Until every drop of blood is paid - A more radical American Civil War

Easy solution. If your black and were freed after the start of the civil war by the union and aren't a mother supporting children or under the age of 16 your automatically drafted.
A plan of that nature would likely be counter to the desires of staunch abolitionists and Radicals. It would also hasten the Red Summer of 1919 by a few decades.
 
If the self adopts a scorched-earth policy and destroys everything of value ahead of advancing Union troops. That would slow the Union advance but it would embitter the Southern Population to the Southern rolling class, making post-war reconstruction a lot easier
 
I think the writer has stated that the Union wins after the 1864 election.
Let's be honest, anytime the ACW drags on to the 1864 election and Lincoln wins, Southern defeat becomes more or less inevitable. Even the somewhat improbable string of victories that Lee was able to pull off from the Seven Days through to Chancellorsville (which but for Hooker's loss of nerve and Jackson's flank march would have been a Union victory) only served to hold the Union at bay and open the drains on the South's pool of manpower, and that leaves aside the South's misfortunes in the Western theater. The South's last chance to decide the war on the battlefield was Gettysburg; after that they could only hope to make the war expensive enough that war-weariness leads to McClellan or some other candidate winning on the promise of 'peace at any price, as soon as possible'. Once Lincoln gets re-elected, the South is left looking down the barrel of another four years of war, against generals who've learned how to at least hold their own against the best that Lee and co. can throw at them, with a manpower and logistical advantage that exceeds the overwhelming and verges on the hilarious. Give Grant or Sherman or Sheridan or even Meade another four years to tighten the screws and the South's defeat becomes a mathematical certainty, barring divine intervention.
 
Two opposing schools might develop, to either create a new axis in the post-Reconstruction political sphere or to be grafted onto another, more central one: Either permanently reduce the powers of the Presidency, perhaps having the effect of making the House Majority Leader more of a Prime Minister-like role, or keep the President powerful while checking that power with accountability laws and with a new, more democratic election system, like the French system.
I'm a sworn enemy of the Electoral College anyway, and a direct, more democratic vote for President would go a long ways towards breaking Southern power and assure that freedmen votes would be meaningful even if they don't constitute a majority in their states. I think it would be possible for a constitutional convention to be called to propose some badly needed reforms: abolish the electoral college, weaken the presidency, protect civil rights and make it clear that this protections extends to the states and to individuals in the states, and others. Some reforms concerning the spoils system can also be incorporated, and that should help defuse the Liberals.

I can't put my finger on any concrete criticisms, and intellectually I know it has some significant political developments and further show the radicalization happenign. But somehow it just doesn't grab my interest much.

I guess "moderates being extremely salty about how Lincoln is handling the war, but ultimately failing to stop him" is something we've seen and discussed plenty already recently (at least, feels like it to me), so it doesn't feel like much new has been revealed about the story.
One of the updates with less likes is also focused on the political opposition. This chapter is meant, more than anything, to show how hopeless the Union cause seems and set the groundwork for some important things later. But I understand if people who are more interested in the military side of things find it inconsequential. More exciting and comparatively important is the next update, where Lee and Reynolds finally face each other.

I eat this stuff up and this was one of the most exciting updates you've put out.

Also, the lack of likes might be because of some unspoken contention with the events in the update. Lincoln laying down the hammer and the North descending into Jacobins and Girondins probably grates against some people's expectations or sensibilities, hence no likes.
You'd have to compare the views on the thread before and after your post to have an idea of how many people read .
I also love the political side of history. I originally intended to create a simple Reconstruction TL, but I decided that more fundamental changes would be needed, and thus placed the POD much earlier.

In reflection, it's probably just a the preference for the military side. Chapter 31 is similarly entirely political and it has much less likes than other updates. Conversely, those chapters focused on action are by far the most popular.

We need to get politics out of our American Civil War counterfactual discussion forums.

I'm joking.
That makes me wonder, though, how many will stick once the war is over and Reconstruction begins, since, aside from some updates of Grant smashing the Klan, the TL will be almost completely political and social from then on.

