Until Every Drop of Blood Is Paid: A More Radical American Civil War

FWIW I think I'd prefer a more general overview of the military situation (perhaps at the end of every year) and a more granular approach to political and economic developments. I appreciate that this might put me in a minority amongst those following this TL
 
I think Red_Galiray has shown he’s a talented enough author to make it work.
I was not saying that he was a bad writer obviously he one of the top writer on this site but my point still stands, it can make things very confusing for the viewer, and also the current system is fantastically well so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, ultimately it Red_Galiray decision
FWIW I think I'd prefer a more general overview of the military situation (perhaps at the end of every year) and a more granular approach to political and economic developments. I appreciate that this might put me in a minority amongst those following this TL
I personally like the socio economic/political stuff more
 
You aren't compelled to do the timeline lineraly. If you've got it mapped out, you can always jump forward and back.

So, two things. I think non-linear Timelines may be confusing for both the readers and the author, and since military events have great effects on the political and social stage, I can't fully separate both. I'd prefer for both sides of the war, so to speak, to advance at the same speed. Second, and this is kind of embarrassing, but I actually write by the seat of my pants a lot. I do have a rough sketch of the TL, but sometimes I just end up writing something different or changing plans. I think mapping it out in advance would end up being limiting.

it makes things very very confusing though and it ethier works or doesn’t

Exactly.

I think Red_Galiray has shown he’s a talented enough author to make it work.

Thanks for the compliment. I really appreciate it.

FWIW I think I'd prefer a more general overview of the military situation (perhaps at the end of every year) and a more granular approach to political and economic developments. I appreciate that this might put me in a minority amongst those following this TL

At the end of the day, in a war such as this one the military and sociopolitical sides can't never be fully separated. Military updates should be shorter now since the initial chaos is over, so I don't have to spend time introducing commanders (side note, but these little introductions are some of my favorite parts), or explaining supply, recruitment, etc. Do not worry, though! Plenty of time will be dedicated to the social and political aspect.

By the way, talking about military overviews, would anyone be interested in me writing a summary of the first year of the war? It would be good to catch up and perhaps see some details you've missed.

I was not saying that he was a bad writer obviously he one of the top writer on this site but my point still stands, it can make things very confusing for the viewer, and also the current system is fantastically well so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, ultimately it Red_Galiray decision

I personally like the socio economic/political stuff more

Thank you, man. I don't think of myself as one of the top writers, but I still really appreciate the compliment.

also, it’s not as if this website lacks for detailed narratives of alt-US Civil Wars (not to impugn @Red_Galiray ’s writing, which I’ve enjoyed a lot considering military history isn’t generally something I’m that interested in)

This TL, by definition, would always focus more in the political aspect. Once we get to 1863 or so and Reconstruction starts in earnest, we may spend many updates without hearing anything about the military side. And yeah, I agree that TLs focused on the military side are abundant here. It kinda frustrates me, in fact, how so many TLs completely forget the sociopolitical and economic sides of this war.

Yes. All I really want to know about the battlescenes is that slavers are being killed.

Plenty of that in the future!
 
FWIW I think I'd prefer a more general overview of the military situation (perhaps at the end of every year) and a more granular approach to political and economic developments. I appreciate that this might put me in a minority amongst those following this TL
I enjoy regular 'summaries' like, that, I'd like it.

By the way, talking about military overviews, would anyone be interested in me writing a summary of the first year of the war? It would be good to catch up and perhaps see some details you've missed.
I am leaning slightly in this direction myself also. While I can and do enjoy the military updates on their own, a blow by blow description of the tactical maneuvers of every battle as intersting as it is generally doesn't contribute that much to furthering the story of how American politics and racial sensibilities are developing. Admittedly some detail is important for showing off the opinions and thought of the generals, which can influence and be influenced by the broader strategic and political situation (e.g. McClellans uselessness). So while I certainly do not want military details to be reduced to just a single yearly overview, I do worry they are getting too much detail.

