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

I don't think a bonfire is a good or hygienic way of disposing of corpses. I assumed they had limited land and didn't want to contamine the water or soil on which they rely by digging more holes. It's also a way to insult the rebels.
Eh, an open-air fire was pretty much the standard method of cremation from time immemorial up to the late 19th century, so it seems to have worked well enough (about as well as any other method of dealing with corpses, anyway). More pertinently, cremation was actually a new and unfamiliar idea at the time in European and European-derived cultures, with burial overwhelmingly the best-known and most familiar method of disposing of corpses in areas culturally dominated by them. It was not technically legal (or, rather, the legality had not been established) in the United Kingdom until the 1880s, for instance. So it would be rather odd and unusual for the soldiers here to have the idea of cremating their enemies as opposed to simply dumping them in a mass grave.
 
Thank you for all the info. I knew that the Republican party was in many ways the party of the middle-class Protestant Anglo-Saxon, explaining the nativist and anti-Catholic undertones. But it was a very superficial knowledge. That's why I glossed over the Know Nothings in the first few chapters for example. I found your post very informative and interesting, and I appreciate that you took the time to write it.

No problem, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to write it! It may sound odd, but one of the problems with starting a PhD during the midst of a bloody pandemic, is I don't get the chance to really bounce ideas off of people all that much (well, save for my bestfriend by phone who patiently puts up with it, as he is not a historian. Poor guy :D ). After writing that, I went back, reread it and was like "Wow! I actually HAVE been learning things the past year." :D
 
Since the Democratic Party and the National Union are basically dead, Catholics need to adapt or die. Democratic ideas survive, of course, and they are likely to hijack any "Liberal" movement, but in the immediate aftermath of the war I think Catholics could accept the new order and maybe try and convert the freedmen.
Thank you very much!

The Black Catholic experience is woefully under represented in the history of American Catholicism (though there's been some movement to correct that - Notre Dame currently has a grant specifically focused on trying to help further the topic), but there has been some work done. Currently the big book is "The History of Black Catholics in the United States" by Cyprian Davis, which was first published in 1994. I suspect the Church, even if it pours a fair bit of energy into conversion amongst the Freedmen is going to have a bit of an uphill struggle - I could be wrong, but my gut tells me that Protestantism was pretty well entrenched in the population by that point. But, that being said, some very real gains could be made. And, oddly enough, the structure of the American Church with its focus on ethnic parishes until the 1920s, actually has a structure which could facilitate Freedmen converts pretty well.

A quick search shows that the Mill HIl Fathers (a British Order) were actually instrumental in the early conversion efforts in the years after the Civil War. However, many of these efforts didn't begin in strength until the 1890s. It should be possible to kickstart this a bit quicker. You might want to look at James Augustin Healy and his brothers - they were African-Americans (though they passed for white) and became fairly prominent, James would go on to become one of the first African-Americans to join the priesthood, followed by two of his brothers, and would eventually become the first Bishop of Portland (Maine) in 1875. Fascinating man, and fascinating family. Now, one of the issues is: as I said, he 'passed' and his African-American heritage was a closely guarded secret that was shared mainly with his mentors in the Church. However, if racial attitudes are a bit different in this ATL, perhaps he and his brothers come out in the years after the war and make efforts to help prostalitize amongst the Freedmen. That could, conceivably, help get things started a bit earlier - especially if he's been made a bishop by this time (though, I suppose, its possible that this would prevent him from being named a bishop).

Another thing that would help would be the creation of an African American seminary at some point - but for that to happen, you're going to need a bigger population of Black Catholics for the priests to serve. You might also want to look into education - the only Historically Black Catholic College in the US is Xavier University of Louisiana, which was founded by a grant from St. Katharine Drexel. If you have an earlier effort to do outreach amongst the freedman population, I could see someone attempting to fund such a school sooner (and the original donor need not be Catholic. In OTL Bishop John Ireland was able to work closely with a popular railroad owner in St. Paul. The man wasn't Catholic himself, but his wife was, and he had no problem with donating money to his wife's Church as a result).
 
I'd argue that the *single* remaining thread in the two party system that has lasted the longest as being either associated with a single party or deliberately not associated is the fact that in the Northeastern USA, the Democratic party was more welcoming of immigrants than the other party.
 
