With the onset of better weather, the War continued with a concentrated attack by the New England Army against the New York defences. The attack actually gained some success when, late in the month, the first fort at New York fell after a continued bombardment followed by a charge into the fort itself. Although casualties were quite heavy, the attack succeeded with the fort falling on the 17th. This attack now left the other forts vulnerable as resources from the US had to be diverted to strike against the captured fort. New England engineers quickly built the captured for back to its former status and even managed to increase its defensive capabilities. The American Army sent to recover the fort suffered heavily as New England defences constantly struck at them with artillery which eventually forced the attackers to withdraw.
On the Western Front, things were going a lot better for the American Army as it struck at Shawnee positions in a surprise attack south of Chicago. The Army of 50,000 managed to strike at the Shawnee’s supply lines and drive off the defenders, leaving the main Shawnee Army vulnerable. With their supplies cut off, the Shawnee Army was forced to retreat north until it reached the border of the Shawnee Nation itself. They were followed by three American Armies numbering over 90,000 in total. The defeat at Peoria had scared the American High Command into making sure the threat posed by the Shawnee was one to be destroyed as quickly as possible.
With the encroaching American Armies, the Shawnee situation appeared to be dire. Their own Army was forced into a quick retreat and most of its equipment had to be abandoned. On the border of the Shawnee Nation, an Army of 75,000 took a stand against the joint American Army of 90,000. The Americans were better equipped, confident of victory and closing in on their enemy fast. The Shawnee were tired and demoralised after their retreat but found themselves reenergised by the presence of Tecumseh who began to ride throughout the Army’s camp, calling every battalion to fight for what they had achieved so far and to defend their people as Tecumseh himself was prepared to do.
The lines of battle were drawn close to the very borders of the Shawnee and the US earning the battle the name ‘Battle of the Border’. The Americans were confident of victory, but cautious of another Peoria. The advantage in artillery and men saw to it that the Americans had the edge over the Shawnee except for one factor, cavalry. Out of all the arms of the Shawnee Army, the cavalry was the best trained and most elite force. Composed of 30,000 at the Battle of the Border alone, they were to decide the fate of North America with a single stroke.
The lines were drawn over six miles with the Americans starting the battle with an artillery blast at 12:43 PM on the 28th February. The American infantry began with an all out assault against the Shawnee positions, hoping to smash them with superior numbers. For over two hours the Shawnee infantry held until the constant attacks began to wear them down. It was at that time that the Shawnee cavalry was unleashed upon their foes with ferocity unmatched. The attack struck the exposed American soldiers on the left flank and began to ride throughout their lines, striking throughout the American units. The cavalry attack was an enormous shock to the Americans as 30,000 Shawnee descended upon them. The six miles of battle became a bloody mess as the cavalry surged forward.
The American lines were decimated as the cavalry truck and them and an infantry charge followed, throwing them into chaos. The American Army was almost destroyed as it retreated, losing over 31,000 men in the battle along with their supplies and being forced to retreat back east. The Shawnee themselves were also heavily damaged by the battle. Of the 30,000 who charged into battle, only 12,000 horses were found and only 10,000 soldiers survived. The toll was a bloody one but the Shawnee was able to survive it. One of the greatest losses however was that of Tecumseh who had fallen in battle to a bullet. He had personally led the charge and it had been a miracle that he had survived up to where he did, right in the centre of the American position. Although his age counted against him, Tecumseh had fought bravely in battle and his death was greeted with shock in both the Shawnee and Sioux Nation. His body was returned home and his legend was complete. Tecumseh, the founder of an entire nation who had fallen in battle protecting it and had saved it from its enemies. Within a generation, Tecumseh had become a myth of King Arthur proportions and was seen to be a true paragon of what a Native American should be.
