Alternate History

Arizona Brigade of Citizens (Cinco De Mayo)

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The Arizona Brigade of Citizens, referred to as ABC and whose membership were called the Arizona Hillboys, was a Confederate guerrilla organization active in the Territory of Arizona from late 1913 until the withdrawal of American troops in November of 1921, and was instrumental in helping bring about the landslide election of members of the Arizona Party in the 1922 territorial elections.

ABC became experts in irregular warfare and carried out campaigns of assassinations, sabotage and other insurgent tactics during the American occupation of Arizona beginning in September of 1913. The group's membership excelled in meager living in the Sonoran desert and often retreated back and forth across the Mexican border to elude the US occupation forces. The Hillboys soon were conducting operations not only in Arizona but New Mexico and parts of West Texas, where they were aligned with the West Texas Hillboys. The most notorious action undertaken by the Hillboys was a raid against Cedar City in Utah in 1918, where they massacred 47 townspeople in the Cedar City Massacre and helped turn popular opinion in the American West against the continuance of the occupation. The Hillboys were one of many "Hillboy" organizations in the Confedarcy, and by far the most successful to arise out of an occupied region. ABC in particular was second only to the Ku Klux Klan for its notoriety and capacity for violence.


Counterintuitively, the Hillboys controlled most of Northern Arizona, despite the region being closer to the US states of Utah and Nevada. The American occupation was mostly focused to the Lower Colorado and the Gila River valley, however, leaving much of the north with only minimal troop enforcements. The ABC founded a political arm, the Arizona Party, and established the "Confederate War Government of Arizona" at Flagstaff, then a railroad town on the Santa Fe-Dallas Railroad that was one of the few international railroads in North America at the time. Flagstaff was the site of major fighting between the Hillboys and the US Army, most notably the Battle of the Ponderosas on October 7, 1915 when a full battalion under US Colonel William D. Wood set out into the Ponderosa forest adjacent to Flagstaff to hunt down the Hillboys and walked away with 35 dead and nearly two hundred wounded against only six enemy kills.

The Hillboys, unlike most other Confederate guerrillas with the exception of the Oklahoma Volunteer Army (Oklahoma Hillboys), actively recruited Native Americans to join their ranks, most prominetly Mohave and Navaho fighters and even Apaches from the neighboring United States, viewing their struggles as a mutual fight against native lands occupied by Americans. This alliance was made possible by the early intermarriage by many of Arizona's settlers, many of whom were Confederate veterans who homesteaded and took native women as wives, sometimes by force.

The Hillboys often strayed far from their home grounds in the mountainous Colorado Plateau to stage raids in places such as Phoenix, Yuma and Tucson. Militiamen from occupied territories in the south soon led to the existence of a Southern Company and a Northern Company, with the Northern Company more willing to carry out attacks in the United States and the Southern Company largely being routed by 1919, including in incidents in Mexico. The sparsely populated territory of Arizona allowed for a fair amount of intermixing across borders with not only Hillboys but also Mexican rebels, gangs of American outlaws and Native American guerrilla fighters. This lawness, unpoliced nature in Arizona led it to be known as "Lawless Arizona," the title of an eponymous 1923 novel and 1932 film about the Hillboys.

Though the Hillboys, particularly the Southern Company, focused early on strategic targets of the US Army and soldiers, violent incidents in the east radicalized the northern factions and led to tragedies such as the Cedar City Massacre, the Yuma Massacre and the Tempe Affair. Upon the end of occupation, the Hillboys reorganized as the Arizona Party, which used former ABC members as enforcers at polling places, helping lead the nationalist Arizona Party to victory in the 1922 territorial election. Arizona would be admitted as the last state of the Confederacy in 1923 and the Arizona Party would run the state for the next sixty years, though the Southern Front replaced Arizona Party members as federal representatives starting in 1953 with the election of Barry Goldwater to the Senate.

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