Auburn was a town in the eastern portion of the former U.S. state of Alabama.
It was home to Auburn University pre- and post-Doomsday. Auburn was also the capital of a provisional Alabama state government set up in late 1983 that soon fell apart due in part to the activities of racists who went on to found the city-state of New Montgomery. Survivors from Auburn fled to other parts of the former state, some to survivor communities in southern Alabama and Georgia.
In recent years, explorers and military from Hattiesburg examined the ruins of Auburn, including the university.
What follows is a history detailing events in and around the town, from Doomsday through early 1984, and highlights of activities by survivors through the present day. This account was culled mostly from interviews with survivors who now live in Neonotia; Virginia; north Georgia; North Florida; and New Montgomery, as well as historical records preserved at Tuskegee University and found within the rubble of Auburn itself.
Flight from Montgomery
The evening of September 25, 1983 was as chaotic in the Alabama state capital of Montgomery as anywhere else in the United States that was a likely target for a Soviet nuclear missile.
As soon as television began carrying the White House announcement of impending attack, aides of Governor George Wallace picked him up and rushed him to a hastily-organized motorcade. Wallace's third wife, Lisa, joined them as their hot-wired vehicle quickly rushed away from the Governor's Mansion. A separate vehicle carrying Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley and his family quickly joined Governor Wallace's caravan. Time was of the essence -- the Governor's Mansion was a short distance away from the likely target, Maxwell Air Force Base.
Thanks in part to the Alabama State Police, the caravan sped out of town on Interstate 85, even as police blocked entrances ahead (and were instructed to move once the caravan had passed). With speeds reaching 120 miles per hour, the parties had just reached the outskirts of Tuskegee when they were rocked by blinding flashes from behind and ahead: near-instantaneous strikes on Maxwell AFB in the capital, and on Fort Benning outside Columbus, Georgia. The drivers of the vehicles slammed on the brakes and narrowly avoided wiping out in the median. Still, three of the State Police drivers accompanying the caravan were blinded by the flash, one driving off the side of the road and flipping over, a second hitting another patrol car and the third somehow avoiding everyone before skidding to a stop 200 yards up the interstate.
While checking on everyone, the ranking patrolman in charge - Captain Clyde Harness - ordered his lieutenants to check on their fellow officers, while he checked on the governor and lieutenant governor. Wallace, Baxley and their parties were fine, as their drivers had ducked just in time (and slammed down on the brakes). The one officer who flipped over was severely injured; the two who collided were moderately injured, though their cars were totaled.
Harness told everyone the officer who filpped over was dead - but in truth, the officer wasn't. It was later learned - before the evacuation of Auburn on New Year's Day 1984 - that Harness had slit the officer's throat with a hunting knife. Nuclear war, survival of the fittest, justified the act and everything since, and the poor bastard was so injured he was better off dead, Harness confessed to confidants (one of whom was a spy for acting Governor Baxley).
Harness was a captain in the Alabama State Police - and sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan, a white male who was incensed at Governor Wallace and Lt. Governor Baxley for their anti-racist stances.
Harness would become one of the leaders in terrorist operations designed to take down the provisional state government in Auburn, a leader for the White Army of America in the Selma War, and one of the founding fathers of the professed successor to the Confederate States of America in the newly established town of New Montgomery.
The two injured officers were loaded in the back of still drivable patrol cars. The dead officer - Lieutenant Ricky Jones - was left, on Harness's orders.
Jones was a graduate of the University of Alabama, where Wallace had once resisted federal marshalls and national guardsmen ordered to enforce desegregation. The Huntsville native also was black.
Before the caravan left, Governor Wallace brought Harness over. After learning of Lt. Jones' fate and giving his condolescences, Wallace asked what Harness thought about finding shelter in Tuskegee in relation to Auburn (and its relative close proximity to Fort Benning). Harness said nothing was known about the situation in town - Baxley countered that nothing is known about Auburn, either - and Harness replied he would need to contact the Tuskegee Police to discern the situation.
Just then, a Tuskegee police cruiser came off the interstate onto the caravan. During the subsequent discussion it was learned that people in town were in a state of shock, not knowing exactly what was going on, and there were several injuries from people who were looking east or west when the strikes hit Montgomery and Columbus. The officer - Lt. John Pruitt - said the police was keeping order for the time being and that the mayor and city council were about to meet in emergency session.
Wallace requested that he and his caravan be taken to that session. Lt. Pruitt, driving one of the few still-operable police cruisers in town, led the caravan to the Municipal Complex on Fonville Street. The city councilpersons had arrived, waiting on the mayor, and were surprised and happy to see the Governor and Lieutenant Governor had escaped Montgomery. Harness asked Lt. Pruitt to arrange a meeting with the Tuskegee police chief and also to fetch an associate of his - Gene McDonald, a Vietnam veteran who lived in nearby Tallassee, on the grounds that McDonald's military experience would prove useful to the state in the days to come.
Pruitt raised his eyebrows. McDonald was famillar to the Tuskeegee police, as a member of the area chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Harness told the young lieutenant to "trust me on this. I know his background. We need him. He will be under observation at all times."
He sure will, Lt. Pruitt thought to himself as he sped his hot-wired cruiser towards Tallassee, accompanied by four of the 17 state cruisers that escaped the destruction of Montgomery and accompanied the caravan to Tuskegee.
A short time later, as the mayor met Gov. Wallace on the steps of the Municipal Complex, Harness pulled out a cigarette. Awaiting the Tuskegee police chief, the captain made some mental notes to himself: ask the Governor to reinstate the state army. I'm the ranking officer, I should be the captain of the thing. I need to gain authority over the police, form an army, maintain order. Don't know if these people will go along...but it's not like I don't know how to fight...when Gene gets here he'll help formulate a plan.
Standing in front of Harness was Tuskegee Police Chief Claude Higgins. Like him, Higgins was in his early-to-mid-40s and looked as if he could take care of a riot all by himself.
And as the two exchanged pleasantries, Harness finally began to consider the enormity of the situation he and everyone else still alive faced: how to survive.
Survival of the fittest would drive Harness's life and philosophy going forward.
Over the next few months, Harness's application of Charles Darwin's famous saying would provoke the community of Tuskegee to the brink of war and prove fatal to the battered college town of Auburn and to the remnants of the Alabama state government.
On the night of September 25, 1983, the town of Auburn was settling in for the start of another week.
On campus, a few students were partying, the others getting ready for Monday's classes. The football team had just flown into Auburn University Regional Airport, fresh off a 37-14 victory against Southeastern Conference opponent Tennessee in Knoxville - the last official game the football team would ever compete in.
The Auburn Tigers football team disembarking their buses at 7:39 p.m. Central time at Jordan-Hare Stadium were considered one of the top collegiate football teams in the United States. A loss at home, to the University of Texas in Jordan-Hare just over a week before, ended Auburn's national title hopes. But an SEC title was still in reach.
At 7:50 p.m., many players had already left the stadium to go back to their dorm rooms. Some were milling around, getting tended to by trainers. Coaches were already thinking about the next week's scheduled game, in Jordan-Hare against Florida State. Student assistants had set up game film on FSU for coaches and players to look at over the next week. Pat Dye, the head coach and athletic director, had called his wife to tell her the team had arrived safely and that, after taking care of a few things, he would be soon be home.
Minutes later, the calm of the town and campus turned into a measured panic.
Three coaches and a student manager ran into Dye's office at 7:53, telling him to turn on his television set. They were soon joined by other coaches, players and managers as they watched White House deputy press secretary Larry Speakes announce the end of the world.
Everyone knew Auburn probably would not be a target, and that nearby Fort Benning probably would be hit.
Dye picked up his phone, called home and told his wife to get to the basement. He then called the university's police chief - and actually got through to him, astonishing considering the breaking circumstances - and extracted a promise from him to go by his home and check on his wife and if necessary bring her directly to the stadium (Dye would later remark he should have driven home right then to get her and bring her back).
From the stadium, coaches ordered players who were in their dorms to get to shelter immediately.
Outside, bewildered and scared students were either trying to get to shelter or wandering around in a daze. Some students were jumping in their cars, or breaking into others', to get out of campus. One hit a university police car rushing towards its intended destination, at 75 miles an hour.
As the Emergency Broadcasting System logo and tones replaced the feed from the local CBS affiliate, coaches were ordering team members in the stadium to a central room just in case the expected bomb over Columbus reached the Auburn campus.
Minutes later, the lights went out, all over campus and all across town. Dye rushed to the nearest phone, intending to call his wife. The phone was dead. He said a silent prayer that the police officer had made it to his house in time. In the central room, coaches, trainers, managers, players and students were setting up tables; coaches were ordering everyone under sturdy tables. Coach Dye lit a match and went back to his office, and used the match to find a bottle of whiskey he had been given by an Auburn booster.
He sit a glass down on his desk, unscrewed the cap, then said to himself the hell with the glass and drank every last drop of whiskey straight from the bottle.
Dye heard someone's voice, yelling "Coach! Coach!". It was one of the managers, running through the hallway with a flashlight.
At 8:39 p.m. local time, one Soviet missile exploded directly over Fort Benning, taking out most of the base and adjacent Columbus, Georgia.
In Auburn, dozens of students and locals still outside, including a few outside the stadium, were blinded by the flash from that strike. The noise from the bomb followed right on the heels of the flash, and was described as being simulataneously unforgettable and horrifying.
Coach Dye and the manager who found him both crawled out from under his office desk, and found their way through the dark corridors to the parking lot.
There, they joined others who had just left the stadium, attending to students and workers who were screaming, holding their faces. They had the misfortune of looking directly east at the moment the missile exploded over Fort Benning, and were permanently blinded by its flash. Trainers began attending to as many as they could, giving what little aid they were able to.
Dye noticed some of his coaches and players looking east, with what he later described as a "look of shock, unbelief (and) horror".
He and the nine football team members acting as his guards walked until they had a clear line of sight to the east...where they saw the mushroom cloud that everyone else saw.
The entire front of Dye's pants, he soon realized, was soaking wet. He wasn't the only one in that predicament, either.
Suddenly, the wind from the blast came through campus and anyone who was outside hit the ground.
After 15 seconds, Dye thought it would be a great idea to get inside, and quick.
