Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Sicarius, Mar 23, 2011.
Very nice! The fun spreads. Extra points for "Spanish Fanfic".
Glad all that's no longer the case!
i really like the update.
yea, i am definitely foreseeing the french doing a loooot better when they invade mexico
This looks really cool. Great job with the POD!
I love your humor btw, the pictures captions are great.
whens the next peace
I love this! Texan TLs are always fun, but this one's lighthearted and reads easy. Keep up the good work!
Riiiiiiiight ... now! Peace in our time!
Go West, Young Flashman!
A singular feature of the Flashman Papers, the memoirs of the notorious bully of Tom Brown's Schooldays, which were discovered in a Leicestershire saleroom in 1966, is that their author wrote them in self-contained instalments, describing his background and setting the scene anew each time. This has been of great assistance to me in editing the Papers entrusted to me by Mr Paget Morrison of Durban, Flashman's closest legitimate relative; it has meant that as I opened each new packet of manuscript I could expect the contents to be a complete and self-explanatory book, needing only a brief preface and foot-notes. Six volumes have followed this pattern.
It was obvious from the early Papers that Flashman, in the intervals of his distinguished and scandalous service in the British Army, visited America more than once; this seventh volume is his Western odyssey. I believe it is unique. Others may have taken part in both the '48 gold rush and the Battle of Yerba Buena, but they have not left records of these events, nor did they have Flashman's close, if reluctant, acquaintance with several of the most famous California revolutionaries, as well as with leading American soldiers, frontiersman, and states-men of the time, of whom he has left vivid and, it may be, revealing portraits.
As with his previous memoirs, I believe his truthfulness is not in question. As students of those volumes will be aware, his personal character was deplorable, his conduct abandoned, and his talent for mischief apparently inexhaustible; indeed, his one redeeming feature was his unblushing veracity as a memorialist. Though his opinions are appalling to many modern readers, as well as this author, his insights into the time are priceless. As I hope the foot-notes and appendices will show, I have been at pains to check his statements wherever possible, and I am indebted to librarians, custodians, and many members of the great and kindly American public.
For me, the whole business began in 1848, with John Charity Spring, and the beautiful black wench Cassy, and that ugly, gangling schemer Lincoln, and poor fat Susie. I'd been traipsing around that barbaric continent for nigh-on four years, through the United States, 'Pache and Comanche country, Texas, and all points in between. Married twice (making for an even three total, at the time, quite the hat trick), nearly scalped, burned, exploded, and killed a few dozen more ways besides. Finally it looked like my time among the damned redskins and prairie wagons and buckskins and bear's grease and painted faces and buffalo grass and sweat-baths and plug-a-plew and war-whoops and Mountain Men was at an end, and I was lying doggo in a Yerba Buena watering hole, considering how to raise enough blunt to buy passage back to England.
The pub was a dim, shoddy affair, the kind of place that had sprung up on the margins of all the California towns, somewhere for failed prospectors to drown their sorrows. Somewhere a body could go to get some peace, I had thought. I was wrong of course, making the same mistake as I had on the other side of this blasted continent, what seemed like ages ago. As I turned from the bar to head back out, I walked smack into a small man in buckskin. An unremarkable enough chap; any other man of similar appearance and our encounter would have ended with a "damn your eyes" and that would be that. But I recognized that open face, those quiet grey eyes. The man was Kit Carson.
The little frontiersman stepped back, and looked me over with that distant gaze. "Harry Flashman," says he, with a little smile, "Didn't think I'd see you again." I couldn't help but smile myself. I was partial to the guide, and he had it in his head that I was a decent enough chap. "Kit Carson," says I, happy at a familiar face in this grim setting, "what brings you to Yerba Buena?"
Kit looked thoughtful at that, more thoughtful than such a pleasantry warranted. After a moment, speaking like he'd just made a decision, he said "Why don't you come along back with me and I'll tell you." Normally such a cryptic invitation would have me turn tail and run like hell, especialy from the likes of Kit Carson. I liked the man fair enough, but I didn't have a mind to get tangled in any scheme of his. For one thing, he had greatness, in his way, and I don't cotton to that; for another, he knew me for a rogue, if in his mind a brave one, and any business he thought me fit for wasn't business I'd want to be a part of. But I was alone, stranded, and absolutely strapped for rhino, so, damn fool that I was, I followed.
