Fenians, Brits, Mexicans, Canucks and Frenchies....OH, MY! An alternate American Civil War

Chapter 58
  • March, 1865

    Mexico City

    Grant's army seized Puebla with only a modest fight from some "Junta" forces. Seeing the 15,000 men of his army, plus another 6000 under Zaragoza, the "Junta" forces chose the better part of valor.

    The American noted that his Mexican counterpart looked wistfully at the city and belatedly recalled the man had won a great victory in this city early in the French invasion.

    Stragglers of the French and Junta forces painted a dire picture of what was happening in Mexico City. Evidently, a faction of "Junta" aristocrats attempted to overthrow the French Viceroy. This ended badly and Bazaine would execute several dozen Junta members. This would ensure virtually no Mexican support for the 12,000 or so French garrison in the Capital and adjoining cities. Without local forces, the French were being cut off by the Patriots.

    Eventually, Bazaine would pull most of his forces into Mexico City, whose borders he could control. In truth, Bazaine knew his own position was hopeless without MASSIVE reinforcements which, by rumors of the great American naval victory at Veracruz, he was not going to get.

    Abandoned even by his Junta allies, the best Bazaine could do is wait for Grant's inexorable approach and hope for a miracle. If Grant made it to Mexico City unmolested, Bazaine's only option would be a negotiated surrender.

    He was sure Grant would be happy to negotiate an honorable retreat and agree to the Frenchman's terms.

    Washington DC

    Lincoln did not require any additional votes to get Congressional approval for several western counties of North Carolina to secede from that state and join their new neighbors in Nickajack. This naturally led to charges of Gerrymandering and hilarious accusations of "secession" from former Confederates.

    What was more disconcerting to some was the division of the states of Texas and Florida into new polities. Seeking to grant Negroes as many opportunities as possible, the relatively lightly populated lands of west and south Texas as well as south Florida, would be broken out and huge swathes of land appointed to Freedmen and the large urban poor population, including large numbers of immigrants which were already starting to flow into America despite the peace with Britain still unofficial as of yet.

    Naturally, large numbers of Irish and Germans continued to arrive.

    Scandinavians, while hardly scarce prior to the war, would be arriving in large numbers in the 1760's to 1880's in a boom of population increase in Northern Europe credited to "the peace, the potato and the smallpox vaccine".

    Oddly, what would turn out to be a 75 years influx of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Jews, etc began to arrive in some numbers from Eastern Europe. Within the decade, the repression of the Czar would lead to this trickle becoming a flood.

    Oddly, both the Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans (who had often been enemies) would heavily migrate to the northwest and Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakota Territory and Ruport's Land (name change pending).

    The Negroes would predominantly be moved to the western "Black Belt" of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, the territories carved from Texas (largely desert, not exactly a reward after a life of slavery) and the new territory sliced from Florida.

    Of course, they spread all over America. Despite government attempts to find plots of land for them in their native South, the President's position of "letting them up easy" would prohibit....say......seizing all land from known Confederates (which would be most). The loss of the slaves would be devastating to most southern aristocrats and many would lose their patrimonies anyway to their creditors. But having their lands taken from then would likely spark a new War between the States. This Lincoln wished to avoid. Fortunately, there was seemingly unlimited land to settle the freedmen, if farming was what the Negroes wanted.

    So many Negroes seeking shelter in northern cities was already leading to a backlash among urban dwellers who did not want another poor underclass (they already had the Irish). By 1865, nearly 30% of the black population in the southern states had departed the former Confederacy for other locales. The exodus would continue over the next decade.

    Of course, Lincoln had other things to do:

    1. He must finish out the war with France. By most intelligence coming from Mexico, that was coming soon. France had only declared war upon the United States to cover their diplomatic flank with Britain. Lincoln doubted the Emperor would have the balls to act as such if America hadn't been distracted and Britain otherwise occupied.
    2. He was seeing to the reduction of the Union Army. Already down to 400,000, it would fall another 100,000 by September (assuming the peace with Britain held). Even without an official peace with France, it seemed unnecessary to keep a massive army. Napoleon III did not look upon American soil with avarice.
    3. If the army was less of a priority, the navy was not. America had seen her coastal cities bombarded and failed to protect them. The navy must be raised to legitimately challenge the British and French at sea.
    4. He must somehow come up with the funds to pay for Russian America (another name to be determined in the future).
    5. The National Bank, approved by Congress, must actually be embodied.
    6. The new territories of the former British North America must be explored. Oddly, among the volunteers was the infamous Confederate cavalryman, Nathan Bedford Forrest.
    7. The massive debt of America must commence being addressed. Few people enjoy paying taxes but Americans particularly loathed the process. The wartime taxes were expected to be retired....but the country could not afford this.
    8. How would the South be reintegrated into America? How would the Negroes? What of suffrage for the Negroes? Lincoln was sure that he could no longer accept the idea of States determining citizenship as it had in the past.

    So much to do. Lincoln was uncertain if he could accomplish it all in four more years (tradition held that American Presidents only served for 2 terms). But then, he realized, whatever happens in the next four years could hardly be worse than the past four.
    Map of America - 1865
  • Map of the United States, 1865. States in White, new states or territories in
    Dark Grey, territories in Light Gray

    Fenians - 1865.png
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    Chapter 59
  • April, 1865

    Mexico City

    General Bazaine was livid at the arrogance of the American commander. Who the hell did this "Grant" think he was?

    European observers in the War between the States had often referred to it as two lunatics playing chess. For such a country rustic to order his army to surrender "Unconditionally" was an outrage!

    Of course, the fact remained was that Grant's regulars alone outnumbered his forces at least 1.5 to 1. This itself didn't mean much given the obvious superiority of French Elan. However, the superior rifles of the Americans plainly gave them the advantage in that area. Worse, Bazaine's supplies had been pilfered by his Junta "Allies" that severely limited his options.

    Worse of all, of course, was the melting away of his Imperial Junta allies from Mexico City, forcing Bazaine to concentrate his French/European/African forces in the capital. Once this occurred, it was obvious to all that the war was over and the Junta finished. The hordes of Mexican irregulars which had so vexed the French over the course of the past three years now crowded the hills surrounding the Capital, possibly numbering 30-40,000 according to the estimates of some of his subordinates.

    When Grant offered a parlay, Bazaine was pleased that the American spoken instead of the Mexican General Zaragoza (via translator as Grant's French was rather rusty). However, the uncouth American, would just bit off the time of a cigar, spit it on the floor and inform the Frenchman that no honors of war would be granted to the French. The garrison would not be allowed to bear their arms and colors to Veracruz for departure from these shores. The Imperial Colors would be taken by the American and Mexican savages, no doubt to be kept as some sort of trophy. Officers and men would be incarcerated with only personal possessions allowed to them.

    Bazaine sputtered, "No Frenchman, from Field Marshall to the lowest private, would accept such terms! We would rather die to the last man than suffer such dishonor!"

    For his part, the American looked.....bored.....more than anything. After a few puffs of a cigar in which he didn't even bothered looking Bazaine in the eye, he continued, "Sir, you must be under the impression that I give a damn if you....or your men....take up space in the world another moment. I offer you a gift. If you fail to accept my terms, then I shall attack your position, break your walls....and then pull back and let my Mexican friends assume the remainder of the attack."

    Grant gestured towards Zaragoza. Looking more like a schoolteacher than a General, the bespectacled man barely concealed a small predatory smile. There was no doubt in Bazaine's mind the fate of his men if put in the hands of this man.

    "There will be no second offer, General," Grant continued with finality. "Surrender and I'll guarantee your lives and personal possessions. Refuse......"

    The American left his statement hanging in the air.

    Bazaine had a choice. He had no doubt either Grant or Zaragoza meant what they said. The rage of the Mexican rebels knew no bounds and captured French soldiers were often found....in a very bad state.

    Of his nominal 12,000 men, nearly a quarter were incapable of service via wounds or illness. The remainder had....perhaps.....enough powder and supplies for a single battle.

    Bazaine had served his master on four continents. But he was not willing to see every last man under his command sent to their deaths for a lost cause. The Emperor didn't merit THAT.

    Thus the surrender was signed, a piece of Bazaine's soul dying as he affixed his signature.

    Three days later, the French forces of the city commenced marching from the walls, throwing their weapons in a pile as they walked. Tears could be seen in the eyes of many soldiers. As promised, American soldiers flanked the road towards Veracruz....to protect the invaders from the crowds of Mexicans cheering, jeering and generally taking delight in the scene. But beyond the multitude of insults and the odd stone or rotten vegetable, the feared slaughter never occurred.

    Bazaine would personally hand over the Imperial Colors and the Regimental standards. Grant and Zaragoza made quite clear that these were NOT to be destroyed and, if the General exited Mexico City without them, all other terms of the surrender would be considered null and void.

    With a heavy heart, Bazaine formally removed his sword and handed it towards Grant. The American accepted momentarily before turning and presenting it to Zaragoza. The Mexican accepted with a slight bow....and handed it back to Bazaine, much to the latter's surprise. It was a kind gesture he would not have expected.

    Guarded by most of the American Army, the French were interned in Veracruz. Apparently, the Americans deemed it more likely that they could keep the French alive nearer the coast than the Capital City.

    President Juarez would pass the French forces sullenly marching into captivity over the next few days. He concluded this was still a proud army who had not be defeated in the field as much betrayed by circumstances. He was highly gratified to see most of Grant's army accompanying them east. There were more than a few fears among the Mexicans that the gringos intended to remain. Accompanied by Lee, Juarez received a rapturous applause as he entered the city.

    Juarez was mildly surprised to see most of the Americans remaining in the area had camped outside the city, leaving the administration to Zaragoza. Beyond the Americans in the hospitals, which also provided succor to the French and Mexicans, he rarely saw a blue uniform throughout the city and those were usually officers on their way to an impromptu party or enlistment granted leave to partake of the celebrations, though unarmed and in relatively low numbers at any given time.

    Grant and Lee were already arranging transport for their army, most of who were elated at the idea of going home. While technically Mexica and America were still at war with France, it seemed unlikely the Emperor intended another invasion. Juarez was happy to dispatch diplomats on that front.

    Entering the Presidential Palace before a crowd of 50,000, Juarez attempted to give a speech but was simply overwhelmed by the noise. Instead he just smiled and waved his cap at the crowd, knowing that words would not have suited the occasion anyway.

