Bring the Old Jubalee - A More Successful Confederate Attack on Washington




In the summer of 1864 the Confederacy was in dire straits. Nearly a year after their crushing defeat at Gettysburg the Army of Northern Virginia was now being besieged by Grant around none other than the Confederate capital at Richmond. Lee was in a desperate position, and desperate times called for desperate measures.

The seeming last hope for the Confederacy would be pinned on Jubal Early. In June of that year Lee would send him on a special mission to clear Union forces out of the Valley and, if possible, threaten Washington. Lee hoped that at the very least this would take pressure off his men around Petersburg, but little did he know he would be handed something far more monumental than that...

The first warnings of the Confederate advance eastwards across Maryland would come not from a Union force, but from agents working for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. On June 29 workers from the railroad would report the presence of Confederate troops near Harpers Ferry to John Garrett, the president of the B&O. A strong Unionist, Garrett would forward these alarming reports to Major General Lew Wallace, commander of the Union Middle Department, on July 3, and alarming they were - a force of around 20, 000 enemy troops was said to be advancing down the B&O towards Catoctin Mountain and points east. Wallace’s hour had come.

In the summer of 1864 the men under Wallace’s command were still more or less untried. The vast majority of them were Hundred Days men, volunteers who had agreed to join the army for a period of a hundred days in a broader effort to free up veteran units for service at the front. At Frederick the Union presence was small, almost nonexistent. The first men to arrive near the town would be men from the Potomac Home Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Erastus Tyler. These men had been sent ahead of the main Union force on Wallace’s own personal accord (for he had received no orders from his superiors to move out), and soon took up defensive positions around Monocacy Junction, a couple of miles east of Frederick.

Monocacy Junction was an important position for the Union forces to hold. Not only was it an important railroad junction between the main branch of the B&O and a side branch into the town of Frederick, it was also located near two important east-west roads that could, if they fell into Rebel hands, prove easy routes of invasion towards Baltimore or Washington. The terrain at Monocacy was also suited for defense. To the west was a wide plain in the fertile Frederick Valley that slopped down to the Monocacy River. On the east side of the river were a series of limestone banks and bluffs that provided a natural defensive high ground to watch over the strategically important B&O bridge and the Georgetown Pike. Further to the east were a series of low, woody ridges upheld by resistant siltstone and slate that could also prove to be important obstacles to advancing Confederate troops. To make matters better was the presence of two blockhouses (one near the junction and another near the bluff where the B&O crossed the river), which were quickly occupied by Union troops.

At this point, however, Wallace was still unsure whether Baltimore or Washington was Early’s target, and occupying this crucial juncture would be the best position to not only delay the Confederate advance, but also gauge what Early’s target was. In other words, the Monocacy Junction would be an ideal location for Wallace to position his men, that is, except for one thing; it left the town of Frederick wide open for Confederate capture and gave him no fallback position should his men be overrun.

Over the course of July 3-7 Wallace would bring in more reinforcements from his command out of Baltimore, including the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel David Clendenin and the 11th Maryland Regiment, a light artillery unit. All in all the Union forces amounted to only around 1, 000 or so men, far less than the 20, 000 Confederates rapidly approaching from the west. To help augment his strength, Wallace would wire General Halleck for reinforcements, but these would prove too little too late. Before the first men from the VI Corps could arrive, Wallace’s force would be decimated at the Battle of Frederick.

The first clash between Early and Wallace would be on July 7. In an odd move, Wallace had sent his men away from the positions they had assumed near the junction to ones further west, outside of the town of Frederick, in an attempt to skirmish with the Confederates and delay their advance eastwards. Considering that Rickett’s division of the VI Corps was said to be on it’s way by rail it was perhaps more forgivable as, if the Confederates had rushed to the junction and overran the Union forces, there would have been no fallback option for Wallace's men afterwards, leaving the pathway open to Baltimore or Washington. By stationing his men at Frederick in a delaying action, he could hopefully buy time to allow Ricketts' division to arrive at Monocacy Junction and also keep the better positions at Monocacy as a much needed backup.