Carson led me to the back of the tavern, where a fat little chap sat on a stool, guarding a crude door. Carson nodded at the fat man, who sniffed and nodded back. I don't know what I expected to find in this little cubbyhole - more buckskin brigadiers of Carson's mold, if anything - but it certainly wasn't this. A collection of swells duded up and sipping whiskey, obviously the genteel sort trying to blend in among the rabble, and failing. One stood when we entered, a big bearded cove with a commanding presence.
"Kit," says he to Carson, looking right put off, "who is this man?"
"This here's Harry Flashman," he drawls. "Good man on the trail. Been down among the 'Pash, and in the British Army. Good shot."
The big 'un gives me a closer look. "The British Army, eh? You might be just the man we're looking for, Mr. Flashman." He stepped forward and offered his hand. My blood had turned to ice, both from his words and from his eyes - mad eyes, mad like an Apache, the same kind of eyes I'd see later in John Brown. "My name is John Frémont."
The fat greaser blubbered pathetically in the corner. Pio Pico was terrifically ugly; fat lips, fat runny clown nose, jaw like a Barbary ape. His cholo guards, more criminals than soldiers, used to squeezing poor immigrants to buy their grog, had cut and run the second they saw a pack of crazy white men ride up to the governor’s quarters, waving guns and shouting “hurrah!”, with poor Flashy front and center, right next to that awful maniac Frémont. The half-Frog bastard was in the throes of another fit of patriotic blatherskite, bellowing at the fat little toady cowering behind a chair as one of his buffoons waved a bedsheet with a bear crudely painted on it. Carson hung back, fingering his rifle and casting his eyes back and forth, back and forth. I almost felt sorry for the little bastard, he had obviously been shanghaied into this mess by Frémont as I had. But Carson had a choice, he was simply besotted with that bearded menace. I on the other hand feared for my life if I didn’t go along with their blasted conspiracy.
Frémont was finally running out of steam, having worked himself into a fine lather. Pico was almost gibbering pleas, promises, surrender. It was easy to see how he had toadied his way into the highest spot in California. As Frémont pulled the man to his feet and shook his hand to accept the surrender, the be-damned rabble again let loose a “hurrah!” Frémont was already going over a map he spread across the ex-Governor’s desk as the man was led out, still spitting and slobbering.
“The reigns of state are ours, men!” the big man cried, taking a moment to strike a bluff and manly pose. “I have been in secret correspondence with the highest levels of the United States government” - which I knew damn well meant an as of yet unanswered letter to his father in law, a politico named Thomas Hart Benton who was all for America gobbling up the west - “and it will be a matter of days before American soldiers are dispatched to aid our cause!” As the men ripped off their loudest “hurrah!” yet, I looked back to Carson again. Like me, the guide was quiet, still nervously casting about, as if looking for a way out.
“You fool bastard!” I yelled, “No one is coming, damn your eyes!” Frémont stood in the ramparts of the fort, devil-be-damned as enemy fire flew past. The leader of the revolution was still clutching the letter from his father-in-law, as he had been for days, the paper worried into a smeared clump. Benton was out, denied his seat over some damn fool slavery issue. There were no American soldiers coming. The letter had reached Benton far too late, even if he had been able to do something.
“Though I die,” cried Frémont, and it was then that I knew it was time to bid the mad moody frog farewell while I still had my skin, “the Revolution lives on!” I peered over the fort wall to the city. The city was in flames, Frémont’s rabble “army” of untrained miners, unemployed foreigners, and ruffians rampaging through the chaos. I’d see it again, later, and larger, in India. It wasn’t a coordinated rebellion, it was a mad slaughter, and with Mexican troops entering the city it had turned into a rout. This blubbering idiot was no more in charge than I was. If I could just make the jump over the walls into that hay pile, I could grab the reins of one of the mad horses running about riderless, hang low off the side Apache-style, before the fort was totally surrounded.
Frémont clapped his hands on both my shoulders. “You and I to the end, Flashman! Holding the flag high though we know we are doomed!” This was more than enough for me. “Let go of me, you fool bastard!” I cried, wriggling under the clown’s paw. “I’ve been on both sides of massacres, and there’s no more honor being among the dead than among the living! I say, let me go!” I pulled myself free and ran to the wall, glancing over the side and preparing myself for the leap, when a quiet sound nearly loosened my bowels. Frémont had levelled his pistol at me. “There will be no deserters in this army, Flashman,” he cries, his hair whipping in the wind, his mad eyes red from smoke. This was how he wanted to go, I knew then. He couldn’t win, so down with the ship it was, and death to the traitors. I pondered whether I could drop off the side before he fired. As it was, I was perched in the most precarious spot - standing at full height on top of the walls, lead tearing past me.