Of course if you had infinite time to write you'd want to include everything, but if you want the TL to move along at a faster pace it will need a little more focus.
 
"Testing whether this nation can long endure" - The First Year of the Civil War
The causes of the Civil War are many, but at the center of the conflict there is just one big cause from which all else derive: slavery. The “monstrous injustice” had been protected for decades by the Federal government, which wanted to prevent a bloody civil war from taking place. Outsized and undeserved Southern influence meant that most Presidents and Supreme Court Justices were Southerners, while Congress usually had Democratic majorities, which pushed forward measures that protected their peculiar institution. The first great crisis occurred after the Mexican War, when the future of the territories had to be settled. Ultimately, a compromise seemed to save the Union, but sectionalism continued.

Tensions grew inflamed again when Senator Stephen A. Douglas pushed forward the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the previously free territories to slavery. The Whig Party was irremediably split, and in its place new anti-slavery coalitions appeared – the Republican Party. The 1854 midterms were a harsh rebuke of the measure, especially in Douglas’ home state of Illinois, where the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won a Senate seat. In that particular case, the appalling assassination of the respectable Lyman Trumbull probably helped Lincoln seize victory.

Free Soilers and pro-slavery Border Ruffians poured into Kansas, decided to take the territory for their side. The brutal bush war quickly received the name of Bleeding Kansas. The pro-slavery legislature at Lecompton stopped at nothing to get accepted into the Union as a slave state, even overlooking acts of political terrorism such as the sacking of Lawrence or engaging in dishonest electoral fraud. In Congress, violence increased, with the radical Senator Summer being brutally beaten by a pro-slavery Democrat. These acts fueled the tensions of the 1856 election, where the Republicans fielded their first candidate: the romantic John C. Frémont, who faced the timid James Buchanan. Despite a valiant showing, even carrying Illinois, Frémont would be defeated by Buchanan.

Buchanan further aided the slavocracy by appointing governors that seemed agreeable to Kansas’ slave traders. But Governor Geary was unwilling to condone the electoral fraud, and when Border Ruffians tried to sack the small town of Osawatomie, he faced them and drove them off. Buchanan vowed to Southern demands and arrested Geary, but abolitionists broke him out and speeded him to Canada. The new governor was similarly unable to stop the bleeding.

Soon after Buchanan assumed office, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford that slavery was legal in all territories, that Congress had no power to regulate or abolish it, and that Black people were not and could not be citizens of the United States. The decision was seen as the result of a corrupt Southern Cabal, the Slave Power, aided by Buchanan who tried to convince Justice Grier to vote. But Grier abstained, and at the end the decision was a purely sectional one, made by five Southern Democrats, for Southern Democrats.

This bad blood between the two wings of the Democracy caused Douglas to rebel when the Lecompton Legislature tried to get Kansas admitted as a slave state. Northern Democrats and Republicans united, but at the end the South triumphed and Kansas entered the Union, despite the fact that the great majority of Kansas opposed slavery. This final aggressive act of the Slave Power killed the Democratic Party in the North. The remnants tried to unite behind the new name of National Union Party, led by Douglas. Nonetheless, the 1858 elections were a big victory for the Republicans. Senator Lincoln faced Douglas, up for reelection, in 8 legendary debates, and Douglas would lose his seat, further weakening the new National Union.

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Stephen A. Douglas, the Little Giant.

The most dramatic moment was yet to come. John Brown, a fanatical veteran of Bleeding Kansas, decided to attack the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry to hopefully spark a slave revolt that would result in universal emancipation. Brown managed to take the Armory and recruit some slaves, but he ultimately was driven away. After a chase through the mountains, he was captured and sentenced to death for treason. The discovery that a group of radical Northerners, the Secret Six, had aided his raid caused furor in the South, as well as Republican insistence in a fair trial for Brown.

