The War Down In Dixie-An Escalated American Civil War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by KingOnTheEdge, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    POD- The southern plantations privately modernize much of their agriculture, similar to how the Cotton Gin kick started American industrialization. Thus, the south exports enough cotton that Britain is seriously entertaining the notion of recognizing the Confederate States of America.
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    Illinois born President Abraham Lincoln was in office for approximately one month when the defining moment of his presidency took place. The Attack on Fort Sumter by secessionists calling themselves the Confederate States of America. The world watched as one of it's first republics in centuries stared down it's southern half.

    Two months later, the world cackled as the rural, southern farmers led by General Robert E. Lee destroyed Brigadier General Irvin McDowell at the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. [​IMG]
    Pictured: Confederate General Robert E. Lee

    [​IMG]
    Pictured: Lee's less successful Union counterpart, Brigadier General Irvin McDowell

    But one power did more than laugh at the war. The United Kingdom of Great Britain. the great power's interference was... controversial. The commoners were pro-Union, citing the amorality of slavery and the large amounts of Anglo-Saxons in the north compared to the disproportionate amount of Irish in the south from colonial times. The House of Lords and the other gentry, however, leaned on the side of the confederacy. They cared little for any ethnic brotherhood the north had, the Yanks were traitors in living memory-there was only one generation between George the Third and Queen Victoria-, who'd attacked them again in 1812. Further, they pointed out that the south had developed a unique, and acutely European culture, and the fact that it exported more cotton than Egypt, one of the wealthiest Ottoman provinces-though it had become a vassal through revolt, and due to Britannia's influence was practically split between the empires- the debate gridlocked Parliment, and the Queen had to make a choice to get the nation to progress.

    By August third, the Queen made her choice. Trade and economics won out. She ordered the following telegram be sent to De Facto and Provisional President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis:
    "While I cannot, do not, and will not condone the enslavement of the negro or his mixed brothers, i offer you recognition as a nation and an alliance on the condition that you do not expand slavery for the current decade."
    Within days, the world changed stances. The Victorian Whisper, as it came to be called, would've been grand for the confederacy, except Britain, while global hegemon, wasn't without rivals.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Britain's rivals. Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) and Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

    France, like Great Britain, needed the confederacy's cotton, but there were two key differences: firstly, France had a dream of a restored new world empire, ideally in mexico, and Napoleon figured, that while there would be the monroe doctrine to worry about, if he helped hold the British at bay by distracting thier navy and thus their power, America would be willing to let it slide the once. Secondly, Napoleon himself was pro-confederacy, but the people were calling for an alliance with the Union, fueled by, again, nationalism against Britain, and the fact that it was plain to them that this war was about slavery, which France abolished in the first revolution. France joined the war August 12th, 1861.

    The Tsar, however, had differing reasons for his pro-America stance. Firstly, however-he was absolute, so it mattered not what the people or Boyars thought, he would guide the nation through this war. He had already ordered the Emancipation of all Serfs within the empire, creating an even larger surplus of manpower than Russia was famous for, and wanted to spread that liberty. He also craved revenge for the Crimean War, and wanted Britain to see what it was like when some of the greatest armies of the day were ganging up on it. Finally, unlike France, who wanted cordiality with the Americans, the Tsar was already on delightful terms with the Americans, though not officially allied. August 10th, 1861.

    However, there's one thing about waging war in the European continent that doesn't really apply to most other regions. The Balance of Power. Upon Russian entry to what was now starting to become one of the biggest wars in a generation, Austrian emperor Franz Joseph sighed, sucked in his gut, and honored his obligations as a Great Power of Europe-he offered the confederacy help. He cared little for the entire escapade, he simply realized that it was this or Britain would have their economy be ripped entirely asunder, and what happened last time a great power had that happen to them. August 30th, 1861.
    [​IMG]

    The War For The States had begun.

    Hello. I'm a recent joiner after reading Let The Eagle Scream by Murica_1776. This is basically "what if the American civil war turned into ww1," and is my first serious attempt at alternate history, so any feedback would be appreciated. And while i'm of course going to try to deep dive on research, any European military history help would be especially appreciated, as while I have an idea as to how this will go, i'd also completely forgotten about French investment in mexico, so rip.
     