Frémont was still raving. “We shall all hang together! The news of our honourable deaths will inspire the nation! California, America, the world will forever remember the name of John Charles Frém-” the maniac’s cries were cut short as the world exploded around us, and I felt myself flung into the void. Then, nothing.
I was looking up into the face of Kit Carson. It was as if I was living Bent’s Fort all over again. The little man, still in his buckskins, spoke quickly and evenly. “Canon got the fort. John’s dead. Have to go before the Mexicans get here.” There were about 20 other men, unshaven irregulars of Frémont’s “army”, scattered around him. As Carson helped me to my feet, I nearly fell again, tangled in a filthy rag.
“Flashy’s done it!” cried one of the filthy thugs, “He’s saved the flag!” I looked down and saw that I was tangled in Frémont’s idiotic bear flag. “I saw him on the walls, damning the Mexicans’ eyes!” “Hurrah for Flashman, hero of California!” “As long as we still have Flashman, there’s still a chance!” I was gobsmacked as the bumpkins actually pulled me to their shoulders. “Hurrah!” My escape had been blocked again, these damn fools! “Hurrah for Flashman!”
I wonder if the California Revolution, without American assistance, will be remembered in the history books as akin to the european revolutions of 1848.
Loved the update, love the character of Flashy! Keep up the good work, this is the best TL I have read in a long time!
Also, is this gangly Lincoln fellow who I think it is? It can't be.
Hurrah for Flashman!!
Nice update...curious to see which way Cali goes.
A certain Abraham Lincoln did indeed appear in both Flash For Freedom! and Flashman and the Angel of the Lord. And I have a feeling he'll be cropping up here soon enough...
It's been a busy few days, so a short update. A preview update, if you will.
Back to School
“So the administration of Henry Clay was hindered by the slavery issue, which was largely exacerbated by the - anyone? Anyone? What issue made slavery so prominent during the administration of Henry Clay, eventually leading to his 1848 loss? Anyone? Anyone who is not Jessica, yes, I see your hand Jessica. Frank? What do you think?”
“Uh … the Mexican War?”
“The, no, no Frank, the Mexican War was after this. The biggest issue of the day was revisiting the … starts with an M? Named after a state? M, m, m-i, m-i-s-s … Missouri. The Missouri Compromise. What was wrong with the Missouri Compromise? What changed? Anyone? It was the expansion of America into - where? A territory in the Northwest, which was … what? Anyone? The which territory? The Oregon Territory. Did anyone do the reading, does anyone remember this? The Oregon Territory. Because the US’s recent growth had been almost entirely above or below? Above, above the Missouri Compromise line, making slave owners afraid that there would be too many free states. This led to many hardliners being elected in what part of the US? The North or the South? The South. But tensions were temporarily lessened by the hope of southern expansion in what conflict? Frank? You know this.”
“The … uh, the … Missouri Compromise.”
“No, Frank. The Mexican War.”
Sicarius, thank you again for this TL. I need a good laugh with the way things are going.
I also see that butterflies haven't changed the American Ejukashun Sistum too much ITTL!
I'm curious as to what will happen ITTL's Mexican War. Will the Californian Revolution join the USA like OTL, or remain independent. And where will the Republic of Texas stand?
This is very good. Nice flashy as well. (Is that a real flashman cover? If so the american ones are a bitt more adult than the british ones i have)
Indeed, that's the actual cover of one edition of Flash for Freedom!, which I once had taken away from me by a high school teacher for its salaciousness. *shakes fist*
Good God, Y'all
President David Burnet waved an American newspaper in General Henderson’s face. MEXICAN MASSACRE OF AMERICAN CITIZENS, screamed the headline. "Ha!" Another: FEARLESS FREMON SLAIN IN BATTLE. "Ha-ha!" Then: PRESIDENT CASS CALLS FOR CONGRESS TO DECLARE WAR. Finally: WAR. “Ah-ha! AH-HA! The day of reckoning is at hand! CRY HAVOC! AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR! HA!” Not for the first time, Henderson somewhat regretted standing aside and allowing Burnet to seize the Republican nomination for the Presidency. But the poisonous atmosphere and growing factional tensions at the Texas capitol had turned him off of politics. And with the Comanche threat to the North, and the Mexicans to the South, his skills seemed more needed in the army than in Austin. Now it looked like he’d been right; Burnet was set on taking advantage of the American invasion of Mexico.