As Tecumseh’s body was seen to, the Shawnee War Council began to look at their options. The Battle of the Border had ended in them receiving a bloody nose but had driven the enemy from their sight. The Americans had been forced to retreat and their resources were divided also to the fight on the Eastern Front. The Shawnee Nation had a breathing space to receive reinforcements from their own and from the Sioux who were spoiling for a fight. It was to take some months before the Shawnee Army was able to march into America again but when they did, it was to determine the course of the War in North America.
As the New England Army began to further its control over the forts in New York, the British Army in North America began to move south. The assault was focused on the small stretch of border with America which was done to split US forces in the region. The actual assault had been delayed as constant clashes with the Spanish ships in the Atlantic had prevented adequate supplies from getting through until this time. The assault was designed to aid with the assault on the forts by New England by capturing some with the British Army before aiding in a general assault on the Eastern United States. The attack began on the 19th March with a general assault upon the most Northern US fort which was soon laid to siege. The fort was well supplied and manned with enough soldiers and ammunition to hold out for some time yet
The opening of April saw a new plan enacted out by the Spanish Federacion that was meant to help destabilise the North American Theatre of War for the British. The plan was to send a small Army of South American troops to Oregon via a naval transport and then strike British positions there before retreating, the damage having been done. With the British position in the West thus destabilised, they would therefore panic and send reinforcements to Oregon, leaving the Americans with some breathing room. The plan, although overstretching itself to a great deal, was seen to be a calculated risk by the Federacion, who, wanted the British defeated and driven out from the American Continent for good so that their own dominance of South America would be complete.
The Army of 4000 men set sail from Panama on the 4th April, going up the Pacific and aiming for Oregon. The Federacion had two pieces of sheer bad luck at this point however, both of them coming from the Empire of Brazil. The Empire had long had ambitions against the Imperial Federacion in terms of territory and to bring more friendly powers over to their side. To that end, on the 5th April, the long planned attack against the Imperial Federacion began. First, the Brazilian Government had come across the plans for the attack on Oregon from their spy network some time ago and had passed them onto the British, when the Spanish were to arrive at Oregon; they were to get a nasty surprise.
The actual attack by the Brazilian Empire on the Federacion was co-ordinated with Brazilian sponsored Revolutionaries starting uprisings against the South American Governments. The Revolutionary zeal in South America had been quashed with the formation of the Imperial Federacion but not obliterated. The Governments of South America were by and large; rather oppressive in their political outlook and dissent had been building for some time. Brazilian sponsored Revolutionaries began to stir up trouble however, which threatened to bubble over before long. The year 1843 would truly see the birth of a new period in South America.
The assault on Oregon on the 30th was an out and out disaster for the Spanish. The British had been ready and waiting for their foes with a small naval detachment and a shore battery that had been hastily set up at the beginning of the War which was aimed directly at the Federacion forces as they arrived. The damage taken was enormous and they were forced to retreat down south from the battery which was when the naval contingent attacked, the smaller and faster British ships struck at their Federacion counter parts, managing to bring several of them down. From the 4000 who were sent up the Pacific, only 1200 returned and that was to a situation that was rapidly undermining the Federacion…
The capture of a fort in New York State by Canadian forces after a long siege finally happened on the 5th. Artillery from New England greatly added to the efficiency of the assault which the America forces within were unable to counter to any great an affect. The capture of the fort had an unintended consequence of stirring up trouble in New England. Philip Hanson of the Industrial Party raised the question in the Senate over the competence of the leadership given by James Quail of the Federalists. Quail took this as a personal affront and retaliated by calling Hanson a dissenter of the worst degree. The debate became exceedingly heated and Hanson was forcibly escorted out on Pail’s orders, much to the ire of many people who saw this as a violation as the rights enshrined in the New England Constitution.
