The Grey Revolution

Confederate Re-Assessment
Chapter 38: Beginning of Total Mobilization
During the Winter of 1861-62 once President Wise had secured his six-year term at the urging of Vice-President Bismarck and Secretary of War Roon a law for Conscription. Using militia was no way to combat a modern war, and this war was becoming more modern every day. Already bolt action rifles would dominate both major armies of the Confederacy. Secretary Mallory talked of an under water submerged vessel to sink the new developing Union blockade.
So when debate began on a draft to do away with the militia system and call forth a professional standing army many of the old fire-eaters attacked Wise and his cabinet. Cries were made against the German-influenced President, and called for a return of former Vice-President Toombs. Things soon became even hotter in debate when an amendment to allow slave owners a way out of serving. Many in Congress now called it a “rich man’s war and a poor mans death” . Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson soon rallied against the slaveocracy that was stopping the CSA from achieving greatness. Virginia Senator Edmund Ruffin would come short of calling Johnson an abolitionist.

The Ruffin-Johnson debates were critical for the passage of the 1862 Conscription Act.

Eventually the more State’s Right/Anti-Administration members of Congress were able to delay passage; while word of Confederate victories out west would initially bolster their arguments, generals in the field begged the war department for more soldiers for the duration of the war.
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Chapter 39: Battle of Shepardsville
On February 27, 1862 McClellan’s Army of the Ohio numbering 60,000 troops of all types engaged von Moltke’s Army of Central Kentucky of around 48,000. The Confederate forces were entrenched on high ground, but lacked the number of artillery to harass the Union’s advance. McClellan sent forward his troops under Major Generals Don Carlos Buell & John Fitz-Porter; while a third column under Brigadier Lew Wallace began a wide arch to find the Confederate’s left flank.
The Confederates armed with there bolt action rifles laid in a terrible fire causing great casualties in the Union ranks. It wasn’t until Wallace struck the flank along Major General Braxton Bragg’s Corp that began to unravel the Confederate position.

Brigadier Lew Wallace’s flanking attack won the day at Shepardsville

Bragg informed Moltke of the impending unraveling of their defensive position, and that’s when Moltke order his only reserve under Brigadier Daniel Ruggles Division to try and stabilize the line. Ruggles division paid dearly as the General himself paid with his life, but the attack did halt Wallace from exploiting his gains. After hours of fighting Moltke ordered a withdrawal. Brigadier Patton Anderson now in command of Ruggles Division was to cover the withdrawal.

Ruggles Charge saved the day and the general paid with his life.
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Crisis in Richmond
Chapter 40: Toombs Putsch
Following the defeats at Frankfort, Shepardsville, and the news that Confederate forces were abandoning Paducah anti-Administration members of Congress began to meet in secret to find a way to save their nation. The leader of this movement was Virginia Senator Edmund Ruffin, but also includes the ringleaders Senators William L. Yancey of Alabama, Robert W. Barnwell of South Carolina, and Congressmen Laurence Keitt of South Carolina. These members now began to court other like minded government officials, and officers in the military.
Former Vice-President Robert Toombs stationed along the Virginia Peninsula outside of Richmond soon became the focal point of the plotters. Toombs who had become disenchanted with the Wise administration for not allowing him a more prominent role in the military agreed to join in the plotting. Toombs an egotistical and a drunkard soon convinced his subordinate brigade commander commanders Colonels Zebulon Vance and John Dunovant to go along with the scheme as well.
On March 17, 1862 with rumors swirling around the capital that both principal armies protecting the capital were retreating, the Army of Northern Virginia & Army of Western Virginia, the plotters met at the home of Senator Yancey to finalize strategy. It was decided that the whole cabinet would be arrested by the troops under Toombs command, and a special delegation was dispatched to convince Richmond’s garrison commander Brigadier George W. Randolph to throw in with the conspirators, if not then he too would have to be arrested.
On the morning of March 18, 1862 Brigadier Toombs met with his superior officer Major General Theophilus H. Holmes and offered him a place within the conspiracy, but Holmes an old army regular cried treason. Toombs immediately had him and his staff arrested. Before heading to Richmond as the timeline called for Toombs and his fellow officers toasted to their success. Precious time was lost, things soon began to unravel.
The night before Senator Ruffin called upon Randolph, a former fire-eater as Ruffin, and tried to convince his former colleague to join stating he had to do nothing in the process to be considered a hero. Thinking he had secured his support Ruffin and other members of Congress now went to deal with the cabinet. Members of Congress now armed with pistols called upon the Grey House, and to bring a petition to the president.
It was now 11am, but the whole cabinet wasn’t in place Secretary of War von Roon was nowhere in sight. The members of Congress now sprung their trap displaying their weapons and placing the President under arrest. Just as they played the moment in their heads but something was wrong. The men in the room didn’t looked surprised or worried. President Wise was the first to laugh, and that was the signal as Major General George Randolph entered the room with soldiers behind him. Yancey sensing the moment fired at the President hoping to be a martyr and wounding the President in the right shoulder. Randolph drew his sword and ran him through. The rest of the soldiers quickly disarm the insurrections and placed them under arrest.

