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Grand Presidency of New EnglandTimeline: Days After Chaos
OTL equivalent: New England
Map of the Grand Presidency of New England at its greatest extent before collapse (WIP)
|Capital||Worcester (1880 - 1883)|
Boston (1883 - 1887)
|Ethnic groups||Bay Stater (Official)
Dozens of regional groups
|-||Grand President||William I|
|-||Coronation of William I as Grand President||11 March 1880|
The Grand Presidency of New England, also known simply as New England, was a short lived empire which included the majority of the New England region, existing from 1880 to 1887, under the leadership of William B. Washburn, first and only Grand President of New England.
The Grand Presidency of New England was born out of the rapid conquests of Washburn, from the city of Worcester to the rest of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and parts of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. Following the death of Washburn in 1887 the empire would quickly collapse, lacking a central figure to hold the nation together.
The nation was founded on 11 March 1880 with the coronation of William B. Washburn as Grand President in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, following the city's conquest over the course of the previous few months. The nation would be ruled from the city of Worcester, the center of Washburn's influence, from 1880 to 1883, before being moved the the more prestigious city of Boston to the east.
Governorship of Worcester
By the late nineteenth century the strongest nation in the chaos-ridden New England became the Governorship of Worcester. Created through years of conquest and constant war, led by William B. Washburn, a former politician before the chaos. It is believed at some point after the chaos Washburn was elected or selected through divine right to be dictator for life, but struggling to defend the city of Boston, ordered it be abandoned. The city of Boston would ultimately collapse, and Washburn rode out of the city with one of the region's largest armies. They marched west, laying siege to the city of Worcester. The city was in a similar state to Boston, but with numerous factions fighting for control in the city. It is theorized that Washburn possessed advanced weaponry since lost to time, including a device capable of "channeling the wrath of god". Washburn's large army quickly forced the surrender of the city, and once inside he ordered the execution of all dissidents.
Conquest and Expansion
Believing Washburn to be some prophet of god, or some divine being, many flocked to his city, or surrendered their town to him with little fight. In 1879 Washburn received word however that the city of Cambridge, which had developed a technology oriented society, questioned this notion of right to rule. Washburn marched immediately on the city, razing most of it to the ground. The intellectuals in the city were killed, and the great library that the city had gathered, was burned.
With much of central Massachusetts secured, Washburn marched on Providence, the capital of a unified presidency consisting of much of the surrounding area. Isolated and cut off from much of the surrounding area, Providence held a series of strong defenses, as well as a long army and navy, which Washburn sought to capture.
On 25 March 1879 Washburn engaged against Providence forces outside the town of Uxbridge. The Providence forces had attempted to cut off Washburn's supply lines while marching east, causing Washburn to counter march his forces south toward Uxbridge.
Initially, Washburn selected what appeared to be unfavorable ground, taking the Providence forces by surprise, who then elected to hold their position, while Washburn's infantry took up defensive positions. Unknown to them Washburn personally led his best cavalry against the Providence left up against the hills, and cut up the enemy on the less encumbering terrain and thereby generating a quick rout. After achieving a breakthrough on the left, Washburn managed to direct the difficult task of keeping the cavalry in check while engaged on the Providence flank. Washburn then led a direct assault against the enemey. The Providence troops, realizing they had lost, either surrendered or fled with their hapless leaders. Washburn's cavalry pursued the fleeing forces for as long as there was light. Remaining forces on the battlefield were pursued and slaughtered, as Washburn marched into the town.
Providence forces from across the nation fell back toward the city to defend against Washburn's attack, creating a large defense force. The siege lasted for two months, with the forces inside finally succumbing to a direct assault on 1 June 1879. In exchange for sparing the inhabitants, the military of the city swore fealty to Washburn, pledging to fight for him. Providence's leaders however were executed.
To earn the trust of the captured and refitted Providence units, Washburn next marched on New Bedford, Providence's sworn enemy and rival. With a large navy at his command, Washburn ordered a naval assault of the area. Knowing well that a direct confrontation with the entire New Bedford navy would be a costly battle, the Providence ships were ordered to raid trade ships and smaller vessels, harassing the enemy ships and trade routs as much as possible. His navy and a few units of infantry launched an assault on Edgartown, taking the island of Martha's Vineyard after a swift siege. This drew much of the New Bedford navy away from the city, and when Washburn surrounded New Bedford he was able to take the city.
With the fall of the city on 28 June 1879, much of the remaining navy and surrounding towns surrendered to Washburn. The remnants of the New Bedford navy had fled to Nantucket, engaging in a deadly battle on the high seas against Edgartown, while the port of Falmouth and the surrounding coast still needed to be pacified. Past that to the east, the now hostile Governorship of Cape Cod pledged support against Washburn. On 1 July 1879 Washburn besieged the town of Wareham, receiving its surrender four days later. With its navy at his disposal, Washburn marched east. On 7 July Washburn engaged with Cape soldiers and remnants of the New Beford at the Battle of Bourne. The Cape soldiers believed that by mobilizing quickly they could trap Washburn in the small entrance into Cape Cod, as well as stop him before reaching Falmouth.