So here's another one of my crude maps, now depicting the United States in 1864. The main change, it can be seen, is that the Union area of control along the Mississippi is much larger. This is owed to factors I explained above, but that boil down to greater number due to a vigorous recruitment of Black men, less fear of antagonizing slaveholders due to radicalism, a desire to confiscate more land to manage the humanitarian crisis and wanting to get a tighter grip to start Louisiana's reconstruction in better terms. The Confederates are also able to put up much less resistance due to how they were smashed in Liberty. Note, however, that many of those areas are swarming with guerrillas, so Union control is tenuous at best in large parts of the countryside. Instead, they rely on fortified home farms, defended by USCT regiments. Now, the military situation is known - Reynolds was stopped at Mine Run and Thomas at Dalton, while Grant has spent most of the time after Vicksburg trying to establish effective control over the areas along the Mississippi and fighting guerrillas. Future plans are for Reynolds to advance once again against Lee, now through a better route that doesn't involve that deathly trap known as the Wilderness, while Thomas is tasked with liberating Atlanta. Grant, for his part, is hoping to start a campaign against Mobile. Side projects include an effort against Texas, to both show the French (and don't ask, I don't know what's happening there either) and aid some Unionist guerrillas there, and yet another campaign against Charleston.

Union 1864.png


Also, I was reading a blog I really love and saw that it will take a month before the next update and I was really bummed. And then I thought, is that how my readers feel when I go weeks without updating lol?

Eh, an open-air fire was pretty much the standard method of cremation from time immemorial up to the late 19th century, so it seems to have worked well enough (about as well as any other method of dealing with corpses, anyway). More pertinently, cremation was actually a new and unfamiliar idea at the time in European and European-derived cultures, with burial overwhelmingly the best-known and most familiar method of disposing of corpses in areas culturally dominated by them. It was not technically legal (or, rather, the legality had not been established) in the United Kingdom until the 1880s, for instance. So it would be rather odd and unusual for the soldiers here to have the idea of cremating their enemies as opposed to simply dumping them in a mass grave.
Interesting. I thought an open bonfire would not get hot enough to actually cremate the bodies. I've never heard of Civil War soldiers burning corpses though, so I decided against that and it seems I was right. Thanks for the information.

No problem, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to write it! It may sound odd, but one of the problems with starting a PhD during the midst of a bloody pandemic, is I don't get the chance to really bounce ideas off of people all that much (well, save for my bestfriend by phone who patiently puts up with it, as he is not a historian. Poor guy :D ). After writing that, I went back, reread it and was like "Wow! I actually HAVE been learning things the past year." :D
Don't worry, I love sharing knowledge and I love when people share knowledge they are clearly passionate about, like you! Please keep sharing! I am something of a jack of all trades when it comes to the Civil War - decent knowledge about most aspects of it, not especially deep knowledge about anything. It's good for writing the TL since it's structured as a book overview. Someone in fact has pointed out that this is basically McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom from another dimension, that is, a good general overview.

Also Mary Lange, absolutely fascinating figure who became the first Black Mother Superior in the US and established schools in Baltimore. I heard she was involved with the Railroad but the Wiki dosent say so:
Maybe she was involved in Maryland's Reconstruction!

I'd argue that the *single* remaining thread in the two party system that has lasted the longest as being either associated with a single party or deliberately not associated is the fact that in the Northeastern USA, the Democratic party was more welcoming of immigrants than the other party.
Yeah, that's true. Those immigrants aren't likely to like the Republicans, and they, in turn, aren't likely to like the immigrants. Some, like Seward, may try to integrate them as Republican voters, but ultimately they may be the backbone of whatever movement arises to oppose Republican rule.

The latest chapter was an outstanding update! This is one of the best TL's that I've ever read!
Thank you very much, I appreciate your words!
 
The Confederacy cannot recover from this. Even prolonging the fight is going to be hard. The US controls the economic artery and is now able to target the Confederacy's underbelly without needing to worry about the Appalachians.

It looks bad in the East, but the West has been won for the United States of America.
 