    Washington DC

    Though he would not know it for another three weeks (the telegraph lines from Mobile were down), Lincoln was satisfied that the French problem was well on its way to be resolved. France hadn't spent a great deal of time in the past two or three years vexing America directly. Their declaration of War upon America had been entirely a scheme to get a free hand in Mexico while Britain battle the United States.

    More than once, Lincoln wondered if the impetus for Britain's peace was an expectation that an unoccupied America may swiftly evict the French for North America as well.

    As it was, the peace with Britain was currently being signed on BOTH sides of the Atlantic (an extension of the Armistice had already been agreed) and Lincoln could not return to domestic matters.

    This would NOT make his life easier.

    Beyond the inevitable employment problems suffered by hundreds of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers being discharged (who now had even more competition from foreigners and Freedmen), the sudden drop in military contracts would cause regional recessions and the huge American debt (now estimated at 60% of annual national product) would have to be paid down over the course of decades, not years.

    But nothing matched the problems of dealing with the Negro in modern society.

    The proposed 13th Amendment would, no doubt, be passed easily. This would formally abolish slavery in America for all those borders states which had been exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation. Many Marylanders, Kentuckians, Missourians, etc, would be unhappy but plainly had to see this coming.

    Lincoln's intentions for a 14th Amendment would probably pass after that. This dealt with the more esoteric concepts of citizenships in America.

    After that, the President knew things were going to get more than a little dicey. His plans for a 15th amendment banning any restriction on suffrage based on race would not go over well in many quarters....and not just in the south. Lincoln knew that there would be a violent reaction throughout the south if Black men started showing up at the polls but even large swathes of the northern population, most of which supported the abolition of slavery, would recoil at THIS step.

    But Lincoln knew it had to be done and DONE NOW else the entire issue be swept under the rug for generations. He knew it would be dishonorable to leave the consequences of his actions over the past four years for someone else to clean up. And leaving the Freedman without fair political representation was simply not acceptable and relegate him to inferior status for god knows how long.

    Still, this would be a painful two years in Washington. He was already starting to miss the war years.
    Chapter 60
  • May, 1865


    First Lord Disraeli would heave a sign of relief when the American copy of the Treaty of Madrid arrived in Lord Derby's office by the hand of the Ambassador (once again Adams). The entire conflict was an abject waste of time and money which ended up damaging Britain as much as America.

    The direct cost of the war in gold and the loss of Canada would, no doubt, be foremost on the minds of his people but Disraeli suspected the true long term damage done by the war was that it blinded Britain to the events in the Ottoman. No one, not even Disraeli, had suspected the Russians could so easily overrun most of the Ottoman Empire. Allied with most of the denizens of the Balkans, France (inferred given the French naval forces arrayed in the region) and Egypt, the Russian bear had somehow maneuvered itself into a dominant position in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Perhaps just as alarmingly, the French hegemon in western Europe seemed complete. With no enemies along her borders and allies blocking her POTENTIAL enemies in Prussia and Austria, it seemed likely that the Emperor felt more and more secure by the day.

    Naturally, Lord Derby had spent much of his tenure attempting to find counters to this French expansionism but precious little could be done beyond declaring war upon France, Russia, the Balkans states, Egypt, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

    Naturally this was absurd. No direct British colony or ally had been taken...unless one counted the Ottoman and Britain possessed no hope of reversing THAT disaster. Attempting to do so would only bring disgrace and dishonor to Her Majesty's troops.

    In short, it had been a bad decade so far and Disraeli was uncertain if it would get much better in the near term.

    Naturally, Derby was looking into alliances but there seemed to be few realistic options to counter the French and Russian Hegemonies splitting most of Europe.

    Spain remained unattached but that nation was clearly in decline and hardly on the best of terms with Britain after Her Majesty's forces quietly informed the Spanish that further territorial gains in Morocco would NOT be taken well.

    Portugal, an old British ally, was at best a tertiary power in Europe as was the Netherlands. Neither were interested in involving themselves in the affairs of Great Powers. Belgium had slowly entered the French orbit while the Scandinavians, having suffered defeat again and again at the hands of Russians and Germans, were now satisfied with observing European affairs. With the exception of the moderately strong Swedish and Danish navies, there remained little potential for adding much to a British alliance anyway.

    That left only Prussia, no doubt scarred by the defeats of the past war, and Austria, also bitter and resentful of Russia, France and Italy. Forming a coalition with BOTH Prussia and Austria might have promise....if the two weren't perpetually at one another's throats. As it was, neither were open to anything resembling an alliance with Britain as it was unlikely Britain could or would do much to aid them on the continent and they couldn't or wouldn't do the same with Britain on the global stage.

    America had never been one for alliances and, well, relations weren't exactly at their best ebb at the moment.

    No, there seemed to be no other option than Britain going it almost along and serving her own interests.

    In some ways, this could be liberating. More often than not, in fact. But the way the European and global power struggle was playing out, it seemed likely that Britain may need help at some time in the future.


    With the horrific "Taiping Rebellion" having finally been crushed in 1864, the Emperor's government would rededicate itself to modernization initiatives part of the "Self-Strengthening Movement".

    Twice in the past 25 years, China had been humiliated by the Europeans in the Opium Wars, who forced huge indemnities upon China. For want of a few modern arms and ships, the Middle Kingdom was placed in a subordinate position to barbarians. This weakness led to a number of large rebellions of which the Taiping were only the most notable.

    Factories and technology were imported from the west in hopes that China's armed forces may be strengthened to the point that it may finally be independent again.

    Oddly, the Opium-led drain in silver specie for the past century had been almost halted by....the effective legalization of domestic opium production. The opium poppy may be grown virtually anywhere and domestic producers at least competed with the British Indian product. While still officially banned in some areas, the assorted provincial governments were lenient enough to local growers as they may tax the proceeds. In some regions of Chain, it became an important revenue source and the use of opium was getting largely de-stigmatized.

    Though not preferred, the situation also inexorably led China another step or two to regaining her sovereignty.


    King Kamehameha would see the writing on the wall. American missionaries seemed to be crawling through the Kingdom. His late brother had fought hard to avoid being annexed by that nation and instead pressed British and French citizens into service of his government. But now, with France and Britain at odds, it seemed he must make a choice of who to ally with. All three nations were pressing for him to lease Pearl Harbor.

    In the end, Kamehameha opted to go with the least offensive of the three, the British. They received Pearl Harbor's lease and the King purged most of the American and French from his government.

    It would be the beginning of the end for an independent Hawaii.
    Chapter 61
  • May - 1865


    Jefferson Davis managed to keep the smirk off his face as the details of Bazaine's surrender were disseminated to the newspapers. By 1865, two years of living in France had brushed the former Confederate up on his French (not his best subject at West Point). Over the years, he'd received numerous ill-tempered letters from former Confederates condemning him for fleeing the Confederacy and leaving his constituents to their fates while he "lived high on the hog in Paree". He was also accusing of embezzlement for taking with him tens of thousands of Pounds Sterling in British gold which had arrived just before the Confederacy collapsed. While he had shared this money freely with several expatriates like himself, the truth was that it did not belong to him personally and he felt a bit of shame at using it to sustain his family in Paris (an expensive town).

    Naturally, the French Foreign Ministry had sent numerous entreaties to Davis over the past few months gauging if he may attempt to raise another rebellion in the Confederacy. The blatant attempts to get Davis to fight their war for them were as obvious as they were insulting. Even a threat to revoke his passport was met with amused contempt.

    Davis had lost his war. Even if he COULD raise an army among the Confederacy, there would be no James Buchanan to sit around and watch him do it. With already 150,000 Union soldiers in the South, it would be easy to crush another rebellion.

    And what was the point?

    The slaves had been freed. They were reportedly partaking in an exodus away from their plantations. For all the claims made that the 2nd American Revolution was about "States' Rights" or over differences in Tariff Policy..........it was always about slavery, of course. Now that the slaves had been freed, what was the point to another War of Secession beyond bruised feelings?

    To hell with the French. He'd laughed when he heard that the French Navy had been defeated, followed up quickly by their army.

    Offers of pardon for all ex-Confederates had largely been sincere, Davis was pleased to see. Even John Floyd, the former Secretary of War who, under Buchanan, had quietly moved Federal supplies into pro-Secessionist hands, had seen his sentence of death for treason (Davis had to admit he'd agree with that jury) commuted by Lincoln to ten years in prison.

    But Davis had been the face of the Confederacy. Short of spending his life groveling to the Union sops over his regret at sundering the nation, he doubted he'd ever be left alone.

    Paris was nice enough. Nice enough place to die in.


    Napoleon III was a bold man but a reasonable one. His gamble in North America failed but he was not broke yet. He was still in the game. Opportunists were, by nature, pragmatists. He would not be the Emperor of Mexico. Too bad.

    He'd put his enemies on the back foot for years. A few reverses wouldn't seriously weaken France. That was something.

    Seeing no point in delaying the inevitable, he called for the American Ambassador and finally suggested a formal peace. He'd already ordered all French warships to halt offensive operations and only fire in their own defense.

    The French had other irons in the fire and the Legion could be best used elsewhere rather than rotting in an American and Mexican prison camp.


    With no hint of a French invasion fleet, the armies of Grant and Lee would board vessels for home. Longstreet returned to America with 3000 more men in early may, while Jackson, Thomas and Smith followed later in the month. Eventually, the 30,000 man American Army would be winnowed down to 10,000 by early July (no one wanted to be in Mexico for another July, no one).

    Lee would be recalled a few weeks later to report, leaving Grant in command of the consolidated American forces, now largely confined to garrisons in Tampico and Veracruz. Grant was certain Lee's resignation from the army would be forthcoming the same day. The old Virginian had suffered greatly, torn between his country and his state. He deserved an honorable retirement.

    Throughout the rest of Mexico, Juarez did not appear to be having too many problems regaining control of the country. Zaragoza had hunted down a few of the Junta Generals and Senators but most willingly surrendered.

    There would be no further major insurrections and the Americans would not be called upon to settle Mexican affairs. This was a great relief to Grant and Lee as neither desired to clash swords with the Mexicans again. Twice in one lifetime was more than enough. These were a tough people acclimated to a harsh climate. Far better to leave it to them.

    Between the obvious withdrawal of American forces and the Lincoln Administration somehow coming up with a lump sum payment to Mexico to reliquidate the Mexican Treasury, relations with the locals were going well enough. The Americans were largely out of sight of most of the country, being isolated in a couple of port cities keeping guard on the French prisoners.