Commander of the Richmond Garrison during March of 1862.

Unbeknownst to Toombs as he marched toward Richmond he was being set up. Colonel Dunovant had the night before during a drunken boast divulged the plans to a secret Selected Service Agent in his employ. Captain John Wilkes Booth reported this information to his superiors, and along with Randolph’s testimony brought it to the head of the Selected Service Vice-President Bismarck.

Bismarck plotting the demise of the Toombs Putsch

Bismarck instructed Booth to do whatever in his power to keep the illusion of the coup in place. During the night Booth went to the regimental officers of Toombs division and assessed their loyalties. With the loyalties of the men assured Booth allowed the disloyal officers to show themselves. As Toombs marched on Booth now sprang his trap, and when Toombs called upon his men to defy the orders of the Wise government, and that a new government controlled Richmond. His troops refused to move. Toombs was finally arrested, and his failed coup was complete.
Chapter 41: Union advances
With the western forces under McClellan’s guardianship the eastern forces found themselves under Major General Irving McDowell. McDowell has won the campaign for Baltimore, but now faced adversaries in Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee. McDowell commanded the Army of the Potomac, and had strategic oversight over Major General Erasmus Keyes Corp poised to invade the Shenandoah Valley as well as Major General Ambrose Burnsides Corp planned invasion of the North Carolina coastline. Both operations would coincide to drawn out Confederate reserves.
On February10, 1862 Union forces entered the Pamlico Sound. Initially Burnsides was able to capture Roanoke Island from Confederate forces, but Union gunboats took heavy damage as Brigadier General Gabriel Rains, the head of the Department of Torpedo, deployed to great effect underwater torpedo that helped CSN gunboats at the Battle of Elizabeth City securing the port of New Berne temporarily for the CSA.
Burnside fortified his position on Roanoke Island, and the fighting in North Carolina would be marginal for the rest of the year as both Confederate and Union forces in the area would be drawn northward.

Union forces storm Confederate positions on Roanoke Island

In early March Union forces under Keyes pushed out from their positions around Harpers Ferry. At Charlestown Major General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and his division of four brigade met Keyes head on. Buying time while General Robert E. Lee brought his army together. Jackson’s troops armed with bolt action rifles was able to hold out, but withdrew once ordered to Winchester where Lee had prepared a dug in position.
On March 15, 1862 Union troops belonging to Keyes under Colonel Nathan Kimball began the first Battle of Winchester. Seeing a more formidable defenses Keyes messaged McDowell that he faced at least three divisions as his troops were taking heavy casualties. The next day Keyes now with his whole Corp conducted a flanking movement that threatened Lee’s Army of West Virginia escape. Lee now committed his last reserved a single brigade of Virginians under Brigadier John B. Floyd the former US Secretary of War under Buchanan. Personally leading the brigade into position as Lee didn’t think much of his subordinate now told his former boss to hold out until ordered otherwise.
Once Lee left to oversee the rest of his army Floyd took the opportunity to flee the battlefield as he was afraid of falling into Union hands as he was considered a traitor in the eyes of the north. Seeing their commander leaving the battlefield the rest of the brigade began to flee, but it was Floyd’s second in command Colonel Henry Heath rallied, and saved Lee’s army from being annihilate. Lee would be grateful to Heath, and consider him an extension of his family for the rest of his life.
Chapter 42: Decision in Northern Virginia

