In early winter of 1987, refugees began to arrive in Clemson from the south and from the west. Stories of unimaginable atrocities were met with some suspicion, but the victims showed many signs of trauma and emotional distress. But when leaders from Seneca accompanied a group of students from Toccoa Falls College, the stories from across the Savannah river were verified. The College had been taken over by a large gang of white supremacists who ruled all of Stephens County, Georgia. They had made the beautiful campus into a fortress, and they were making African-Americans work at gunpoint to live in luxury. Meanwhile, the townspeople of nearby Toccoa, and any white refugees that had taken refuge there, were under martial law by the gang members that patrolled the streets. The school had been caught off guard, and most of the students and faculty had been killed in the assault. Survivors had escaped into what had been the Chattahoochee National Forrest, the headwaters of Georgia's Chattahoochee River. Later they would learn that the president of the College, Dr. Paul Alford, had been executed by the captors. A small number of students had survived on campus by agreeing to work along beside the slaves brought in by the supremacists.
Meanwhile, from nearby Anderson county, refugees came arriving in large numbers. The take over at Anderson College had made been less violent than that at Toccoa Falls for an African-American motorcycle gang affiliated with the United Nation of Islam came up from nearby Iva. The were led by Royall Jenkins, 41, a native of Greenville,SC. All on motorcycles, they had taken the mostly white Baptist College at gun point. The take over of the College, though, had not been without bloodshed. In defending against the invasion the college president, Dr. Mark Hopkins, along with most of the security staff, were killed in a gunbattle. As a warning to the townspeople, his body was hung in a large oak tree on the street that went in front of the campus. After exiling most of the city's white population, drugs were administered in the remaining prisoners' food to make them more easily controlled. These prisoners received brainwashing and became apparently willing servants. Jenkins then gave the homes of exiled whites to those African-American citizens that agreed to take possession under the protection of the UNOI regime.
Refugees from Anderson had not only fled to nearby Clemson, though. Some who had seen the carnage wanted revenge. And they knew where to find help. Word had gotten out that there was a survivor settlement in Toccoa - one that had shown that they could fight! Having friends that were being kept as slaves, they thought justified in waging war against those now in control of their former home. Soon raiding bands, armed to the teeth, were crossing into Anderson County descending upon the United Nation of Islam stronghold. Expecting the assault, though, the Andersonian forces were able to turn the Toccoans back. In the confusion of the battles though, white slaves escaped to Clemson.
Piedmont Governor Bill Workman did not have to wait to call for a draft. Before he even got word of the war between the city-states, the entire Clemson football team - which included several African Americans - had already taken up arms and was ready to "liberate Anderson." Workman was able to persuade them to wait until he could authorize the troops. It did not take long. Within a week 20,000 troops - nearly ten percent of the population of the Republic -- were stationed outside Pendleton, Anderson County, having secured the historic town as a base of operations. Though the town was outside the national boundary of the Republic, the citizenry that remained there (most had sought refuge in Clemson soon after Doomsday), did not recognize the "government" in Anderson anyway. Pendleton would agree to annexation into Pickens County early in 1988.
On Friday, March 6, 1987, a battalion of 2,500 advance troops advance on Anderson. They had hoped to catch them by surprise on the Muslim holy day. But the supremacists from Toccoa had beat them to it. Piedmont troops got caught in the cross fire, losing about a dozen men before they could pull back the bridge across Lake Hartwell. They returned to Pendleton to further plan the attack. The next day they sent a reconnaissance team into the woods outside of Anderson (to the northeast) to determine the next course of action. It was determined that 7,500 troops could take the town if they came in from the northeast, leaving another 7500 to cut off the Toccoans from the west. The other troops, numbering about 5,000, secured the bridge into Georgia, setting up camp near the Welcome Center less than a mile from the border.
What Piedmont reconnaissance had not known, though, was that Jenkin's lieutenants had raided Greenwood and Abbeville to the south after the fallout had cleared. These cities had barely escaped annihilation when Augusta, Georgia, had been hit. The added fallout from the direct hit on the Savannah River Nuclear Processing Plant was brought almost immediately onto Greenwood by the winds caused by the Augusta bombardment moments later. Most of the inhabitants of the towns nearest to the targets had little time to prepare, some seeking shelter only after hearing the roar of the blasts in the distance. Few knew of the danger of the radioactive dust that covered their streets, so consequently few had reached safety in Greenville. Those that stayed were victims to not only radiation poisoning, but the bands of outlaws had pilfered the ruins for supplies. Bikers were able to allude patrols, cutting cross-country, to keep the supplies coming, making a siege of Anderson impossible.
By June, though, the guerrilla forces in the uninhabited wilderness outside of Anderson had caused an impasse between warring factions. The supremacists had camps along the river, running raids into town when they could evade the Republican forces. Most of them had grown up in rural Georgia and were excellent marksmen. In many ways their tactics were far more effective than the Muslim forces defending the city. As a result, the Republican forces brought patrol boats down the river and ambushed their camps. Having been routed, the bulk of them retreated down river, crossing over into Georgia at the Hartwell Dam.