"Everyone!" Dye shouted, hoping everyone would hear him over the wind. "Get in the stadium. NOW!" Everyone was looking his way, as if looking for guidance. Everyone took off for the stadium, football players helping ladies, or carrying the injured on their backs.
Around 10 p.m. local time, some ash was falling to the ground in Tuskegee and Auburn, presumably from the mushroom cloud over Montgomery.
In both towns, and in others in the vicinity, police were trying to keep the peace the best they could, often riding horseback, riding through their towns telling residents to stay inside for the time being. Some were driving vehicles hotwired to be operational after the EMP blast, officers like Lt. Pruitt, driving in a caravan to secure a man he wished one of the Soviet bombs had fallen on.
On the Auburn and Tuskegee university campuses, anyone with any knowledge of radiation and fallout was being gathered. Geiger counters were being secured by local police.
Most people in the region interacted well with one another regardless of race or economic status, and in the early days post-Doomsday the tragedy seemed to bring people together regardless of status. Johnny's Pub, the largest tavern in the Tuskegee region frequented mainly by whites, became an impromptu shelter for several Tuskegee students returning to campus after a weekend trip; some local regulars in fact gave food and clothing and, in one case, the shirt off their backs. Black churches opened their doors to white travelers stranded by the EMP blast and subsequent blasts, and white churches did the same.
This spirit of cooperation would serve the people well in the coming weeks and months, especially as things got their darkest around New Year's Day.
Hospitals went on call and began forming plans to get all of their staffers to work as soon as possible. Some doctors - with radiation threats looming in their minds - began making the journeys by foot. Some opted to stay with their families.
Throughout the region, looters and others intent on personal gain or causing mayhem were confronted with threats to shoot if they didn't stop, and stopped by bullets when they did not. Police did not intervene unless innocent, law-abiding parties were in danger.
No one knew for certain how bad things would get. Auburn professors were invoking scientist Carl Sagan and his projections of nuclear winter, during a meeting by candlelight; when a few of their colleagues dissented, student assistants had to break up the subsequent fight.
Everyone was trying to get through the moment. Tomorrow would be a separate day...but not another day. Not like any day anyone had known.
The grey dawn
Monday morning brought a reality to the people of Auburn and Tuskegee and the rest of southeastern Alabama.
Gene McDonald had arrived in a caravan in the middle of the night. He attempted to embrace Harness - a fact not unnoticed by the myriad of state and Tuskegee troopers watching McDonald like a hawk. After getting a few hours sleep, on Harness's orders McDonald was given a breakfast of scrambled eggs, four slices of bacon, two slices of bread and a pot of coffee - all luxuries in this new world.
That gesture did not go unnoticed by the police, either.
Governor Wallace's first official act, post-Doomsday, was to address those present in the Tuskegee City Hall. In his one minute, 27-second speech, Wallace lamented the apparent act of war by the Soviet Union, but vowed with the help of God to help Alabamans survive the cataclysm. He also enacted emergency powers that gave him virtual unlimited authority for the duration of the crisis, or at least until a provisional legislature could be convened.
In his first act exercising his new authority, Wallace established the state police as the State Army of Alabama, with Wallace as Commander-In-Chief and Harness as captain and ranking officer after Wallace - which caught Harness somewhat by surprise, as he wasn't expecting the directive to come so early.
He shouldn't have. Harness was recognized as a highly respected, by-the-book officer, if occasionally a bit rough on criminals and perpetrators. Unknown to him, Wallace had spoken to Chief Higgins overnight; Higgins was familar with Harness - or at least the image that Harness portrayed to the world - and recommended to Wallace that Harness lead the Alabama State Army.
Wallace then ordered sentries to be sent across the region, including the town of Auburn, to ascertain the fate of the immediate region. Several men volunteered, enough for teams of men to be sent out, four in each group, to points north, south, east and west.
The men performed their duties above and beyond the call of duty, and some of their actions would have positive ramifications that would not be known for years. In the meanwhile, the sentries would not return to the provisional capital of Tuskegee for several days. Hopefully, the radiation would not kill them and the foodstuffs and weapons they carried with them would keep them alive.
In Auburn, the calm was measured, and people were scared. All day Monday, town leaders argued over rationing and defense before finally hammering out provisional plans to ration out food and keep some semblance of order in town and on campus.
They left their emergency session to learn that church leaders, citizens and Auburn University students had organized their own efforts to collect food for rationing to the community. People may have been scared, but were also willing to help one another. They just needed to know how to do so.
By Thursday, that plan was in place. For the time being, everyone in town would be fed.
Auburn University professors and students helped engineers and technicians from the Alabama Power Company and the Water Board to restore the power grid and keep the water flowing. Professors were brought in to help determine the best course of action in regards to area farmland, and how to protect the farmland from radiation, fallout and other related sideaffects as much as possible.
Town leaders also wanted to know what had happened to the world. World War III was assumed; it was anyone's guess as to which side won, and whether it would be Americans or Russians coming into town on some random day.
It was known that a large mushroom cloud was seen in the direction of Fort Benning, Columbus and Phenix City, and also that a smaller cloud was seen in the opposite direction, presumably over Montgomery. More information would be needed, and leaders would start with their neighbors to the east.
One man, remarkably healthy for someone in the early stages of terminal cancer, volunteered to explore the area. Ronald Brennan, a retired engineer, teacher and former Korean War veteran, would be accompanied on horseback by police and other volunteers until geiger counters began picking up increased amounts of radiation. The party would then wait while Brennan biked into Fort Benning. His task was to do reconnaisance on the area and ascertain the damage done to the military base and the surrounding towns.
Mr. Brennan never had the chance to bike into the ruins of the base.
As the party approached the outskirts of Columbus, Georgia, they saw a stream of refugees, on foot, led by dozens of soldiers.
A caravan of Army vehicles carrying 117 men and women from Fort Benning had the good fortune to be traveling on Alabama state road 80 when the war broke out. Taking shelter near a building just off County Road 11, the company turned out to be the last survivors of one of the numerous military bases nuked out of existence.
The next day, one of their own hotwired a jeep and volunteered to go into town to take pictures, knowing what his likely fate would be. The ranking officer, Major Eddie Polson, consented. As Private Kenneth Muldoon approached the ruined city, he pointed panicked survivors down State Road 80 towards his colleagues, telling them to bring food, water, weapons and tools. He took pictures along the way, and then dared to go into town.
Somehow, he got into Columbus proper, even to the Chattahoochie River. Apparently, Pvt. Muldoon was able to operate the jeep in the blast zone, take his pictures, then drive it back towards Alabama. He ditched the jeep somewhere, jumped on a horse, and rode it until it dropped dead two miles from his colleagues' position.
Pvt. Muldoon was recovered by colleagues keeping watch on horseback. They dragged him back to camp, where Maj. Polson made the decision to head for the nearest town - Auburn.
The soldiers and locals who accompanied them had only gone 3.8 miles west before meeting up with Mr. Brennan's party.
Pvt. Muldoon was carried in the back of a horse-drawn wagon, looking deathly ill, guarded by colleagues who would not abandon him. His camera was guarded by another private, carried in a safe deposit box that Maj. Polson hoped offered adequate protection from any radiation the camera picked up.
The two parties became one and reached Auburn by nightfall. Pvt. Muldoon passed away hours before.
At Auburn University, the pictures were developed, under heavy guard, inside the photo room of the campus newspaper's offices.
The pictures were of the ruins of Phenix City, Columbus and Fort Benning. Pictures unlike anyone had ever seen, the closest analogies were made to photographs of the ruins and survivors of the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan at the end of World War II. Some were far, far worse than what the Japanese survivors had dealt with. Some looked like the barren face of the moon.
The 17 men and women who saw the negatives and pictures (including the mayor, the President of the university and Maj. Polson) could barely imagine the devastation that must have enveloped the rest of the country. There wasn't much time to contemplate it, as better news came a few hours later.
The sentry from Tuskegee representing the governor reached Auburn at midnight. The town mayor and university president, Maj. Polson and the Auburn town police chief - the four most important people in town for the time being - were awakened, per protocol established while they awaited the pictures from Fort Benning.
The sentry was given a sandwich and a warmed Pepsi, which he gratefully accepted. He left at 8 a.m. with some of the Fort Benning soldiers, and pictures for the governor's eyes only of the destruction of Fort Benning and Columbus.
Governor Wallace, Lt. Governor Baxley and the few surviving staffers that had accompanied them from Montgomery, along with Capt. Harness, Chief Higgins and the Tuskegee mayor stared at the photographs of Phenix City, Columbus and Fort Benning taken at the cost of a soldier's life.
Harness walked over to the large map of Alabama hanging on the wall of the interim "War Room" set up at police headquarters in Tuskegee, and drew red circles around Fort Benning, guessing at the extent of the destruction: the red circle represented ground zero, and a series of concentric rings represented degrees of destruction.
Harness did the same with Montgomery. He then took a piece of chalk and drew rings around the areas of Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile and the USAF bases outside Fort Walton Beach, Florida and Macon, Georgia. On that same map, Harness took a yellow piece of chalk and drew around the areas of Tuskegee and Auburn, as well as lines representing the directions the sentries had gone out to from Tuskegee in the past week.
Blue marks over Tuskegee and Auburn represented the two towns known to have survived and, for the time being, still were viable. Black marks were to represent towns that were "non-viable" because of radiation, disease, violence or for any other reason.
Everyone in the room hoped there'd be more blue marks than black ones over the coming weeks and months.
Over the next 24 hours, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor's offices were set up and the staffers began to develop plans for a provisional state legislature consisting of delegates from Tuskegee, Auburn and any other surviving towns in the region.
Harness kept his office in the war room, but was so mobile most of the time to do business with him meant you had to find him, and on any given day he could be anywhere in town.
Sometimes one couldn't find him. That tended to be when he did business with McDonald and other lieutenants. Still, Chief Higgins quietly ordered his officers to keep covert surveillance on him the best they could.