But this fact wouldn’t save Wallace’s men that fateful day. The terrain west of Frederick was much more evenly matched. West of Frederick but east of Catoctin Mountain the land gradually sloped up out of the limestone lowlands the town was situated in and onto higher standing shale and siltstone plains. In places these plains were dotted with low ridges of more resistant igneous rock, giving a slight advantage in topography to whoever commanded them. Although the Union men did take up positions around some of these hills, their small smize meant that when the brunt of the Confederate attack came on the 7th they were easily overwhelmed, hastily retreating to Frederick after just a brief skirmish. Here, after a spirited fight, Confederate cavalry would succeed in beating back the Illinoisans, and driving around Wallace’s tiny force, surrounding them and cutting the Union troops to pieces. Wallace himself would be pinned in a store in downtown Frederick with a mortally wounded Tyler as the remnants of the Union force, men from the 1st and 3rd Maryland Infantry Regiments, were quickly ground to a pulp by Virginians under Breckinridge’s command. Shortly afterwards Wallace would be forced to surrender(*).

With Wallace’s destruction on the 7th, word to outside Union forces of Early's advance was extremely slow to move. Halleck would stop receiving requests for more men and, as a result, confided to himself that Ricketts’ division was enough to satisfy Wallace and that no further action was needed. As for Ricketts, his 3, 000 men would meet a similar fate to Wallace’s. Without receiving word from Wallace on the status of the Monocacy Junction, his men would fall into a Confederate ambush, their entire force getting decimated by a combination of Confederate artillery and cavalry, which rode around and behind the Union troops, surrounding them and chopping them up piecemeal as they had their compatriots just a few hours earlier. Ricketts himself would be killed in the attack, sowing further confusion amongst his men as the survivors frantically attempted to flee in every which way. Total Union casualties for the two battles exceeded two thousand men, total Confederate losses numbered only around 500.

The fighting and the mid summer heat had taken their toll on the Confederate troops, however. Despite his outstanding achievement, Early would order his men to camp on the grounds just east of the Monocacy River on the night of the 7th-8th, delaying his march by a full day. But after their brief respite the Georgetown Pike lay completely open. There were no more Union troops standing between Early and the nation’s capital of Washington DC.

(*) This is the POD. IOTL Wallace actually did position his men west of Frederick, however after a brief skirmish he had them withdrawn to prevent their being surrounded and destroyed. ITTL Wallace is not able to do so, allowing Early to defeat the Northerners piecemeal.



The Confederate columns advancing upon the capital had begun to string out in a line several miles long during the march. So far Washington and the surrounding area were locked in a dreadful heat wave, one of the worst in it’s history. For a period of over forty days the city had gone with highs in the 90s and without rain, adding to the misery of the forty mile long march the Confederates had to endure. Still, with spirits high after their victories around Frederick and with Washington in their grasp, the leading Confederate units were able to reach Rockville on the night of the eighth, and by noon of the ninth had taken up positions around the small town of Silver Spring, along the banks of Sligo Creek, only a couple of miles outside the border of Washington.

In places, however, the Confederates would be able to cross the border unopposed. At the Silver Spring home of Francis Blair, called the Moorings, Confederate troops and officers would ransack the mansion, stocking up on wine liberated from Blair’s cellar as they peered over the maps of Washington and it’s defenses and as their troops became drunk off of Blair’s whiskey. At the same time the house of his son, Montgomery Blair, would be burned down by Confederate raiders in an outburst of vengeance against Lincoln's Postmaster General. Further to the west, Confederate troops positioned themselves in the hills around what would become Walter Reed Medical Center, near the tiny town of Darcy's Store.

The planned axis of attack was to march down the Seventh Street Pike straight into DC. This approach was guarded by Fort Stevens, one of the many earthen forts constructed around Washington DC. By 1864 the Union had constructed over 50 such fortifications in a ring around the city, as well as numerous rifle pits and smaller defensive works in between them. All in all the defenses around the city were, on paper, quite impregnable, easily making DC the most heavily fortified city in North America and, in 1864, possibly the most fortified in the world. But as impressive as the defenses were on paper, in actuality they were much weaker. No matter how strongly built, to be effective a fort still needed to be manned, and here the North came into serious trouble. In 1861 the defenses around Washington had required over 30, 000 men to properly man, but in the summer of 1864 the city had, in reality, only a third as many. Almost all of the veteran units defending the city were taken away by order of Grant to help replenish his forces after the bloody Overland Campaign earlier that year, leaving only a mismatched assortment of Hundred Days volunteers, convalescents, civilian volunteers, and other ill experienced men to man the works.