Brown was executed, but his last words and his aptitude awoke a profound anti-slavery sentiment within the people of the North, who crowned him as a Martyr to Liberty. Believing that the North was united against them, Southerners grew increasingly paranoid. Many Northerners were lynched or driven out, and militias were formed as the South was gripped by fear and hostility.

This directly caused the Democratic National Convention at Charleston to fail, as Southerners refused to accept the Douglasites and instead nominated John C. Breckinridge, the vice-president. The dispirited National Unionists nominated Douglas, in a desperate attempt to keep a Republican from the White House. A Constitutional Union ticket headed by John Bell was also put forward, but it gathered little support. By contrast, the Republican National Convention moved with energy and enthusiasm, and selected the dark horse candidate Abraham Lincoln. Pledging to limit slavery, the Republicans campaigned on freedom for the territories, and attacked the corruption of the Buchanan administration.

In election day, Lincoln carried the entire North with 60% of the vote, while Breckinridge carried the entire South except for Missouri, carried by the slaveholder Bell. The stage was set, and South Carolina seceded in December 1860. Soon, the lower South joined and they formed a new nation in Montgomery, Alabama – the Confederate States of America, funded with the sole purpose of protecting slavery and White Supremacy. They elected John C. Breckinridge as President and prepared for war, despite assuring everyone that they only wanted to be left alone.

The timid Buchanan did not do anything as the rebels seized armories, custom posts, and forts, including Fort Sumter off Charleston harbor. Republicans tried to pressure Buchanan into doing something, and started the impeachment process, more as a symbolic act than anything. Virginia, still haunted by the shadow of John Brown, would secede in February, 1861. North Carolina soon followed, while other Southern states had conventions active, ready to secede.

Now in charge, President Lincoln did support attempts at peace, but he was unwilling to unconditionally surrender by granting all Southern concessions, including the territories. After the secession of Virginia, Washington was surrounded by hostile territory, including Maryland secessionists. Lincoln tried to call Federal troops to defend Washington, but they were stopped by violent riots in Baltimore. Maryland finally seceded from the Union, though a rival Unionists government was created in Frederick. Rebel troops took Washington, burning down the city for the second time, while Lincoln escaped down the Potomac, arriving at the new Union capital of Philadelphia. From there, he called for 150,000 volunteers, and the North answered with enthusiasm.

The call for volunteers, however, also impelled Tennessee and Arkansas out of the Union, and led to small civil wars within Missouri and Kentucky. In Missouri, the bold Nathaniel Lyon stood up against the secessionist governor, though the state would remain bloody ground. In Kentucky, a policy of neutrality remained for anxious weeks, until the Confederate commander invaded the state, awakening fiery Unionism within the Kentuckians.

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President of the United States Abraham Lincoln

An Army was organized to retake Washington, which was put under the command of General Irvin McDowell, and baptized the Army of the Susquehanna. In Baltimore, the rebels under General P. T. G. Beauregard waited for several months until chaotic “do-it-yourself” recruitment had formed true armies. They finally faced each other in August, 1861. The Federals were able to retake Baltimore and drive off the rebels, but they remained corked in Annapolis, where the talented Thomas Jackson resisted all attacks, earning the nickname Stonewall.

Previous to this battle, the Unionists of West Virginia met in a convention and, calling themselves the Restored Government of Virginia, approved the creation of a new state, Kanawha. The good performance of the Young Napoleon, George B. McClellan, earned him respect and a transfer to the Army of the Susquehanna. For his part, Robert E. Lee, who only sided with the Confederacy to protect his home state, failed and was exiled for the moment.

In the West, the Federals under the command of Ulysses S. Grant, an apparently unpromising but cool and decided general, drove most Confederates out of Kentucky and took Fort Henry. The soldier-like rebel, Albert Sidney Johnston, retreated to Bowling Green. In the meantime, Lincoln pushed for an advance into East Tennessee, but William T. Sherman, who had fought admirably at Baltimore, refused due to wildly overestimated rebel numbers. An advance took place later, with George Henry Thomas facing the rebels at Logan’s Crossroads, defeating them but being unable to continue any advance.