At 11 a.m. the morning of September 30, the president of Auburn University spoke to a packed house inside Memorial Coliseum, the second such crowd of the day. Candles were lit all over the arena, along with some flashlights people had been able to get operating. In his 30 minute speech, the president outlined the various plans the university had developed to help students get through the crisis. He discussed food and water rationing, and ongoing efforts to get electricity restored not just to campus but to the entire town. The President emphasized that everyone was to stay indoors as much as possible, but that help would be needed in the various efforts going on outside. The president announced two other assemblies for October 3 and October 5 - staggered, as to allow everyone on campus to attend, since the coliseum's capacity was 10,500 in the stands and the fire marshal would only allow 1,500 more on the floor and in other places that could be found for people to sit or stand.
Two pieces of news greeted the students, professors and workers of Auburn University and the few refugees who had found shelter on campus in the week since World War III. The first, of the survival of Governor Wallace and Lieutenant Governor Baxley, seemed to lift everyone's spirits. More than one person had the thought that if the governor could survive, so can we, and maybe in the end everything's going to be all right. The president informed everyone that Auburn the town and Auburn the campus was "still a part of the State of Alabama, and not just the State of Alabama but the United States of America!" That brought a standing, two-minute ovation, with dozens chanting USA! USA! USA! USA!
The second bit of news was more disturbing to some, energizing to others.
Governor Wallace, under his emergency powers, had instituted a State Army of Alabama, and there would be a draft. Men and women, aged 18 to 45, would take part, and no one would be exempt. The draft would not necessarily mandate that people would see combat, and in fact would help provide a pool of workers to rebuild and maintain essential services in and around Auburn. But there would be a need for defense of the region, be it from criminals, survivalists or a full-blown invasion from Soviet and Cuban forces.
Some 151 students registered as conscientious objectors, and were drafted anyway, to serve in non-combat roles. Places were found for 11 of those objectors to assist professors charged with helping local farmers to grow and maintain crops, or to do research on the effects of fallout and radiation and how to prepare for the predicted nuclear winter.
The overwhelming majority of people, be they liberal or conservative, white, black or another race, rich, middle-class or poor, resident or refugee, Democrat, Republican or Independent, religious or non-religious, fully committed to serve their fellow citizens, their state and their country the best they could. The alternative was to give in and wait to die, and the people here were not the type to give in to something like this without a long fight.
By day's end, Pat Dye saw his student-athlete pool dwindle to near zero, as athlete after athlete joined other students in rushing to register for the State Army. After discussions with the president, Dye sent a note by messenger to the governor, volunteering the stadium, coliseum and all other athletic facilities for the Governor and state's use.
On Sunday, one week since the events of Doomsday, churches all over the Auburn and Tuskegee regions were packed.
Governor Wallace spoke to a packed house at the 11 a.m. service in Tuskegee's First Baptist Church, invoking his Christian faith and shattering the separation of church and state in the process. No one, not even the few federal employees alive in the region, cared how many IRS laws or court rulings were broken; this was a time for survival. The governor announced he would travel to Auburn sometime in the next week, and that reconstruction efforts would begin "immediately", six days a week, with Sundays off for rest and relaxation except for essential personnel.
That would soon come to mean almost everyone.
On October 3, Auburn University officially suspended classes, pledging the use of "all available facilities on campus for the service of our nation, our state and the immediate region throughout the duration of the crisis." Given the need for laborers and volunteers, and given that many students were having to work through the grief of losing loved ones and friends on September 25 while doing whatever task was assigned to them, classes were deemed non-essential for the time being.
The next morning, Governor Wallace, his family, his chief of staff and a Secret Service platoon culled from Tuskegee police officers and Fort Benning soldiers arrived via horseback in Auburn. By that evening, engineers had successfully restored partial electricity to Memorial Coliseum, including the public address system, allowing the governor to easily speak to three packed houses in the arena on October 5.
Wallace was unsure if his speech would have any affect on what he expected to be the same type of confused, frightened, discouraged audience he spoke to at Tuskegee University's gymnasium on October 1. He needn't to have worried; Wallace pulled out every trick in the proverbial speakers' playbook to capture and spark his audience, and all three crowds responded with enthusiasm. Wallace's speeches were compared to the best revivalist preachers of the day, and people left the coliseum fired up and ready to work.
Given the enormity of the task that lay ahead, that enthusiasm would be sorely needed in the days to come, and tested.
Back in Tuskegee, Captain Harness was planning out logistics for his new Army. Headquarters; how many men and women he would have at his disposal; where to put them; how to feed them; and, one of his biggest concerns: how to arm them all.
Harness would make a request of the governor in the coming days to ban private ownership of guns and ammunition and mandate their turning over to the state. Survival was paramount right now, Harness thought, and the Constitution be damned.
Meanwhile, his soldiers would need to learn numerous ways to protect themselves and fight off attackers, and master weapons that didn't require bullets.
That is where Eugene Daniel McDonald came in.
McDonald, born in Selma, Alabama in 1941, had a violent streak to him from the time he was born. His father abandoned his mother, Emma Rae McDonald, before Gene was born, leaving Emma Rae to raise her son all alone.
They travelled from town to town throughout Alabama and Georgia, Emma Rae trying to make a living as a waitress, and Gene trying to stay out of trouble. A reputation as a ladies' man and a troublemaker followed him wherever he went, and he increasingly caused trouble for his long-suffering mother.
Finally, at age 17, McDonald was arrested after breaking into a liquor store in Eufaula at 4 a.m. one Sunday morning. The judge had sympathy for him, and suggested he find discipline in the military, perhaps the Marine Corps. At age 18, McDonald walked into an Army office in Macon, Georgia and signed up.
The discipline of the military seemed to work well for McDonald. Boot camp under a stern sergeant who also lost his father seemed to burn a lot of the rebellion out of the young man. The structure of the Army helped him through the sudden death of his mother in 1963 in an automobile crash. Having lost the only family he knew, and knowing nothing else than the Army, McDonald stayed on, eventually rising to the level of Captain.
He actually volunteered for tours of duty in the Vietnam conflict, wanting to fight in war instead of sitting in an office or standing guard over some demilitarized zone, having to resist the urge to shoot out the enemy's eye.
By all accounts, McDonald was a career military officer before going to 'Nam in 1968, happy to do his job for his country. There was nothing in his military record that would suggest the psychopathic, racist, paranoid, survivalist he became between the time he was released from military prison in 1978 to the day the bombs fell on America five years later.
Whatever changed McDonald, it happened in Vietnam. What is unclear is if it was the questionable characters he served with in his platoon in 1971 that influenced him...or if it was the torture his North Vietnamese captors put him through for 17 days in 1972...or the intense study he embarked on learning Vietcong and Communist fighting and torture tactics, trying to know his enemy more than it knew itself...or the increasing stress of a war the United States was slowly losing. Perhaps it was all of it.
In 1973, somewhere near Saigon, McDonald's platoon came across a village. The report on McDonald's arrest, trial and sentencing suggested only that McDonald perceived the peaceful village as some sort of threat and was willing to do anything to uncover the alleged threat.
Anything, including rape, amputation, and types of torture that rivaled anything the military had ever known. Eleven people were permanently injured by Captain McDonald's actions on January 9, including the grandmother of a major official in the South Vietnamese government.
The atrocity was uncovered only when three soldiers confessed to another platoon leader's captain of the deed, breaking the code of silence held by all of McDonald's men (mainly out of fear for their own lives). The American media got a hold of the story, which further damaged the Army's perception back home despite its spin of the situation as "an isolated act performed by a renegade officer."
McDonald was arrested, tried in military court, and judged to have been driven insane by the circumstances he was in. He was, somehow, released into the general population and over the next several years became an expert survivalist living in the western United States. He eventually connected with radical survivalist and racist groups, and began assisting them in various "activities". The one that got him put on the FBI's most wanted list was a 1981 bank robbery in Carson City, Nevada that resulted in the death of two bank employees and two sheriff's deputies.
McDonald went into hiding, offering his services in exchange for food, clothing and shelter. The Alabama FBI and Alabama State Police became interested in McDonald after he was spotted near Talladega in August 1983. He was spotted near Tuskegee, living in a trailer under an assumed identity, and had been identified for arrest the morning of September 26 - hence, how Harness was aware of him.
No one knew that Harness knew many of the same racists on the most wanted list of the state police and every local police department in the state, and had met McDonald years before at a private White States of America rally outside Talladega. Then Lieutenant Harness was acting as a double agent - feeding information back to the state police and the FBI, while covertly making connections with the racist groups themselves.
So far, Harness's real loyalties to these groups had not been suspected by the authorities. He had done nothing to suggest his loyalties were anywhere other than to the state and to his country, and the people. The only advantage his status gave him was knowing who's who - and helping those under watch to find ways to slip away, while making sure that those who betrayed the groups got "caught" by the authorities.
Knowing who's who is how Clyde Harness knew of Gene McDonald, his past, and his services. What Harness had told anyone who asked and would continue to say was that Gene McDonald's military skills, background and services were essential and vital at the present time, no matter what crimes he had or had not committed. McDonald would be under Harness's personal watch and serve at Harness's discretion; in fact, he told Lt. Governor Baxley that "if McDonald gets out of line, I'll shoot him myself." Any objections to McDonald's status and service Harness replied to by saying "Trust me. We need his skills right now. He may have done these things, but he hasn't met someone like me. Someone who won't take his s**t (or, depending on whom he was speaking to, crap or garbage)."
Despite the Lieutenant Governor's misgivings, Governor Wallace approved McDonald for service in the State Army of Alabama on October 9. Harness promoted him to the rank of lieutenant major, two ranks below Harness's status of captain.
McDonald would rise to major and formally become Harness's right-hand man within the month.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALABAMA
PROVISIONAL STATE CAPITAL
October 5, 1983
The Governor has authorized rebuilding efforts to begin immediately in the portions of the state of Alabama directly under state control; being the towns of Auburn; East Tallassee; Notasluga; Tallassee; and Tuskegee. It is recognized that none of these areas were directly hit in the attack upon the United States on 25 September 1983. Nevertheless, given what is believed to be widespread destruction across the United States as a whole, it is understood that for the time being and perhaps for the long term the portions of Alabama where life still exists must become self-sufficient in order to survive long-term.
Therefore, the Governor has authorized ongoing rebuilding of the state with the aim of solidifying the Auburn-Tuskegee region as a base from which long-term rebuilding of the entire state of Alabama, as well as surviving regions of the states adjacent to Alabama, can begin.