To help augment their strength the Union commanders defending Washington would resort to desperate measures. Although reports of Confederate troops advancing upon the capital were being sent out as early as the eighth, reinforcements proved to not be so easily forthcoming. Grant had agreed to dispatch the VI Corps to the city on the night of the ninth, but it would still take days for them to arrive, and by the time Grant had issued the order the Confederates had already assumed positions around the capital. As a short gap an “Emergency Division” composed of armed civilian federal employees was created under the command of Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs. Convalescent soldiers from the recently renamed Veteran Reserve Corps (which had been changed from the Invalid Corps to help bolster morale in the unit) were also called up and ordered to take up positions within Fort Stevens’ defenses. Wounded and green men against by now battle hardened and high spirited Confederate soldiers.

Although the first of his men had taken up positions opposite the Northerners by afternoon of the ninth, Early would refuse to commit to any serious action until at least the tenth. He was worried about the condition of his men after the long march in the heat, and also wanted more time to better study the layout of the North’s defenses before he attacked. While he waited, he sent out Brigadier General John McCausland on a special mission to ride well north of Washington, raiding targets in the Baltimore area before, as the plan went, descending south to liberate prisoners held at Point Lookout.

In the meantime panic had begun to break out amongst the civilian population of not just Washington, but nearby Baltimore as well. Reports of Confederate cavalry under raiding sections of railroads as far east as Laurel began streaming in, as did reports of Confederate raids against railroad and telegraph lines near Towson, a bare ten miles from the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. In Annapolis, panic gripped the townspeople as civilians began to hastily construct rifle pits and other defensive works to ward off Confederate attack. Rumors that Maryland secessionists were planning to seize control of the capitol building and create a volunteer force to join Early’s men also spread, and in Washington these rumors claimed that Annapolis had actually already fallen. Across the area the fright was so much that President Lincoln would personally wire hysterical Baltimoreans to remain “vigilant but cool,” and he would even leave the Soldiers Home where he had been trying to escape the summer heat and move to personally survey the defenses at . For the rest of the night of July 9-10 Washington would be gripped by a nervous angst, it’s residents fleeing and it’s government doing whatever last minute preparations necessary to defend the capital before reinforcements arrived. They would not come soon enough. Before noon on July 10 Early would finally give the command to attack Fort Stevens.

The attack would commence at 1:00 pm. After a spirited engagement between skirmishers and sharpshooters over the course of the ninth and into the early morning of the tenth, the Confederates now advanced upon the fort in two groups. On the right flank was Rodes’ Division, comprised mostly of North Carolinian regiments, and on the right were men from Breckinridge’s Corps. Ramseur’s Division would be held in reserve.

The Confederates marched out in battle formation until they were several yards out from the fort’s walls, at which point they began a heated exchange with the Union troops defending it. Inside the fort the men facing the Confederates were the Potomac Defense brigades. The left flank of the Union lines (opposite Rodes) were held by the First through Third Brigades of the Defenses North of the Potomac, and on the right were First, Second, and Fourth (created just a week earlier) Brigades of the Defenses South of the Potomac. The Invalids were held in strategic reserve, as were contingents of Meigs’ Emergency Division and dismounted cavalry of the Defenses South of the Potomac.

During the battle the Union troops would be crippled by having too many high ranking officers in too small a space, a problem that led to infighting and posturing as each man attempted to pull rank on the other. Although McCook was in overall command of the fort’s defenses, Meigs, who was Quartermaster General, felt slighted by having his troops put into reserve and pressured McCook to put them in the action. This command in-fighting would lead to a breakdown in command and control at the fort, especially once the Confederates heated up their attack around 1:45 and began serious attempts to breach the fort’s defenses.

This initial push was carried out by Rodes’ Division, supported by men from Echols’ Division, on the right wing of the Confederate flank. After heavy firefighting the Confederates would advance to within mere feet of the walls, dealing heavy casualties to the inexperienced Northern troops defending that section of the line. For a brief moment it looked like they would breakthrough, but desperate artillery fire from Fort Stevens’ and Fort DeRussy’s guns would drive the Confederates back.

Although they had been repulsed, the Confederate attack had decimated the men on the Union left. Now McCook consented to Meigs’ protesting, and rushed in the Emergency Division to support the men there, but he would not go so far as to commit the Invalids - he feared that a Confederate breakthrough was imminent and that they’d be needed elsewhere. He would be proven correct at 2:30.