The Lake Hartwell Accord
On November 11, 1987, the warring parties in Anderson and Toccoa were compelled by the Piedmont military to sign a cease fire. The armed forces established a three mile wide Demilitarized Zone, 1.5 miles on either side of Lake Hartwell. Though the conflict would continue as each town attempted to liberate the slaves in the other, they would have to circumnavigate the lake's southern end, out of range of the patrol boats on the lake. The Piedmont Coast Guard kept 1200 guardsmen on rotating shifts of 400 to maintain peace.
Civil rights groups in the Republic, though, have lobbied the Assembly, and fought in the courts, to have the army forcibly liberate the slaves in both Anderson and Toccoa. Most recently, in Irwin vs. RoP, Athenian survivor Barry Irwin lost in a case brought before the RoP Supreme Court. Irwin had argued that the rogue states had violated the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution in holding slaves within the bounds of the United States. However, associate judge Bill Watkins spoke for the majority:
- Since the United States of America has been officially dissolved, the citizens of that larger nation are no longer held by the provisions of its constitution. Although the constitution of the Republic of the Piedmont indeed does have a similar provision for civil rights of all people, that constitution does not apply to those states outside its jurisdiction. Until such time as these adjoining counties become either a part of this republic, or under international contract are liable to such civil laws, this republic may not interfere with the internal affairs of said states. Irwin vs the Republic of Piedmont, Aug 13, 2009.
To date, 674 Piedmontan troops have died in this ongoing conflict. Most recently, on Dec. 12, 2009, a patrol boat was bombed by a small plane believed to have been out of Toccoa. Survivor Lt. Gerald Johnson reported that the bomb appeared to be a Fuel Air Explosive (FAE) device that exploded in two stages - first releasing a fine mist of gasoline and then igniting it a fraction of a second later. Authorities in the DoD of the Republic would not comment on whether they had a similar weapon in their arsenal. Lt. Johnson was the only survivor, the rest of the crew are presumed dead.
Aftermath of the war: Establishing boundaries
Although Jenkins had claimed all of former Anderson County, the "Supreme Leader" had to settle for a greatly diminished territory. This turned out to be a better "deal" for him, for he did not have the power to control the remaining populations of the small towns in the northern part of the county. All these towns were near the border with the Piedmont Republic, which had occupied those towns inside the demilitarized zones. When he was forced to withdraw into the city of Anderson, it had relieved the tension of continual occupation of what accounted for about half of the Republic's southern border.
Before the final lines were drawn, as the government of the Piedmont Republic considered the former Anderson County to be the "rightful boundaries" for its present government, the "battle lines" represented quite a drain on the budget of the fledgling republic. The map below shows the situation from March, 1987, through June, 1988.
As can be seen there was a need for massive troops to maintain the peace. Furthermore, the fuel depot outside of the abandoned town of Belton (town not shown) represented a tactical advantage that was determined too much of a risk. After the ceasefire had been arranged between Toccoa and Anderson, and the DMZ had been set up, Piedmontian troops secured the fuel depot until authorities could decide the best way to deal with distribution of the valuable resource. Jenkins was able to demand payment for his resources as "leader of all of Anderson." He had used these funds to build up his army, for the DMZ had cut him off from all tactical use of his waterways.
In late June of 1988, a new treaty was drawn up with Jenkins, granting him access to the shorelines of Lake Harwell. In the terms of the treaty, the new nation to be known as the Islamic Republic of Anderson had boundaries defined by Highway 29 to the south, Lake Hartwell to the west and north, and the old Anderson city limits to the east. The new nation then had access to the waterways for commerce and recreation, and fishing rights out to the center of the lake. The RoP ceased paying for access to the oil in storage, seeking instead to do business with any shareholders of the oil companies involved that may be found.
A New County for the Republic
Scouting teams would find all towns south of Belton to be completely abandoned, having been ransacked by fleeing refugees coming up from Augusta and Columbia. Belton had held out a bit longer, but had been found by Piedmontian troops to be near death due to unsanitary conditions and disease. The remaining towns of the county, apart from the suburbs of the city of Anderson, were annexed to the RoP. The new borders of the Republic of Piedmont extended to the borders northern and eastern borders of the IRA, for it had been determined that the line (34 degrees 29 minutes North) from the southern tip of Greenville county to the border of the IRA could be safely administered. The new territory is to be renamed Williamston, after the largest town annexed. Elections were held in November 2010 to form a new government for the new county.
While having considered themselves the heir to the original state of South Carolina, the citizens and leadership of the Piedmont Republic had found it against their nature to seek to annex counties that had no government to agree to such an annexation. In this case, they had expanded as the result of a "civil war" in the heart of the old south itself. Search parties in 2010 sought for refugees or settled governments in the former Laurens, Union, and even Newberry counties for possible incorpration into the Republic as counties.