With Union armies moving all around him General J. E. Johnson had two options stand and fight at his Centerville defenses, or retreat. After a council of war with his top commanders it was decided to begin the process of withdrawing to behind the Rappahannock River. With his decision made Johnson informed Richmond, and advised that
Lee's army as well as Beauregard's army join forces and deal with one prong of the Union advances.
Instead of reinforcements Richmond sent Major General Gabriel Rains, the head of the Torpedo and Mine Department, arrived with dozens of wagons filled with what future generations would call anti-personnel mines. Rains along with his dozen enlisted men, and free men of color that worked for the department began to deploy mines at all along the Centerville area. For over a week Rains and his men laid traps for the Union army, and as McDowell's troops began to occupy Confederate positions explosions rocked the Union army. As the Union army occupied the fortification and capture supplies that were camouflage as mines these would explode at different times causing disruption within the Union ranks, and bought precious time for Johnson's army.
Chapter 43: Opening Phase Rappahannock Campaign
By May Johnston had his army dug in from Fredericksburg along the various fords crossing the Rappahannock River. To help communicate the Union troop movements the Confederate Signal Corp under, a young German nobleman, Captain Ferdinand von Zeppelin lined aerial balloons equipped with telegraph and signal flags to report troop movements.
Johnston’s forces had by now been reinforced with Beauregard’s and Lee’s forces bringing his total troop strength up to 98,000 troops. Under pressure from Washington McDowell was being forced to push past Johnston’s troops and push toward Washington. With reinforcements arriving daily McDowell committed himself to crossing the Rappahannock River.
On June 1, 1862 Union troops of the Fifth Corp under Major General William Franklin began the battle of Kelly’s Ford. Seeing the buildup of troops and supplies von Zeppelin messaged Major General James Longstreet command the section at Kelly Ford what came next was nothing less of slaughter. In the span of three hours of fighting Franklin lost over 2,000 killed and over 1700 wounded from his Corp. McDowell unmoved ordered probing measures along the whole Rappahannock. Seeing the strength at Kelly’s Ford McDowell now ordered an attack in the middle of Johnston’s defenses at Ely’s Ford. On June 3rd elements of Major Generals Charles Stone’s Second Corp and David Hunter’s Sixth Corp began a two day battle against Confederate forces under Brigadier General David R. Jones. Jones division was dislodged by elements of the Union’s Sixth Corp under Brigadier Joseph Hooker. The breakout hoped for by Hooker never materialized as his Corp commander failed to properly support Hooker earning the ire from his division commander. Luckily from Johnston Longstreet sent troops from his command under Brigadier George Pickett to help bolster the defense and eventual reclaiming the lost ground.
Crisis in Richmond
Chapter 44: Toombs Trial
Two weeks after the failed putsch the conspirators of March 18th (Robert Toombs, Edmund Ruffin, Robert W. Barnwell, Laurence Keith, Zebulon Vance, and John Dunovant) were put on trial. To lead the prosecution team Senator Andrew Johnson was selected, and with the new Confiscation and Treasons Act Johnson prepared to present his case.
The passing of the Confiscation and Treason Act allowed the government to strip the men of all their worldly possessions including their slaves. Their families now destitute and looking to save their own skin soon gave damning testimony. The Judge Advocate General of the Confederate Army presided over the trial that took only a couple of days. Vance and Dunovant testified against Toombs and pleaded guilty thus avoiding the death penalty, and instead was given life without the possibility of parole. The other four defendants were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. On April 1, 1862 the sentence was carried out in Libby Prison and the names Robert Toombs, Edmund Ruffin, Robert Barnwell, and Laurence Keitt soon became notorious as traitors throughout the CSA .
Buoyed with the success of the trial few politicians challenged the President or his administration. Soon after the trial Andrew Johnson was made Attorney General as Thomas Bragg, a faithful Wise confidant, ran and won the governorship of North Carolina. Johnson now used his new found power and close association with the President and Vice-President to go after men of privilege who hampered the war effort.
Soon a new problem presented itself….what to do with the thousands of slaves the government now had in its care?
Chapter 45: Davis’ Gamble
Following the battle of Mayfield the Confederate position in Columbus, Kentucky and Western Kentucky in general became exposed. The city thanks to Confederate engineers was dubbed the “Gibraltar of the Mississippi “. General Jefferson Davis withdrew his main army to the forts: Donelson and Moltke (OTL Fort Henry but built on better site). This left Columbus under the command of Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, a Kentuckian from the western part of the state, who’s defense of the city would captivate the Confederate People.
With the help of the Confederate Mississippi River Defense Force under Rear Admiral Karl Brommy Davis hoped to keep Tilghman supplied and reinforced. This would force Union Major General Charles F. Smith to capture the city before he could move into Tennessee.