    To Grant's surprise, Lincoln even offered an updated Treaty with Juarez, obviously intending to bolster the little Mestizo's local popularity. Having granted Baja California to America in his near-exile in North Mexico, Juarez had also put some of the northern territories up as collateral for American gold, military aid, etc. He'd promised mining rights to American concerns as a form of payment with Sonora being the collateral. The new Treaty eliminated this provision as the "Junta" government trumpeted Juarez selling off the country as part of their propaganda.

    Grant might have offered Baja California back, god knows it couldn't be worth much, but that would be unpopular in Washington.

    It seemed a good enough compromise in the General's estimation. A strong and Republican Mexico could only serve America's interests. A weak and poor one would be a constant threat either of banditry or foreign invasion. The Monroe Doctrine was only a set of pretty words until backed up by steel. But keeping European nations out of the Americans was best accomplished with trade, prosperity and freedom.

    Grant was sure Lincoln had it right.

    Who knows? Maybe he would eventually accept the offer of the Republican Party to take office someday. Maybe Secretary of Defense?

    Who could say?
    Chapter 62
  • June, 1865

    Washington, DC

    With the 13th Amendment formally ratified and the 14th Amendment certain to be approved within a few months, Lincoln knew it was time to prepare for the 15th.

    Lincoln deliberately chose to wait until Congress was on recess before proposing the 15th Amendment which would ensure racial equality in suffrage. The President released the news to the northern papers first, hoping his Republican supporters would add their voice to the effort.

    In the meantime, Lincoln also solicited the advice of a number of southern abolitionists regarding how the southern states would resist this assuming the Amendment passed. He was surprised how many different ways poor white trash had been kept from voting over the years in a number of states. This included poll taxes, literacy tests, etc. It dawned on Lincoln that he could not allow any State to set its own requirements or procedures for voting else the 15th could easily be circumvented.

    Thus, Lincoln had not only included Racial equality in electoral systems but demanded a common criteria demanded by Washington.

    It would only add resistance to the Amendment but Lincoln was intent to ensure the laws would be obeyed. The Confederate states had not been truly readmitted to the Union as of yet. Lincoln would refuse to act on that matter until the other was resolved.

    Of course, Lincoln had a great deal more to do.

    He ordered the Transcontinental railroad completed (it had been halted by the war) and this provided new opportunities in the west. He even had a study commissioned to investigate a series of trans-continental railroads, perhaps three (north, south and middle) to connect the country.

    There was also a short term money crunch. Being offered Russian America for a few million dollars in gold could not be refused no matter the consequences to the exchequer. Lincoln could be rid of another European power on the continent for a few million. That alone was worth the cash. Of course, subsidizing the government of Mexico with a "gift" (really payment for Baja California) of millions in hard currency, plus a zero interest loan, plus wiping out any debts owed to the United States Government, etc, didn't exactly cure the Secretary of the Treasury's indigestion.

    But these decision were necessary and vastly cheaper than another intervention in Mexico.

    At least the French had offered their armistice. Lincoln imagined that that peace would be quick and easy.

    Eastern Anatolia

    The "Province of Armenia, Assyria and Alevistan" would be born in 1865. To the north, a new Greek state in Trabizond was born, under the Czar as well, of course.

    The Turkish Sunnis were largely ejected. Oddly, the Armenians, Assyrians and Alevis were less than supportive of this pogram. The only significant help the Russians received was from the Kurds (who were generally a mix of Shia and Sunni).

    By 1865, nearly two million Turks (mostly Sunnis) had been ejected from Eastern Anatolia, greatly altering the demographics of the region.

    Other minorities, like Shia Muslims, Arabs, etc were granted protection from the Russians....on their way somewhere else. The Arabs tended to end up in Syria while the Shia were granted sanctuary in Persia.

    Despite an agreement to allow migration without harm, the Turks viciously attacked any Greek, Armenian, etc which had the misfortune of living in Western Anatolia, the last refuge of the Ottoman Empire. Eliminating the business classes and the most educated would not be a good short term decision and the "Sick Man" of Europe would get a great deal sicker over the next few years as the economy utterly collapsed.

    The Greeks, Armenians, etc fled across the border, bitter than the Russians had tacitly agreed to do nothing as they were ejected from their homes. But Russia wanted the Turks out of Eastern Anatolia, Europe and the Levant. The Turks wanted everyone else out of Western Anatolia.


    The Spanish and Dominican retribution against the Haitians would be nothing short of brutal. There was no expectation or attempt of accepting a Haitian surrender. Instead, the population of the unstable former San Dominique would be ruthlessly hunted down and exterminated.

    To assist in the restoration of Spanish supremacy on the island (for the first time in over 200 years), the Spanish would seek the assistance of the French Foreign Legion which was preparing to ship home from Mexico. The Emperor of France deemed this a suitable punishment for their failures and even loaned some of the African units still which had served in the French cause (excluding those that had already been summoned home in 1863). He also ordered several of the other foreign regiments (common for the era in France) to the Dominican.

    Maybe they could regain their honor.

    Of course, Queen Isabella would pay the Emperor for their use.

    The Rio Plata

    As it so happened, the 2nd Regiment of the French Foreign legion,1500 strong....and another 2000 foreign mercenaries mainly hired from Northwest Germany....would sail much further south, this time to the Rio Plata. The damned President Lopez of Paraguay had upset the Emperor's plans to form an anti-British coalition in South America.

    Brazilians, Uruguayans and Argentines (minus Buenos Aires, which once again stood alone) were already preparing to invade Paraguay and put an end to this Lopez fool.

    The arrival of thousands of European and African mercenaries should put a quick end to this nonsense.


    The Czar simply could never comprehend the British mind. For years, the Russians had rolled over the twitching corpse of the Ottoman Empire which had once caused all of Christendom to shiver in fear, ending the Muslim threat to Europe. Throughout all this, nary a word was spared by the British. Even the Royal Navy, which hung menacingly off Ottoman shores in the eastern Mediterranean, had barely said a word as Russian armies marched past well in their field of view.

    Yet, the Ottoman state finally collapsing had left the British willing to venture an opinion. The Czar received the British Ambassador and promptly express Her Majesty's indignation about.....the Khedive selling millions of shares in the Suez Canal to France and Russia.


    The British preoccupation with protecting India had led to British alliances against Russia before. It had all been so unnecessary. Neither Alexander II nor his predecessors ever had more than a passing thought at seizing India. To do so in the past would require Russian troops marching thousands of miles through some of the harshest deserts and mountains on Earth, somehow maintaining a supply line through Persia and Afghanistan.....and only THEN even REACHING India.

    Even with the imminent completion of the Suez Canal, this seemed unlikely to be possible...even if the Czar wished to.

    Which he DIDN'T.

    Of course, at least this obsession made them fairly predictable.

    However, the British Ambassador did find a way to surprise the Czar in their meeting. After the obligatory bleats and complaints, the Briton announced that Her Majesty saw fit to do something to "recover the peace and tranquility" of the Eastern Mediterranean as well as see to the protection of Ottoman citizens.

    He was surprised, though in hindsight he should not have been, that the British determined to do this by seizing Crete and Cyprus, to predominantly Greek islands which had suffered under Ottoman domination. By most accounts, the locals had overthrown the Ottoman governors the better part of a year ago but Russia, her forces still battling the Ottomans in Eastern Anatolia and evicting the Turk and other European Muslims from the Balkans, hadn't bother to dispatch an occupying force as of yet.

    Thinking back, the Czar recalled the Greek Ambassador begging him for a flotilla of ships and transports to carry Greek soldiers to seize the islands but he had put the fellow off.

    Well, the Czar concluded, THAT may have been a mistake.

    Still, the Czar was not put off much by the news. If HE could seize huge swathes of Ottoman Territory, so could the British. He rather suspected the French were kicking themselves at the moment as well.

    These two islands, along with the Ionians, Malta and Gibraltar, would ensure that the Royal Navy could keep a watchful eye upon the entire Mediterranean.

    If the British Ambassador was expecting to get a rise out of the Czar, he would be disappointed. In the past few years, Russian had conquered millions of square miles of territory and tens of millions of new subjects. If Queen Victoria wanted to crow about gaining two poor Greek islands, more power to her.

    Such matters were beneath the notice of the Czar. However, in moment's of pique over the next few days, Alexander II would consider making some announcement regarding "adding territory" in Asia. It would probably drive the British political classes mad.
    Chapter 62
  • July, 1865


    With the peace with France looking guaranteed (the final treaty was making its way across the Atlantic) looking guaranteed, President Lincoln could at last concentrate on domestic mattered.

    Naturally, the 14th Amendment (Proposed) would be the priority in the fall session of Congress. It would be a relatively non-contentious approval given the lack of Southern Representation. However, the 15th (guaranteeing no hindrance based upon race) would be more contentious, no doubt. Even loyal Unionists may have trouble accepting Negroes as equals politically and economically. Only so many wanted to see their children in school with black children or see black politicians running for election.

    It would all take a great deal of getting used to. However, Lincoln did see the upside. Very few states (if any) did not have SOME laws on the books which limited suffrage be it due to residence, nation of origin, economic status, etc. There were plenty of immigrants and poor white trash which had been removed from the voting process by such means, even in the northern and western states.

    Lincoln was encouraged to be the President to change this. Despite being linked to the "rich", in reality, the business community of employers and employees were united in benefiting from a healthy economy. Lincoln was intent on attempting to gain support from both as long as he could. The Unionization effort was gaining steam throughout the textile and steel industries. No doubt that would come to a head sooner rather than later and probably split the manufacturing sector into an unnecessary "Labor" versus "Management". Given the option, most political parties would go towards whoever had the most votes.

    Lincoln was also intent on improving the lives of the impoverished Irish immigrant, already so mistreated at home and held as dung beneath the feet of many native-born Americans for their poverty. Like many immigrant classes, the Irish had served well in the Army and Navy to preserve the Union. Letting them return to their miserable status was unacceptable. Indeed, Lincoln felt more than the occasional twinge of guilt at encouraging Ireland to rise up against the British by supplying them with arms. The entire attempt was futile and only resulted in dead Irish and a few British Regiments remaining at home. The President could not help but feel he'd used the poor Irish peasant for his own purposes and the best he could do to rectify this was improving the lives of those who reached America's shores.