  2. fyrdhammer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Could just be a butterfly or not important, but Lee wasn't in command at 1st Bull Run OTL. In some ways if you want to take this in a more industrial direction it makes a certain kind of sense to keep J. E. Johnston up and running in the east.
     
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  3. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Whoops, thanks, it's been a while since i've studied the Civil War due to other facets of history usually being more interesting-this entire tl is basically an extension of a moment of adhd- and i'm so used to Lee being in charge i must've slipped up.

    But thanks for your idea
     
  4. Ironshark Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Great so far!

    Can’t wait fir more


    I hope the union wins but that’s just me

    and I wonder how ww2 and 2( 1 and 2 OTL) will happen
     
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  5. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Thanks!

    ;) You and every other decent american.

    A writer never tells. Unless he's asking for help.
     
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  6. Ironshark Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Oh by the way since I life in Mexico so a fun fact is there were a few Mexicans who fought for the south and in fact the reason cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the states (or started to be celebrated)
    Is because during the battle of la Puebla Mexican forces stooped the French from gaining a path to help the south ..
     
  7. SpaceOrbisGaming Life long gamer and aspiring author

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2018
    Location:
    West Virginia, Martinsburg
    I like the idea of this timeline so far but I must ask :The southern plantations privately modernize much of their agriculture: how was this done and why would the south do that? The south had slaves so I fail to see why the powers in the south would do anything but keep buying new slaves. Wouldn't modernize make them weaker in this timeline? I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject i know of a few big battles but not much else.
     
  8. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    the problem is that there are many other place where the could get cotton where it would still prob eb cheaper
     
  9. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    To be entirely honest the why was to justify britain's getting involved. I'll think on it more but in universe the tentative answer is probably an evolution of the task system (where it was less 'work till i say so' and more 'get me ten pounds of cotton and you're done for today and can do whatever')
     
  10. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    After the alliances had taken form, Lincoln, normally a calm, well disposed voice of reason, was frantic. He faced the greatest power in world history-the British Empire. While he also had France and Russia to aid him, numbering two and three as great powers, France was still far behind the Victorian fleet, had few relevant colonies with which to wage war, and would likely be too preoccupied by Austria to lend what land forces could be lent for the first few years.

    [​IMG]

    16th President of The United States of America, Abraham Lincoln


    Russia was… interesting. They held one of the largest armies on earth and were nigh impossible to invade from the sheer size and the attrition any foreign army would take. But offensively? They’d just lost a war to the British and French, and frankly the president doubted they could do much other than make Austria implode like the powder-keg it was.


    But at the same time… if Austria was in as dangerous a position as Lincoln thought it was, Britain wouldn’t be able to go on a powerful offensive. They’d have to defend the rebels and Austria, and Russia could technically threaten northern India, and despite the naval disadvantage, the French Empire could threaten many of the mediterranean holdings. With the core of the british empire distracted, a gamble Lincoln truly hoped would come true, he realized that The Union was safe from the onslaught the europeans would face, for the most part. There was still Canada, whose militias threatened the industrial land around New England and the Great Lakes


    Canada, something the US had thirsted for and lunged after twice before-the Revolution and 1812- and had nearly come to blows over again three times. The biggest mockery of America and her ambitions was the republic’s greatest threat. Ironic.


    Lincoln looked at the options for the war. McClellan was, on paper, one of the best possible generals for the war, but Bull Run and skirmishes since had demonstrated he was too cautious. Too defensive.

    Lincoln, however saw potential. If DC fell he could lead from Philadelphia or New York. If it was New England that fell, he’d likely have less war industry than the rebels, who’d only really industrialized their methods of cotton agriculture. Lincoln was more concerned with canadian militias who stood a chance at taking northern cities. He would put McClellan on the East Canada Front, counting on him not invading the colony-that would make Britain rethink their war strategy, and Lincoln was seriously banking on having predicted them.

    [​IMG]

    A Railroad Map of the United States in 1860. Notice how thin it is in the southern part of the nation compared to the Northeast.