Washburn was outnumbered, but his enemy was also less organized and possessed no cavalry. The Cape forces selected the field of battle, positioning themselves with their best infantry in the center. Washburn began the battle by ordering his infantry to march in forward in formation towards the center of the enemy line. The Cape forces attempted to cut off this march, but were cut off by Washburn's cavalry and routed. Washburn, while leading the charge, formed his units into a giant wedge, which quickly smashed right into the weakened Cape center. Believing their leader had been killed, the Cape forces panicked, and their line eventually collapsed. The Cape forces fled east and south, now forced to make a defense against Washburn's invasion.
The naval forces on Nantucket headed west attempting to intercept part of Washburn's navy during the Battle of Falmouth. One of Washburn's largest ships however had been outfitted with "Massachusetts Fire", some sort of unknown device capable of starting fire on enemy ships. The Nantucket navy moved around Martha's Vineyard, arriving north of the Vineyard Sound Harbor, where they engaged with a small local force. Washburn's navy arrived, engaging trapping the enemy there on the northern point of the island. In the Battle of West Chop, Washburn's forces successfully annihilated the Nantucket navy, taking moderate casualties themselves. Massachusetts Fire had proven to be a deadly weapon, incinerating several ships, although damaging the prototype ship to some degree. With Nantucket silent, the navy headed north to engage Falmouth from the sea.
Meanwhile on land Washburn had led his forces south, receiving the surrender of numerous communities as he advanced toward Falmouth. Light fighting ensued along the coast, but most of the enemy force was marched immediately into Falmouth to set up a defense. On 16 July 1879 Washburn arrived in the city, beginning a siege. Supported by sea, the city was easily bombarded, and after days of fighting the defending forces' morale dropped heavily. The defenders decided to make one last assault against Washburn, marching outside the city and engaging his flank. Washburn quickly reacted, wrapping his forces around the attack and cutting off the defenders. The remaining force was now separated, with a detachment in the fort of Woods Hole, which protected the Great Harbor and the route toward Martha's Vineyard, and the other half in Falmouth Heights.
Washburn launched an assault into the city, surrounding the keep and finally forcing its surrender on 30 July 1879. Woods Hole would be taken two days later by sea. With the fall of Falmouth, Washburn effectively controlled all of western Cape Cod, causing the final collapse of the Governorship of New Bedford. The Cape forces fled east toward Yarmouth and Barnstable. Washburn continued his advance east, first assaulting Barnstable. The Cape forces put up a costly defense, hoping to defend their capital. On 14 August 1879 the Governor of Cape Cod launched an attack to try and push Washburn out of the city, but would be slain in battle.
The Governorship fragmented, with Barnstable being captured, and a remnant of its government fleeing for Provincetown, a town loyal to the governor's family. Yarmouth and a few other towns fragmented into their individual counties, having no choice but to defend for themselves. Yarmouth, the last major city in resistance on the cape surrendered on 29 August after a brief siege. Washburn then advanced east into Brewster and then the narrow cape in the east. Now blockaded on land, Provincetown was then surrounded by sea, falling to Washburn's navy on 8 September.
In Septemeber Washburn left Cape Cod, having successfully won the Cape Campaign. He headed west, next marching on the town of Plymouth, which had initially supported New Bedford and the Cape economically in their defense against him. Washburn had his attention set on the city of Boston, and sought to capture it to give legitimacy to his reign. The city of Plymouth, which Washburn viewed as a holy and historical city, would also be essential, and Washburn planned to march north from the city all the way to Boston.
Much of the region between Wareham and Plymouth would be raided by Washburn, capturing valuable supplies to fuel his advance and heavily demoralizing the Plymouth defenders. On 20 September the city fell to Washburn, and became the starting point of the march north. At least four local chiefs resisted Washburn, the most predominant being the leader of Quincy, who had just recently conquered the city from the many fighting factions outside Boston. Rather than risk separate sieges against them, the independent towns of the coast organized into a loose confederacy under Richard Fennessy, pooling their allied armies to fight Washburn on a united front. The army was slow to mobilize and was very disorganized, with many local forces retaining petty grudges and disputes with neighboring towns.
Washburn used the disorganized nature of the local forces against them, targeting their leaders. Washburn knew that if the leader of the confederacy fell each army would return to its primitive, separate form. At the Battle of Kingston a small detachment was sent by Washburn to Silver Lake, which would then attack from the north, surrounding the confederacy's army. After a brief battle the defenders attempted to abandon the city and retreat north to a more defensible position, but were cut off by Washburn's advanced troops. In the ensuing chaos Fennessy would be thrown from his horse and killed, causing the confederate army to fall apart. For their resistance, Washburn ordered the execution of most of the army, and Kingstown was occupied. Losing the majority of its army, the coastal cities surrendered, with the last resisting city being Quincy.