Ironically, guess who opposed the internment of the Japanese IOTL? None other than J. Edgar Hoover, of all people...
Seriously? Hoover? Seems rather bizarre to me seeing his actions...

The Court would be a great place for Stanton if it doesn't crush his ability to be an asset to the nextg President. Some of Grant's Attorney Generals might work, though I wonder if Amos Ackerman would even survive; given his support of black civil rights afterward, he had to have soe concept of that before, and I wonder if he might not get drummed out of the Confederate Army TTL and lynched or something.

Yes, just like FDR has his "worst President ever" critics, too - I mean, knock him down a few pegs if you think the US would have gotten out of the Depression faster without him if you want, but some people go way overboard.

I'm woncdering if I could do a little something from what my ancestors would have done - it'd be a lot shorter, just a few paragraphs from the POV of 3 men, 2 who fled West Virginia to Ohio in 1862 (mentioned before) and one who as far as we can find registered for the draft in 1863 but never got drafted. I might PM it to you and you can insert it into yours if you want.
Ackerman might survive if he gets into one of the pockets of partisan resistance that the Confederates can't really stamp out due to lack of manpower in the front. Chase remained involved in politics, even seeking the Democratic nomination. McLean was involved in Whig and Republican politics, the same with David Davis. So I don't see why Stanton couldn't tutor the next president.

By that, I mean the large amount of quotations and asides about specific anecdotal events which litter the manuscript. In more academic textbooks, these tend to be regulated to either more concentrated primary sources or a single aside, while in "pop-academic' (i.e. the type of thing most people will read on the mass market) there is a tendency to fill out entire chapters with small anecdotal events, conveying a sense of ongoing events by weight of overwhelming testimonial.
I have noticed that as well. I tend to use such anecdotal quotes as a way of making the writing more enjoyable, whereas a dry description of events or simple prose would probably result in either a boring chapter or needless melodrama.

Excellent update, and I think far more important to the timeline than most of the posts about the actual battles are. This kind of political climate will do far more to determine the shape of post-war America than the specifics of the campaigns.
Thank you! I also consider this very important for what form post-war politics are going to take. In permanently linking treason with the Northern opposition it also means that opposition parties will be almost permanently crippled, and "White Line" politics will be associated with the rebels. This all but ensures Republican dominance, without that meaning an actual end to political battles.

A superb chapter, as always. It's interesting to see the political forces at work behind the battles.
Thank you very much! It's also meant to convey just how close to the brink the Union is, thus raising the stakes.

It probaly becuase this chapter just has a much darker overtone over all the good guys aren't acting like the good guys, the great guys are threanting to kill people, lincoln acting semi tyrant like, WHile as usual was a very very good chapter people may have been said and forgot to click the like button or clicked away cause tone and gradduly come back and re read it the next couple days
Well, in previous chapters I haven't shied from depicting how monstrous some Union soldiers could be. I agree that Lincoln can seem like a tyrant, but in actuality most of the actions depicted he took in OTL. It's just that their reach and scope has been augmented.

The chapter on the actions of Confederate partisans on Unionists and vice versa was really good. Makes me wonder how the German-Texans are faring during all this.
The German Texans are one of the cradles of Texan Unionism, and thus partisan resistance. While this sadly means that they are subjected to the same kind of terror as other Unionists, it also means that they will play an important part once the Union is able to start a campaign to liberate the state.

May I suggest that to make for maximum drama, there's a Cedar Mountain-type battle in a Pennsylvania city that makes things look even more dire than before, but then Reynolds wins a massive victory like two weeks later after mass panic
Excellent idea! I will incorporate it. Thank you.

Nah, don't worry about the lack of likes and such. Not every update can be super exciting stories of industrialized warfare, you're doing a spectacular job at laying the groundwork for other stuff too :)
Thank you very much for your support.