In order to deflect criticism from him, Quail put pressure on the military to gain a victory at the American forts, which wasn’t easy. The fighting down in the forts had devolved into the soldiers digging trenches around the fort they were defending and attacking and allowing the artillery to do the work, to pound away at the fort itself before trying to attack any breach. This doctrine of warfare, the ‘Blaze of Artillery’ had been established some years before by the New England Army and was the reason behind the emphasis on artillery in the Military. The fact that both American and New England Armies were at the fort at the same time made this even more difficult as neither side wanted to risk everything when they could easily defend within their trenches and pound away at their artillery. This new style of warfare was rudimentary but neither side could gain an advantage over the other. The pressure from Boston forced the New England officers to act by hurrying their assault on a fort on the south of the border.
The assault commenced on the 23rd, with a concentrated artillery blast managing to bring a section of the fort wall down. New England troops then concentrated a mass attack upon the opening, 10,000 troops taking part in the operation. American troops were pinned down by constant firing from shot and shell while the assault took place. The assault succeeded after being repulsed twice and with enormous casualties. The fort was taken but the cost was seen as too high by some, particularly by those in the Industrial Party who believed the War was being fought incompetently by those making the decisions. This was a viewpoint which began to grow in popularity as the casualties grew.
The plans of the Brazilian strategy came to fruition as their sponsored Revolutionaries began their uprising on the same day as Brazil launched three separate invasions of Argentina, Upper Peru and the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The plan of invasion worked perfectly with the uprisings by the Revolutionaries paralysing the Governments of the three nations and even killing several leading members of Government. The Armies of the Federacion Governments became paralysed as Revolutionary zeal for equality and a say in the Government spread. Torn between orders to fight the invading Armies and needing to quell the chaos, the Federacion troops were unable to deal with either as many of the rank and file and sympathy with the Revolutionary cause.
The Armies of the Federacion nations crumbled before the assault, even the reforms enacted some time ago was not enough to help stem the tide against the Brazilian threat. With low morale and confusion throughout, the Armies broke and fled in all directions, leaving the field open to the Brazilian Army. There was one thing that might have saved the Federacion forces from outright disaster. There was an Army in Panama which had been gathering in readiness for a general assault upon the British Caribbean holdings. The Commander in charge of this Army was Carlos de Toledo who had been appointed as the Commander for all forces within the South American region.
Toledo was now faced with a decision. He could have sent this Army (30,000 strong) south to New Granada and reinforced the position from there. As it was, Toledo fell back to his usual tactic, if he believed he faced a hopeless cause, he cut his losses and went with the option which he viewed as the least damaging. He ordered his troops to station on the border between Panama and New Granada and set up defences against any assault be Revolutionaries or Brazilian forces. Toledo viewed the Revolution by the South American people as practically inevitable, having Liberal sympathies himself; Toledo had pushed for a greater franchise for the common people which had seen him being greatly unpopular with the ruling classes of South America. This had been one reason why his reforms for the Army there had not been well received and even delayed.
With the establishment of defences at Panama, letting only retreating Federacion force through, Brazilian forces managed to press on with their march, the Government of Brazil itself preparing to extract their pound of flesh from the newly established Governments…
Up in the Eastern Theatre of North America, things began to heat up as the last two border forts on the border between the US and New England came under heavy pressure to collapse, suffering almost constant pounding throughout the siege. American forces attempted to repel the invaders but with little luck. The New England Army was pulling out all the stops to bring the forts down and by the end of the month, it was clear that it was only a matter of time before they fell.
As news reached Havana of the Revolutions rocking South America, demands were made of Toledo to step in and do something. The General refused, not wanting to expose his Army and risk destroying whatever influence the Federacion had left over the American Continent. The defences in Panama increased while the Governments in the south collapsed under internal and external pressure. The Brazilian Government barely had to do anything to secure its victory as its Armies marched in all directions to destroy Federacion power apart from put the finishing touches to the various Treaties with the new nations which would guarantee Brazilian dominance over the Continent.