Washburn arrived at the outskirts of Quincy of 28 September, and wished to capture Boston by winter. The forces of Quincy, under the command of Governor Thomas Laforest marched outside the city to the edge of his territory, engaging Washburn directly. The battle proved to be tough, as both sides were adequately experienced and organized. As Laforest charged on Washburn to the east, a secondary army under Washburn arrived from the south, engaging Laforest on two sides. Eventually Washburn managed to close the gap between the city, trapping Laforest on all sides. Laforest fell back and made a last stand between the Weymouth Back River and the Towns River Bay. Him and his loyal forces would be slaughtered on the edge of the water, with the victorious Washburn advancing into Quincy.
The people of Quincy were quelled by Washburn's forces, and his army would spend a few weeks there preparing for the invasion of Boston. With the city of Boston now right before him, Washburn marched against the city on 20 November 1879. The city was in disorder with multiple factions fighting for power. Most city districts had their own allegiances and their own armies, which fought in the crowded and destroyed city streets. The Siege of Boston would take three months of urban fighting, including a siege to take the inside keep, which alone would take a few weeks. By December 1879 Washburn was able to secure the southern portions of the city and create his own fortifications, allowing his soldiers a fort to garrison. The largest fort would be in the former campus of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, which was built up with walls and other defenses.
In early 1880 the Siege of Fort Port concluded, with Washburn capturing the eastern section of Boston. A deadly fight to take Boston proper then ensued, ending with the securing of the city as far as the Charles River by the end of January. In late January and early February Washburn crossed the Charles River, relieving a siege of allied Cambridge and taking back the surrounding area. Marching north from Cambridge, Somerville would fall by 9 February. One of the last remaining major enemies of Washburn would be Mayor Daniel Keefe of Chelsea, who prepared to defend his territory at all costs. The Mayor's army would be positioned on the banks of the surrounding rivers, prepared to attack any attempted crossing. Washburn sent a portion of his military to capture Revere and surround the Mayor's holdings, traveling along the east bank of the Chelsea. Outnumbered and cut off from the main force further south, Washburn's advanced forces would spend two weeks wrapping around Chelsea. Surrounded by Everett and Revere, the detachment was suffering heavy casualties in the advance.
Washburn had no choice but to send forces across the river toward Everett. His infantry upon arriving on the shore charged against a detachment of scouting enemy forces from Everett, chasing them away and allowing Washburn to advance toward Everett. At the Battle of Everett Washburn would meet the main defending army and connect his detachment back to his main army. After a brief battle which routed the Everett army, the commander in Everett would surrender, allowing Washburn to march on Chelsea. Caught off guard by the attack, Chelsea was easily surrounded and crushed, with Keefe being killed in the final push into the Chelsea Square.
With much of Boston now under his control, on 11 March 1880 Washburn was crowned Grand President of New England in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, beginning the Grand Presidency of New England. Leaving a garrison in Boston, Washburn marched back home to Worcester, which he established as his capital, and began planning further unification of his empire. Washburn hoped to unify the known world, creating an empire reaching as far north as Maine to Connecticut, and would spend the rest of his life fighting to achieve this goal.
On 18 April Washburn departed from Worcester, departing for Southbridge, the southern most major town under his control in Massachusetts. He planned to subjugate the region of Connecticut, which at the time consisted of a number of powerful but disunited governorships. First he marched south into the Governorship of Norwich, which controlled as far north as Woodstock. Washburn would pass through a number of farming towns which surrendered with little to no resistance, allowing Washburn to quickly advance south. On 25 April Washburn was attacked by Count Abel Forsyth of Plainsfield just a few miles outside the town. The attack came as a surprise and initially Forsyth was able to inflict moderate casualties against Washburn's forces. Since Washburn's forces were still in marching formations, they were unable to maneuver or prepare. Washburn quickly called his men to fall back. By the time Forsyth was able to organize his forces much of Washburn's forces had pulled back, and by the time he was able to pursue, Washburn was more prepared for battle. Forsyth's lines were readily attacked, with both sides suffering casualties. Washburn's forces, being more experienced and well trained, were eventually able to overtake the mostly peasant army, causing Forsyth to retreat. Plainsfield was abandoned and later taken by the advancing invaders, with Forsyth retreating to Jewett City.
By this time an army under the command of the Governorship had been ordered north from Norwich, meeting up with regional armies from Jewett City, Voluntown, and Forsyth's fleeing army. The Norwich forces thought it best to defend the Pachaug River and the many waterways surrounding Jewett City, and at the ensuing Battle of the Pachaug Crossing, put up a commendable defense. Spread thin however, the defending lines would eventually be penetrated by the invaders, causing routs throughout. A large detachment of Washburn's army entered Clayville and the northern outskirts of the Jewett City, defending the hill from assaults on all sides from defenders on the Quinebaug River and the Ashland Pond. Skirmishers would also cross the Hopeville Pond on the east, eventually causing the defenders to flee.
Washburn followed the Quinebaug River on its eastern shore, passing through Preston after a brief skirmish. On 27 April Washburn was at the doorstep of Norwich. His main army had followed the river, arriving south of Norwich, while a secondary army had crossed several miles north, engaging a small enemy army at Taftville. The Battle of Taftsville would be a brief battle, with the Norwich forces fleeing south. Eventually all defenders on the river would flee, allowing Washburn's secondary army to advance south and enter Norwich from the north. On 29 April the city fell to Washburn, officially conquering the governorship.