Well, to be fair, it's not just Reconstruction either. We know, due to the power of hindsight, that the second half of the 19th century is a period of labor agitation and concentration of wealth by robber barons. A stronger presidency - especially during an era when when the Republicans, by and large, favored the interests of big business and leaned more classically liberal - could be disasterous to the labor movement and effectively radicalize it much further than happened in OTL. Its easy to cheer for a strong presidency when that President is fighting for the rights of freedmen. Its much more difficult when that same President is declaring martial law and sending in the army because those same freedmen just declared a strike in an Alabama coal mine.
I'm worried about the precedent this will set for civil liberties in the long term.
Indeed. As you point out most of these actions are welcome because Lincoln is fighting for emancipation and against a Slave Empire. Maintaining such powers when they can be used for less than noble causes could be enormously prejudicial. That's why I'm leaning towards sweeping constitutional reforms to limit the Presidency.

Easy solution. If your black and were freed after the start of the civil war by the union and aren't a mother supporting children or under the age of 16 your automatically drafted.
Such a policy can't be carried to its logical conclusion mostly because many freedmen camps require either the labor or protection of their Black men. However, Black recruitment is already on the rise and many are in the Army of the Susquehanna and thus will face Lee.

A plan of that nature would likely be counter to the desires of staunch abolitionists and Radicals. It would also hasten the Red Summer of 1919 by a few decades.
Black soldiers will play an important part. They will be much less likely to allow their rights to be trampled, and more capable of resisting. But that will, sadly, cause an event similar to the Red Summer, as you say.

If the self adopts a scorched-earth policy and destroys everything of value ahead of advancing Union troops. That would slow the Union advance but it would embitter the Southern Population to the Southern rolling class, making post-war reconstruction a lot easier
Oh, I do have a plan to divide them ;)

You all are,of course,assuming the South ultimately loses(again).
I think the writer has stated that the Union wins after the 1864 election.
The Union will win at the end, yes.
 
Btw, @DTF955Baseballfan has kindly decided to write another one-shot story set in this TL, and I'm sharing it with you. If anybody else ever wants to write any such short stories, they are more than welcomed :D

Three farmers

Rebs all think they’re winning, but we’ve got them trapped,
Soon we’ll send them running to a place that’s apt.
With their spirits crushed and weeping on their knees,
Begging Freedmen for just a few goober peas.

Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating goober peas.
Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas


“Are you from Brooke County?” Fred asked the singer, Matthias. When Matthias replied in the affirmative, Fred extended his hand and introduced himself. “ You must have been one of the many Germans who fled that place.

“Indeed I am; I even gave a little speech about how we’d chosen this free land… then I pointed across the Ohio and said, ‘Actually, we chose that free land, this here’s a phony!” Matthias declared.

The two men laughed; though they had slightly different accents, being from different parts of Germany, the men – whose son and daughter would eventually marry 25 years or so later – could tell there was a West Virginia twang to their speech, too.

After they spoke for a moment, Fred said, “you sure do sound confident; you haven’t seen the lousy fighting we’ve been doing.”

“I heard about Bull Run; I got faith, though. We were nearly all captured as a regiment in Kentucky.” Matthias shook his head. “Can’tg you people find any good generals? I wish they’d have sent Thomas, give them rebs a Trojan horse, make ‘em think he’ll go easy and then lay down the law,.”

“I’m pretty confident with Reynolds; and, our regiment didn’t fight, won’t even be anything but on the back lines this time even, unless Lee dares to come north. But, we got called up this far ‘cause so much of the Army got… well, McClellaned.” Fred spat. “I don’t know what else to call it; some of the men say his name will go down like Arnold’s.”

“Matthias shook his head. “I trust Lincoln; he wouldn’t have let McClellan stay on if he was that bad. Way I say it, Mclellan just didn’t have a lick of sense. He was an idiot.”

Fred conceded the point. “There’s talk of us going up to quell some draft complaints; I guess you just got combined into ours?”

“Yeah, they have to put soe regiments together right quick. I reckon they figure Lee’s going to do something, but what? If it’s Washington or Baltimore, the guess is we stay back, if he tried to come into Pennsylvania, it’s anyone’s guess,” Matthias outlined.

