Virginian, so he wouldn't have done that anyway.

    (But right now I'm definitely imagining the power duos of Robert E. Lee/Ulysses S. Grant and Stonewall Jackson/William Tecumseh Sherman teaming up on the battlefield.)
     
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  10. Joriz Castillo Well-Known Member

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    What about Longstreet, Forrest, Pickett etc. ?
     
  11. Unknown Member

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    I'm sure Virginia's divided, too, just like it was IOTL...
     
  12. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    I mentioned the first two at the top of the post, in the quotes. They're both still high-ranking Confederate generals. Pickett, as a Virginian, will be on the Union's side. The rule of thumb for the Civil War ITTL is that all Virginian-born Confederate generals of OTL are to be expected to be in similar positions ITTL in the Union Army. There will be exceptions, but they'll be just that: exceptions.

    Virginia's definitely divided, though since most major cities (Richmond, Alexandria, Jamestown, etc.) handily favor the Union, only the relatively small number of sharecropping plantation owners and a few backwoods yeomen will be siding with the CSA.
     
  13. farmerted555 Active Member

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    Will there be a Lee of Virginia in the White House?
     
  14. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    There will not be. Lee was a regular Cincinnatus, and he wanted nothing to do with politics. He'll retain that same line of thought ITTL. In fact, since he'll actually win the Civil War ITTL, it'll probably be even more pronounced.
     
  15. farmerted555 Active Member

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    But what of McClellan?
     
  16. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    What about him? He won't be very famous, he'll be fighting in Texas and Pecos (the least-glorified front of the war), and therefore he won't have the slightest chance of winning the presidency.
     
  17. farmerted555 Active Member

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    That's good to know. McClellan was a TERRIBLE general.
     
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  18. Joriz Castillo Well-Known Member

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    Will you post a map of the USA with all the states names labelled? I have a hard time knowing which state is which name on the list.
     
  19. r1ncewind Well-Known Member

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    But a good trainer of troops right?
     
  20. farmerted555 Active Member

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    Yes, but a horrible commander.
     
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