    But there were plenty of other issues with which to deal:

    1. A demand for pensions for Union soldiers and sailors was gaining steam and Lincoln could hardly disagree no matter how the financial hardship may strain the government.
    2. Congress was already hesitant to keep funding the navy despite dozens of coastal towns being leveled over the past two years.
    3. The Freedmen's Bureau was reporting violence against the Negroes remaining in the south (roughly 75% of the former slaves remained in the state in which they'd been held in bondage). Lincoln ordered all of his Military Governors to do their utmost to put a stop to this.
    4. Calls for the southern states to be readmitted to the Union continued ever louder. However, Lincoln was unwilling to bend until State Conventions were held upholding the 13th, impending 14th and still negotiating 15th Amendments. Nothing less would get Lincoln to move.
    5. Absurdly, some members of Congress wanted the high tariffs against Britain (and presumably France once the peace was official) to be lowered. Given that America had a huge debt BECAUSE of these nations, this seemed unreasonable. It would be a long time before the "low tariffs" lobby gained ascendancy. Lincoln wanted his nation to match or exceed Britain in Manufacturing by that point and the British and French manufacturer to pay at least partially for America's wartime debt.

    And there were so many more. So much to do, so little time to do it.

    Saskatchewan River

    Loathing the thought of seeing so many slaves walking about Louisiana as if they owned the place, Nathan Bedford Forrest agreed to sign on to an expedition exploring the vast Rupert's Land and British Columbia territories now gained by America.

    However, within weeks of crossing the Plains, Forrest would be horrified to see an entire 3rd Regiment of Negro Cavalry patrolling Dakota Territory. Then, when the expedition rode even further north, he was revolted to find a dozen free black men sign on to the expedition.

    This was too much, Forrest would rather loudly disparage Lincoln, the Union and all black people in a drunken stupor that night. By morning, he was found with three bullets in his back.

    Oddly, he was still alive. He was sent back to Dakota under guard of three (white) porters. He would recover in the same frontier fortification which was the base of the 3rd Regiment.


    Over the past month, the violence only escalated as the well-armed Spanish Armies made no effort of withholding the slaughter which they'd commenced months ago. With the arrival of the French and African mercenaries, the bloodshed among the Haitians only increased.

    Soon, the larger cities of Haiti had fallen and the population forced into the countryside. Despite their best efforts, the Haitians had never quite made themselves entirely self-sufficient in foodstuffs. With the transportation system breaking down as Spanish soldiers blocked roads, locally grown food would rot in the fields. Hunger would be common by Christmas and starvation by February. Naturally, disease would crop up as bodies weakened.

    The worst was yet to come as more mercenaries from Cuba and Puerto Rico, spurred by promises of land grants, joined the fray. Even Europeans from Portugal, France, Italy and other locales would flock to the Spanish colors with promises of plantations in the "Pearl of the West Indies".
    Chapter 63
  • August, 1865

    Washington DC

    The 14th Amendment was passed in August, much to Lincoln's relief. But the battle over the 15th Amendment would only be starting.

    The first of the Kalamazoo class warships had been launched despite a concerted effort on the part of some Congressional leaders to cancel all new construction. Lincoln assured Secretary Welles that the navy would not see the budget cuts affecting so many other parts of the government (notably the Army) would not affect the Navy. Sure, large numbers of ships would be commissioned but these were mainly old sailing ships, hastily upgraded merchant ships, side-wheel river vessels, etc.

    The heavy ship program would continue apace. Even the submersibles would be continually experienced upon.


    With the American War finally over, the Disraeli Administration was pleased that the peace would bring employment back to hundreds of thousands of British weavers, though the supply of cotton had not come remotely back to pre-war levels. It was debatable that, without slavery, it ever would. The British Raj had been encouraging cotton production in India for years, even before the War between the States. Egypt, Brazil, the West Indies....many regions had spent the past years converting over to the suddenly popular cotton crop.

    But none had yet come close to replacing that production.

    The textile industry was changing. However, the passage of the new Suffrage Expansion laws in Britain would gain Disraeli's party a measure of popularity that would see them through the current crisis....he hoped.

    At least the price of grain had plummeted.

    In the meantime, the sudden collapse of the Ottoman and expansion of the Russians would no doubt lead to long term ramifications in the balance of power.

    Oddly, the fears of French domination seemed to have died down as Napoleon III did not make any moves toward directly challenging the British in any particular region. He wondered if the Emperor would regret his actions in the Eastern Mediterranean someday as much as the British.

    While the French had managed to secure their borders with allies (Italy and Northwest Germany) and marginalized their only continental enemies (Prussia and Austria) with lost territory and an expanding Russia to the east.

    But that expanding Russia may someday bring as much heartburn to the French. Napoleon III may believe that his aims and those of the French are compatible....but Disraeli doubted that would prove the case.


    With much fanfare, the Hagia Sofia was reborn once again as an Orthodox Christian Church. The Czar would be elated to finally regain one of the pillars of Eastern Christendom.


    The Khedive's forces had finally ejected the last of the Ottoman influence in Syria. Establishing a new Arab Dynasty would not be easy. However, Khedive Isma'il would do all he could to reduce the ethnic and religious enmity of the region. Like in Egypt, where the Christian minority had been prospering over the past few decades, the Khedive would seek to turn the Levant....and Egypt....into modern nations.

    At least that was the plan. Unfortunately, the Khedive's massive overspending was already causing problems with his new "Arab Kingdom".
    Chapter 64
  • September, 1865

    Joseon Kingdom

    Over the past few decades, a small cadre of French Catholic priests had quietly converted over 20,000 Koreans to their faith. However, with a new leader of the Royal Court (the father of the 12 year old King) would take exception to this. Yi Ha-ung (the Prince of the Great Court) had seen how even the Korean Suzerain, the great China, had been humiliated by the west. A decade earlier, the Nipponese had been forced to open their doors.

    Now it was apparent than Russia, France, Britain, America....god knows the difference between them.....wanted to "trade" with the Joseon Kingdom.

    This was unacceptable.

    For his son's legacy, Yi Ha-ung would put an end to this Catholic nonsense.


    The French Ambassador's proposal of opening the Joseon Kingdom to both French AND Russian trade was accepted. The Czar wondered if the Frenchman could not read a map. The fact that the Russian Empire was contiguous to the region would always mean such an alliance was to THEIR advantage.

    But Emperor Napoleon III was apparently intent on expansion in every direction. Let him try and have fun battling with France over scraps. Russia would focus only on their borders and what actually BENEFITED them.


    Emperor Napoleon III would take in a personal demonstration of the Chassepot rifle, a breech-loader intended to replace the muzzle-loading "Minie".

    Thus far, the rifle proved a vast improvement upon the Minie, the Prussian Dreyse "Needle-gun" and even the American repeating rifles (at least in accuracy and range, if not rate of fire). Within three years, this weapon would become the French standard.

    Throughout the Prussian War and the Mexican "Intervention" (the Emperor's claim to the land being quietly dropped), it became apparent that the French arsenal was quite obsolete. The Dreyse Needle Guns and Krupp cannons were plainly superior to the French arms, which led to the shockingly poor performance against an already overstretched Prussia (also at war with Denmark, Austria, Bavaria). Had the Russians and Poles ALSO initiated hostilities, the Emperor suspected that the war would have gone very badly.

    Even as the conflict ended in victory, it became apparent that both the technology and organization of the French forces must be reconsidered. A General Staff of the Prussian model was finally implemented after over a century of demands for reform. Frederick II in the 7 Years War adequately proved the inferiority of the obsolete French system but the resistance of the French establishment prevented any major reforms. Logistics, officer training, etc, seemed very little different from a hundred years prior (most of Napoleon I's reforms had been reversed).

    The superior "Krupp" Cannons of the Prussian Army had been built in Essen, now allocated to French ally, Hanover, the leader of the Northwest German Confederation. The outstanding cannons were now shipped west to France instead of east to Prussia.

    The French Navy's massive building program of iron ships was already well along. By 1868, the Navy was expected to exceed the Royal Navy in terms of custom-built ironclads.

    Indeed, all the major powers - France, Britain, Russia and even Italy America, China and Nippon - were engaging in a naval arms race.

    Washington DC

    Lincoln was dismayed to hear of riots in Indiana, New York and even California over the proposed 15th Amendment, protecting the voting rights of all peoples regardless of race, place of birth, etc. The proposal had been amended to prevent foreseeable attempts to circumvent the law, like poll taxes and literacy tests (the 15th abolished these).

    Though there was some additional support from the poor whites and immigrant classes which had been marginalized, it also meant that there was resistance from citizens who wondered why the town drunk who never worked a day in his life or paid a penny in taxes somehow had the same vote as he did.
    Chapter 65
  • October, 1865


    Queen Isabella, was was her wont, would scream at her advisors until they gave up and did whatever she wanted. Eventually, they agreed to seek out more mercenaries throughout Europe. There were always impoverished men available to be bought. Both France and Italy had been quite accommodating in the past year in hopes of keeping Spain neutral during their inevitable conflicts with Britain (and France and Mexico, etc, etc).

    Thus both allowed the Spanish Army to recruit in their nations. It turned out that the mercenary groups were almost always made better soldiers than Spaniards.

    The war in Haiti was going well.....and badly.....at the same time.

    Most objectives like taking Haitian cities went well enough....but the Haitians seemed unwilling to surrender under their new leader.....or Emperor.....or whatever the mulatto called himself. They merely retreated to the hills.

    Starvation and privation didn't seem to affect that Haitian will to fight much. They'd been killing each other for over half a century and spent a century before that in bondage. What was one more massacre?

    Isabella would eventually order the Generals to do anything they saw fit to bring the population to heel. One General had replied that would include killing 90% of the male population. The Queen wondered why he thought she would care about that.

    If tens of thousands of mercenaries were required, then get them! If the Generals wanted modern arms like the Chassepots or Sharpe's....then get them!

    Of course Spain, still recovering from two Carlist Wars, would not have the funds to easily pay for such a campaign. Thus, the Ministers were forced to cut back on road-building, railroads, education and the Navy (the Spanish Navy was already WEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLL behind the other European powers....or even America by this point.

    But the Queen appointed them and they must do as their Master demanded.