In New York, the final two forts collapsed under constant New England and Canadian pressure, now leaving New York State itself under a direct threat of attack. This however neutralised the previous advantage of New England’s artillery as they now needed to transport it throughout the state. This gave the more manoeuvrable American forces a little advantage in fighting them. The Canadian reinforcements, an Army of 40,000 altogether began to march south in order to press the advantage while a New England Army of 30,000 marched south towards the city of New York. The American Armies of the East scrambled to meet them with 42,000 marching south to counter the New England forces. They met at a place called Yonkers where over three decades of hostility between their two nations would finally meet their counterparts on the battlefield.
The Battle of Yonkers took place on the 20th, ten miles north of the town with the New England Army taking the initiative by seizing the nearby high ground and using it to place their artillery to gain a full sight of the field of battle. It would turn out to be the best decision as the artillery was able to pound away at the American positions. The battle started at 12:21 PM as The Americans tried to dislodge the New England artillery with a general advance. They were met in turn by the New England infantry who held a strong defence point at the base of the high ground and stood, firing away. The superiority of the New England equipment came through as their rifles and artillery were unquestionable and had greater range and accuracy, giving them a great advantage over their American counterparts.
That said, the American Army had a lot more experience and was a lot more efficient in dealing with its targets. The New England hadn’t gone through the various skirmishes and mishaps that the American Army had done and subsequently, had none of the reforms and exercises that their American Armies had had. This was shown as the New England troops, despite having superior equipment, struggled to hold their own against the Americans, their drills outdated and unable to match the skill shown by the Americans. Despite matching the New England Army however, the Americans were defenceless against the artillery firing down upon them with great affect. The New England infantry just about managed to hold their lines and the Americans were gradually forced to move back, the casualties too heavy to maintain, having taken 8000 to Army of New England’s 5000.
This left the road open to Yonkers and New York, the New Englander’s main objective as a major port city and a huge propaganda boost to the New England cause. A further 10,000 reinforcements were sent to secure the ability to take the region, totalling the New England Army to 45,000 men which secured the surrender of Yonkers on the 26th, leaving New York with a minor garrison to fight for itself. The American Army itself couldn’t rush to the rescue as it was forced into battle with the Canadian forces further north, managing to inflict a minor defeat on them but not without suffering casualties.
With this happening, the Americans had to reorganise their forces as both Southern New York was all but lost and reports were coming in of a combined Sioux/Shawnee Army that was forming in the West. Resources needed to be divided to both fronts and that badly hurt the American War effort. To that extent, the American Army was ordered to withdraw to Pennsylvania in order to recuperate. It would be the last time an American Army would set foot in the state for the next twenty years.
On the 1st August, New England troops reached New York and demanded the city’s surrender. With the aid of a British naval contingent ready to fire should their Allies request it, the situation was indeed hopeless for those in the city. The surrender was given on the outskirts of the city with a large crowd watching when an incident occurred that would damage the relation between New England and America beyond all hope of salvaging for decades to come. According to sources, during the surrender by the mayor of New York, a shot rang out (Whether from the New England Army or someone from New York itself would never be known) and the New England Commander, believing himself to be under attack, ordered his men to fire upon the crowd.
The slaughter which followed was horrendous as the people of the city panicked and fled before bursting into riot, New York itself descending into outright chaos. To make matters worse, the British naval force, believing that there had been a battle erupted onshore, opened fire onto New York, spreading further death and chaos throughout. For four days they riot went on unabated with casualties in the thousands and was only put down with the New England Army enforcing order, killing hundreds more in doing so. The effect on the city was horrendous and it would take years before it finally recovered. The reputation of the New England Army and British Navy however, suffered even more. The man in charge of the naval deployment was subject to a disciplinary committee and was eventually ‘encouraged’ to take an early retirement while the British Navy was painted as cowardly, firing on an unprepared opponent by the American propaganda and various other nations began looking at the RN in a dubious light.