Lloyd Tilghman, commander of Columbus, Kentucky
Chapter 46: Battle of the Rappahannock
After failing to gain a foothold across the Rappahannock River President Chase sacked Irving McDowell and replaced him with Major General Ambrose Burnside after his Ninth Corp was transferred from North Carolina. With these reinforcements the Army of the Potomac numbered 125,000 strong against a entrenched Confederate force of 92,000.
With a stalemate soon to ensure Washington pressured Burnside to push on to Richmond. After weeks of shifting troops elements of the First Corp built pontoon bridges and crossed to occupy the town of Fredericksburg. Confederate sharpshooters occupying the town harassed the engineers as they built them. Union artillery blasted the town causing great damage. Seeing their work complete the snipers withdrew to Marye Heights where the bulk of Johnson’s army awaited the Union army.
The following two days June 30th and July 1st Burnside moved over half his army across the Rappahannock. At the same time General Franklin with his Fifth and Sixth Corp were ordered to demonstrate along the fords west of Fredericksburg.
Johnson for his part atop Marye Heights devised a daring plan. After meeting with his top lieutenants Johnson gave General Robert E. Lee the go ahead to outflank the Union army by crossing the Rappahannock River. Lee took his whole force six divisions in two corps totaling 31,000 troops. Leading the movement was Brigadier JEB Stuart’s cavalry brigade which quickly captured the pickets guarding Kelly’s Ford opening up the Army of Potomac’s right flank.
While Lee was crossing the Rappahannock Lt. Gen. James Longstreet commanding the troops west of Fredericksburg withdrew to prearranged defensive works giving Franklin and his officers the impression that the Confederate line was broken. Burnside believing that his plan was working dispatched his reserves to reinforce Franklin so as to exploit his advantage. This only condemned the Union troops as word soon filtered to Burnside that Confederate cavalry was raiding across the Rappahannock.
Dispatching the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Division under Brigadier George Stoneman soon came upon Stuart’s horsemen supported by elements of the Stonewall brigade. In reminiscent of the Napoleonic Wars Stoneman charged the Confederates were hundreds of saddles were emptied within minutes. This was followed by Stuart leading a charge that broke the Army of the Potomac’s mounted division. Hundreds of cavalrymen were captured. This opened up Jackson’s Corp to occupy Ely Ford closing a retreat artery for Franklin’s now endangered forces.

troops of Jackson’s Corp occupying Ely’s Ford

By evening of July 2nd Franklin realized his situation. His only escape now open to him was the US Ford. Orders were sent to extract the Fifth and Sixth Corp back across the Rappahannock River. Sensing the opportunity Lee now ordered Jackson now reinforced with all three of his divisions to launch a night attack upon the Union troops guarding US Ford.
The Second Battle of US Ford saw the Confederate divisions of Major General Richard Ewell and the famed Stonewall Division under Major General Charles Winder launch a pre-dawn bayonet charge upon the the Union forces under David Hunter. Hunter was sent by Franklin to hold the last river crossing while Franklin himself pulled troops out of battle now that James Longstreet had turned on the offensive and pressing the pocket that was forming.
After a salvo of artillery fire the vaunted Rebel Yell broke the dark 3am dawn. Fearful for their own safety many troops threw down their rifles and ran northward, but those that stayed were determined to hold no matter what. After a volley each both sides grapple in hand to hand contact. During the fighting Ewell was wounded in the knee and was carried from the field. Command of Ewell’s division soon fell to Brigadier William Tecumseh Sherman commander of A brigade of Louisiana troops.

Sherman, the former superintendent of the Louisiana Military Academy was swayed by former president Taylor to side with the south. Sherman, brother to Ohio Congressman John Sherman, abhor the abolitionist and John Brown in particular so threw his lot in with the Confederacy.
Sherman now informed by Jackson to take over Ewell’s division pressed the attack. Before the sun rose on the morning of July 3rd the Confederate Flag flew across US Ford. The fighting had been steep over 3,000 southern troops mostly wounded had been paid for their victory. Sensing his failure to protect the last Ford across the Rappahannock Union Major General David Hunter withdrew his troops to Falmouth and sent word to Burnside. Franklin with no hope of success surrendered his force of over 7500 to James Longstreet.
Chapter 47: Falmouth and Burnsides Charge
While Jackson was pressing his attack on the fords Lee other Corp under Lt. Gen. George Thomas initiated a flanking maneuver and cut off the already ragged troops under Hunter and the Army of the Potomac’s supplies and artillery train. Burnside by now seeing the grandest army ever to be formed on North American soil about to be destroyed now did the unthinkable: he ordered his troops on the other side of the Rappahannock to attack Marye’s Heights. As he saw it was his last card. If for some reason the Confederate lines could be pierced then maybe the day could be saved.
On the morning of July the 4th elements of the Army of the Potomac under Burnside himself marched toward destiny. Johnson not believing his eyes could see that Thomas was attacking Falmouth, and all that had to happen was hold the line. The Confederate troops atop Mayre Heights were held by the veterans of Beauregard’s Army of Eastern Maryland. These men were hardened veterans of many campaigns, and wanted revenge for being ousted from their lands across the Potomac. Also holding a piece of defensive works were the troops of Major General Francis Meagher the “New York Division” made up of mainly Irish and Democrat refugees from New York in particular. Meagher’s four brigades were commanded by prominent Irishmen, but one of his brigades is commanded by Democratic refugee Theodore Roosevelt Sr.