    The West Indies

    Admiral Porter had been among the heroes of the War Between the States and the wars with Britain and France. With the peace, he'd feared that the navy would become the same backwater it had been prior to the war. For the moment, Lincoln still supported the building program.

    Having investigated the massive shipbuilding plans of both European powers, this was necessary for national defense. But unemployment and debt still blanketed the country, both north and south. It would be easy enough for Congress to bleed the Navy white if they so chose.

    Among his duties was commanding the USS Kalamazoo, the first of her class of Ocean-going Monitors, on her "shakedown" voyage with two older ships in tow. Of course, this was the theory. In reality, Porter was to stop at a number of Caribbean ports on "goodwill tours" of the British, French, Spanish, Dutch and Danes to inspect the defenses of each island. America had just spent two years being attacked by Britain (and nominally France) with little potential to strike back. Only the coincidence of Canada being adjacent to America allowed any part of the war on Britain to be taken to Her Majesty's domains.

    Should hostilities arise again, Lincoln demanded a plan as to how to make the Europeans hurt. Porter found that SOME of the island defenses appeared to be updated to withstand modern artillery but most hadn't. In truth, since the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean (except on Spanish islands), the value of these lands had plummeted. Once these territories had been the most valuable per square mile in the world. Now, the old sugar-cane fields were going fallow as the West Indies could not match the Brazilians or even Americans in efficiency.

    There were still some profits to be made, particularly in cotton or tobacco....but the West Indies had become a backwater and Porter doubted that anyone would ever fight over these pestilential hellholes again.

    Washington DC

    Of course, Porter's opinion was not universal among the Navy's upper ranks. Secretary of the Navy Welles had been adamant that gaining Caribbean bases must be high on America's priorities. Thus when the King of Denmark, still smarting over the loss of Schleswig and Holstein, offered to sell the Danish Virgin Islands for a few million dollars in gold, Welles virtually BEGGED Lincoln to agree.

    Though already bearing huge amounts of debt, reaching an unthinkable 3.6 billion dollars after the war. Taxes raised during the war remained in place while tariffs were higher than they'd been in half a century to help pay off the debt.

    Still, adding to the Secretary of the Navy's usable bases for $7,000,000, which was the equivalent of 2 or 3 DAYS of wartime cost, seemed downright reasonable. America had barely paid more than that for Alaska.

    There was also talk that the Virgin Islands could be used as a homeland for American Freedmen though Lincoln had backed away on the "colonization" idea. There were still some groups in Washington who advocated sending the Negroes across the seas....and a few would go to Africa but this was only a few thousands.....but Frederick Douglass had demanded that Freedmen be treated as AMERICANS, not ex-patriots. In the end, Lincoln had been convinced to agree (thus his heavy focus on land distribution).

    However, ANY new spending was not necessarily popular in Congress and the President was encountering resistance to the proposed 15th Amendment by additional votes against other legislation.

    Fortunately, the vote was a draw and Vice-President Hamlin, a loyal Republican if not necessarily a key member of the party, would vote in support of the Administration. Sometimes Lincoln forgot the man existed but this time reminded himself to pen a letter to the Vice-President in thanks.

    In 1866, the islands changed hands.

    Only later would the President wonder why Denmark offered the islands to America rather than any of the other European powers. Had he bothered to ask, he would found out that the King of Denmark had been outraged that neither France nor Britain came to his aid when attacked by Prussia and, even after the latter's defeat, made no effort to return the German citizens to his authority.

    But, like other secondary powers in the 19th Century, Denmark found itself increasingly behind a continent now bulging with giants. It was only a matter of time until one of the other powers simply sailed into the Danish Virgin islands and annexed them. At least selling them to the Americans would sting the other Europeans a bit.

    Of course, once gaining the islands, the Naval Department realized they hadn't exactly purchased another Gibraltar. Yes, American ships could dock there but none of the islands possessed an anchorage as fine as Antigua, Havana, St. Kitts, etc. It would just be another place for America to pay for and defend.

    Secretary of State William Seward would....again....be mocked by his enemies for his acquisitions.

    Russian America was deemed "Seward's frozen head", the lands of southern Quebec were called "Seward's icy heart", the Baja Peninsula "Seward worn-out Steed" ("Steed" being slang for penis) and now the Virgin Islands "Seward's sweaty ballocks" ("ballocks" being testicles).
    Chapter 66
  • November, 1865

    Washington DC

    Intent on getting a vote by Christmas, President Lincoln would nag Congress to formally debate the 15th Amendment until even his allies were tired of him. Eventually, the vote was postponed until after New Years. In truth, Lincoln was certain he could get an Amendment through regarding a ban on discrimination based upon RACE.....but it was the other clauses he inserted to ensure that class, "residency", education or other barriers could not be inserted by State Governments. The 15th could demand the NATIONAL government oversee registration and standardize voting laws.

    For his part, Lincoln would prefer a good law to just any law that could be easily broken in the future. Thus he grimaced and agreed to wait. He was not an uncompromising man but here he could not accept watering down of the Amendment. There would be too many challenges in the future for the law itself to be weak.

    In the meantime, Congress was endlessly debated that most vital of issues.................NAMING the newly acquired territories.

    Congress still needed to bless the names Lincoln offered and, in truth, Lincoln didn't much care thus he sought recommendations.

    The lead name for Baja California was....Lower California.
    The Danish Virgin Islands were to be renamed......the AMERICAN Virgin Islands.

    No one ever accused Congress of creativity, Lincoln would consider with a smirk.

    Apparently, no one thought "Vancouver Island" should change though some argued the large island should be added to the former British Columbia. At the very least, Vancouver's British Capital of "Victoria" should be changed. There was a subcommittee devoted to that very topic.

    "British Columbia" was looking likely to be renamed...."Columbia". Again, not the most imaginative name.

    The vast "Rupert's Land" would almost certainly be divided into multiple territories...which would, of course, require additional subcommittees in the future once the teams of explorers would map the area (though the British maps were proving quite good overall).

    Oddly, the only decisive action taken was on the lands south of the St. Lawrence acquired from Quebec had received a name. Once containing 80,000 largely French-speaking citizens, nearly 30,000 (and climbing) had already departed for north of the border. Apparently. the French were not eager for American citizenship. Still largely unsettled, entire towns of migrants had set up among the French, often moving into their homes.

    A fund was set up to purchase the property of any Quebecois who desired to leave (it was made VERY clear that ALL of the residents were entirely welcome to stay as American citizens) and allow for settlement of soldiers and their families. Indeed, the first in line proved to be the Irish Brigade and, within a year of the war ending, nearly 15,000 ex-soldiers (10,000 from the Irish Brigades) were granted purchased properties or untouched acreage in the region and they brought families north to the Quebec border. Within three years, French was a minority language. Within ten, barely a fifth of the homes spoke French and those who opted to stay were gradually absorbed into the American population over the generations.

    Seeking to make a concession to the French who still dominated the region in 1865, the suggestion of John Hay, Lincoln's secretary, would see the name "Lafayette" to be proposed. Though Frenchmen were not exactly popular at the moment, THAT particular Frenchman remained cherished in American hearts.

    Apparently impressed with their own creativity (again, no one in Congress thought of the name) and magnanimity towards the conquered Frenchmen, "Lafayette" was approved as the new territorial name.

    Indeed, the most rousing event was when a few Congressmen noted that "Lafayette" was a smallish state and, to give her room to grow, that perhaps some lands from upstate New York be added to Lafayette. The representatives of New York informed their colleagues that no such thing would ever happen.

    "Russian America" left a different problem. Lincoln was attempting to keep good relations with the Czar and some recommended naming the territory "Alexandria". However, despite the Czar's reputation for liberating the serfs, Alexander II still had done little to create democracy and flat out crushed Poland under the Russian boot.

    Thus, "Alaska" was probably going to be the selection though making that official would likely wait until after the American explorers completed their surveys.

    Of course, "Southern Florida", bearing only a fraction of the population of the lightly populated "Florida". Previously, the Confederate state of Florida had bourn 140,000 (roughly 66,000 Negroes) souls, well over 3/4's of them in "Northern" Florida. Most of the maps of the newly carved southern territory did not even have towns marked in this region.

    Lincoln had determined that "Freedmen" would be granted first crack at lands in the south (with the actual local Freedmen first and foremost among them).

    By the end of 1865, "Southern" Florida's population was booming as most of the local Freedmen remained and over 20,000 more from "North" Florida and other parts of the south had migrated. In addition, another 15,000 whites had arrived as well, mostly from the Union states or foreign immigrants.

    Lincoln had attempted to ease the transition by several means:

    1. Making peace with the holdout "Seminole" peoples (Creeks who avoided the Trail of Tears) and other local tribes by granting them a series of small reservations in "Southern" Florida.
    2. Encourage migration further by extending the rail line south through the heart of the state/territory.
    3. Improve ports in the region like Tampa.

    The official moniker of the new Territory as of yet was to be determined "South Florida", Seminole, Calusa, Tampa, Biscayne and Dade were the primary contenders.

    The territories carved from "West" Texas and "North" Texas may also end up as "West Texas" (though Mescalero would become popular) and "North Texas" (Aranama was a contender) but there was at least some disagreement there as well.

    Lincoln would be relieved when Congress stopped wasting their time on such issues so they could waste it on something more important.
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    Chapter 67
  • December, 1865


    Jefferson Davis' memoirs were published by a French publishing company. Through them, he blamed everyone but himself for the defeat of the Confederacy. If there was any fault of his own, it was the mistake he made in believing Great Britain and France could assist in the establishment of the Confederacy.

    The Confederacy would have been better off manufacturing its own arms and fighting its own war rather than depend upon foreigners. If there was one iota of pleasure Davis had taken in two years exile, it was living to see the humiliation of the European "powers". That almost made up for the loss of the Southern way of life.

    The memoirs further cast blame upon the southern generals, the lack of elan among the soldiers, the Confederate Congress, his Cabinet and, of course, the slaves whose resistance proved that somehow they SHOULD have been in slavery.

    It was the miserable rant of a bitter man.

    It was also the worst mistake he would ever make for the wrong person read it.


    Though still four years away from completion, the Khedive of Egypt had already been forced to sell his shares to pay down a small portion of Egypt's debts he'd wracked up in just a few years.

    And, of course, the ongoing drama with the British was deeply disconcerting. The Royal Navy appeared intent on rapidly building up its forces in the Eastern Mediterranean. British Army forces were being billeted in Cyprus and Crete (not to mention Malta, the Ionian Islands and Gibraltar).

