No Gettysburg: How the Southern States Won Their Independence


In early 1863, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens proposed that a delegation be sent to the North to seek terms for an end to hostilities and a recognition of the Confederacy. After the initial opposition of President Jefferson Davis, the ideas of a conference with these aims was approved, and channels were set up between the opposing sides to put it together. But the events of July- the South's defeat at Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg- ended any chance for the success of the conference, and the idea was quickly rejected out of hand by northern leaders. Years later, Stephen's wrote a selection in his book "A Constitutional View of the War Between the States" pondering this conference and its failure:

"At the time these events were transpiring I thought, if General Lee had remained quietly on the defensive south of the Rappahannock; if all the forces he had collected over and above what were necessary to hold his position there had been sent in aid of the dislodgement of Grant, in his siege of Vicksburg, instead of joining in the movement made into Pennsylvania, that it would have been greatly better for us; and in that state of things, I thought that the conference suggested would most probably have been agreed to; and , also, that the results looked to in its projection would most probably have eventually ensued. ... Upon these questions others must form their own speculative judgments. Indeed, all that could be said on the subject now, as stated before, would be nothing but speculation." ("A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States" by Alexander H. Stephens)

This, of course, encouraged me to speculate, and inspired me to write, and now humbly present to you, the results of that speculation- an Alternate History timeline.

Notes: The vast majority of people in this timeline really existed. It should be assumed that all events before June, 1863 remain exactly as in our timeline. Dates of death for political leaders before 1900 remain the same as in our timeline. This is a timeline written by Stephen Abbott, and was formerly online at Names and dates are essentially unchanged from the 1997 edition.

See also

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