The rebuilding will concentrate initially on five points:
- Food. Rationing the existing food supply, as well as growing food in the short- and long-term future, is vital to survival.
- Water. Maintaining essential water and sewage systems is necessary and nonnegotiable. The state will look to use Lake Martin as a source of water.
- Fuel and power. Restoring electric power to as much of the southeastern region as possible is a high priority to the state at the present time. This includes rewiring police vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks and other automobiles, trucks and vehicles for state, police, fire, medical and military use. Heating fuel will be rationed, as will gasoline. Usage of motor-powered vehicles is for official state, police, fire, medical and military use ONLY.
- Health and medicine. It is anticipated that numerous diseases related somehow to area fallout and radiation will prove quite a challenge to the surviving medical professionals in the region, but again, this must be dealt with as best as possible.
- Law and order and Defense. The Governor has established the State Army of Alabama and a draft to help stock that Army, consisting of men and women from 18 through 45 years of age. Not all will see combat; in fact, many will work in such areas as construction, electrical and sewage, as well as assisting local and county police in patrolling the region for criminal activity. It has been deemed essential to have a standing army ready to defend the region in case of invasion, as well as to assist in various areas of rebuilding and maintaining law and order as needed. The Governor also recognizes, and welcomes, the contributions of the surviving members of the United States Army who had the fortune to be far enough from Fort Benning to escape its destruction. The U.S. Army will set up headquarters in Auburn and for the time being work with the State Army in various areas.
One priority became protecting existing water sources from any fallout and radiation.
The Water Board was nationalized and rechristened as the Alabama State Water Board, responsible for maintaining the water supply in the region. Chemists from Auburn University were put to work to find ways to protect existing water supplies and, where necessary, to remove any radiation, fallout and other impurities from them.
A daunting task, but the Governor would not take no for an answer. Four scientists, including a chemist, accompanied an ASA scouting party north towards Lake Martin, as the first of numerous scouting parties sent out by Captain Harness in all directions from Tuskegee and Auburn.
Fuel and power
Alabama Power Company engineers and workers were able to restore rudimentary power to 'essential' buildings in Auburn and Tuskegee two weeks after Doomsday, including government and police buildings. The plan was to restore power to essential businesses and factories, then to public meeting places, then to private residences and refugee centers.
The official order limiting use of cars, trucks and vans for official use was not popular among the public, though most residents willingly turned over their vehicles for the common good. This caused more difficulty for those in rural and isolated areas than in or near the towns, as food distribution was centered in the towns themselves. This eventually led to the Army sending troops to guard farms from looting by some of those rural residents who lived nearer to the farms than to the distribution centers.
Some residents began abandoning their homes and moving in with relatives or friends, figuring with winter approaching they would fare better with two, three, even six families in a house than by themselves.
Some businesses stayed open, despite the lack of electricity. A few bars stayed open at night, using candles and torches to light the place. There weren't a lot of locals making their way to the pubs unless they were in the neighborhood. What they drank when they got there was likely to be moonshine or other home brew produced by bar owners, for the stocks had run out in the weeks following doomsday. Most of the alcohol produced after that, in fact, began to be utilized as emergency fuel.
Health and medicine
One of the greatest challenges presenting itself in the post-war reality was medicine and medical supplies: even with the knowledge of Auburn and Tuskegee Universities, the region would be hard press to produce even the most basic medical supplies. And without those supplies, how would doctors be able to treat the seriously ill or injured?
Ronald Brennan's planned suicide mission into the ruins of Columbus and Fort Benning was fairly easy for others to accept because if WW III hadn't happened, Brennan had eight months to live at best. Cancer-fighting drugs, and drugs such as morphine meant to ease sufferers' pain, would no longer be available for the forseeable future. Would it be better to euthanize people like Brennan?
Almost no one wanted to think of such things, yet the surviving medical professionals and university professors drafted to assist in this field had to do so. They also had to consider how to treat the rise of near-forgotten diseases like typhoid that could come from the multitude of dead bodies, human and animal, on the outskirts of nuked areas. And they also had to contend with the potential for simple infections and cuts to turn life-threatening.
Law and order
Draft Day came on October 12, with 10,000 people assigned to numerous tasks from guarding the food distribution centers to assisting Power Company workers on restoring downed lines. The local and state police and National Guard were the official keepers of law and order, but Harness quickly assigned the "most experienced" (i.e. anyone with military, National Guard and/or police experience) draftees to aid in maintaining order. The Army and police were aided by the direct orders of Harness himself; Harness, in consultation with Higgins, McDonald and a few others, came up with directives and organizations in mere days, that would take others several weeks to formulate.
A key was authoritative, top-down decision making and following...follow an order from one's superior and execute it. No exceptions. Harness modeled it, and expected his subordinates to emulate it without question. "The survival of the region depended on it", he explained on more than one occasion. "We stand the best chance of surviving this way. The public will respond in a more orderly fashion when we operate in this manner, because we're going to demand some very difficult things of them."
He did not explain what those difficult things were. Most people speculated it was extreme personal sacrifice. No one really knew what he had in mind.
Harness not only quickly and efficiently formulated plans for local law enforcement, he also formulated a plan for a quick defense of the region in case of Soviet or Cuban invasion. His orders though pertained largely to rebuilding infrastructure, food distribution and maintaining order in the region. Though many people were confused as to why the Army wasn't building up for defense against the Soviets, each day Harness reinforced his orders to concentrate on those local needs.
Harness expected that if an invasion were to happen it would have occurred in the first week after Doomsday; he also expected that if the federal government still existed, it would have made some kind of contact with the area by now. Harness knew only of a few federal employees who lived in the area, and of course of the soldiers from Fort Benning who he expected would come under his command very soon.
Still, Harness came up with provisional defense plans for the area. Auburn students and local radio station engineers were working on restoration of local radio equipment and setting up an ad hoc network consisting of citizens' band and ham radio users, and eventually an official state station serving up news of food distribution, updates on reconstruction and whatever else the government wanted to tell people, along with music and whatever entertainment programming that the governor-appointed program director could dream up.
In reality, Harness was planning how to use the radio for his own purposes - including maintaining local order.
Despite securing local supermarkets and warehouses and many of the area farms, government leaders were concerned over the short- and long-term supply of food in the region.
Everyone publicly and in official government meetings were discussing ways to make the food stretch. The experts drafted from Auburn and Tuskegee Universities were under intense pressure to help local farmers find ways to protect their soil from radiation and fallout. Numerous unused parcels of land would be nationalized and used for agricultural purposes. Talk was of how to make the food supply stretch and cover everyone.
A few privately discussed other alternatives. Harness was their leader, and the solutions they proposed were offensive and horrifying even under these circumstances.
Their rationale was this: those who worked, either with their hands or with their minds, needed to survive. They needed food and water to continue to contribute to society. Young, strong people not only could work but could also produce children to keep the society from dying out. Older, but healthy people whose expertise was vital to reconstruction efforts were needed to give the people a fighting chance to live and build a new society. Children could do basic tasks - numerous societies had used child labor before, and while parents would complain this was not the time to do so.
Some people couldn't do anything:
- The old who could neither hammer nails nor help rebuild power grids.
- The severely injured, including families discovered near the ruins of Phenix City with broken bones and third degree burns.
- Young, very young children, who couldn't even walk.
The governor might go along with euthanizing the severely injured and sick....he could perhaps be persuaded to allow the elderly to be killed...but no way on earth would he, nor anyone else, consider not caring and feeding babies and young children.
Clyde Harness and his inner circle dared to consider what the mostly conservative, Christian populace (including the governor and lieutenant governor) would not.
The part about starving the babies, however, was more than most of the inner circle could bear. Even McDonald did a double take when Harness offered the suggestion.
Harness sat in front of his subordinates, unflinching, unmoved. "Survival of the fittest is paramount," he said. "Hard things like this must - have to - be considered.
"There is less food in the region than anyone cares to admit. We all know this. The government knows this. Everyone realizes it, even if they don't care to admit it..."
"Damnit, captain... you can't just kill babies!!!!" shouted Lieutenant James Young, who had worked with Harness for the past four years in the state police and would become one of Harness's top officers in the State Army. "You can't do that. That's inhuman. Even you don't really want to do this."
Harness stared down Young with a steely look, sat silently for a minute, then got out of his seat and stood before his subordinates.
"Yes, James, I know. I don't want to kill babies. I don't...but if you keep all of the adults alive you have no choice. Babies can't work. Think about that for a minute."
Harness raised his hand to silence the others. Exactly one minute later, the captain spoke again.
"There is another solution, one that some of you are not going to like but that all of us, and those we love who are still here, will benefit from. It is not going to be popular and it will require total commitment and dedication to the mission. There is a good chance some, or all of us will not survive it. But if we execute it properly, our people will survive."
"Our people? Sir, what do you mean, 'our people'?" said Eddie Grange, a mechanic and Marine Corps veteran inducted into the State Army as a sergeant, helping run the boot camp at Auburn University.
"Eddie, look around. Tell me one thing we all have in common." Harness said.
Grange looked around the table, and back at Harness. "We're Americans?"
"True, but that's not what I'm talking about. Look at your hand....now look at everyone else's hand.............now tell me, what color is your hand and what color is theirs...."
"White........" Grange fell into a momentary state of shock, so much that Young (on Harness' order) had to reach out and slap Grange hard to bring him out of it.
"Holy shit, captain."
"Yes, Eddie, that is what I am proposing. That is what will have to be done."
The others around the table sat there, silent, thinking about the ramifications of what Harness was proposing.
"If we do this my way, I cannot guarantee your own personal survival but I can guarantee that those you love, and our own people, will make it. This is the time to begin executing on this plan. I realize you know next to nothing about this and that I made this suggestion to you just now. We live in desperate times, gentlemen, and I picked you because I believe that you have it in each of you to do what you will need to do....what I expect of you...what our people will expect and demand of us in order to lead them to survival. I need to know...are you in, or out? You need to decide now."
Harness looked at McDonald, who silently moved his hand to his revolver.
The other men looked around, at each other, at Harness, at McDonald, at the floor, at their hands.
It took less than two minutes for everyone to state their loyalty to Harness.
"Good....now that my faith in you has been reaffirmed, we begin our very difficult task. We have many allies, ready to move on a moment's notice. Right now, though, go home...rest, consider what I have said, and report to headquarters at 0700 in the morning. We have a long mission ahead of us, and it starts tomorrow."