    But he still had the southern theater. That would be awful at best. Lincoln knew the south couldn’t sustain a war of attrition. A naval blockade would’ve been ideal in any other world, choking the rebels out like a snake, but Lincoln didn’t feel it safe with Britain still in the war. Of course there were nebulous concepts for ironclad warships but they were mere concepts.


    With blocking imports not an option, Lincoln would need aggression. There had to be someone who would be truly ruthless in an invasion. William Sherman had shown tenacity and aggression in Bull Run, but he was paranoid. Until the situation truly called for it, Lincoln would keep him on the shortlist, but away from command. Ulysses S. Grant was another possibility, a hero from the Mexican-American War, Lincoln decided that he would take command of the front west of the Mississippi. Splitting the confederacy in half, Lincoln thought, would enable a pincer attack, crushing the rebels.Their ‘revolution’ as they called it-frankly a mockery of both Washington and Napoleon the First- was young and could still be broken. Taking Richmond would desperately wound their resolve, and may even lead to a surrender.


    But the eastern front...


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    [​IMG]

    Provisional Confederate President, Jefferson Davis

    Ninety miles south of Lincoln, Jefferson Davis was similarly calculative, though significantly more optimistic. He needed only hold the line, and Lee was able to do that and launch proper offensives. Even failing that he had Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who wouldn’t break so easily. While he was grateful for the British help-and Austria but that was just for the Balance of Power- he didn’t feel it necessary. The war would be brief. Davis would only need to outlast union resolve, and to that end the threat of the british empire might actually hurt the Confederacy. Canadian militias threatened the industry the north was so proud of, yes, but Britain was an old foe of the United States, and they’d keep fighting even if every factory was taken just to show America was no pushover.


    ---

    Sidney Herbert, Secretary of State for War of the British Empire, was on his fourth cup of tea that morning. This war was going to be challenging, to say the least. Not because of who he was fighting- the Americans never kept a standing army so Lincoln would need volunteers, France hadn’t been a threat since Napoleon I, and Britain had already seriously wounded the Russian forces. No, this war would be challenging because of its scale. Britain was being faced with a war in America, Europe, and parts of Africa and Asia-a scale not truly seen since The 7 Years’ War.


    While the war was for the independence of the Confederacy, Herbert felt that they’d have to wait if they wanted the help of the british army. France and Russia would pop Austria like a grape, and thusly were the biggest issues to account for. Louis Napoleon-or Napoleon III, whatever he was calling himself, was no idiot, however. He’d prepare a decent defense of Calais at least, and likely Normandy, but beyond that? Herbert was unsure of where the French Emperor would position his defenses, if anywhere at all. Thusly, Brittany may be the best place to invade France, perhaps in tandem with a mediterranean invasion. Though supplying such an invasion would be incredibly difficult, as they’d have to keep good portions of the navy in the mediterranean and in the channel, which would limit the supply of the colonies in Asia. Thankfully the Raj was huge and could tend to itself while defeating french cambodia. Any trade post in africa other than Egypt or the Cape would likely be on their own.

    [​IMG]

    Sidney Herbert Secretary of State for War of the British Empire.


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    Louis Napoleon couldn’t help a smile. This war would prove him the equal of his uncle, if not better. He would do what the great Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte, he who had crushed the Prussians, destroyed the Holy Roman Empire, and conquered Spain had not-truly bring the British to heel.


    He knew he couldn't contest their fleet, but their army? Napoleon III would most certainly triumph there. The British would likely try an invasion of Calais, and, if Gibraltar and Malta were ever to be of use to Britain it would be here. He would position his defenses accordingly. This freed up significant portions of the army for an invasion of Austria. Excellent.


    Now colonies would be a fairly unique story. French Indochina would likely be safe. The British were unlikely to send actual troops to claim such small lands and to send natives would risk revolt-if anything there would be some mercenary bands or some idiots from Hong Kong. Senegal might actually a very important colony, at least in the Africa theatre; Governor Louis Faidherbe had taken the dinky little place that barely even counted as a real trade post and began fortification and expansion, and reportedly wished for france to rule the Niger to the Red Sea. Ignoring that most of it was desert, Napoleon too would enjoy a west african empire. The emperor didn’t really expect Britain to fortify the Gambia, or Sierra Leone. Napoleon telegraphed the colonial governor to attack the Gambia Colony and see about the logistics of a Sierra Leone invasion.