The Confederacy cannot recover from this. Even prolonging the fight is going to be hard. The US controls the economic artery and is now able to target the Confederacy's underbelly without needing to worry about the Appalachians.

It looks bad in the East, but the West has been won for the United States of America.
The end is in sight for the Confederacy, and it's not going to be a pretty ending...

Oof for the Confederacy. Birmingham, Atlanta, Shreveport, Mobile, and Richmond are within striking distance for the Union.
Shreveport is little more than ruins thanks to Sherman, remember! And if they keep up this little rebellion all those cities will end like that too.

Btw, because I was bored I created an alternate Confederate cover for the TL.

oMhTm72.png


Here's the original Union one

JLoyONP.png
 
This is why one of the South's demands was for Black regiments to be disbanded, since, according to them, they encouraged "indiscipline and insolence" among the freedmen - and that bastard Johnson of course accepted this demand.
Gah! Truly, Johnson's only legacy is that in a rare moment where radical progress for liberty, justice and equality was truly possible, he stood athwart history and yelled “Stop!” Is there actually anyone who was more ill-fit for the job of presiding over Reconstruction?

Yeah, that's true. Those immigrants aren't likely to like the Republicans, and they, in turn, aren't likely to like the immigrants. Some, like Seward, may try to integrate them as Republican voters, but ultimately they may be the backbone of whatever movement arises to oppose Republican rule.
As I understand it, English and Scandinavian immigrants tended to side with Republicans, immigrants from Ireland, Southern and Eastern Europe sided with the Democrats, and a German and Dutch immigrant's political allegiance depended on their background (Catholics and conservative Lutherans tended to side with the Democrats but some Dutch immigrants abandoned the Democratic Party due to a dislike of Irish domination in their locality).

I would note that ironically a successful Reconstruction might have led to an easier life for immigrants, especially those from Southern and Eastern Europe. The success of the Reconstruction ideal of a color-blind citizenship might have prevented or, more likely, diminished the resurgence of an Anglo-Saxonism that united patriotism, xenophobia, and an ethno-cultural definition of nationhood into a rhetoric of racial exclusiveness. For one example, I seem to recall that at the turn of the 20th century there was a debate over whether or not Italians counted as "white" people.

Future plans are for Reynolds to advance once again against Lee, now through a better route that doesn't involve that deathly trap known as the Wilderness, while Thomas is tasked with liberating Atlanta. Grant, for his part, is hoping to start a campaign against Mobile.
On Reynolds, I'm guessing that said path is through Fredericksburg since I doubt that a second Peninsula Campaign is desired by anyone in Washington or the Army of the Susquehanna. With a little bit of feints and actual preparation to cross the Rappahannock, Reynolds could take Fredericksburg without opposition. From there, he has two options:

1. Assuming that Lee was still in the process of swinging from the Rapidan River Line to Richmond, Reynolds could march to Spotsylvania Court House and try to put the Army of Susquehanna between the Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond. This would allow Reynolds to choose the battlefield as he pleased. Not only that, Spotsylvania Court House was a critical crossroad that offered an avenue of advance to the main road to Richmond. There, the Fredericksburg Road intersected with the Brock Road and two others that connected with the main Richmond highway. This puts Reynolds at an advantage in a race for Richmond or Hanover Junction if he seizes it.

2. March straight towards Hanover Junction - arguably the riskier but more rewarding option. Hanover Junction is a critical rail link for the flow of food stuffs from the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond. So Lee would definitely want to defend that point. Plus, there's more open ground in the region than at Spotsylvania Court House, as such Union numbers could be more easily brought to the front. There are, however, quite a lot of risks with a straightforward drive:
  1. Going for Hanover Junction straight away exposes Reynolds' supply lines from Fredericksburg to a strike from a portion of Lee's army. This means that Reynolds would have to detach a portion of his army to defend his supply lines.
  2. There are a lot of river crossings between Fredericksburg and Hanover Junction; a few carefully positioned Confederates could delay Reynolds’ progress while Lee’s main body beat him to the North Anna.
  3. The North Anna River served as an excellent shield for Hanover Junction. It was only crossable at a few points, restricting the attacker's options. However, defending the crossing themselves is not an easy task. Fortunately for the Union, the northern bank of the North Anna was higher than the southern bank so artillery fire could demolish any defense of the crossings.
  4. However, crossing the North Anna is only the start of the problem. While the left and right crossings are easy, the middle crossing is rested on precipitous bluffs. IOTL, this divided Grant's army into three wings and hindered cooperation. The rivers to the left and right also secured Lee's flanks and when combined with the bluffs, allowed for Lee's fortified inverted V position. It's also been said that Lee could potentially strike a blow on the Union army by concentrating his army on one side and pressing on one of Grant's wings against the river.*
That said, problem 1 could be avoided if Reynolds took a page from Grant's book and instead transferred to the southeast (somewhere close to the Peninsula), where Union supplies could flow in from the rivers and out of rebel grasp.