The Army of Alabama
In the first few days after Doomsday, Harness had organized the state patrolmen and Tuskegee police officers into an efficient unit and, more importantly, had motivated them to "stick to the task" despite the ever-present reality of the attack on the United States.
Harness impressed everyone he came into contact with. He seemed to be several steps ahead of the game regardless of what issue he was presented with, and seemed to be the most capable of maintaining order and keeping everything from falling apart.
His actions impressed Wallace so much that the governor named him the captain - and ranking officer - of the State Army of Alabama on September 27.
By the end of that week Harness had organized a group of majors and lieutenants to assist him.
When the draft was instituted and the work of organizing the remaining, able-bodied citizens into an army had began, Harness's lieutenants were organizing it as he himself would - tightly, efficiently, and with determination to complete the task ahead of them: survival.
Most of Harness's officers knew of the meeting where the captain all but announced his intention to commit genocide against non-whites; it was necessary to gain their trust in building the State Army, and they would surely overthrow him had he made his ultimate intentions known this early.
Nevertheless, some knew of his work for the state police in regards to white supremacist groups in the region. Therefore, it was necessary that Harness assured them, as he had Wallace and the provisional government officials, as he had Chief Higgins, that he was working for the "law" and that his true loyalties were to "the state of Alabama and all of her people".
Most people bought into it. Some remained suspicious. A few who didn't trust the man at all disappeared after the draft was instituted.
While Harness built the State Army, some of Harness's lieutenants were busy with a particular assignment: setting the stage for Harness's "final solution". This part of the operation was kept on the down-low; the Army lieutenants would coordinate with sympathizer draftees and civilians to set up the operation. Harness had a cover story for that, too: the Army was rooting out white sympathizers, using the captain's "reputation" to identify threats to the state.
Unknown to Harness, another secret group - one consisting of dozens of men, from Harness's officers down to university students and civilian farmers - were working to try to get to the truth about their leader. It was answerable to the governor, and known only to a select few: those directly involved with the group, along with the governor, the lieutenant governor, the governor's chief of staff and Chief Higgins.
If something bad was going on with Harness, this group would be assigned the task of rooting it out and, at all costs, preventing the thing from happening.
Two secret groups, one known to the captain, the other known to the governor.
Meanwhile, the State Army - with thousands of enthusiastic high school and university-aged conscripts - was developing better than could be expected, given the very short time the leaders had to organize it.
Indicative of the enthusiastic conscripts was a unit assigned to guard the route between Tuskegee and Auburn, one of eight such units patroling the area.
Lieutenant Randy Shourds - an Auburn policeman before Doomsday - was the ranking officer of the 12th Auburn Division. He oversaw 44 men and six women, all but one of whom were Auburn University students, the other from Tuskegee University.
Included in their ranks were Privates Charles Barkley and Vincent "Bo" Jackson, who played for Auburn University's men's basketball and football teams, respectively. Nearly all of the student-athletes at AU had agreed that sports had died with the war, and this was a time to serve one's country, whether it be to build it or to defend it against the enemy that had tried to destroy it.
"Let them m***********s land here in Alabama and they'll see for themselves who Americans are," Barkley said to a farmer while out on patrol three days after he joined the State Army. Barkley had already become one of the leaders of the 12th, and Shourds was impressed with Barkley's ability to demand attention and loyalty from the other members. Barkley would be promoted to Corporal on Oct. 26.
Jackson was not as outspoken as Barkley; in fact, the events of Doomsday and afterwards had rendered him sullen and quiet. A rumor had it that Jackson had to be talked into staying in Auburn and not head north for his hometown of Birmingham, then into joining the Army as a way to not give into despair. His friends and former teammates hadn't gotten much from Jackson on his thoughts and feelings since Doomsday; even now Pvt. Jackson was a young man doing well in his new role as a soldier, but a man whom kept his thoughts and feelings locked down tightly.
The one crack in Jackson's poker face came late one morning while the 12th was on patrol. Pvt. Jackson, one of five soldiers patrolling a farm, saw a young boy run up to him. Three of those soldiers who made it into Neonotia say they never heard what the boy said to Jackson, but that Jackson's face turned to concern. All three couldn't hear what Jackson briefly said to the boy except for the end: "you have my word on that."
Jackson went to Barkley to request he and his four fellow soldiers there that morning patrol the farm on a regular basis. Barkley went to Shourds, who changed the 12th's route to pass the farm on a daily basis. Jackson said only to Shourds the little boy was concerned about bandits coming to get him and his family; the farm's importance was reason enough for Shourds to tweak up the 12th's route.
Barkley would learn very soon the reason Jackson was concerned for the family. He had guessed Jackson didn't trust Lt. Shourds enough to level with him, and Shourds didn't seem to suspect anything beyond what Jackson had said to him.
Barkley wisely kept silent on the issue, although he made a mental note to ask Jackson what the hell was going on. Jackson would come to him first, having discovered some disturbing news, and Barkley would learn more than he wanted to know.
The 12th went about its patrol, and its presence helped the people feel a sense of calm and safety. Patrols all over the area had similar affects.
People saw the newly conscripted soldiers and officers' commitment, drive and enthusiasm and began to believe that, perhaps, everyone may get through Armageddon after all.
The United States Army
The U.S. Army, such as it was, now consisted of 289 men and women who either were stationed at Fort Benning or Maxwell Air Force Base, but had the good fortune to be have been outside of the blast zones on September 25; the 111th Ordinance Group of the local Army National Guard (ARNG) detachment based in Opelika; and volunteers, including Auburn and Tuskegee students and former U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine veterans who wanted to serve their country.
George Wallace was the highest ranking official in the area known to be alive and the Alabama State Army was far larger in numbers. But the men and women stationed in Opelika still considered themselves loyal first and foremost to the United States itself, confident that sooner or later, if it could, the federal government would reassert itself and return to the area.
Major Polson was the highest-ranking of the 289 officers in what had unofficially became Fort Opelika, and would eventually be given a battlefield promotion to General by soon-to-be Governor Bill Baxley.
Michael Sumrall, Captain (ARNG) and an Air Defense Missile Maintenance Officer of the 111th Ordnance Group, also would be given a battlefield promotion to Captain, U.S. Army, right before the survivors of the Baxley government pulled the population of Auburn and Opelika out of the region to safer grounds. At the moment, though, Sumrall was in the same spot as 287 of the other officers, ready to jump in and assist rebuilding and defense as requested by the provisional Alabama state government.
Polson, who as far as anyone knew was the highest-ranking U.S. military official alive, was tasked with leading the U.S. Army through this difficult time. He also had some concerns about the Wallace administration and its ability to handle the tasks it set for itself...and bigger concerns about the man who led Wallace's State Army.
Quietly, Polson had ordered local volunteers to bring as much weaponry and ammunition to "Fort Opelika" as they could without endangering their own families' ability to defend themselves.
Polson had heard through the grapevine that Harness was a double agent: a state police officer who had infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan to root out possible terrorist activities by the group, who actually was sympathetic to the Klan and was doing surveillance on the state police for the KKK.
There was no hard proof of such a thing, but Polson trusted his colleagues who had reported those rumors...colleagues in Montgomery, Birmingham, Fort Benning who likely were dead.
There was one thing Polson would do. He would not turn over authority of the local remnant of the United States Army and National Guard to Alabama. The U.S. Army would assist as necessary, but Polson's Commander-in-Chief was Ronald Reagan, not George Wallace.
If things went as well as they could go in a dystopia, it wouldn't matter which political figure ran things.
If things went badly...if Harness somehow took over or began causing serious trouble...Polson's officers at least would die trying to take Harness down and defend liberty.
On October 14, the first of the volunteer reconnaissance teams sent out, on horseback, returned. Tuskegee police lieutenant Marc Powers and his three-man team had been sent west, towards the state capitol of Montgomery. Over the next several days, most of the other teams returned. Seven team members were injured, three seriously; one of the three died of stomach wounds, the second recovered from a broken leg, gaining a pronounced limp in the process; the third died of radiation-related causes in November.
A report for Governor Wallace and Captain Harness was typed up once the individual scouts' reports had been compiled. This is a portion of that report:
Montgomery destroyed by probable blasts over Maxwell and Gunter Air Force Bases. Situation around capitol chaotic. Team members ventured as far west as Exit 11 off Interstate 85 headed into Montgomery, where buildings were still recognizable but looked as if they had bombed or suffered from a mass riot.
There, team members discovered a volunteer, Mr. Buford Ray Johnson, who ventured into Montgomery on horseback on Sept. 27 at what he said was the governor's request, at what the team was told would be one of the possible places Johnson could be found at.
Mr. Johnson looked pale and full of sores; the horse he rode in on, he said, died "a few...or several...days ago. Just collapsed." Mr. Johnson gave team members a journal and a camera, and rasped out the highlights of his mission:
- The last recognizable buildings in town along the interstate were to be found at the former Auburn University at Montgomery and the adjacent hospital.
- Anything further west, he said, was "like Hiroshima"
- He managed to get into the capitol, knowing he would die, but understanding someone needed to do reconnaissance in the area. Portions of state capital building still standing admist rubble. (He guessed it was the state capital by referring to a city map given him before he left, as well as his remembrances from previous visits to the building)
- His description of the damage in his journal indicated low-yield bombs that were not on par with those that would be used against, for example, Washington D.C. or even Atlanta, but nevertheless destroyed Maxwell and Gunter Air Force Bases as well as Montgomery proper.
Team ran into 35 survivors, men women and children, off Exit 16 as we headed east towards Tuskegee. Survivors said they were planning to head west towards Selma. After conferring with team, the survivors chose to accompany the team back to Tuskegee.
Large group of survivors encountered around Jordan Lake. Scavenger found consuming human remains in home near Jordan Lake, shot on sight by scouts, attracting attention of military from Maxwell AFB who were in region when the bomb struck. Military laughed upon being told that the governor was alive in Tuskegee; entire region seemed to have had an air of fatalism, leading team captains to turn back to Tuskegee. Two officers - an Air Force captain and lieutenant - sneaked away from their unit, and told us they wanted to go back to Tuskegee. We were quickly joined by a few families and individuals who had been part of the survivors near the lake. We managed to get away without incident.