The Confederates now attempted a second assault further down the line, away from DeRussy’s guns and against the Union right flank. This was a weaker section of the line, and now the Confederates poured in not just Gordon’s Division, but the entirety of Echols’ as well. Under heavy Confederate artillery fire, the Union defenders were dealt heavy casualties, the Second Brigade being decimated and the Fourth left in a state of utter disorder after their commander had been killed by Confederate shrapnel, leading to their eventual destruction as well. The situation was dire, and a desperate McCook would commit the last of his reserves to contain it - the Invalids. To help augment his strength, McCook would also order the First Brigade (North) to take up a position on the line on the right flank. With the arrival of more reinforcements the second Confederate attack now floundered, forcing the men to retreat to safety back where they came from.

By now Lincoln had arrive at the scene, and personally witnessed as the second attack withdrew to it’s starting position. Although the sight of the President would boost the Northerners’ spirits, his presence would wreck further havoc with the Union command system at Fort Stevens, and only emboldened Meigs to assume a greater level of control over the Emergency Division and even over McCook in general. But it was not all rosy for the North. The attacks had decimated their men, drained all of their reserves, and left a vulnerable hole in the left flank where the First Brigade (North) had originally been. McCook now talked with Lincoln about the necessity for the President to evacuate with Meigs not just from the fort, but from the city as well, stating that “under the present circumstances” he would “only be able to show the Rebels that [his] men [knew] how to die gallantly.” Now it was Lincoln’s turn to talk. Trying to buck up the sagging McCook, Lincoln professed his refusal to leave the city, and promised that reinforcements from other forts around the city were being gathered and rushed up to Fort Stevens as quickly as possible. On top of this, DeRussy’s commander consented to Lincoln’s wish to sustain a steady barrage of the Confederate lines, if not to deal actual damage then to at least put the pressure on Early. In the meantime, the Union men would need to fight as hard as possible, to the last man if necessary to keep the Rebels out of Washington.

The third assault came at 4:15. Now the Confederates, sensing that victory was near, poured in all they had. A broad attack across the entire front was ordered, and Ramseur’s Division was taken from out of reserve and put in between Rodes’ and Echols’ Divisions. For over an hour beforehand the Confederates kept the fort under constant sharpshooter and artillery fire, restricting the defenders’ movement and preventing McCook from sending troops from stronger points in his line to reinforce other ones.

When the assault came it came in like a tidal wave. Reinforced by Ramseur’s troops, Rodes now advanced to within yards of the defensive works, then to within feet, and finally, at a little after 4:30, over them and into the fort itself. The Union’s left flank now completely shattered, the men sent scouring every which way into the interior. On the right flank the Northerners held out a little while longer, but by 4:45 were likewise forced to retreat in the face of a massive numerical disadvantage. At this point the entire command structure of the Union forces broke down. The Emergency Division simply broke ranks and ran towards the city, ditching their rifles as they went. The Invalids, brave as they were, stood and fought, only to be cut down in a withering crossfire from Confederates now perched on the earthworks at either side of the fort. In dazed confusion a now wounded McCook desperately tried to organize the frantic Union men for a final defense of the fort’s interior, but there was little he could do to stop what now came. After just twenty minutes of firing, including artillery blasts at point blank range, the Union line was once again shattered, the Confederates decimating what little remained of the Northern forces.

The end had come. A little after 5:20 McCook formally surrendered Fort Stevens to the Confederates, but the real victory came shortly afterwards. After a few more minutes of searching the fort’s barracks and other buildings, Virginians from Breckinridge’s Corps would make a startling discovery - inside the barracks was none other than Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs and President Abraham Lincoln.
An 1864 PoD that leads to a CSA victory, and centered around Jubal Early?


Those men will be in deep crap if they handle Lincoln roughly. I expect he and the Quartermaster will be conducted under heavy guard directly to General Early at once. If they aren't treated with respect as PoWs of their station, Lee will have the offenders shot.

Watched, definitely.
Hmm, my gut is that this still won't save the CSA. And if it does the yunion will not give Tennessee or other territory it has won easily.

Are you shooting for a reduced Confederacy that will later be retaken by the Union perhaps?


Virginia has to hand over most of its North shore and a few more western counties.

The US keeps New Orleans and some of the land around it, the US has full rights to use the Mississippi river, the land along side it for at least ten miles on each side is to be a demilitarized zone.

