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

So I saw this map on reddit


It has given me some great ideas. Why not have the republicans carve out new, black-majority states out of the old ones? Cement black representation in Congress and black rights in most of the south.
Lord have mercy, that is some serious border gore
Unless we stalin this and move the populations around, to fix the border gore.

Also known as ethnic cleansing. Yikes.

I know this forum likes its clean borders, but I've already had this debate. Forcefully moving populations is always brutal because no one is going to take it lying down.
I don’t think that they’d want to mess with states that were part of the original 13 colonies.

Everything else seems fair game to be recognized though

OTL they messed with Virginia and split it into two states. They could extend that courtesy to the rest of the south.
OTL they messed with Virginia and split it into two states. They could extend that courtesy to the rest of the south.
Or, just pass an amendment that states that upon completion of reconstruction, not only is the entire wannabe CSA readmitted as one state, but the other states decide district borders?
just from any European country

Doubt it. No one would want to go and support a war, especially if it the CSA's money doesn't have any real value. They'd have to be desperate people and their home governments would be doing what they can to dissuade that lest they upset the USA.
Doubt it. No one would want to go and support a war, especially if it the CSA's money doesn't have any real value. They'd have to be desperate people and their home governments would be doing what they can to dissuade that lest they upset the USA.
Plus, it'd be a pretty long chance of them succeeding.

In meridie est destrui!
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Chapter 7: John Brown's Last Raid
Chapter 7: John Brown's Last Raid

John Brown styled himself after the Biblical warriors of old. His God was the one of the Old Testament: unfettered, cruel and merciless with those who offended Him. And in John Brown’s eyes slavery was a sin that had to be cleansed by fire if necessary. And if that fire was to be the fire of slave rebellion and armed uprising, so be it. Unlike most abolitionists who believed in reforming the South slowly and by constitutional means, John Brown wanted to burn it to the ground and build freedom in the ashes. Pacifism and lack of action frustrated him and many others. “Talk! Talk! Talk! That will never free the slaves. What is needed is action—action”, he said after attending an anti-slavery meeting in New England. Frederick Douglass, who had once claimed that he wouldn’t shed a single drop of blood even if it meant slave liberation, advocated violent means after the Fugitive Slave Act was signed into law: "The only way to make the fugitive slave law a dead letter is to make half a dozen or more dead kidnappers”.

Kansas proved to be the most effective way of converting pacifist into men of action. When the Slave power "begins to march its conquering bands into [Kansas]… I and ten thousand other peace men are not only ready to have it repulsed with violence, but pursued even unto death with violence”, boldly declared Gerrit Smith, vice-president of the American Peace Society. Governor Geary had himself been a convert: he was originally a Democrat who opposed the abolitionists and when he left, fleeing from the Lecompton Legislature, he had become a fiery Free-Soiler who used force to stop the Border Ruffians. The outrage and humiliation the admission of Kansas as a slave state provoked only led to further bloodshed, as resolved abolitionists decided to strike with vigor and fury. John Brown and his sons led a raid into Missouri, where he kidnapped a slave owner, his two sons and two guests. He executed them all, using broadswords again, perhaps to remind them of his previous massacre. Brown didn’t care that the guests didn’t hold any slaves. The incident unleashed a wave of panic throughout Missouri, which feared incursions by other Yankee murderers, ready to spill their blood. Even people who didn’t care for slavery felt fear – after all, Brown hadn’t spared the men without slaves. He and his Black Republicans, fueled by a terrible hate for the South, would execute them all if they didn’t act.


John Brown

But before Missouri or any other state could do anything, John Brown struck. Decided to take the fight to the very heart of slavery, and inspired by the fugitive slaves known as Maroons who could hold out in mountains against professional soldiers, Brown planned to attack the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry. His plan was to take the 10,000 muskets the armory held, and use them to arm the slaves who would flock to his banner. He spent a long time preparing for his raid. He contracted the Englishman Hugh Forbes, a mercenary who had served with Garibaldi in Italy. Forbes demanded more money to train Brown’s “troops”, money Brown eventually supplied after a wealthy donor, horrified by the Dred Scott decision, contacted him. Forbes trained this liberator army in Chatham, a community of freed slaves in Canada. He, 20 white followers and almost 50 blacks, drafted a “provisional constitution” for the Republic he would establish in the mountains and elected Brown as commander in-chief.

Brown had the help of a group that came to be known as the Secret Six. The group included Samuel Gridley Howe (the donor), Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, George Luther Stearns, Theodore Parker, Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Gerrit Smith. All were men of standing and reputation, and also fierce abolitionists who agreed with Brown’s attempt to strike against slavery in the very heart of the hated institution. Higginson, for example, believed that slavery "is destined, as it began in blood, so to end. Never in history was there an oppressed people who were set free by others”. These white men were perhaps unconscious of their position as white saviors. Some 32 white men would also join Brown during the fateful day. Their motivations varied, but they all had a common theme: outrage against the Slave Power. Whether the Fugitive Slave Act, Kansas, Dredd Scott, or Lecompton were the cause, slavery was always behind.