Survivors encountered near Lake Martin. One claimed to have escaped the Birmingham area, confirmed seeing mushroom cloud in the city's vicinity; looked "shellshocked" to scouts. Another claimed to have come from a similar camp in Talladega National Forest, having heard stories of panic and chaos from the Anniston, Pelham and Montevallo areas. Lake Martin community seemed to be calm, but food was becoming a great concern. Interest in status of governor, and when region could expect state assistance; community told governor would be informed of their existence and that Lake Martin was a high priority for the state at the moment.
Tests done on water indicate tolerable levels of radiation.
Troy site of survivor camp, consisting mostly of panicked citizens from countryside put up at the local university. Teams split here.
One went west towards Eufaula, encountering large survivor community in town and along the Walter F. George Reservoir, including refugees from Dothan. Dothan is approximately 10-15 miles SE of Fort Rucker, which was confirmed to have been struck. Situation in Dothan described by survivors as "dire", necessitating evacuation to Eufaula.
A team made its way into Andalusa. Town government heading relief efforts for area, doing its best to maintain order and ration food and medicine. Refugees from Florida claim having seen two blasts over Elgin AFB near Fort Walton Beach.
Auburn and Opelika are the largest functioning towns encountered after Tuskegee. Relief efforts and rationing going as well as expected. Fort Benning already confirmed to have been destroyed, and Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City along with it. Military from Fort Benning stationed at temporary headquarters in Opelika suggests that Atlanta likely destroyed and Warner-Robins AFB south of Macon likely gone (will need to confirm).
The report was received by Harness. The printing press for the Tuskegee newspaper, which had published two four-page sections since Doomsday, was utilized to print off copies for various government and state Army officials, as well as the top officers from the U.S. Army contingent in Opelika.
While the government discussed what to do with the people in these various locales, and the other items in the repot, Harness was doing his own bit of reconnaissance work, on the town of Tuskegee.
Soft targets. Police. How many people were in the town. How much food was there. How much ammunition, and who had it.
What to do. And who exactly could help him accomplish it, and how many of them there were versus how many they might have to face off against.
Once he got his information, he conferred with McDonald.
Though Harness was still thinking through the details of his operation, word he got from his aides and confederates gave him confidence that the operation could be pulled off successfully.
One thing Harness couldn't do was monitor every person and every conversation. And therefore he couldn't know that people were talking about the rumors they were hearing, of impending attacks on the black survivors by the white survivors.
He and his aides, as connected as they were, weren't tied in enough to the black community to understand that some men and women were hearing the rumors, and doing their own surveillance.
Quietly, the black population began compiling its own cache of arms, and making friends with the soldiers and officers in Opelika.
By early November, it seemed everyone was well into the "rebuilding process" of southwestern Alabama.
It gave people something to keep themselves busy, and to keep their minds off the aftermath of World War III and all of its implications:
What happened to the rest of the country?
What about President Reagan, Congress, the Cabinet, and any other government officials from Washington? Where were they, if they were alive?
What about the military (other than the U.S. Army contingent in Opelika)?
And why had no one from outside the area showed up since September 25?
Was the destruction of America...the destruction of the world...total?
Did that mean that their corner of the world was the only part that survived the cataclysm?
People did ask those questions, to themselves and of each other, in private, at church, at the homes and bars and restaurants they gathered at off-hours.
Those weren't the questions people were most concerned about, however.
People were asking about where the food supply was going to come from, and how it would be replenished. How medicine would be produced, and how health care would work.
Safety wasn't a concern, as the State Army made up much of the population and almost everyone was armed to some degree.
The food supply was the subject of much debate amongst the Auburn and Tuskegee university professors assigned by the state government with the task of finding ways to feed the area populace.
Some of those professors were insistent that it could not be done and held to their findings in the face of criticism from the rest of their peers who were fueled by optimism that it could be done.
Clyde Harness consulted with professors and farmers who held to either of the two schools of thought on the matter.
Publicly, Harness sided with the optimists, saying to everyone that there was no choice but to make it work.
Privately, he believed the population could be fed, drawing on the knowledge and ingenuity of the so-called experts....IF a certain percentage of the population was eliminated from the equation.
The time to...cull that percentage was fast approaching, as Harness put it to his trusted aides.
Quietly, certain white State Army officials and draftees that Harness trusted or was told were trustworthy were moved into position of guarding state assets, most notably the food distribution centers around the region.
And quietly, certain white criminals and known or suspected white supremacists placed under house arrest soon after the government established itself in Tuskegee were supplied with weapons...under observation by State Army officials, of course.
An excerpt from the private journal of Jacob R. Daniels, a former resident of Auburn, Alabama who was one of the Auburn refugees to escape to Neonotia, dated September 12, 1999:
- ...how the White Army (note: Daniels is referring to the Alabama State Army contingent that would eventually declare war on non-whites and whites it deemed enemies of its cause) thought that it could arm its malcontents and, on the spur of the moment, kill off all of the African-American folks while securing all of the food and supplies is beyond me. It's beyond everyone whom I've ever spoken to about this, too.
- The blacks never trusted Clyde Harness, and thought that he had somehow taken Governor Wallace for a ride. They knew something was up, so they began arming themselves the best they could. People within the State Army knew something was up, too, although what Harness and his idiots were doing, they tried to hide from plain sight. The blacks knew it first, though, and then the students that the Army had drafted got wind of it soon enough.
- Good thing we had that U.S. Army contingent to help us fight the White Army off. By the time the situation in Tuskegee was about to happen, there was a sizeable contingent in the State Army that opposed Harness. Tuskegee was a small tragedy, but fortunately there was enough fight in the people to scare Harness off to Auburn and the government with him. It was good to hear that Tuskegee, by the way, had survived. I hope to make it back there some day. That young man deserves a monument in his honor.
- You'd like to have seen Harness exposed at the time for what he was, and thrown into a pit somewhere - preferably in Columbus or Phenix City. Pity, though, that many people threw away what they knew to be right in order to survive. Harness had tremendous leadership skills, was very intelligent and had such a quiet, stoic magnetism that drew men especially to follow him. If he only had a hero's heart, instead of being the psychotic man he actually was.
- ...people were scared. World War III had just occurred. It got to the point, twice, where people chose between doing the right thing and doing what would help them survive, but by the murder of a lot of innocent people.
- Fortunately there were a lot of us who chose the better way, not knowing what our future held.
NOTES FROM THE JOURNAL OF TUSKEGEE POLICE OFFICER RONALD D. MCGINNIS, ON THE DAY OF THE TUSKEGEE RIOTS THAT LEFT 53 ADULTS, INCLUDING SEVEN STATE ARMY OFFICERS, AND 13 CHILDREN DEAD:
...the trouble started after reports of shooting at a farm outside of town. Turns out the family that was kill--murdered had relatives in Tuskegee. Word travelled fast, and by the next day everybody was on edge.
...everybody knew Bo Jackson. Mainly as a running back for Auburn's football team, and as someone drafted into the Army. He was known as one of the good guys by everyone. Even the racists admitted that...
...what I saw was Jackson standing up for the people. Not the black people, ALL people. He screamed at his superior officer in what normal circumstances would have been insubordination. This was the aftermath of the nuclear war, and everybody suspected that the group of white racists had infiltrated the Army and were going to try to start some kind of race war. Bo Jackson knew the family that had been killed. He knew why. He knew that officer was somehow involved.
Everyone thought that it would end up that Bo Jackson was taken away in handcuffs, and that's how the resistance would openly start.
I don't believe that anyone, except the guy getting yelled at, had any idea that he would take his pistol, point it at Bo's head, and pull the trigger. Three times.
I don't know how much time passed. Everyone was in shock. It wasn't until we saw the other white Army officers going for their weapons that some of the civilians started going for theirs. And both sides started firing their pistols. People started running, ducking for cover, screaming. A woman got shot in the back point range by an Army officer, who then got his neck sliced open by a boy...a BOY, for God's sake....and that boy was shot down by another Army officer...
I'm amazed the whole town didn't burn down that day.
November 4, 1983.
Private Vincent Jackson - who two months earlier was dodging linebackers and scoring touchdowns for Auburn's football team - made his daily stop at a certain farm.
To say hello to the old man who owned the land, his son and daughter-in-law who helped him till the crops, and to their young son whom Pvt. Jackson had taken a particular interest in. They had become friends in the short weeks since Doomsday.
Two of their neighbors had ran up to Jackson when he arrived on site, telling him they had heard gunshots a few hours before. Jackson told them to stay put, and if they saw the other two privates in the area to send them to the house asap.
At 8:37 a.m., Jackson walked into the kitchen, after knocking on the back door and not hearing his customary "hello, Bo Jackson!" from the old man's wife, the First Lady of the house, who believed in Governor Wallace and that the people of Auburn and Tuskegee and southeastern Alabama would get through these bad ol' days.
He saw no one, hollered out the names of his friends several times, then called out to his comrades
Together, the three privates went through the house.
The "fine china" was missing. So was the couch. And, of all things, the TV set. The men went up the stairs to the upper floor.
The son and daughter were the first to be found, in their blood-soaked bed, throats slit.
The old man and the First Lady were found next, murdered by a stab to their chests.
The little boy was the last found, by one of the other two privates. The kill was clean, and effective...
Pvt. Jackson ran in the room. He saw the boy, laying still. A picture of Jackson in his football uniform, torn in half, laying on the ground next to a dead Atari system.
That picture should have been on the wall, next to the boy's bed.
Jackson jumped on the corpse, began doing chest compressions, yelling at the boy to get up, it's going to be all right, we're gonna help you, don't you give up on me now son!!!
Jackson, pulled off by his comrades, collapsed, sobbing, screaming, yelling. Seconds seemed like hours.
Hours seemingly went by. Jackson looked up, his comrades consoling him and telling him they needed to get back to HQ, to let Lieutenant Hayes know.
Bo Jackson bolted down the stairs, out the back, towards the barn.
Where were the horses?
Where were the chickens? The dog? And what about the tractors?
By this time, the neighbors had arrived. It was left to Pvts. Ronald and Joey to tell them what had happened in the house.
Jackson ran back to the house, looked at the growing crowd.