The US navy protects New Orleans and also owns Cat and Ship islands off the coast of Biloxi, as well as basing rights to the city. (So Dixie doesn't get any ideas).

They loose the Florida keys too, the US also has a base in Miami.

The US keeps Texas, its their access to the Gulf, Texans don't like it, pack up, Dixie got to keep an intact Tennessee in exchange. Not that Davis exactly agreed to it.

Richmond now sits to close to really serve as the capital, they move it South to Charlotte and create a district similar to the old US system along the North/South Carolinas borders.

The US government moves up river to Philadelphia and the former district becomes something of a federal port city, the government still official meets there but doesn't.

Philadelphia was supposed to be temporary but you know so was the IRS.

Eventually its a political reality when DC is ceeded back to Maryland but thats not for 110 years.

The US has basing rights in Charleston too, keeping the very thing that started the fighting part of the war.

In all Dixie is surrounded on three sides by the US and very much a satellite state.
I could more easily believe this in the aftermath of Gettysburg if Lee took Longstreet's advice; strategic offensive followed with a tactical defense. The Army of Northern Virginia gets between the Army of the Potomac and Washington, Lincoln panics and orders an attack. This ends up another Fredericksburg with heavy Federal losses, followed by Lee advancing on Washington.

By 1864 the Army of Northern Virginia is just too weak to get to Washington without being completely spent...
This isn't the ANV though, the vast majority of Lee's forces are still bottled up in Richmond by Grant. Granted (hehe) Jubal Early's troops are barely in better shape, but it's still better than most of the forces that can immediately intervene in Washington. If Early is smart, I could see him easily holding onto Lincoln and the Capitol long enough to force Grant and the AoP north. Thereby freeing up Lee the ANV, and just maybe, the near loss of Richmond and the increasing reality of a confederate defeat will wake up the southern governors and they'll send their state regiments, that have been doing nothing most of the war, North to bolster the ANV.
In Turtledove's "Must and Shall", Lincoln dies in the fort by sniper shot. The result was dystopian for the South after a Hamlin presidency results.



The Confederate victory at Fort Stevens was nothing short of a godsend for the South. DC was now completely open to Early’s troops, and inside lay such valuable targets as the White House, the Capitol, the Treasury, and various military related buildings. But as stunning as their victory was, it came at a heavy cost - over 1, 500 casualties, and forcing Echols’ and Rodes’ Divisions to be placed in reserve. What was worse was that it was only a matter of time before the VI Corps came up from Petersburg, and just when that would be Early had no real idea. If he was to get the most out of his triumph he’d need to be quick to prevent the destruction of his entire force.

In Petersburg news of the fall of Fort Stevens began trickling in late in the night of the tenth, and in the early morning hours of the eleventh even more disturbing reports were reaching Grant’s desk - the President and Quartermaster General were captured by Confederate troops. The reaction amongst the Union officers to this last bit of news was one of disbelief - to some it was a drastic overreaction by anxious recruits, to others it was a deliberate lie by Confederate agents. Nevertheless the fall of Fort Stevens at the very least meant that the defensive ring around the city had been broken, and in response Grant would order the remainder of XIX Corps to be sent to help retake Washington. This would severely handicap his operations against Lee in Petersburg, but to Grant it was either keep the pressure on Lee or lose the capital, a trade he wasn’t willing to take.

Back in Silver Spring, the South’s two high profile prisoners would be escorted under heavy guard to Early’s headquarters at the Blair mansion. Here Early made sure they were well taken care of - if something should befall them it would be the South to pay the brunt of the North’s revenge. Here they were treated to riotous Southerners chanting and screaming “Dixie,” “Bonnie Blue Flag,” among other patriotic shouts. Inside Early would try, unsuccessfully, to convince Lincoln that the war was over and that the time had come for the Union to agree to Southern independence. Frustrated, Early would have both men locked securely in one of the mansion’s rooms under heavy guard both inside and outside the building. Sooner or later, however, Lincoln would have to see the light.

Inside Washington the atmosphere was one of utter panic. Those civilians who had not left already now frantically tried to escape the Confederate troops, clogging the roads leading north and east, and preventing troops from garrisons on the eastern side of Washington from engaging Early’s men at all on the night of the tenth. Rumors spread like wildfire, and the fall of Fort Stevens would spark days long panics in not only Baltimore and Annapolis, but cities as far north as Philadelphia. City governments now began hasty attempts to fortify their positions, with the mayor of Baltimore going so far as to order every able bodied male to meet in the downtown area to be mustered out for when the Confederates came.