    The Greek Government was reportedly livid that Britain now had two more "natural" Greek possessions (in addition to the Ionian Islands) keeping the nation from enosis.

    The Khedive's advisors (ironically British and French) BEGGED the Khedive to rein in his costs.


    The Presidents of Peru and Chile finally agreed to a declaration of war against Spain. Ecuador was expected to join them within the month.

    For the past year, Spain's Navy had effectively claimed the guano-rich Chincha Islands as "compensation" after a series of incidents with various South American countries. There was always the fear that Queen Isabella would try to somehow regain the old Spanish Empire (most would find this absurd despite the Spanish moves in the Dominican and Haiti.

    Cooler heads would realize this and seek a peaceful solution. But the Pacific Coast of South America was rife with paranoia and many wanted to prove to the old Mother Country that their independence was NOT open for debate.


    King Leopold II ascended to the throne in Belgium after the death of his father on December 1st. Many of the chorus of Europe wondered if Belgium would continue its fall into France's orbit...or if they really had a choice.
    Chapter 68
  • February, 1866

    Washington DC

    Though it seemed to take an unusual amount of time, enough State Legislatures had ratified the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution to bring them into law. Given that the Amendment process required 2/3's Majority in the House and Senate and then ratified by 3/4's of the states in the Union. Given that 11 of the states had been in rebellion, the "reconstructionist" governments of these states were required to approve as well. Adequate numbers of state governments had approved over the winter of 1865/6 that these Amendments came into law.

    The 15th continued to be vexing. There was a difference between FREEING a slave class and making it equal.

    Newly elected Senator of Kentucky, Andrew Johnson (a Unionist Democrat during the war), would lead the objections to the "enforcement" clauses of the 15th Amendment which gave the central government powers to compel the states to obedience.

    At least Lincoln could find solace that the new National bank was being embodied and would give the always fragile American financial system a stiffer spine during future difficulties.

    Joseon Kingdom, Gangwa Island

    The arrival of a joint Russian and French fleet off of Gangwa Islands, which dominated the mouth of the Han River (and therefore the Joseon Capital) would cause a stir. The Prince of the Great Court called upon the army....and local peasants....to expel the intruders. The foreign ships, commanded by French Admiral Pierre-Gustove Roze, who had been shamed by his defeat in Veracruz to the Americans, easily destroyed any Joseon vessels sent against them.

    In the meantime, the island was seized by a predominantly Russian land forces commanded by the Russian Engineer Eduard Totleben who, with naval assistance, reduce the fortifications on Gangwa Islands within a few days.

    With their foot squarely on the throat of the Han River, the Franco-Russian allies waited for the Prince of the Great Court to respond.

    But they didn't call it the "Hermit Kingdom" for nothing. Foreign trade was almost non-existent the Joseon Kingdom and the loss of Gangwa Island didn't matter much to the lives of the Joseons.

    The Prince of the Great Court refused to even speak directly to the barbarians.


    Emperor Faustin II of Haiti would rally his people to the inland fortifications built (and seldom used) over the past fifty years. His father had died the previous year after they'd been forced from the Capital. Faustin I had abdicated in favor of his son.

    However, the already tenuous hold on the Soulouque family on the Haitian population was stretched even further as regional warlords assumed control over portions of the country. By 1866, it was apparent that the Haitians were fighting each other as much as the brutal invaders.

    While the death toll was impossible to know accurately, it was estimated the perhaps a quarter of the pre-war population of roughly 800,000 thousand souls (a VERY rough estimate) had been lost already due to a combination of direct Spanish massacres, fratricidal Haitian murders and, as always, starvation and disease.

    The cities of Haiti had already fallen, cutting off the nation from any food imports or sugar exports. The civilians were pressed to the interior, hiding in the hills where precious little sustenance could be found.

    The worst was yet to come.

    New York

    Despite the high post-war unemployment rate (double-digit in some places), masses of immigrants had begun to arrive in America once again. Irish, German, Scandinavian, Polish, Jewish, Russian, Italian.....the list would go on and on and many of these peoples had never been seen in any significant numbers before on American shores.....and the volume of peoples arriving from Europe would only increase as the century approached its closes.

    Germany remained in political convulsion and now factions, Poles and Jews were being terribly repressed by Russia, the Habsburg Empire was stagnating, Italy's initial unification-inspired enthusiasm failed to be matched by economic growth, Scandinavia's arable land could not meet the needs of an expanding population, Britain's grip on Ireland restricted her ambitions, Britain's own population increase resulted in a steady stream of emigrants.....

    For all her faults, America was seen as a better option than remaining mired in European monarchal systems.
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    Chapter 69
  • March, 1866

    Washington DC

    Lincoln was surprised to receive a request for General Hunt and Admiral Dahlgren for a short appointment. Usually, they would report directly to Stanton and Welles, respectively, but the President would not refuse anything to the men who helped win three wars in the past five years.

    General Henry Hunt was considered by most contemporaries as the best artillerist and strategist of the former War Between the States, the "French and Mexican War" and the "3rd British War" (or the somewhat over-the-top "3rd War of Independence). Since the war, Hunt had taken over the "Board of Ordnance", the vital committee which oversaw supplying the army with weapons.

    Dahlgren was not only the highest ranking sailor in the Navy but also the inventor of the fearsome "Dahlgren" Guns which were perhaps as big an advantage on the high seas as the repeating rifles had been on land.

    When these men wanted a sit-down, the President gives them a sit-down without delay.

    Besides, Lincoln found it odd that an Army General and a Navy Admiral wished to speak with him jointly.

    The President welcomed the soldiers into his office and summoned tea, inquiring as to what he can do for them.

    "Well, Mr. President," Hunt began, no doubt by mutual agreement ahead of time, "the Admiral and I are getting increasingly concerned with the status of our army and navy artillery. For example, on the my part, the Napoleons had been the core of the army artillery but we were outmatched.....and outmatched BADLY.....by the British breech-loading rifled cannon."

    Throughout it all, Hunt had consistently ensured Union tactical domination and, usually, material superiority.....until the Armstrong Cannon arrived on the battlefields. The old American 1854 "Napoleon" smoothbore, bronze muzzle loader had done yeoman's work for years and helped win the War between the States. It was reliable and versatile, able to fire shot, shell, canister and grape. However, it had plainly had its day. The breech-loading Armstrong was lighter (requiring fewer horses and could be transported more easily across rough ground) but, more importantly, had greater range, was much more accurate and had a vastly superior rate of fire.

    "When your enemy can hit you further, more accurately and more often, the outcome is plenty clear," Hunt concluded. "The same advantages were had with the repeaters, we suffered with the artillery. Fortunately, we came out ahead in the bargain against the British due to numbers and proximity. There is no guarantee it shall happen again."

    Lincoln nodded. The technological innovations of the past few years had been fortunate indeed for America. Had the old "Springfield" musket remained the standard, the war may have gone VERY differently.

    "I fear the same situation brewing in the navy, sir," Dahlgren rumbled.

    With surprise, Lincoln's eyebrows rose, "Admiral, it was my understanding that your "Dahlgren" guns were America's greatest weapon in the past war at sea!"

    The sailor nodded, "Indeed, sir, and I take great pride in that. HOWEVER.....my smoothbore guns, though immensely reliable and ideal for puncturing holes in inches of armor at close range, are already being made obsolete. While powerful, the guns lack great range and accuracy. New heavy rifled guns are being tested on British and French ships as we speak which would give them FAR more effective range, accuracy and rate of fire. Any enemy vessel may simply keep a greater distance from ours and pummel our ships to scrap with little danger to herself."

    Hearing the Admiral effectively dismissing his own greatest creation as useless in the future filled Lincoln with dread. Nothing could have captured his attention more aptly.

    "What do you wish from me, gentlemen?"

    Hunt replied for both of them, "A free hand to develop new cannon with our military contractors. We need a superior...or at least competitive....set of light infantry cannon akin to the Armstrong, heavy siege guns and, for the Admiral," Hunt nodded towards Dahlgren, "the development of a series of rifled cannon for the navy with the power of a Dahlgren gun but rifled with breech-loading mechanism, a superior rate of fire, range, accuracy, etc."

    "If we don't, Mr. President, I fear that Britain and France shall have a grave advantage over us in any future conflict," Dahlgren concluded.

    Lincoln nodded, seeing why the men wanted to make sure they had high-level support before proceeding. There was always an entrenched resistance to change in the military and even politically-appointed positions like the Secretary of War and Secretary of Navy. Both Stanton and Welles were good men who helped win the wars but it was obvious even years ago that the Army needed to completely revamp her artillery arm. Hearing that the Navy would have to do the same was a bit shocking but Lincoln knew not to halt progress.

    "Gentlemen, you have my complete support," Lincoln replied firmly, "Spend what you need to develop a new weapon. If you have any problems with the War or Navy Departments or push-back from Congress, you may report this to me immediately. I shall ensure you get what you need. But move quickly, for god's sake. With all the new ironclads in particular being laid down and launched throughout the world, I fear that a new war seems never far away."

    "Thank you, Mr. President," the soldier and sailor intoned as one.

    The Paraguay River

    The nation of Paraguay held few roads and was utterly dominated by the only artery available, the Paraguay River and other watersheds. Control over those meant control over the region. Thus President Lopez of Paraguay had built heavy fortifications at key points in the river and built a series of gunboats.

    Most of the male population of Paraguay was included in the militia, giving the small nation a rather disproportionate military capacity. Lopez had even attempted to make his nation independent of foreign arms requirements by building a forge and gun factory. Powder was always in short supply but he'd purchased and stored vast amounts throughout the the past few years as he'd was unsure if his landlocked nation could possibly acquire more. Like other nations lacking access to much niter, he ordered every dungheap and cave scraped of the raw material to add to his stocks.

    The allied forces of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and France dispatched ships up the Parana River (in Argentina) to where it became the Paraguay. It was assumed, as it generally was in most wars, that this would be a few months of campaigning, followed by a negotiated peace.

    Like so many wars, it would NOT.
    Chapter 70
  • April, 1866


    General Ulysses Grant winced a bit as the Veracruz "volunteers" practiced their craft on the heavy Dahlgrens, Parrots and Rodmans in the Veracruz Harbor. No invader would ever again have such an easy time assaulting the city as the British, French and Spanish had in 1861. Per the War Department's permission, Grant's shrinking army would leave behind dozens of heavy guns like these as well as tens of thousands of lighter weapons.