*There's some debate as to whether or not Lee actually intended to do this. The premier historian on the Overland Campaign, Gordon Rhea, thinks so but another excellent historian, Mark Grimsley, points out that the only source on this plan was a post-war speech from one of Lee's staff officers and that there's no surviving contemporaneous correspondence suggesting that Lee was planning an offensive.

Btw, because I was bored I created an alternate Confederate cover for the TL.
Damn, that is a good cover! What event is the bottom painting depicting? I'm guessing Fort Pillow?


Speaking of maps, I just realized that I never posted the maps I made for the Pennsylvania Campaign. At the time I was preoccupied by job searching that I forgot about these maps. I figured that it's better late than never.
The first map depicts the movements after the Battle of Frederick. From Frederick City, Beauregard leaves Lee's Army to menace Washington D.C. and draw Reynolds' attention and manpower away from Lee's main thrust into Pennsylvania. The leftmost grey arrow depicts Jackson's march through the Cumberland Valley while Lee marches from Frederick City to Gettysburg to link up with Jackson and all the supplies gained from plundering Pennsylvania. Reynolds, in the mean time, sees through Beauregard's demonstration and dispatches only Abner Doubleday's USCT. Reynolds moves parallel to Lee and stops at Pipe Creek. At Pipe Creek, Reynolds blocks all the main and direct highways to Baltimore and Washington D.C. At the same time, Reynolds is in an excellent position to strike Lee's rear if Lee turns north.

The second map shows the movements after the Baltimore Uprising reaches the Confederates. Beauregard is decisively defeated at Fort Saratoga (north of Washington D.C.) after being ordered to destroy the Union forces at Washington before marching on Baltimore. Afterwards, Doubleday conducts a forced march to arrive in time to fight at Union Mills. In the meantime, Lee departs from Gettysburg and finds Reynolds' line at Pipe Creek.

The third map is a county-level map of what the Pipe Creek Line might've looked like. One would probably notice that the Pipe Creek Line is very long - and it really is. In total, it's 20 miles long. However, the Big Pipe Creek greatly aids the defender. Big Pipe Creek is quite deep in some places though fordable in other areas. In a sense, the Union positions would look more like a series of mutually supporting strongpoints guarding each crossing than a truly continuous line. The only exception is the Machestor sector as the Big Pipe Creek is absent there. However, Manchester has very steep ridges (yes, plural) for a defender to make a stand or screen his armies.

The three images after this map are screenshots from Scourge of War: Pipe Creek. They should give you a rough impression of just how imposing the Union defenses were and how easily these ridges could hide enemy infantry. In fact, in screenshots 1 & 3, a Union force is placed behind the hills, but no one could notice them until they've blundered into them or sacrificed some poor regiment to do recon. It should also be noted that beyond these ridges are more hills or ridges of equal or even greater height. Really, the lesson my friends and I got from wargaming these scenarios is that an attacker's best bet is to just trust the bayonet and pray that the defender can't counterattack or rally or reorganize.... so we were basically praying for the defender to fail in every way possible. Our games usually lasted just 30 minutes because of how one-sided fighting usually was.

The final map depicts Lee's retreat to Gettysburg, Cashtown and back to Virginia. Reynolds pursues and defeats Lee at Gettysburg, but is slowed down by a rearguard force at the Cashtown passes. Lee returns to Virginia but without the plunder and a lot of cannon and with the shame of defeat. Reynolds, in the meantime, dispatches some of his forces to finish the rebellion in New York and Baltimore.
 