“Carpe Pacificum! Texas from sea to sea!” Burnet was on his feet now, hopping from one foot to another. “Mr. President,” Henderson said soothingly, “what of Congress? While many in the House and Senate are of the Republican faction, it may nevertheless be difficult to gain the votes necessary for war...”
“Pah! That villain Santa Anna has even seized power once again. It’s well known that he still burns to conquer our nation! Anyone who would vote against the protection of the country and the return of Texas’s rightful lands is a gutless, unpatriotic coward, and I’ll say so myself!” Vice-President Bell looked uncomfortable. “Maybe that’s not the most prudent course of action, sir...”
“Pah!” Burnet looked angry. The President brooded for a moment. Then, he looked back up, his eyes again alight. “George, I want you to rouse the troops and take them to the border. In these troubled times, Texas must be sure that it is protected. Purely a defensive deployment you understand. Though … perhaps … it might be appropriate to take the men south of the river?” President Burnet grinned.
By late 1852, Mexico was in chaos. American troops poured in from Oregon and an ambitious aquatic assault by General Winfield Scott on Veracruz opened the way to Mexico City. In North Mexico, where Texas had refused the US army passage, Mexican armies had been transferred west and south, leaving only a minimal garrison. That jumpy force awoke one day to find themselves facing off against the Texas army. When the terrified commander ordered his soldiers to attack, the Texians quickly returned fire and overran the much smaller force. Mere days later, a volcanic President Burnet had secured a declaration of war from the Texian Congress, denouncing the “cowardly Mexican attack” on Texians within the “rightful borders of Texas.” “Even now,” the President claimed, “the forces of Santa Anna are readying to plunge the dagger of tyranny into the heart of our democracy. As in California, the Beast of the Alamo has decided to crush the dreams of free men once and for all. I say to you, it will not stand! Texas will not surrender to the hordes of dictatorship!”
Presidential portrait of Burnet. Really, going with the neckbeard look, huh?
The Texian army, which had already been mobilized for “defensive” purposes during the heightened tensions of the California uprising, rapidly moved across the Nueces, liberating Corpus Christi from the skeleton garrison before moving across the Rio Grande. Meanwhile, a smaller force under the command of none other than former President (and hero of the first Texian-Mexican War) Lamar  struck out to the west, mostly riding around between the few sparse settlements and declaring them conquered. Most in the west either welcomed the Texians (being white settlers who had refused to leave after 1846) or didn’t care enough to fight them.
As 1853 rolled around, the war was all but over. A three-party peace negotiation was convened in Mexico City. Difficulties in negotiations were mostly between the United States and Texas. The provisional Mexican government was in no position to make demands, but Texas and America hotly disputed which among them would receive the western lands between the Rio Grande and the Colorado. Both sides had weak claims to the area, since neither had really fought for it, but both had soldiers that had entered and claimed the area. Ultimately, the US was in a far better position to force their claim with Mexico, leaving President Burnet furious despite retaking all of Texas’s original claimed territory, as well as expanding its southern boundary to the Sierra Madres. Overall, the United States agreed to pay Mexico in exchange for New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua, and to secure the freedom of the Republic of California (with the general understanding that it was soon to be the State of California).
Flag of the Republic of California.
While Mexico was humiliated and significantly lessened in size, the victories would ultimately prove somewhat phyrric for Texas and the United States as well. Texas was left strapped for cash despite the fact that their payment for territory was almost nonexistent, and was now burdened with even more western territory ridden with Comanche. The United States had gained the new territory it so hungered for, but the slavery controversy was only worsened by the new acquisitions...
The post-war lay of the land.
 Taking a leave of absence from his role as the first President of the new Texas National University, Lamar was an enthusiastic volunteer, and had hoped to command the main force in the South. Burnet, not wanting his glory diminished by sharing, and remembering how Lamar had hobbled his previous attempts at war, stuck him in the almost uncontested western theater.
Boo yeah!. United states takes all of the territory between Texas and the Pacific. Sweet.
Yet, guessing the Civil War starts, with Texas supporting the Confederacy and attacking the Union, and absorbing territory all the way to the pacific, or somehting like that?
i hope texas gets expanded to the pacific
i personally hope california remains independent. i think it would be interesting to add another dynamic
well i ment get sonora
Separate names with a comma.