    American advisors had been teaching the Mexicans in their use as well as stretching President Lincoln's orders not to involve themselves unnecessarily in Mexican politics. Many American officers actively assisted the hunting down of packs of "Junta" Imperial officers and Senators.

    But the American presence in Mexico had been reduced to a bare 3000 men, most in the region of Veracruz. It appeared obvious that France was NOT going to attempt another invasion soon and therefore the American presence would prove more of a provocation and embarrassment to Juarez' government than an aide.

    All but a few hundred of the "advisors" would be relieved in the next few months.

    Grant was happy to be going home. Two wars in Mexico was two too many for one lifetime.

    As it turned out, his friend Ignazio Zaragoza had returned from an expedition in Oaxaca to wipe bout a stubborn band of Imperialists there and was present to witness the demonstration of Mexican gunnery.....prowess.

    Grant looked over to Zaragoza and muttered, "They'll get better."

    Zaragoza laughed. Grant had been in Mexico long enough to speak Spanish but the Mexican cringed at his accent. Far better to speak the English of Zaragoza's Texas kin.

    "I should hope so, Grant, I should hope so."

    Rumor had it that Juarez had picked Zaragoza as his successor in 1870. The man didn't seem interested much in politics, which was probably a good thing in Grant's estimation. A soldier who thought too much about politics was dangerous. He recalled Santa Anna and knew Mexico did not need another of those.

    Cheyenne Territory

    Though more than a bit shocked to find out that half his forces (the 7th Cavalry and the 2nd Colored Cavalry) was black, the former Confederate officer would make an effort not to irritate his men. It only took one to decide to shoot him out of his saddle.

    While several former Confederates had served in the Union forces in the late "French and Mexican War", most had since retired. Lee was apparently the Chancellor of Washington University, Beauregard was Governor of Columbia, Longstreet had taken a position in the Department of Defense. Armistead worked as a railroad commissioner, etc.

    Seeing nothing in civilian life which could match what he saw on the field, Stuart would accept a position as military governor of the newly broken out Territory of Cheyenne from the former lopsided Dakota Territory. Here the Sioux tribes and their allies were causing problems.

    Stuart admired the Plains Indians and hoped that peace could be made but, if not, well, this was cavalry territory if ever there was one.

    Washington DC

    President Lincoln was getting to despair for the 1866 Congressional elections. The economy was sagging in the standard post-war doldrums and the public was beginning to realize (no matter how many times it was explained), the sheer debt the nation had taken on. Virtually all tariff funds were being applied directly to that debt as were most of the funds once reserved for the shrinking army.

    Down to 150,000 men, over 90,000 serving in the south, the Army was finally reaching what Lincoln hoped would be a "normal" level. Had it not been for the Negroes, it may prove impossible to keep a volunteer army up to even that 150,000 man level. By 1866, nearly 40% of the effective army were Freedmen unaccustomed to receiving full meals and actual pay in their previous occupations on the plantation.

    The western settlement programs were going splendidly. Some months nearly 50,000 Negroes from the old Confederacy (and at least that many whites from the entire country) were travelling west to new homesteads sectioned out by Army surveyors across a dozen territories and states. The government contracts originally intended for soldiers were slowly diverted to give the Freedmen better chances at making a good go of it in the west by providing animals, seed, tools, provisions, etc. The Freedmen's Bureau, despite opposition from many quarters politically, would greatly aid in the distribution of the lands and frequently fought for resources with the other settlement plans for soldiers and "urban poor" (the latter usually being impoverished immigrations stuck in the same cities in which they'd been unceremoniously dropped).

    Even without the "free" land distributed by the government, there were even more settlers out west (and midwest) who moved out with the funds to purchase cheap land in Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, etc.

    Polish immigrants flocked to Chicago and New York, Germans to Ohio and New York, Jews to Philadelphia and New York, Irish to Boston and New York, Russians to Detroit and New York, Italians to New Orleans and New York....etc, etc. etc (New York was a popular destination).

    Within just a decade, the ethnic mix of America was rapidly changing and some would not like it.

    But Lincoln was having some luck getting the 15th Amendment approved by Congress. By happenstance, a die-hard Confederate in Louisiana had published an effective "how-to" book for how Southern Whites could bypass the Amendment if/when it passed. One of Lincoln's allies would read the passage (published in a New Orleans newspaper) aloud in Congress. This would bring out quite the reaction. Even if some Congressmen and Senators did not like the idea of Black men voting, the concept of ANYONE resisting THEIR power was utterly unacceptable.

    Lincoln would conscientiously update his Amendment proposal to include further protections against such resistance and found the mood in Congress turning in his direction.

    Also, in 1866, the State of Tennessee would be the first of the former Confederate states to formally request complete readmission to the Union. The "reconstruction" governments were largely appointed by Washington but this request could only come from a true representation of the people. Lincoln took this as a good sign but had no intention of allowing any such return to normal status until true State Conventions approved the 13th, 14th and pending 15th Amendments. Until the latter was approved by Congress, there would be no return to normalcy in the South.
    Chapter 71
  • May, 1866

    Rio de Janeiro

    Emperor Pedro II was probably the most popular man in Brazil. Intelligent, dignified and dedicated to the betterment of his people, the Emperor was respected by all.

    However, he was not as enthused about the potential for another war as he had been a short time ago.

    Previously, Brazil had recognized Paraguay's independence as a hegemon against Brazil's natural rival in Argentina. However, the sundering of Argentina in which Buenos Aires had broken off under Mitre somewhat made a conflict between Paraguay and Argentina (a new ally) pointless.

    Pedro II knew there were some who desired to gain some inland territory from the Spanish-speakers, though this seemed unnecessary. Brazil was vast.

    Instead, the Emperor preferred to prop up a number of smaller nations as proxies in the future. Pedro had read of the new steel monsters being born in European shipyards and realized a few of those could easily cut off Brazil's coast, as they had in America.

    Unfortunately, Pedro was also not an assertive man and he often wondered if his dynasty was meant to continue beyond him. His two sons, sadly, had died in childhood while his two surviving daughters were.......well, they were women. As his son's-in-law were French-born nobles, they were hardly going to be welcomed by the common Brazilian.

    He supposed he may appoint one of his nephews his heir but....

    Who knew?

    Right now, the Emperor simply wanted out of the trap most of South America appeared to be mired within.

    What was more, he did not like the idea of his nation becoming dependent upon France for protection against Great Britain. He sent out feelers to Britain for a reconciliation, at least to play one off against the other.

    In the meantime, the Emperor struggled to find adequate volunteers and swiftly turned to the slave classes. With the Master's approval, the slaves could be turned to soldiers....though how they would be returned was something of a question. Would any Master want back a slave which had spent a year killing people?

    The Emperor's daughter had been a voice in the abolition movement, the only political opinion she had. It was certainly fashionable among a certain crowd but the aristocrats of Brazil still depending upon slave labor and fiercely opposed abolition in any form.

    To Pedro's eyes, abolition was somewhat redundant. So many Brazilian slaves had been manumitted over the past decades that well over 60% of the blacks and mulattos of Brazil were already free. At the rate things were going, slavery was going to be effectively dead by the end of the century so why upset the balance of things?

    The Emperor feared the next few years would prove quite chaotic for the naturally conservative Brazilian people.

    The Parana River

    After a short, short battle, the allied forces managed to defeat Paraguay's river gunboats and push them back to the Paraguay River itself. Then, naturally, the matter of commander would crop up. Brazilian, Argentine, Uruguayan and French officers loathed allowing one of their rivals to assume power.

    This was resolved by selecting an outsider with experience. George McClellan was an American soldiers who'd defending New York in the War Between the States. He had spent the past years attempting to get Russia or Austria to make him a Field Marshall.

    Instead, he ended up seeking a commission in the South American War and happened to be at the right place at the right time. Though he barely spoken any Spanish or Portuguese, his French was good enough for most of the officers.

    McClellan, a favorite with Lincoln for his energetic actions in the Shenandoah and later fortifying New York Harbor, given up his political plans for the moment to seek glory elsewhere. If this was the best he could do, then it was the best he could do.

    McClellan used his engineering skill (he'd overseen the improvement and construction of dozens of military installations in New York) to focus the allied artillery upon the handful of fortresses along the Paraguay River. These tended to fall quickly enough.

    However, the Paraguayan Army was not intent giving up so easily. In a series of short, sharp engagements, they bled the allies dry. This led to multiple rounds of bickering, threats to withdraw from the coalition and the occasional challenge to a duel.

    McClellan, who had overseen the armaments of the Union Army for nearly two years, was appalled at the lack professionalism among the South Americans. The logistics chain was inept to the point of non-existence while the hospital facilities were primitive to say the least.

    He'd been horrified to find that an entire battalion of Brazilians had been put out of action, a third of them dying, after they'd taken to drinking water from a local river. McClellan worked tirelessly to improve the sanitation of the allies.

    In the meantime, he took heart in the dismal armaments of the Paraguayans who possessed arms a generation removed from even the obsolete Springfields and Enfields of the War Between the States. The Artillery was hardly better.

    While his own coalition's weapons were not quite Union Army levels, at least most of his men had been armed with Enfields, a few Chassepots (one of the few upgrades the disgraced French soldiers had been given) and even a battery of Krupp cannons. Seeing them in action proved without a shadow of a doubt to the American that the old 1854 Napoleon Bronze Muzzle-loaders were about as useful as a bow and arrow. He hoped his replacement was doing his job in the Board of Ordnance.
    Chapter 72
  • June, 1866

    Washington DC

    Just weeks before the final summer recess, Congress finally approved the 15th Amendment. It was a more far-reaching document than Lincoln had originally intended to grant suffrage with no exemption based upon race. The fact that so many states (including northern ones) would probably resist implementing led to the President centralizing the administrative detail to the Federal Government. That each state had its own criteria for suffrage (property, time of residency, etc) would force Lincoln to add THAT adjustment to the 15th Amendment. Now, all men over the age of 18 were eligible.

    Then, of course, the violent intimidation tactics being utilized throughout the south (and other areas) against Negroes would require a set procedure of how the Federal Government would compel the states.

    With each escalation of the 15th Amendment's depth, there was more resistance.

    Finally, though, Congress approved a document Lincoln was willing to live with.