"This house is a crime scene, and I want you all to step aside. Privates, stay here and guard the house...I'm going to Tuskegee."
Jackson took off, running towards the place where he had left his horse. All of the rumors and rumblings he had heard in the past several weeks raced through his mind. Grief-stricken and without any real proof, Private Vincent Jackson would personally address his commanding officer.
I know what happened, he thought.
I know why. I know who knows.
They won't get away with this.
9:47 a.m. Tuskegee High School, where the State Army had set up its local base.
More to come....
Jackson screamed at Shourds, and the crowd of civilians, and Army, slowly grew to watch the confrontation.
Nearby, two Alabama Army privates picked up their rifles, while another private fetched a pair of handcuffs. Private Jackson, the football hero that he was, apparently was going to spend some time in a cell for his insubordination.
Everyone expected the Lieutenant to signal his subordinates to arrest the argumentative Private.
What they saw wasn't it.
In six seconds, Shourds quickly and calmly pulled his pistol out of its holster, finger on the trigger; aimed it at Jackson's forehead; and pulled the trigger three times.
Bo Jackson fell to the ground, dead, the back of his skull shattered.
The crowd stood there, nearly everyone in total shock. Except for Shourds, and a few of his allies.
People who ran out of nearby buildings overhearing the gunfire stopped after seeing Shourds standing over Jackson's body.
Time stood still.
An Army private took his rifle, three others their pistol. The one with the handcuffs - which he dropped after seeing the shots - stood and saw his two comrades preparing to fire on something. Or someone.
Then, the calm was shattered by gunfire from the roof of a nearby building. A black woman, in her 60s, went down with a shoulder wound.
And that's when all hell, literally, broke loose.
A civilian from across the street fired on the rooftop sniper and was gunned down by two Army privates.
Half-a-dozen Army privates surrounded Shourds and took him into an used clothing store, with other Army officers providing fire cover.
The civilians took position and kept firing as long as they could, while a young black boy rode a horse to one of the civilian safehouses to inform the resistance's leadership what had just happened.
Meanwhile, civilians without guns tried to run for cover.
A 52-year-old woman, with her 9-year-old nephew at a nearby drug store, was shot in the back, point-range, by a Army Private. The boy somehow had the presence of mind to pull a hunting knife out of his aunt's purse and jumped on top of the Private, whose rifle had jammed.
The boy jammed the knife in the soldier's neck, slicing right through his jugular vein before getting shot once through the skull by another Army officer.
Word spread, and soon the black population of Tuskegee was up in arms.
Harness got word and ordered his soldiers in Auburn and Ophelia to the scene to put out the riot by any means necessary...
Notes from a pamphlet, presumably mass-printed and distributed around Auburn:
- The State Government has extended Martial Law to November 14, 1983 throughout the entire region. While the violence from the Tuskegee and Auburn riots has ceased, government officials believe that it is best to extend Martial Law to ensure the security of government and Army officials and that of the general public. Food distribution centers remain open daily at 12 Noon, and all essential personnel are still to report to work at their regularly scheduled times.
More to come....
The death of a statesman
The November 20, 1983 edition of the Alabama State News newspaper based in Auburn was a single, four-page section that was limited to 500 copies distributed to government, city and Army officials and to various public places around Auburn and Opelika, including food distribution centers, schools, libraries and churches. It was the next to last edition ever published.
The edition contained news of the assassination of Governor George Wallace at his Auburn office the evening of November 18 and retrospectives of his life and political career. The edition also carried a story of the swearing-in of Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley minutes after Wallace was confirmed dead by doctors, and stories about food distribution centers in Tuskegee coming under control of the local police.
More to come....
Neonotia Daily News article, September 25, 2003
Barbara Spellman, one of the famous "Auburn refugees" so named for their trek from the ruined town to Neonotia, was the secretary for Bill Baxley during his short term as Governor of Alabama. She recalls an episode where the governor met with Capt. Harness in a closed-door meeting one afternoon, and being "asked" to go on break during the meeting:
- Harness came in with his aides. Usually he would barely look at anyone if he didn't have business with them, he'd always look ahead, like he was in a hurry to go somewhere. His men, if you want to call them that, always walked at a brisk pace alongside the man, just to keep up with him. That afternoon, I could tell the Governor was upset about something, but he was polite to me and tried to act as if everything was normal...as normal as things could get back then...anyway, Harness and six of his men walked in, Harness saw me, and looked at me with this look of contempt. I had heard the rumors, everyone had, and though I never met the man before I knew why he would regard me that way as soon as our eyes met. I had the strength of the Lord that day, because I didn't say anything or make any kind of move when he glared at me, when he threw the door to the governor's office open and slammed it shut, when one of his men calmly walked up to me and suggested I take a long break. I did just that, and walked until I came to a barber shop, run by Mr. Gilliland, a white man whom was no friend of the Army. I walked in, saw Mr. Gilliland and one of the Auburn police officers, asked if I could use the restroom, shut the door and bawled my eyes out for I don't know how long. When I opened the door, Mrs. Gilliland was right there, with a glass of water and a couple of handkerchiefs.
More to come....
Governor Bill Baxley
- ...Baxley once ran to succeed Wallace as Alabama state governor, losing the Democratic Party primary in 1978 to Fob James, who would go on to win the election. The following year, he completed his second term as the state's Attorney General, and the 38-year-old Baxley would help found the law firm of Baxley, Dillard, Dauphin, McKnight and James in Birmingham, Alabama.
- Baxley was well known as attorney general for having prosecuted corrupt political officials, industrial polluters and strip miners, and appointing Alabama's first African-American assistant attorney general, Myron Thompson.
- His prosecution in 1977 of a Klansman for his role in the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing of 1964 - which resulted in the death of four young African-American girls - earned him threats from the Klan at the time, and made him a target for Harness and his associates after Doomsday.
- ...Baxley was threatened three times by Harness, the first two by implication and the final time via a note (signed by Harness) left on the front door of his home. Only the work of State Army and U.S. Army soldiers loyal to Baxley spared he, his wife and his staff from assassination. Days later, Baxley would make the decision to take every essential item, including food and medicine, and evacuate the town of Auburn for presumably safer ground in south Georgia.
- --The Encyclopedia of North America, published by League of Nations Press, Monterrey, Mexico, first edition, 2011
More to come....
The first Thanksgiving Day post-Doomsday was barely noticed throughout southeastern Alabama.
Survival had become the order of the day. The enthusaism that marked the rebirth of the state government and the formation of the State Army mere weeks ago had dwindled to stark realism and a growing despair.
Somewhere in or near one of the farms or buildings commandeered by the State Army, Harness and his lieutenants reportedly met at 3 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving to discuss the Army's next major operation, which amounted to a guerrilla-style attack on the non-Caucasian population. Harness had led dozens of refugees from around the region - all Caucasians - with the promise of ample food and the stern warning that they would have to "fight" for their "lives" against the "enemy".
Not all of Harness's lieutenants were there, and he knew who they were with if not exactly where they were.
At the same time, in the basement of a Tuskegee church, Baxley met with Tuskegee, Auburn and Opelika city leaders; U.S. military officials from what was now popularly known as Fort Opelika; and four State Army leaders, appalled at Harness's plans and loyal both to Baxley and to the people of Alabama.
Sumrall, the highest-ranking U.S. Army officer present, unveiled to everyone there the Army's proposal for evacuating the population to south Georgia.
Early in November, a scout from Plains, Georgia had arrived in Opelika, in bad health from radiation and malnutrition. The scout confirmed the survival of former President Carter in the town of Smithville, as well as the beginnings of the development of a militia that could help fight the Harness-led Army if need be.
The scout soon passed away, known only to those on the base.
On November 23, three scouts from Fort Opelika returned, confirming the existence of Smithville (though they hadn't contacted anyone from the area, per orders).
Much discussion ensued on whether to abandon Auburn, Tuskegee and Opelika or to stay and take a stand. Already there had been informal discussions amongst people on "fight or flight", and the majority opinion seemingly was to stay and fight off Harness to the death if necessary.
Such a fight, it was believed, would destroy all three towns, as the State Army was becoming known as a unit that would, literally, fight to the death against anything that would stand in its way - women and children included.
Sumrall asserted himself in the discussion and unveiled the general thrust of War Plan Exodus.
Two units would be deployed.
One would follow and guard the group of refugees headed for Georgia.
The other would stay and fight Harness's army, the goal being to give the refugees enough time to get to the safe haven.
The safe haven was assumed, of course. There was no guarantee the refugees would be accepted, much less that there would be ample food and supplies for them. Baxley was gambling that Carter would not turn them away.
It was also certain that soon, Harness would implement his final solution, turning his army loose not just on all non-Caucasians, but on all Caucasians he judged to be against those he considered to be part of the "human race".
More to come....
- ...It is almost impossible to find any reliable records on Harness from pre-Doomsday. Either they were destroyed in the nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., or are likely lost as society fragmented in the aftermath of what the world has come to know as Doomsday.
- What is reliably known about the man comes from interviews with survivors from the Auburn region, and from the town of Selma, as well as the few written and printed documents found amongst the ruins of the towns of Auburn, Opelika and Eufaula.
- Harness himself likely is no longer alive, if recent expeditions into New Montgomery, and interviews with the town's inhabitants, are to be believed.
- Yet, his reputation and legend live on, from Neonotia to the triad of Hattiesburg, Natchez and Louisiana. Numerous citizens live with the belief that Harness has somehow survived, and one day will arise again to lead his people to establish his whites-only paradise in the former Deep South.
- Practically, such an uprising would likely be crushed as Mexican-led LoN peacekeeping forces would move in to engage the enemy almost immediately.
- The concern among regional observers is that Harness's growing larger-than-life reputation will inspire younger men to follow in his footsteps and form their own movements, thereby breaking the fragile peace that currently holds across the Deep South...
- ----An excerpt from the article "Clyde Harness: The American Hitler", published in the English edition of the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, December 25, 2010
More to come....
- The conspiracy, for lack of a better term, spearheaded by Harness and his forces against all non-white people within the provisional Alabama borders - later expanded to include any white who objected and/or resisted his ideas - was born in Harness's mind in the first few days post-Doomsday.