The reaction against the New England Army on the other hand, was a lot more severe. They were seen as murderers and portrayed in propaganda in America as brutal monsters. The slaughter of New York as it became known was seen as the true cementing of hatred between New England and the United States of America. While before, the hatred had been large scale and very much nationalistic, the slaughter of New York destroyed whatever relationship that might have existed between the two nations for the next twenty years. There was no forgiveness for such an act and every American became determined that New England would pay.
But it was not to be just yet. A reorganised Canadian Army had begun its march south and had managed to probe the western New York border, securing the state between the Allies for the foreseeable future. Defences in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were increased by the Americans as Allied troops poured into the areas. It was at that point that the Americans learned what was happening in South America and realised they were in a lot of trouble.
The Brazilians had by now managed to make huge headway in driving away their enemies, even preparing to make their enormous land gains viable as the new Governments that were being established by Brazil had to recognise them in order to be established. Only Peru and Ecuador managed to avoid this fate, largely down to geography than anything else as Brazil was unable to send troops those nations just yet. Internal difficulties still remained however as Brazilian sponsored rebels made constant trouble throughout the two countries. Pleas were sent to Panama in order to gain whatever help they could but to little avail. Despite representatives from Havana practically screaming at him to go out and fight, Toledo refused, knowing that he’d probably end his career with his back against a wall but realised the situation was too hopeless to do anything. He did however authorise the Federacion naval contingent in Panama to strike at Brazil’s Navy in order to provide some good news for the politicians.
The naval battle between the Federacion ships and newborn Brazilian Navy was as one sided a battle as the Four Year War had experienced. While the Brazilian Navy was good, the Federacion ships caught them completely by surprise in dock and devastated them utterly, destroying many ships completely. Havana reacted to the news well, seeing it as the destruction of the Brazilian threat but was still vexed at Toledo’s insistence on staying in Panama on the defence and moves were being made to have him removed from command although his popularity in the Army made this difficult.
To Peru and Ecuador however, enough was enough. With no help forthcoming from the Federacion, they began to negotiate with Brazil themselves, formally declaring that they had withdrawn from the Federacion on the 20th September, establishing the Republic of Greater Peru and the Republic of Ecuador in doing so. All remains of Spanish influence in South America had now been destroyed in a single stroke.
Further north, the Allied domination of New York was complete but no assaults were forthcoming. With the chaos in the Federacion, Britain was now able to shift supplies and men in large amounts to North America largely unimpeded. Messages were sent to New England and the Shawnee Nation for a combined assault in the New Year that would overwhelm and destroy any hope that the Americans would actually win. In New England, news of the slaughter of New York resulted in a further political crisis for the Federalist Government as Hanson constantly demanded that Quail put those who were responsible for the slaughter on trial for their actions. Quail refused, citing that the New England troops had been fired upon and they had acted according to what seemed best at the time. The issue utterly divided New England with many seeing it as an act of barbarity while others were siding with Quail on the issue.
As the Brazilian conquest finally slowed down as friendly Governments were being established, Toledo was called back to Spain for a court martial hearing regarding his conduct during the War. While the War had quieted down as everybody held their breaths while winter began to set in and prepare for the onslaught of spring, Toledo’s career was about to be destroyed and possibly even his life was forfeit for his actions. Toledo’s successor in Panama ironically enough took the same stance as his predecessor, realising that the damage had been done and any military attack would fail. Defence was decided as the best policy although Brazil had no wish to go further north.
On the same date that Toledo arrived in Spain to await his court-martial, his saving grace came from the Basque region… in the form of a cadaver. A Spanish merchant was caught by French forces carrying illegal weaponry in the form of rifles that were apparently to be given to rebels against the French in the area, Rather than risk arrest, the merchant tried to shoot his way out and managed to kill one of the soldiers. The others in the unit returned fire however and the merchant was killed. With one dead soldier and a case of Spanish weapons being smuggled into the Basque regions, enough was there for a casus belli. On the 30th December, France declared War on Spain, a War that almost all of Europe would soon be involved with.