    Now the matter was dispatched to the State Legislatures for approval. Lincoln wanted enough to approve by the November elections as the economy was shaky at best and it was possible that Democrats could make great gains in both Federal and State elections.

    Montana Territory

    By the greatest happenstance, two of the best cavalrymen in the War Between the States and the French and Mexican War happened to meet while on patrol.

    George Custer had been appointed Governor of Montana Territory while Jeb Stuart had been appointed as Governor of Cheyenne Territory (one of the few former Confederates to be granted high office). The two would camp together for several days recounting tales of daring of their duels in Virginia, then comparing notes of their experiences in Mexico (Custer had been part of Grant's army inland while Stuart had served in Lee's "Army of Virginia" (due to the high proportion of Virginians in command positions) which had marched along the Mexican coast.

    It was a fine time. Both also shared their problems in the mundane administrative posts they possessed now. They shared a laugh on how they passed most of the tedious paperwork onto subordinates and spent most of their time in the saddle.

    Many of the same tribes tended to straddle post territories. Fortunately, relations with the Lakota had been going well of late but the Cheyenne, Dakota and Arapaho were restless. Both Custer and Stuart, though, were sympathetic to the various Indian tribes and frequently championed them to the War Department, the Indian Affairs Bureau and Congress. Thus far, the worst scenario had been avoided.

    Both lamented the end of war in North America and feared that they would die old men in their beds. What a horrible fate.

    Stuart vowed to bring his wife Flora up in the fall to meet Custer's young wife Libby. With such a constrained social circle, it was a good idea for the ladies to become friends.


    Having served as governor of Columbia for the past few years, P.T. Beauregard would be restless....for a better paying position.

    Thus, he accepted the post as foreman of the western branch of the rapidly constructing Trans-Continental Railroad. The railroad was funded by America's government granting land to the railroads along the path, which could be sold to settlers. Thus the government, always strapped for cash, would avoid paying overly much for the construction of the railways.

    Beauregard, always canny with money, negotiated not only a fine salary but a large amount of stock upon completion of the railway.

    In truth, he would earn his money as his task would be the most arduous. While the eastern side of the railway was rapidly constructed through the flatlands of Nebraska, the western would have to cut through the Rocky Mountains.

    Beauregard put out a call for all laborers he could find (thank god, there had not been a gold strike in the last year or two else he would be strapped for workers) and found, to his unsettlement, that nearly half of his workers were Negroes. Rumors that large numbers of Chinese would be willing to migrate and work the railroad were welcomed by Beauregard but the Legislature of California halted any immigration from that nation in 1865 (there was a court challenge pending).


    Benjamin Disraeli, First Lord of the Treasury, would discuss the American offer at length.

    Apparently, the American acquisition of the Virgin Islands was quietly offered to the British in exchange for the more proximate Bahama, Turk and Caicos Islands. On the surface, this made sense for both countries. The British possessions were hardly useful for much while the Virgin Islands were more proximate to the other British possessions in the area.

    It would be a FAIR trade but no one which the British were prepared to make. The Bahamas had been in British possession for generations and it would be embarrassing to tell longtime British subjects and landowners that they now had to report to another nation. The Americans, obviously, would not have that problem.

    Plus, there was also the general belief that, should there be a future conflict between America and Britain, that the American Virgin Islands could be captured easily enough.

    Thus the British government....quite politely.....quietly declined and the Americans, who had not made the offer public themselves, would accept this and not bring up the subject again.

    The scars had yet to heal over the past few years of war between the two countries and neither desired to renew the ill-feelings of the past.
    Chapter 73
  • July, 1866

    Estero Bellaco, Southwestern Paraguay

    In the first major land battle of the war, the allies would defeat the Paraguayans and press them further back inland.

    The one-legged General McClellan would wonder why the war continued after this. In truth, the destruction of the Paraguay Navy after a series of naval conflicts effectively guaranteed that the Paraguayans could not win the war. It was just stubbornness as far the McClellan could tell.

    Disease continued to carry off his boys no matter the American's attempt to include hygiene and provisions. McClellan could only imagine what this damned place would be like in Summer (it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere).

    McClellan did not desire to be here when summer came and pressed on as quickly as possible.

    He would end it (he hoped) at some speck on the map named "Curupayty".


    The "Young Ireland" movement had been hunted down....once again. Fenian weapons, no longer supplied by the American government, still flowed freely into the island but the handful of leaders knew better than to try to gather up a few dozen or a hundred or so local Fenians and attack the closest army billet. The British had over 25,000 soldiers in Ireland, twice that in "Loyal" militia and could easily call upon more.

    Worse, the massive series of informants would likely alert the British within hours of a planned attack anyway.

    The Fenians were being smothered. Dozens of leaders had been executed during the war in America (though this stopped after the peace was signed) and hundreds had been transported to Australia.

    In truth, the worst of the Penal Laws had long been withdrawn decades ago, the British establishment felt that they'd conceded enough. Catholics could vote, run for office, no longer had to pay tithes to a Protestant Church, could bear arms, serve in the military and purchase land. Catholics now served in Parliament, though these were usually the upper class......the same as with the Protestants, for that matter.

    Had previous generations of Irishmen been granted such boons (it was unthinkable a hundred years prior), the Island would have been ecstatic.

    But the Famine.....the damned Famine.....changed everything. Many Irish would never trust the British government again, not after allowing a million Irish to starve and 3 million to emigrate. Not even the recovery of Ireland's economy, greater and greater Catholic political and economic growth and a general equal status within the Empire could lead to forgiveness over the tragedy of the 1840's.

    Only Home Rule could do this....and THAT was anathema to the British. It would be effectively giving up direct control over Ireland. The Irish already SAT in Parliament, for God's Sake.......CATHOLIC Irish! What more could they ask?

    What the Irish Catholic majority wanted was to run their own affairs. To the British, this meant Independence and THAT was unacceptable.

    With the local government entirely designed to put down rebellion, the Fenians never seemed to have a chance.


    Jefferson Davis was sitting in the cozy courtyard of his Parisian home when his French servant lead a tall, powerful-looking man into his presence. It took a moment before Davis recognized him through the series of scars crossing the man's face.


    With a scowl, the Louisianan took off his hat, "Yes.....MR.PRESIDENT.....it is I, one of the incompetent commanders and cowardly solders who served in your army."

    The former Confederate President paled, knowing that some excerpts of his book largely left THAT impression of his feeling. With greater hindsight, Davis had already regretted some of those words. But he'd never thought he'd come face to face with one of the most brilliant....and dangerous.....men in the war regardless of affiliation.

    "Well, Mr. President, since you felt me and boys were nothing but cowards and traitors, I feel it right to restore my honor and theirs....."

    Nathan Bedford Forrest presented a pair of pistols, not the old single-shot dueling pistol but actual Colt Revolvers. "One of two things are about to happen.....you will either face me in the streets right now....or I'll just execute you where you stand."

    Davis, not a fearful man by nature, would manage to sputter, "Dueling is illegal in France, Forrest...."

    "So is executing a man where he stands.....I can only assume....but that doesn't bother me either," Forrest raised one of the pistols and leveled it at Davis' face. The former Confederate President was grateful his wife was out shopping.

    "Very well," Davis answered, trying mightily to keep his voice steady. Weakness was not something Forrest respected.

    He followed the Louisianan Cavalryman out to the street. It was a quiet neighborhood with few shops, mainly residential. Thus there were few people out to interrupt. Forrest raised both weapons, barrel first and leveled them in Davis' face. "Which one do you want?"

    Davis managed to affect a calm demeanor and slowly reached out to grasp the one on the right. Forrest, still keeping the other in Davis' face, backed up 20 steps. He then stopped and lowered his weapon to the side. Davis took the opportunity, to turn the gun around and place his finger on the trigger. He flexed a few times. The weight seemed right and he tried to get a sense of the balance. No doubt Forrest had killed MANY men with these guns.

    Only a few Frenchmen were in sight and most had stopped what they were doing to stare at the tall men in the middle of the street brandishing weapons.

    "Whenever you are ready.....MR. PRESIDENT," Forrest muttered just audibly enough for Davis to hear.

    Apparently, the Louisianan was willing to give Davis the right to move quickly. This was no "old style" duel where a referee called the number of paces. This was just two men determined to survive. It reminded the Mississippian of the cheap dime novels of the west, the tales unlikely to have any basis in real life.

    With a smirk at the absurdity, Davis raised his gun, aiming towards the center of Forrest's mass. The Louisianan was faster and, it would seem, more accurate. Even waiting for Davis to make the first move, Forrest would fire first. Davis' finger was just pulling the trigger when he felt the impact of Forrest's weapon strike his shoulder blade. HIs own weapon would fire wide and fall from his fingers.

    Grasping his chest and gasping for breath, Davis looked up from the muck in which he lay as Forrest stepped over him.

    "Well, I hope I've proven my valor to you, sir. A great feat given your high standards."

    Forrest then raised his weapon again and fired five more times into Davis' skull. He looked on for a moment, ignoring the screams in the background, placed the remaining weapon in his coat pocket (leaving Davis' on the ground for proof that he'd had a chance to defend himself) and departed at a calm walk down the quiet Parisian lane. Within minutes he turned the corner and disappeared.


    With the French domination of Vietnam and the British seizure of Lower Burma, the King of Siam knew that, eventually, his nation would face an invasion by the Europeans. If the Indian Subcontinent could be conquered and even might Cathay humiliated again and again by the western devil's, King Mongkut had long sought to play the French and British against one another to ensure the independence of his Kingdom. Western teachers, advisors and such were invited to modernize the nation.

    However, the rivalry of Britain and France was reaching a new height and Siam was plainly in their sights.

    A French vessel would founder off Siam's shores. The crew would manage to evacuate without casualties but the stricken ship would be pillaged by wreckers. When the French sailors attempted to stop them, two were injured.

    The entire incident was happenstance and, had anyone bothered to inquire, King Mongkut would have sprinted to make restitution. However, French forces in Vietnam were being built up strictly for the purpose of seizing Bangkok.

    Without so much as a formal complaint or a declaration of war, the French navy and army descended upon the Siamese coast.

    Upper Burma

    Two sons of King Mindon Min of Upper Burma rose in revolt, more of a blatant power grab than any political differences. The coup would be successful and the old King killed. Naturally, the two usurpers would fall upon one another, leading Upper Burma into chaos.
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