“I guess you are ready for anything.” Fred sighed. “About as ready as I am, I guess.”

Matthias agreed. “It’s going to be rough. But, we have to remember to turn what them Rebs got around on ‘em, just like the Yankees did to the British during the Revolution. Only, our goal is more important – ending that vile slavery!”

“Hear, hear! Hyou know, it’s a shame they’re pushin this draft thing so hard. A lot of boys are going to come in here and they won’t have any idea what they’re in for. At least I had some concept when I volunteered; thought long and hard about it, and what that place was all about.”

“You heard we broke free, right?”

“I did.” Fred supposed that this was a good thing. “It shows we got leaders with some sense in West Virginia. But, will they end slavery?”

“I don’t know. I probably rushed in faster, just because I hate slavery with a passion. But, look at it this way; you and I both hightailed it for Ohio pretty fast, even afer the rebs took Washington. How many more volunteers will we get once we win thuis battle?”

Fred supposed his new friend was right. He just hoped they could get a crushing win quickly.. Their service time wouldn’t be up for a little over 2 years, but he feared they might have to fight nearly that long, the way things were going.

Meanwhile,in rural Ohio, Alcide and his wife, Louisa, were looking at the newspaper. She was actually helping him to read it.

“So, do you think you’ll be drafted>”

Alcide shrugged. “I don’t know, Louisa. I guess it’s possible.”

“This says some people are calling it unfair; that it’s not our fight.”

Alcide stepped outside for a moment and waved his hand slowly to indicae the vast community of French speakers, some from Switzerland, some from France, some from the former who claimed to be from the latter – like him.

“We chose this land. I know, you were born here, unlike your parents, but we chose this land despite its flaws. So, should we not support it? Wasn’t there a famous American who said, ‘Our country, may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong!’?”

“I have heard that, too,” Alcide’s friend, a farmhand also from Switzerland, said as he walked up to them. “I have been pondering whether to enlist or not; unlike you, I do not have a family yet.”

“Will you?” Louisa asked, happy that Alcide had decided he would only serve if he was drafted.

“I am not sure. I know your mother and father are happy that I have stayed so far, Ma’am. The planting will need to be done soon. If I should enlist, I do not expect to be back by harvest time. Unless it is the harvest of 1865.”

“’65?” Louisa asked in shock.

The farmhand nodded solemnly. “I have been hearing stories, through the grapevine, as I have heard them say. Reaction to those who refuse to register is fierce, because the war is fierce. These are animals, not men, some of them.”

Alcide raised his eyebrows. “I, too, have a disdain for slavery, but I did not realize you had so much hatred of it; your tone is just…” he did not know how to phrase it.

“I do not ean just with their treatment of slave, Alcide. I have heard of them butchering innocent women and children as they raid.” Morgan’s Raiders had not yet come that far, either.

As their friend described in grim detail what he’d heard, Louisa could see her husband getting very upset. “Alcide, remember, you promised…” She placed a hand on his shoulder.

Alcide closed his eyes. Once he reopened them he declared resolutely, “I will stay because I made a promise; my oath to you is important as our marriage vows. But, if they do send raiders this way, I will join with volunteers to crush them!”

Louisa conceded. “That is fair; I agree.”

The farmhand noted, “I do feel a need to volunteer. As you have said yourself, we chose this land. We may not have been made as aware of the blight of slavery when our friends and relatives wrote to us of the wonderful farmland here…”

Louisa said it had seemed so far away until the war. “France seems so small compared to the vast expanse of this country, after all. And I can imagine Switzerland was far more so.”

“That is very true. But, your husband is right. We chose this land not only for the good, but for the bad. If it is our lot to vanquish the bad, we owe it to countrymen to fight to end the evils of rebellion.” When asked if he was indeed enlisting, the farmhand said, “I will remain until we get the planting done. We have a large community here, though. I begin to feel compelled to go. As if we have been placed here for such a time as this.”
 