Brown was less successful when it came to recruiting Black people. Harriet Tubman, famous for her daring rescues of slaves as part of the Underground Railroad, helped him recruit men and raise supplies, but was ultimately unable to help him in the raid itself due to sickness. Frederick Douglass plainly refused to help Brown. To attack the Federal Government was nothing but suicide in his eyes. Brown “will never get out alive”, Douglass warned.

In March 8th, 1859, John Brown attacked. He had around 60 men with him, a mix of 32 whites, 20 free blacks, 5 freed slaves and only 3 fugitives. The party was pathetically small, but most were veterans of Bleeding Kansas that had been trained for months by Forbes. They were based in a little cabin in Maryland, separated from the Armory by the Potomac. After spending several weeks scouting escape routes and getting informants to the nearby plantations, Brown was ready. But an odd kind of defeatism seemed to overcome him. Perhaps it’s because he realized the low chances the enterprise had of succeeding. Most slaves were unwilling to join his ranks. Some even threatened to denounce him to the authorities. And Harpers Ferry would not be easy to defend, being located in a peninsula formed by the Potomac and the Shenandoah, with high ground overlooking it on all sides. He wrote a ”Vindication of the Invasion” in past tense, a sort of funeral sermon for his raid.


Harriet Tubman

Brown and his men overwhelmed the single guard who patrolled the Armory, and then sent several scouts to the nearby plantations. Only a couple dozen slaves joined his rebellion. They also brought several white hostages, and stopped the midnight train. By the following morning, Virginia and Maryland militia were already converging in Harpers Ferry. Brown’s men managed to kill only 6 US Marines and Militiamen. His forces suffered more, losing more than 15 men. Another 15 deserted him. Brown and his men escaped to the mountains. Colonel Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Marines, was unable to catch Brown, who led by a fugitive slave who knew his way through the mountains, was able to get to safety. Lee did capture around 19 stragglers and slaves, including Brown’s sons, but the man himself had seemingly vanished.

Old Virginny trembled for around a week before Brown was captured. He had planned to go south and try again in Tennessee, but he was badly wounded and his men deserted him in droves. He was forced to ask help from a farmer, who called the Militia. It quickly apprehended Brown and the 12 diehards who were still with him. In the meantime, militiamen and mobs patrolled Virginia. The mobs clamored for Brown’s blood. Passions and fear ran high as everyone was gripped by panic. Ten civilians who resided in Harpers Ferry had been killed, ten innocents. Except for two, they didn’t even own slaves. The Black Republican Legions had arrived, and they were as bloodthirsty as thought. And those Black Abolitionists were now in control of Congress.

The State quickly processed and convicted John Brown, condemning him to execution by hanging for treason, armed rebellion and murder. He was hanged the following month, in April 27th. Eight of his supporters would be hanged in May. The trials of the remaining four took longer than expected, and a mob ended up breaking them out and lynching them in June. The State Militia also captured John Brown’s cabin and found several folders full of documents that implicated the Secret Six. Parker, dying of tuberculosis, and Higginson stood their ground. The others panicked and fled to Canada. The Senate would establish a committee for investigating the matter, a matter that caused self-righteous fury in the South. “The men of the North are always parroting about the supposed Slave Power”, declared a South Carolina newspaper, “but the truth is that the only conspiracy is one by the Northern States to subvert our freedom and make us the slaves of the Negroes”.


The Raid on Harpers Ferry

Hostility only increased when some Senate Republicans expressed some concerns about appointing Senator James Mason of Virginia as chair of the committee. Calling back to the example of John Adams, they asked for a fair trial for the Secret Six, and Mason, who after the raid started to denounce a Northern conspiracy, was probably not the man. National Union, American and Democratic Senators joined and appointed Mason, who called several men to testify. But his committee was unskilled and unable to get an indictment. Southern anger only increased, with many denouncing the whole affair as a Northern attempt to shield treason and murder.

But it was John Brown himself who caused the most controversy, the repercussions of his actions echoing for years to come.
AN: I wanted to focus on the raid itself on this update. The raid, as you can imagine, had a much greater effect in terms of public opinion, so a whole update will be dedicated to discussing how it impacted the Slavery question. Changes respect to OTL are: 1) an earlier raid because IOTL Forbes didn't get his payment and threatened to denounce Brown to the government. Since he gets paid ITTL, he doesn't and the raid takes place earlier and with more resources. 2) Brown enjoys more success, being able to evade capture for a week instead of being captured in less than 36 hours.
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Cool, and update! Needs a threadmark though. Seems the south has been much more riled up than OTL. And 1859, so close to the election? This will indeed be a brutal war.