Most of the Confederate units spent the evening hours of the tenth refitting and reorganizing themselves - Early wanted his men to appear as gallant as possible for their parade into the city. This parade would kickoff at a little after 5:30 am on the eleventh, when troops from Ramseur’s and Gordon’s Divisions (the two least mauled at Fort Stevens) began the march down the Seventh Street pike towards the National Mall area. Up ahead of the main column of Confederate troops were various bodies of men sent to weed out possible sharpshooters and to engage any scattered federal soldiers wherever they were encountered. These would also be the first ones to race to such targets as the White House, War Department offices, and the Capitol building.

While the sounds of “Dixie” blared triumphantly from the parading Southerners, the body of troops that rode ahead began to encounter, however brisk, resistance from both the civilian population and federal employees and soldiers. At one restaurant along the Seventh Street pike, drunk patrons began hurling insults and bottles at Confederate cavalry under Johnson’s command, and at another building one man even fired a pistol into the Confederate group, prompting the Southerners to pepper his building with musket and revolver fire, injuring no one in the act. All along the street dazed civilians who were now prevented from fleeing stood and watched as the unimaginable passed by their eyes - Confederates in Washington? Had this not been the most heavily defended city in the world?

The Confederate parade would be stopped just north of the White House. At Lafayette Square, a hastily organized hodgepodge of civilians, DC militia, garrisoning troops from other forts, and convalescing Union soldiers met with the advance Confederate units and entered into a brief, but spirited, firefight. However brave it was, they could do no more than delay the inevitable, and after just a few minutes were driven back by the Confederates.

At around 6:30 the first Confederate troops entered the White House grounds, planting the Southern flag on it, and getting into heated exchanges of both words and bullets with some of the staff still on the premises. Despite some of the Southerners’ hopes, Mary Todd and other high profile persons were nowhere to be seen (their having been evacuated via gunboats along the Potomac River hours before), but that didn’t matter much to the men. What mattered to them was that the chief symbol of the Union now lay in Confederate hands.

Further to the east and south other high profile targets now began to fall into Confederate hands. At the Mall, Confederate troops now broke into the Smithsonian Castle, pouring over it’s archives and collections while some of their greedier compatriots attempted to coerce what ground staff remained into disclosing where the missing artifacts were hidden (for the organization had buried their valuables earlier on the tenth while the battle at Fort Stevens was still raging). The next Confederate target was none other than the Capitol. While marching up the Mall from the Smithsonian the Southern troops would once again meet scattered resistance from disorganized bands of Union soldiers and civilians alike, but these were powerless to stop the Confederates from planting the Rebel battle flag on it’s front steps. While all of this was going on several other government buildings, including the War Department and Treasury were raided by the Confederates (much to their disappointment, however, both buildings had been cleared of most of the prized records and other artifacts). Interestingly the Treasury building was placed under strict watch by special Confederate units to prohibit looting from riotous Southern troops and Washington civilians alike - they wanted as much of what precious currency was left in the building as possible to help fund the Confederate war machine.

But as stunning as this victory was, time was of the essence. Early’s force had been dwindled down to slightly more than 15, 000 in a line stretching from Washington to well past Silver Spring and Darcy’s Store. They did not have the men to hold the city for too long, especially as the VI and XIX Corps were rapidly approaching from Virginia and as the few remaining Union assets in the city organized into a battle group to confront the Rebels. By midday, some 900 of these troops, stripped from the fortifications east of DC and reinforced with workers from the Navy Yard and other government buildings, were organized along the Anacostia River and poised to assault the Confederate bands occupying Capitol Hill. The Union attack came in at a little after noon on the eleventh, and succeeding in driving back the Confederates from the Capitol building before stalling well short of the Smithsonian at the Mall.

At this point Early had grown quite anxious. He was still without McCausland’s cavalry, and he mistook the Union counterattack at Capitol Hill as actually the initial action of the lead elements of the VI Corps. It wouldn’t be until the Confederate re-capture of the position at around 1:00 that his nerves began to calm, but still, the damage was done. He did not have the men to hold the city and, if he stayed too long, he risked losing his entire force to Grant’s men. Besides, the Confederates had really already exceeded their objective. Grant had been forced to send two full corps from Petersburg up north, the Confederates had won a massive propaganda coup in capturing such high profile Union targets as the White House and Capitol, not to mention the fact that the Quartermaster General and President were both prisoners of the Confederate forces.

