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Alternate History

A House Divided

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Background

Stonewall Jackson

Stonewall Jackson

Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was one of the most skilled and fearless military leaders of the American Civil War. He participated in and won countless battles and led the Confederate States of America to enough victories to leave the United States with the realization that their defeat was not outside the realm of possibility. However, at the Battle of Chancellorsville on 2 May 1863, he was mistaken for a Union officer by his own men, and was shot three times. Following these injuries, his arm was amputated and he started a slow recovery, but died days later due to an illness that he had contracted since.

However, what if Stonewall Jackson had been recognized by his men that day? What if he had not been shot and survived to see the Civil War through to the end? Had he survived, it is likely that the Confederacy would have won several more battles in the north and maybe even gone on to emerge victorious in the war. Assuming Jackson excelled to his full potential in his coming battles, the world as we know it would have been radically different. The United States would have been severed in half, lost a considerable amount of economic power, and had a deadly enemy on its southern border for the rest of history.

This TL examines the consequences of a decisive Confederate victory in the Civil War all the way from the 19th century to modern day. To keep things concise, it is assumed that most events not specifically mentioned in the TL remain the same as their OTL counterparts.

Point of Divergence

Second Invasion of the North (1863)

Following the crushing defeat of Union forces under the command of Gen. Joseph Hooker at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee set their sights on the city of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as their next target. If they could capture the city, they believed it would give them a doorway into the north and deliver a swift defeat to the Union and possibly negate the losses the Confederacy was sustaining at the hands of Ulysses S. Grant in the south and southwest.

After news of the United States' defeat at Chancellorsville reached DC, Joseph Hooker was removed from command by President Lincoln and replaced with General George Meade. After a few battles during the retreat to the north, the Americans knew that the Confederate Army was likely to strike soon and that preparation was necessary. As the Confederates crossed the border into the United States, U.S. commanders heavily fortified a defensive line between the advancing army and the capital, forcing attention to be diverted from Maryland and Washington DC to neighboring Pennsylvania, keeping the capital safe for the time being.

In light of this, Lee and Jackson headed, of course, for Pennsylvania where they flanked U.S. troops from two sides while allowing infantry and other elements to maintain the position from the centerpoint of this attack. The U.S. troops, who had taken advantage of the terrain to fortify several ridges as a line of defense of the city, were taken by surprise by such a coordinated attack, especially since the side of the city Lee was advancing toward was not nearly as fortified as the east side, which Jackson attacked.

Northern Defeat (1863 - 1864)

Gettysburg

An illustration of the battle at Gettysburg

Within a few days, Lee's army had broken the line of defense on the west side of the city and his troops stormed through, reaching the rear of the defensive lines that had held up Jackson's men the entire time, and the Union troops were massacred and Meade was forced to retreat north once more (on July 4th, ironically), a very uncalculated move. This retreat allowed Jackson to move east toward York, which fell with relative ease within 2 days on July 15, and then to Philadelphia, in a battle that is regarded as one of bloodiest of the entire war. On August 11th, Philadelphia fell to the Confederates and the Union forces were effectively cut off from returning south to Maryland and Washington DC.

While this took place, Lee reached as far north as Harrisburg, but was not able to accomplish much other than solidifying control on the region. Hoping to end the war decisively before the harshness of winter prevented them from making progress, the Confederates made a move on the capital. As Lee began moving south once again toward the capital, Jackson and several other generals attacked northeastern Maryland and began to advance. Eventually, realizing the situation to be essentially hopeless after nearly 3 months worth of fighting to preserve the capital, Lincoln suspended the war and very reluctantly agreed to discuss a peace proposition with President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy, in which it was decided certain slave states (Kentucky and Missouri) and southwestern territories would be given to the Confederates, in addition to small areas of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. As of January 7, 1864, the United States of America officially surrendered to the Confederacy and recognized its independence.


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