Sounds like the second option depends on how well Union scouting and local intelligence is. Personally I’d opt for option 1 as it puts Lee into a position to make a mistake and allows you better options to follow up any battle. Threatening Richmond means Lee would have to hit the AoS so hard that they retreat back north as anything less would likely mean a battle around Richmond itself. Even the possibility of that means the ANV would be pulled back giving Reynolds a chance to go after Hanover Junction. While the ANV awaits an attack that never comes.
 
The end is in sight for the Confederacy, and it's not going to be a pretty ending...


Shreveport is little more than ruins thanks to Sherman, remember! And if they keep up this little rebellion all those cities will end like that too.

Btw, because I was bored I created an alternate Confederate cover for the TL.

oMhTm72.png


Here's the original Union one

JLoyONP.png
The covers are really great! But I have to ask who is the gentleman with that large moustache in the confederate one?
 
Great map! The end is in sight for the Confederacy great covers too! :)
Treason soon will learn that resistance was in vain... Also, thanks! I'm no artist but I'm quite pleased with those covers too.

I would note that ironically a successful Reconstruction might have led to an easier life for immigrants, especially those from Southern and Eastern Europe. The success of the Reconstruction ideal of a color-blind citizenship might have prevented or, more likely, diminished the resurgence of an Anglo-Saxonism that united patriotism, xenophobia, and an ethno-cultural definition of nationhood into a rhetoric of racial exclusiveness. For one example, I seem to recall that at the turn of the 20th century there was a debate over whether or not Italians counted as "white" people.
I wonder if that could also result in some Latin Americans being outright considered White instead of the confusing and frankly incoherent "Hispanic" category being created.

On Reynolds, I'm guessing that said path is through Fredericksburg since I doubt that a second Peninsula Campaign is desired by anyone in Washington or the Army of the Susquehanna. With a little bit of feints and actual preparation to cross the Rappahannock, Reynolds could take Fredericksburg without opposition. From there, he has two options:

1. Assuming that Lee was still in the process of swinging from the Rapidan River Line to Richmond, Reynolds could march to Spotsylvania Court House and try to put the Army of Susquehanna between the Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond. This would allow Reynolds to choose the battlefield as he pleased. Not only that, Spotsylvania Court House was a critical crossroad that offered an avenue of advance to the main road to Richmond. There, the Fredericksburg Road intersected with the Brock Road and two others that connected with the main Richmond highway. This puts Reynolds at an advantage in a race for Richmond or Hanover Junction if he seizes it.
The Peninsula Route was poisoned by McClellan's blunders. Even if it made sense (I can historians writing entire books about how the Peninsula could have ended the war), most people associate it with cowardice and losing half of the Army. Mine Run also eliminated the Alexandria Railroad route - nobody feels like fighting around the Wilderness ever again. Consequently, Fredericksburg is the most likely choice. I might PM you once again once I settle on a more detailed sketch for the battle. Right now I am focusing on Reconstruction rather than the military side of the war.

Damn, that is a good cover! What event is the bottom painting depicting? I'm guessing Fort Pillow?


Speaking of maps, I just realized that I never posted the maps I made for the Pennsylvania Campaign. At the time I was preoccupied by job searching that I forgot about these maps. I figured that it's better late than never.
Yes, it is taken from the OTL Fort Pillow massacre. ITTL it could come from any of several massacres...

I cannot thank you enough for these maps. I am not very good at map making, so these are very, very useful.

Sounds like the second option depends on how well Union scouting and local intelligence is. Personally I’d opt for option 1 as it puts Lee into a position to make a mistake and allows you better options to follow up any battle. Threatening Richmond means Lee would have to hit the AoS so hard that they retreat back north as anything less would likely mean a battle around Richmond itself. Even the possibility of that means the ANV would be pulled back giving Reynolds a chance to go after Hanover Junction. While the ANV awaits an attack that never comes.
Regarding Union scouting, it isn't very good due to the gory guerrilla war in Virginia. Anybody that informs or might inform the Union is swiftly executed by partisans like the Gray Ghost and others who aren't afraid to use brutal methods, without any oversight or control from Richmond. Being so close to the center of Confederate political and military control, no significant Union guerrilla movements have appeared to counteract these guerrillas.