Confederate troops defending the road before Mary’s Heights

Burnside’s Charge as historians would later call it saw the First, Second, Ninth, & Eleventh Corps launch an attack across open ground. The defenders plied their deadly trade as countless Union troops dropped before the onslaught. Burnside personally led his Ninth Corp and died leading his men. Before too long Major General Edwin Sumner the ranking General sent up a white flag to General Johnson, but Johnson during the heat of battle was seen riding along the lines of Marye Heights was mortally wounded and refused to leave the battlefield until it was decided. When word of Sumner’s surrender was forthcoming Johnson passed knowing he won his battle. Sumner would later give his sword to Beauregard.
On July 4th the Army of the Potomac ceased to exist as Thomas mopped up Union resistance all the way to Aquia Creek.
Chapter 48: Lee Assumes Command
Following the destruction of the Army of the Potomac the Confederate forces along the Rappahannock were allowed a few days to rest and refit except for the cavalry which was sent northward to gather stragglers and probe Union defenses. On July 6th President Wise and Secretary of War von Roon arrived and met with Generals Lee and Beauregard. It was decided to combine the armies of Johnson and Lee together to form the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee while Beauregard with his Army of Eastern Maryland moved to Aquia Creek to await Confederate Naval forces under Rear Admiral Franklin Buchanan to begin the reconquest of Maryland. After the meeting the President and Secretary of War escorted Johnson’s body back to Richmond and a hero’s funeral.
On July 10th Lee began his movements sending Jackson’s Corp into the Shenandoah Valley to rid it of Union forces. At the same time the Corps of Thomas, Longstreet, and Edmund Kirby-Smith moved toward the old battlefield of Manassas.
Foreign Policy
Chapter 49: CSA and Foreign Recognition
From the beginning of the conflict Confederate diplomats tried their best to get the recognition of the two main European powers: England and France. Both wanted the United States weakened for their own personal reasons, and both detested slavery except when it suited their needs.
Before becoming Vice President then Secretary of State Otto von Bismarck sent feelers to all major European courts seeking financial and military assistance. None would be forthcoming in 1861. By 1862 the powers of Britain, France, and Spain agreed to occupy the port of Vera Cruz to force the Mexican government to pay loans owed by the Mexican government. Ever fearful of the German Socialist government a coalition of some 10,000 troops were sent to Vera Cruz.
Hoping to benefit from the coalition occupation President Wise sent merchants to sell provisions to the occupying European forces. This would bring southerners and Spanish officers in contact with one another again especially once word began to filter of Joseph Johnson’s death where Spanish officers displayed their respects to the man that helped modernize the Spanish military.
After getting agreements from the Mexican government of payment British troops left the area leaving the French and Spanish in possession of Vera Cruz still seeking to exploit their occupation.
With word of European intervention in Mexico President Chase reached out to the government of Benito Juarez stating that the US government would sponsor Mexico’s claims to pay off their debt. In exchange Mexico must invade the CSA and would be able to reclaim any territory lost during the Mexican American War. With funds available to them and promise of war material President Juarez declared the Reconquest on June 18th, 1862. Seeing an opportunity representatives from France and Spain were dispatched to Richmond to work out a deal to help their mutual satisfaction.
With Mexican forces gathering to invade the southwest CSA an agreement was reached between the CSA, France, and Spain. The Richmond Accords bonded the governments of Paris, Madrid, and Richmond together. Emperor Napoleon III and Queen Isabella II agreed to send assistance to the CSA, and recognize the Confederate States into existence. In exchange the CSA would assist with Spain’s occupation of the island nation of Dominica, and France’s move to set up a monarchy in Mexico. Also established we’re trading rights plus other secret agreements that would come into play at a later date. It would take months before the first troops from Europe would arrive, but the momentum was turning in the Confederacy’s favor.