In regards to limiting of presidential power I could see a lot of pushback against those efforts TBH. You'll have a lot of people talking about how the Union would've fallen if not for Lincoln using those powers to protect it.
 
You may want to threadmark the semi-canonical stories.


May I suggest that if you're looking at how the USA might develop in the post-war period, then it might be worth looking at the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution? Not for overall parallels- the social basis of the Revolution is different, there's a legacy of semi-Warlordism that's not relevant and so on- but for the challenges of trying to build a new constitutional order when almost all major power brokers are positioned within a single ruling party, vast areas of the country are facing starvation and economic devastation, there's potential insurgencies from people who feel their way of life is under threat (though even a left wing atheist like me can admit that the Cristeros are a great deal more sympathetic than the CSA!) and so forth and so on.
 
I'm definitely here for the social and political side of the TL (as I am for your Colombia TL) and only really following the military side of things as far as it relates to social, political and economic matters.
 
From what I gathered from the read, the Freedmen camps are basically travelling shantytowns attached to the baggage train of whatever army the freedmen have latched onto.

They're not stable enough to just pull able bodied men out of and they're also too exposed to leave without anyone of fighting potential, they're under threat even at the best of times. Drafting men will only serve to make them an even worse liability for any army they're attached to.

That they exist at all is because the freedmen can largely see to themselves for most of the time, pulling out the men will only serve to further drain military resources and make the women and children all the more dependent on the army for their protection. (which they already are, but it's the difference between holding them by a hand and carrying them on the shoulder).

All in all, it's unconscionable, wasteful and counter-intuitive. It will likely make the war effort even harder.

@Red_Galiray That track?
 
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I also love the political side of history. I originally intended to create a simple Reconstruction TL, but I decided that more fundamental changes would be needed, and thus placed the POD much earlier.

In reflection, it's probably just a the preference for the military side. Chapter 31 is similarly entirely political and it has much less likes than other updates. Conversely, those chapters focused on action are by far the most popular.
FWIW I find the political updates a lot more interesting than the “I, as an armchair general, think that General X should have fought Y Campaign in this way" kind of updates that tend to predominate in alt-US Civil War TLs (not yours, in fairness).
 
Loving the timeline so far, and I'm a huge fan of your political updates in particular! The short story you wrote was very poignant and was a welcome addition as well.
 
I'm just anxious for the war to be over :) I know it'll take a while, but hopefully this next update gives us Reynolds' big victory that turns the tide.

The Electoral college saved the Unionby allowing LIncoln to be elected, but we've been over all that, so I'll just say that Executive B ranch reforms would probably be implemented fast; true, they were needed here, but more of a consensus would be needed. They might decide to make it any action involving liberties like this need the support of 3/4 of both houses of Congress (showing a true national emergency) and need reaffirmed every 30 or 60 days or something. That would be fair. (Please, don'tlet this get bogged down into a discussion of exact percentage or length. :) )
 
In regards to limiting of presidential power I could see a lot of pushback against those efforts TBH. You'll have a lot of people talking about how the Union would've fallen if not for Lincoln using those powers to protect it.
That's possible as well. This is another point of division between Republicans in the post-war era.

@Red_Galiray looks like it only 2 away from 70 likes so nothing to worry about everyone loves your writing as usual
Yes, it seems I was worrying needlessly. Thank you for your support.

You may want to threadmark the semi-canonical stories.


May I suggest that if you're looking at how the USA might develop in the post-war period, then it might be worth looking at the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution? Not for overall parallels- the social basis of the Revolution is different, there's a legacy of semi-Warlordism that's not relevant and so on- but for the challenges of trying to build a new constitutional order when almost all major power brokers are positioned within a single ruling party, vast areas of the country are facing starvation and economic devastation, there's potential insurgencies from people who feel their way of life is under threat (though even a left wing atheist like me can admit that the Cristeros are a great deal more sympathetic than the CSA!) and so forth and so on.
I already have experience with societies trying to craft new laws and principles out of destruction and partisan devastation, thanks to my studies of other Latin American countries, such as Gran Colombia and Mexico. Of course, they failed, but learning from mistakes it's valuable as well. I will take your advice and see what I can learn about the Mexican Revolution too. Thanks.