The covers are really great! But I have to ask who is the gentleman with that large moustache in the confederate one?
That would be Breckinridge.
That's indeed our old pal Johnny Breck.
 
It's important to understand that 'whiteness the cultural category' and 'whiteness the legal classification' are not the same thing. For one thing, cultural whiteness had gradations: it's well known that outside British North America, the western hemisphere often had extremely complicated legal categories of blood distinction. That was not the case in the USA de jure, but it was the de facto case in many social situations.

This has to be stressed because, particularly in the last fifty years, there's been a certain tendency among some groups who were historically discriminated against to argue that that was the same thing as suffering the full brunt of oppressive racial laws. Jews, for example, were certainly discriminated against in the USA (and are today, in many cases), but a Jewish citizen could almost always vote. They could, if they chose, marry a non-Jew and face no legal trouble (though community backlash was another matter.) A Jew might even be lynched (Leo Frank,) but even that is not the same as having the entire legal system of a given state written to crush you.

To put it another way: being Irish might keep you out of certain jobs, but it will never send you into the slave fields (nor had it ever. Despite what the internet says, the Irish were never slaves in the Caribbean.)

This is to say: Italians, the Irish, Jews (even eastern European Jews) and many Latin Americans were 'white' in the eyes of the law. That is not going to change in this timeline, at least not because of anything that has happened so far.

Will attitudes to them change? That's unlikely. For one thing, the groups in white society whose attitudes are shifting to African Americans are also disproportionately the groups most hostile to the communities I just mentioned. For another, fear of foreign immigration by 'the other' is almost impossible to stamp out of a society.
 
I wonder if that could also result in some Latin Americans being outright considered White instead of the confusing and frankly incoherent "Hispanic" category being created.
Off topic but I work in the public sector and the government recently deemed “Hispanic” isn’t considered a race but an ethnicity that is a separate question. So now if someone come by who is from Latin America then the closest race they can put down is either “other” or “white”. It…makes a lot folks either confused and sometimes angry.
 
Off topic but I work in the public sector and the government recently deemed “Hispanic” isn’t considered a race but an ethnicity that is a separate question.
...that's not recent. Like, at all. The U.S. Census has been asking about Hispanic origin as a separate question since 1980 on the short form (that is, the form sent to every household). For example, here is the question on the 1980 Census:

Is this person of Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent?” The possible responses were: “No (not Spanish/Hispanic); Yes, Mexican, Mexican-Amer., Chicano; Yes, Puerto Rican; Yes, Cuban; Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic.

This was completely separate from the racial question, which simply asked "Is this person--" and provided the options to check off a number of individual options mostly covering Asians and Pacific Islanders (as well, of course, as whites, African Americans, and American Indians) or a catch-all "other" option with a fill-in box to specify in more detail what "other" means. You can look at the short form here, if you like.

So the federal government has been treating "Hispanic" as an ethnicity and not a race for forty years (actually even longer, because they put a similar question on the 1970 long form as an experiment, and before that simply didn't have a way for someone to identify as Hispanic, period). This is not, at all, a new thing.
 
...that's not recent. Like, at all. The U.S. Census has been asking about Hispanic origin as a separate question since 1980 on the short form (that is, the form sent to every household). For example, here is the question on the 1980 Census:



This was completely separate from the racial question, which simply asked "Is this person--" and provided the options to check off a number of individual options mostly covering Asians and Pacific Islanders (as well, of course, as whites, African Americans, and American Indians) or a catch-all "other" option with a fill-in box to specify in more detail what "other" means. You can look at the short form here, if you like.

So the federal government has been treating "Hispanic" as an ethnicity and not a race for forty years (actually even longer, because they put a similar question on the 1970 long form as an experiment, and before that simply didn't have a way for someone to identify as Hispanic, period). This is not, at all, a new thing.
Weird, we weren’t mandated to change that until about 3 years ago. Hispanic was an option as both a race and ethnicity but we were told to drop the race one, same thing happened with vaccine sign ups. Government efficiency or something I guess.
 
Top