For much of the remainder of the afternoon on July 11 Early and his staff would hold multiple “talks” with Lincoln to convince him to agree to a ceasefire. They pointed out the fact that the major government buildings of the Union were in Confederate hands, that Grant had, for all intents and purposes, stopped any action at Petersburg, and that, in due time, the Union effort elsewhere would also collapse. But Lincoln vehemently refused. He would never agree to a ceasefire with the Rebels so long as the Union armies were still intact and on their way to liberating Washington. Besides, as things currently stood, he (Lincoln) could not consent to any such thing; as they were, Hamlin was acting President of the United States, and Hamlin was not in Confederate hands. Lincoln’s refusal to “see the light” annoyed all the Confederate officers at the Blair mansion, but soon enough they would have more pressing concerns. At 7:00 pm the first reports of reinforcements from the VI Corps would start coming in to Confederate headquarters.

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Ok, I need to ask-if things go worse at Monacacy why isn't the federal government evacuated? DC is well connected to rail and it wouldn't be terribly hard to evacuate essential personnel and papers (keyword: essential) and I feel like there's a good case for Sam Grant to say "we can survive having to deal with not having DC for a time, but we can keep the pressure up at Petersburg and gut Lee's army" or even make the strategic calcluation that the Union needs Wasington less than the Confederates need Petersburg.

Actually that's an interesting WI I've mulled occasionally-given how important Richmond is and DC being relatively small, was there any consideration of temporarily relocating the US capital to be harder to reach from the Confederacy? That miiiiiiiiiiiight give Union generals who had to deal with maintaining the defenses of DC a freer hand.


Ok, I need to ask-if things go worse at Monacacy why isn't the federal government evacuated? DC is well connected to rail and it wouldn't be terribly hard to evacuate essential personnel and papers (keyword: essential) and I feel like there's a good case for Sam Grant to say "we can survive having to deal with not having DC for a time, but we can keep the pressure up at Petersburg and gut Lee's army" or even make the strategic calcluation that the Union needs Wasington less than the Confederates need Petersburg.

Actually that's an interesting WI I've mulled occasionally-given how important Richmond is and DC being relatively small, was there any consideration of temporarily relocating the US capital to be harder to reach from the Confederacy? That miiiiiiiiiiiight give Union generals who had to deal with maintaining the defenses of DC a freer hand.

There were plans to evacuate members of the federal government, most notably via the Potomac River and not rail. Likewise, individual people also took measures to protect other important things, such as the Smithsonian, which had plans to burry some of their collections in case the Confederates raided the capital. However, it took time to implement these, and as OTL showed Lincoln and some other government officials weren't keen on leaving too soon (IIRC Lincoln was pressured to leave the Soldiers Home to be evacuated via the Navy Yard, but was adamant on visiting the fighting at Fort Stevens, nearly getting killed while doing so). However, most Congressmen and a lot of other federal officials were already outside of Washington for a variety of reasons, mostly to escape the heat (DC in late July can get pretty unbearable). As for the railroads, mass evacuation from them would have been next to impossible at such short notice. Not only were the Confederates raiding sections of the lines in between Baltimore and Washington, but there had been a panic amongst some of the civilians and foreigners in the capital at the time which had clogged most of the trains leaving the city. But that aside, ITTL the Union has evacuated a lot of their essential documents and other things (I mentioned that the War Department was mostly empty of a lot of the records and stuff that could have been of much aid for Lee around Petersburg) to safer locations, and the Confederates don't quite own the entire city, especially not parts east of the Anacostia.

I haven't heard much of any actual plan, just some things online that discussed moving it to Pennsylvania or Ohio IIRC. I think Lincoln was adamant on keeping it in DC as an act of defiance.
Right, but that's OTL with Monacacy working and time to bring in reinforcements for the forts-ttl Monacacy has gone worse and relief is not as likely/timely.


Right, but that's OTL with Monacacy working and time to bring in reinforcements for the forts-ttl Monacacy has gone worse and relief is not as likely/timely.

But Lincoln is still going to be himself and want to stand against the Confederates. And most of the government stuff has been evacuated/hidden (that'll come up later, but ITTL as IOTL most of the Congressmen are out of town).