- He tirelessly worked to connect with like-minded people, confiding in them that there was not enough food for everyone to last the winter. Whether that was actually true is irrelevant insofar as the White Army members are concerned. They believed Harness; indeed, they saw in him a man who could not only bring them through the hell they had found themselves in, but also lead them to rebuild a new society amongst the ashes of the one that had been ripped from them.
- It is all the more fortunate, then, that an equal number men and women of all races resisted the racist ideas of Harness for the survival and worth of all peoples.
- If there was a conspiracy to kill off human beings solely for the color of their skin, there was another conspiracy - one amongst men, women and children of valor and courage to resist the monster amongst them. Some - like Vincent Edward Jackson and Carole Harris - were murdered for standing their ground against evil. Some sacrificed their lives so that their fellow human beings, of all races and creeds, could escape to a land that offered safety in a suddenly dangerous world.
- Thankfully, the conspiracy of valor and courage prevailed, as thousands of men, women and children escaped to what we now know as Neonotia, and thousands more stood their ground and made the White Army blink on the outskirts of Tuskegee.
- Vincent Jackson - known as Bo to most people of that era - was but one man, who died doing what he knew to be the right thing. He will be remembered not for his athletic accomplishments in the collegiate world, not for any possible glory and fame that awaited him in professional sports, but as an American who willingly stood up to evil, even at the cost of his own life, and in doing so sparked a conspiracy of valor and courage and faith and love and humanity that saved countless thousands of lives and renewed hope in the hearts of many in this region. That even though the United States had perished from the earth, the American ideas of liberty, equality and justice for all would live on not just in the hearts and minds of those survivors who made the famous trek into Neonotia, but in the hearts and minds of all peoples, those who survived Doomsday and those who came after them.
----Chuck Connors Person, delivering the dedication speech for the Bo Jackson Memorial in Tuskegee
More to come....
- From what we can tell, people had clearly chosen by Christmas which side they were to be on: Harness's, or Baxley's.
- Harness had the majority of the weapons and an army - if you want to call it that - of several thousand men, women and children.
- Baxley had a few hundred more people at his disposal, along with some weaponry from the State Army cache, and the full support of the U.S. Army contingent at Opelika.
- Everyone expected a war to the death, and based on written records found in the rubble at Auburn and Opelika, and people we've talked to in Tuskegee, Harness was gearing up for such a battle around New Year's Day.
- Tuskegee - which all but kicked out the state government and Army in what we're calling the Hammond/Jackson Riot - got wind of Harness's plans. Tuskegee had its own cache of weapons, and had effectively boobytrapped the border with the rest of Provisional Alabama to keep the State Army out.
- Because of the murder of Terrence Hammond and his family, as well as that of State Army soldier (and former Auburn University football player) Vincent Jackson, anti-Caucasian sentiment in Tuskegee had ran high amongst the African-American residents, driving the non-African Americans into Auburn and Opelika. Several subsequent skirmishes between State Army and Tuskeegee forces apparently helped rush Harness into his "final solution", which would be to:
- *kill off ALL non-loyal State Army people in the area
- *eliminate the state government
- *secure remaining food and supplies
- *gear up for a final war with Tuskegee and whatever else was perceived to be a threat
- The leadership in Tuskegee, however, was still supportive of Baxley. After learning from spies of Harness's planned move against the people, the leaders decided to, in their words, "pick a fight" with Harness's State Army, causing a distraction that would preoccupy it and give Baxley's people enough time to escape.
- Tuskegee, then, would provide such a distraction, with the assistance of the U.S. Army and the State Army troops loyal to Baxley. The Tuskegan forces would do the bulk of the fighting, because troops would be needed to defend the people during the retreat and the Tuskegans would be basically fighting for their own lives.
- On December 29th, War Plan Exodus -- drawn up in three days, and believed to be the last known mission by any U.S. military unit in North America -- was executed.
- Subsequent fighting flared along the Alabama/Tuskegee border for 30 straight hours, allowing the people enough time to clear Auburn and Opelika of all essential supplies for the trek to south Georgia.
-- an excerpt from "Auburn: The History of an American Town After the Third World War", published in The University of Hattiesburg Historical Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2005
More to come....
The flight from Auburn
...we fled at night, part of our unit taking the rear of the group. The rest of our unit was stationed at the front, and both flanks.
We had enough food for three weeks, so everyone had to be on the move, to get to where we believed the provisional government was. We (the combined U.S. Army/Alabama Army contingent, loyal to Gov. Baxley and the refugees) were on alert, although the enemy (the so-called "White" Army) never pursued us. The trek itself was hard enough; dozens died on the journey to Georgia...
- personal recollection from Cpl. Marcus Hunter, U.S. Army, stationed at Opelika. He died of leukemia in 1986. More to come....
The 7,149 men, women and children who left Auburn trekked their way through the growing wilderness of west Georgia, carefully rationing the food amongst them. The journey would be difficult, but time was of the essence - it was winter, after all, although not the nuclear winter that most of the Auburn professors had predicted. Rumors from the journeyman on the provisional government in Smithville gave them hope...and hope and determination was all they had.
Meanwhile, Harness's troops picked the remnants of the town and university clean of anything and everything. While pleased over the tools, equipment and weapons left behind and still salvageable, Harness cursed the refugees for taking most of the food with them. That would make it harder.
Harness had hoped to quickly put to rest any notions by his lieutenants of going after the refugees: Georgia was surely irradiated and they would drop over dead any day now, he told them. In reality, he wanted to put the entire affair behind them and start over: no U.S., no Alabama, no Baxley, no liberal social notions to keep "his people" from building what he hoped would be a decent place to live for their grandchildren, their grandchildren's kind and only their kind.
Nevertheless, Harness was told by his lieutenants that food was a necessity - and that the Baxley-led party would likely be headed down to Eufaula, the town that had declared itself independent of the Alabama government in the wake of the Alabama Army's atrocities.
On January 9, mere days after Baxley's party left, Harness's party left Auburn, after having stripped it of every possible useful thing that the people could take. That included a vast array of weapons, including handmade items. Down through Hurtsboro, Midway and Clayton they went, implementing McDonald's strategy of taking useful people of "our kind", stripping the towns bare of food, ammo and anything else useful, and killing off "non-useful" whites and any non-whites.
The white army, and the population of the people, slowly grew. Those who could adapt and keep up with the group stayed alive; those who did not were discarded.
What Harness nor his lieutenants didn't know is that Baxley's party, and the Fort Benning troops guarding them, had crossed into Georgia through Jernigan, north of Eufaula.
When Harness's white army reached the outskirts of Eufaula, the Auburn refugees were walking into Lumpkin, surprising the locals there who had survived the past few months.
As McDonald was making connections with sympathizers in Eufaula, planning the stripping of that town, Baxley learned that the promised land, such as it was, he and his people were looking for was indeed in Smithville and Plains.
Baxley decided to ground the caravan in Lumpkin for the time being; the refugees were put up in area churches, and those who could work put their skills to use helping the locals. Baxley heard more rumors of the survival of President Jimmy Carter being among the survivors, and sent emissaries on January 24th towards Plains and Smithville to confirm whether that was true and what provisional government was actually there.
On January 25, four months after Doomsday, Harness's army began what has long been called the Rape of Eufaula.
That day, four soldiers of the former United States Army met a man who was once their country's Commander-In-Chief.
By January 28, 400 men, women and children, all white, and young and able to work, were all that was left of the population of Eufaula. Harness's army had only lost 17 men and women.
On January 29, the White Army of America and the people it was charged with protecting began trekking west, into former Alabama, looking for their own promised land.
That day, Jimmy Carter met Bill Baxley in Smithville. After catching up on current events, both men began the task of figuring out where to put all of the Auburn refugees.
A few years later, after it was determined the White Army had left and was nowhere in the vicinity, the Smithville government, having relocated to Plains, decided to try reconnecting with some of the communities in southeast Alabama. First contact with Tuskegee was difficult - but a visit from former President Carter went a long way towards beginning the process of restoring ties and healing the wounds brought on by Harness's men.
The White Army raped and pillaged its way through Alabama, adding more "pure humans" - and food, livestock and weapons - to its ranks, eventually arriving in Selma. The pillage and abandon strategy would surely work against a people who seemed scared and weary, and after their relative success in fending off the police and volunteers of Tuskegee, the White Army felt confident of its strategy against Selma.
Instead, it found itself in a war that nearly destroyed everyone involved. Only a reluctant peace treaty, and agreement to leave, kept the war from going down to the last human being in the region. Harness took his weary tribe, which wandered some more until finding an abandoned state park. Harness planted a Confederate flag, proclaimed the start of a new Confederate America and deemed the abandoned part the new capital of their promised land. Like Moses, he had led his people through war and attrition to their Israel; but he didn't believe in God, and thought he was strong enough to help his people build their new utopia.
Throughout southern Georgia, and later southern Alabama, former President Carter made alliances with leaders of various towns, pulling them together into a union that formalized slowly over time. Eventually the people would come to call it the New South, then Neonotia.
Baxley served on Carter's cabinet and then in various capacities in the Neonotia government until passing away in 2008 of natural causes.
In 2005, one of the young men Baxley mentored, Charles Barkley - the former Auburn basketball player who volunteered for the Alabama Army, then courageously spoke out against its leaders actions - became the governor of Neonotia. A charismatic, funny and outspoken Democrat, Barkley became one of the most beloved figures throughout Neonotia.
Barkley, and Carter, received League of Nations, West Texan and Mexican officials in the fall of 2009 in Plains. The Vincent "Bo" Jackson Memorial was dedicated in Tuskegee that November. Jackson, Barkley's good friend from their post-Doomsday Auburn days, was posthumously awarded the LoN's Medal of Valor for his heroism and bravery.
Around that same time, a group of visitors from Hattiesburg dared to enter New Montgomery, encouraging it to enter the community of nations in the region. They dared to cross the invisible, unofficial border at the former Bladan Road, outside what was once Bladon Springs State Park and Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge. The visitors had been warned that crossing the road was asking to get killed. Others had previously been shot at.
This time they were received.
Clyde Harness was not seen, nor spoken of. It is thought he has likely passed away, the circumstances of his death known only to locals. If he was alive, if the Clyde Harness that showed his true face after Doomsday was around, it is likely the group would have been shot on sight before they even crossed the road.