    [​IMG]

    Louis Faidherbe. Governor of French Senegal

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    The Tsar was calculative. Going against Britain this soon after the disaster in Crimea would normally be idiotic, but Nicholas figured that could be advantageous. Russia would be a tertiary foe after France and the United States. That said he didn’t like much else about his chances. Ideally he could release the russian hoards and Austria would succumb like the mess they were. But the world was not ideal, especially in war. Nicholas had been looking to sell Alaska lest the British seize it in another war like this. Nicholas hoped the american forces would invade Canada and distract the Royal Army so he could sustain his only colony and perhaps expand its borders. That said, Alexander would face heavy problems with any siberian assault. Ultimately the russian autocrat made up his mind-he’d escalate the Black Sea fleet as much as possible and position most of his army on its coasts, with a large contingent of 200,000 men sent to Austria.


    This contingent was not there as a proper invasion that would leave Russia vulnerable. No. It was sent to apply pressure to a boiling pot. And it was not the only tool Alexander would use for this. He ordered a seeking out of unlanded Romanovs, or failing that, some wealthy non-landed Poles. Austria was a vestige of monarchs with no loyalty to national identities, so Alexander would raise populist pretenders to the kingdoms of the nations in Empire. This plan could earn Russia allies in the long run. Even if it didn’t cement Russian friendly kingdoms, it would foment unrest that would be disastrous for Austria. Especially if Hungary realized it didn’t need Franz Joseph.

    [​IMG]

    Dynastic Seal of the House Romanov

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    Speaking of Franz Joseph, he was to be frank, questioning his sanity. JOIN THE WAR AGAINST RUSSIA AND FRANCE!? He hadn’t joined the Crimean War for a reason. He’d just lost to Piedmont-Sardinia and France last year! His men were unprepared and his generals incompetent. Why had he joined the war? To prevent a British Napoleon? What did he care if Victoria lost her head to buffoons seeking democracy so long as the inevitable usurper didn’t go for southern europe.


    Regardless, he called a meeting to speak with the uppity hungarians and ordered the entire army to the Russian border, expecting the worse invasion to come from that direction.


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    Sorry about disappearing for … two months. With school and another creative work draining my inspiration this kinda wasn’t coming to me. I’ll try to get the next one out far sooner, so tell me what you guys think and which fronts you wanna see! And Just so we’re clear the secession went as in our timeline
     
  11. Ironshark Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Great chapter and I love the way the different sides are preparing


    Forgot about Canada being a commenwealth and how that opens another font

    Can’t wait to see how this goes!
     
  12. IndefatigableRN From the Senior Dominion

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Location:
    The City
    France under Napoleon was very friendly towards Britain and had been allied during the Crimean War. They were more interested in aiding the Confederacy than Britain and in any event were following Britain’s lead.

    Why has this policy changed? How does this affect Mexico? The Union isn’t going to allow the French in.

    I know it’s fun to have a big epic war, but it is hard to see Britain and France joining, let alone Russia.
     
  13. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    The wild card here is Prussia.
     
  14. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

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    Mar 12, 2019
    Admittedly it's flimsy but France sided with the Union mainly because of populist outcry. And the important thing is that Napoleon THINKS the union would let him in after the fact
     
  15. IndefatigableRN From the Senior Dominion

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    Jun 30, 2011
    Location:
    The City
    But then why would the British side with the confederacy. There would be even more outrage in Britain.
     
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  16. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    In OTL the British turned a blind eye when US warships coaled in Caribbean ports in violation of their neutrality. They accepted the legality of the Union blockade when the entire world waited upon their decision. Further but the British just were not keen on rebellions...possibly because they had bad memories of a few of their own, including a rather recent one.

    Look it is your TL. You do however need to have some kind of objective here. Is there a reason or circumstance you want to explore other than nations acting completely out of character to bring about a big war?
     
  17. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    The goal was to turn the American civil war into world war one in scale and cultural impact. So... kinda.
     
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