Shortly after the new year, Grant prepared to take Fort Donelson, but was attacked first by Johnston at Dover. Grant did not panic, and instead drove Johnston back, forcing the rebel commander to retreat, leaving behind the garrison at Donelson. The commander tried to talk terms with Grant, but he demanded immediate and unconditional surrender. Unconditional Surrender Grant thus became a popular war hero in the North, and he prepared to continue his advance down the Mississippi, while Johnston lost a third of his army and had to leave Nashville and the entire Kentucky.

While this happened, Lincoln had to deal with judicial challenges against his decision to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to try and contain treason in Maryland, and also had to establish a blockade as part of General in-chief Winfield Scott’s Anaconda Plan. Scott, and also the corrupt Secretary of War Simon Cameron, proved to not be up to the task, and would be replaced by Henry W. Halleck and Edwin M. Stanton as General in-chief and Secretary of War respectively.

At the start of 1862, General Burnside conducted a series of highly successful amphibious campaigns around the North Carolina sounds, which closed many rebel ports. The only silver lining was the discovery of the talented James Longstreet, but it was clear that despite flirting with privateers and doing his best in logistics, the Confederacy was vastly inferior at sea and in material advantage.

In January 1862, after months of inactivity, the Army of the Susquehanna launched a second campaign. But McClellan did not move because he believed the enemy was greatly superior. A magnificent campaign by Stonewall Jackson took 20,000 men from McDowell’s force, and although McDowell eventually forced Beauregard behind the Little Patuxent, a sharpshooter hit him after a rebel charge that reached his headquarters. Beauregard was also wounded, but unlike McDowell, he survived. Though the result was a Union victory, the Army of the Susquehanna was now under the command of McClellan, and the heavy prize of 25,000 casualties did not seem to be justified by the relatively small victory.

As the war grew harder, it also grew in radicalism. Radical Republicans wanted the war to also spell the end of slavery and the old South, and as a result agitated in favor of emancipation and anti-slavery measures. Lincoln was reluctant at first, countermanding a proclamation by Frémont that liberated all slaves in Missouri, which had a considerable conservative backlash.

Eventually, due to his expanded horizons and his slow realization that the war could not end if slavery did not end first, Lincoln started to cooperate with Congress, outlawing slavery in the territories and in D.C. However, he was not prepared to enlist Black soldiers or issue an Emancipation Proclamation yet.

First, he pushed for compensated emancipation in the Border States, but they firmly opposed the measure. The President did not push for colonization because he had been convinced that it was an inhumane solution. When escaped slaves started to arrive to the Union lines, the so-called contrabands, he at first did not set a policy, but later disposed that they could not be returned to their owners, liberating them for all intents and purposes.

Radical agitation grew as more people pushed for universal emancipation and war for both Union and Freedom, with abolitionists becoming respected figures. The vital role of Baltimore’s Black population in the capture of the city caused many to change opinions. However, conservatives started to rally to Douglas’ National Union. Now called Chesnuts, these conservatives opposed the radical measures, the Lincoln administration, and sometimes the war itself. They were still divided by grudges from Lecompton, but were nonetheless an effective if virulent opposition.

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President of the Confederate States, John C. Breckinridge

The greatest challenge was probably the Canadian Incident, when a group of Americans crossed the border with Canada and kidnapped Confederate agents together with one Canadian citizens. The British, who preferred to sit out of the war instead of aiding either the Union or the Confederacy, were outraged, and at the end the Lincoln administration had to bow down to their demands, preventing war.

Following the Second Maryland Campaign, the war started to grow in intensity and radicalism, with both sides turning towards harder measures while political polarization reigned in the North. Lincoln prepared to issue an emancipation proclamation, which would radically change the character of the war. He was now ready for such a measure, because it was clear that the Civil War would last for many more arduous and bloody years.
 