I'm definitely here for the social and political side of the TL (as I am for your Colombia TL) and only really following the military side of things as far as it relates to social, political and economic matters.
Thanks! I also prefer that side, but I think I've done a competent enough job when it comes to the military side too.

Aside from what @Tjakari has explained, even in contraband camps that are firmly secure in a place (like the Mississippi Valley) they are continuously exposed to rebel raids and need every person in order to cultivate food for themselves and cotton for the army and factories. If all Black men are sent North, not only will production fall sharply (exposing the freedmen to starvation unless they receive food shipments, which would be harder than simply cultivating the food there) but they will be exposed to rebel raids. In that case, White troops would be sent to protect them, which defeats the whole purpose of conscripting every Black man. I do envision greater use of Black soldiers, but not every single one.

From what I gathered from the read, the Freedmen camps are basically travelling shantytowns attached to the baggage train of whatever army the freedmen have latched onto.

They're not stable enough to just pull able bodied men out of and they're also too exposed to leave without anyone of fighting potential, they're under threat even at the best of times. Drafting men will only serve to make them an even worse liability for any army they're attached to.

That they exist at all is because the freedmen can largely see to themselves for most of the time, pulling out the men will only serve to further drain military resources and make the women and children all the more dependent on the army for their protection. (which they already are, but it's the difference between holding them by a hand and carrying them on the shoulder).

All in all, it's unconscionable, wasteful and counter-intuitive. It will likely make the war effort even harder.

@Red_Galiray That track?
Spot on. Just wanted to point out that contraband camps in the Mississippi Valley, the Sea Islands and Kentucky/Missouri are mostly stable, while they are travelling in Tennessee and Virginia/Maryland.

FWIW I find the political updates a lot more interesting than the “I, as an armchair general, think that General X should have fought Y Campaign in this way" kind of updates that tend to predominate in alt-US Civil War TLs (not yours, in fairness).
I think it's because I have a set objective, and also that many campaigns are different. So what my Generals do they do because it benefits the story.

Loving the timeline so far, and I'm a huge fan of your political updates in particular! The short story you wrote was very poignant and was a welcome addition as well.
Thank you very much!

I'm just anxious for the war to be over :) I know it'll take a while, but hopefully this next update gives us Reynolds' big victory that turns the tide.

The Electoral college saved the Unionby allowing LIncoln to be elected, but we've been over all that, so I'll just say that Executive B ranch reforms would probably be implemented fast; true, they were needed here, but more of a consensus would be needed. They might decide to make it any action involving liberties like this need the support of 3/4 of both houses of Congress (showing a true national emergency) and need reaffirmed every 30 or 60 days or something. That would be fair. (Please, don'tlet this get bogged down into a discussion of exact percentage or length. :) )
I've calculated that it should take some 15-17 more updates before I finally finish with the war. The reforms are also subject to the circumstances around Reconstruction and Lincoln's successor. Especially since Lincoln will probably have to use extreme measures to turn the tide of Ku Klux terrorism, so it would not be good to weaken the presidency immediately.
 
I have noticed that as well. I tend to use such anecdotal quotes as a way of making the writing more enjoyable, whereas a dry description of events or simple prose would probably result in either a boring chapter or needless melodrama.
And you hit on the reason why such a writing style tends to get used so often on mass-market history books. It helps ground the events for readers, and allows the writer to flex and take advantage of phrases and slang that wouldn't normally come to mind.
 
cultivate food for themselves and cotton for the army and factories. If all Black men are sent North, not only will production fall sharply (exposing the freedmen to starvation unless they receive food shipments, which would be harder than simply cultivating the food there) but they will be exposed to rebel raids.
That makes sense and I suppose that for production and (obviously) societal reasons its not viable to move them north.
 
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