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Alternate History

A Divided Continent

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The independent nations of North America, with Canadian Alaska and the Kingdom of Hawaii included (bottom).

Divided Continent is an alternate history beginning with the Union defeat at Gettysburg in 1863, during the American Civil War.


Background

Pope's continual losses at hands of the Confederacy on all major fronts in late 1862-1863 had diminished the Union's morale severely. In March of 1863, Congress met with President Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet to discuss a ceasefire. Lincoln disagreed entirely with Congress, ending the meeting abruptly and returning to The White House. In late June of 1863, seeking a quick conclusion of the war, General Robert E. Lee ordered The Army of Northern Virginia to advance through West Virginia and into Pennsylvania, to capture Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and hope Union leaders would approach Lee or Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond for a ceasefire. In a diversionary attempt, six infantry regiments (most notably The 15th Alabama Infantry Regiment) and three cavalry regiments under combined command of Nathan Bedford Forrest invaded Maryland from Cold Harbor, Virgina. Army of the Potomac General George Meade sent ten infantry regiments (Notably the 20th Maine and the 54th Massachusetts) under provisional command of infantry commander Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain to intercept Forrest at Baltimore. The absence of several veteran units from Union forces at Gettysburg have been cited as a major contribution to the Union's loss.

On July 1st, regiments of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia wandered into the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The small scouting party had been sent to pillage the town for food supplies as well as clothing, which the Confederate Army was lacking. What is most surprising is that the 12th Cavalry Brigade was stationed in the town at the time. Both sides surprised each other and skirmished in Town Square, at about 11 AM. By 12:45PM, the cavalry had led the infantry into a field nearby where they had taken up defense behind a stone wall. A messenger reported the attack to Meade, who ordered the Army of the Potomac to assemble in the fields outside Gettysburg. Confederate spies reported troop movements to Lee, who ordered the first column, led by General Johnson, to advance and preoccupy Union infantry. Lee took personal command of the remaining 45,000 soldiers, and marched them around Gettysburg behind Union lines.

On July 2nd, Lee ordered Johnson to take Little Round Top, barely defended by the suffering Irish Brigade. The 23rd South Carolina, under command of Col. Andrew Buckingham, assaulted the hill after initial artillery bombardments at about 11:30AM. Little Round Top, now only guarded by 250 men, fell within one hour of Buckingham's attack. This distabilized the Union right wing, making it venerable to strong flanking maneuvers. Meade had ordered reserve units and regiments from the Pennsylvania Militia to rush to the unprotected right flank. Union heavy artillery began shelling Little Round Top to neutralize Confederate forces on the hill. In a last-ditch effort, with 1,500 men, Buckingham gave the order for fixed bayonets, and ordered his men down the hill to attack the Union right flank. Although this move was considered disastrous, it was noted by Lee, who called it "worthy death for bravery". History knows this as Buckingham's Charge.
Imperishableglory

Painting depicting Buckingham's Charge, July 2nd 1863

On July 3rd, Johnson's column began an advance against open field and artillery bombardments to meet the Union center, its strongest point. Meanwhile, the remaining men under Lee finished their loop around Gettysburg and attacked the Union center from behind. The combined attack annihilated the Union forces, and remnants of the left and right flanks retreated to Washington. Meade had been killed in action.

On July 4th, 1863 France and the United Kingdom voted to recognize the Confederate States of America as a separate entity from the United States of America. Austria-Hungary, Spain, and Russia followed suit on July 5th. The only major powers who had refused to recognize the CSA were Prussia and the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile in the United States, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, effectively removing Abraham Lincoln from office. He was replaced by George B. McClellan, former Union commander. McClellan vowed to continue the war, but his mind was changed by July 7th when forces of Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Washington D.C. and the US government moved its capital to New York City.

After Gettysburg, Lee continued on, capturing Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Following this, and the capture of the capital, Congress voted to offer ceasefire to the Confederacy. On July 14th, 1863 representatives of Congress as well as Jefferson Davis met at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Peace accords were signed, with the US renouncing governance of the states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas. Also, the territories of Oklahoma and Nebraska were handed over to administration of the Confederacy.

Following the loss, territories and states in the central and western parts of North America began seceding from the United States. With no real power or military authority to enforce dominance, they were recognized as their own nations. New Mexico and Arizona seceded and merged forming the State of Pan-Mexico in 1866, but due to poor cooperation in its national government it fell apart, and was invaded and annexed by the Confederacy in 1867.

Modern Day

Today, North America consists of nine nations, six of whom are former US states and territory, one of which was de facto controlled by the United States, and two separate nations. These include:

1. The United States of America: comprised of the 12 states who did not secede in 1860-1861 or after the conclusion of the Civil War.

2. The Confederate States of America: comprised of the 14 states that seceded in 1860-1861, the states captured by Confederate forces during the war, Washington D.C. two former United States Territories the former State of Pan-Mexico, and Cuba.

3. The American Central Coalition: the nation formed from states in the central US that seceded in 1865

4. The Union of Southwestern States: the nation formed from states in the Southwestern-central US that seceded in 1870.

5. Federal Republic of Californian Arcadia: composed of Pacific states that seceded following US ceasefire in 1863. They de facto control the Kingdom of Hawaii.

6. Free state of Montana: The nation composed of the Montana territory that seceded from the US in 1865.

7. The Dominion of Canada: Situated in the Northern part of North America. Bought Alaska from Russia in 1868, following its independence from the United Kingdom in 1867.

8. The Federal States of Mexico- In Southern North America.

9. The Kingdom of Hawaii- is de facto controlled by California.

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