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I am leaning slightly in this direction myself also. While I can and do enjoy the military updates on their own, a blow by blow description of the tactical maneuvers of every battle as intersting as it is generally doesn't contribute that much to furthering the story of how American politics and racial sensibilities are developing. Admittedly some detail is important for showing off the opinions and thought of the generals, which can influence and be influenced by the broader strategic and political situation (e.g. McClellans uselessness). So while I certainly do not want military details to be reduced to just a single yearly overview, I do worry they are getting too much detail.

Of course if you had infinite time to write you'd want to include everything, but if you want the TL to move along at a faster pace it will need a little more focus.

I think you're right. I dedicate too much detail to ultimately pointless battle maneuvers. I will try to be more brief in the future, though whole updates will probably still be dedicated to military campaigns. Most likely, it will be one update = one campaign.

Out of curiosity,RG,I was reading posts about the pacing of the TL and,what’s the planned endpoint?

If you mean when I am planning to finish the Timeline... Well, I actually plan to continue it until the modern day. Or rather 2000, which I think it's as good a point as any. Once it is finished, it will be called A New Birth of Freedom: An Alternate History of the United States and be divided as follows.

Until every drop of blood is paid - A more Radical American Civil War. (1854-1877) Divided into two parts, The Southern Rebellion and Reconstruction, the Second American Revolution. I plan to take a hiatus and study more about Reconstruction after finishing the civil war proper.

Then we continue with A long and lasting peace - A different Gilded Age. (1877-1910) Similarly, it's divided into two parts: With Malice towards None, and With Charity for All.

I only have the titles of the next two parts: Those who deny Freedom to others (1910-1950), and Government of the people, by the people, for the people (1950-2000).

If you meant how the TL is going to end, well, it will end in a Union victory after the 1864 elections. Then we follow Reconstruction until 1877 or so.
 
I think you're right. I dedicate too much detail to ultimately pointless battle maneuvers. I will try to be more brief in the future, though whole updates will probably still be dedicated to military campaigns. Most likely, it will be one update = one campaign.



If you mean when I am planning to finish the Timeline... Well, I actually plan to continue it until the modern day. Or rather 2000, which I think it's as good a point as any. Once it is finished, it will be called A New Birth of Freedom: An Alternate History of the United States and be divided as follows.

Until every drop of blood is paid - A more Radical American Civil War. (1854-1877) Divided into two parts, The Southern Rebellion and Reconstruction, the Second American Revolution. I plan to take a hiatus and study more about Reconstruction after finishing the civil war proper.

Then we continue with A long and lasting peace - A different Gilded Age. (1877-1910) Similarly, it's divided into two parts: With Malice towards None, and With Charity for All.

I only have the titles of the next two parts: Those who deny Freedom to others (1910-1950), and Government of the people, by the people, for the people (1950-2000).

If you meant how the TL is going to end, well, it will end in a Union victory after the 1864 elections. Then we follow Reconstruction until 1877 or so.
That’s one epic TL,man. Best of luck!
 
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Plot twist!

That’s one epic TL,man. Best of luck!

Thank you! I couldn't do a project as big as this one without the support of you all.

Yeah, that probably would be idea.

Yeah. I mean, the updates about Grant in the West and the battle for Fort Donelson could probably be condensed into one update. I will follow that model in the future.

Could we get a map of the front so far?

Same one thing about these timelines is that all the excess detail though nice really gets lost in my head without some visuals to ground my mind in

My map making capacities are rather lackluster, and I'm busy right now. But I will try to make some maps within the next week.
 
WRT military vs. socio-political updates I like them both equally but it's easier to talk about military updates since the details are more concrete and the differences from OTL are easier to see. So just because one update is getting more replies than another doesn't necessarily mean that the readers like it more.
 
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