Alternate History

PoD 1814-New England Secedes (And a few other things)

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After writing several separate alternate histories, this one seems the most coherent. From an Annales school perspective, little changes-yet while the world is very much recognisable, it certainly isn't our own.

Rather than creating a single PoD, this one has multiple changes which were by and large considered at the time

Oh yes, and I try to factor in a knowledge of the places i change rather than guessing, but do point out startling contradictions

First PoD: The Hartford Convention, a precedent is set

The man stumbles, bloodied, from the inn as the townspeople watch from their windows. He falls to the ground, the knowledge of what happened dying with him-inside the inn twelve United States soldiers, nine New England militiamen and several civilians lie dead. The rest of the US Column is disarmed, and word spreads of the "Incident". Delegates at the Hartford Convention, the destination of the Column, agree a separate peace with Nova Scotia. Madison's outrage and demand that those New Englanders who signed the Convention be handed over to Federal custody only increased demands of Independence, and at the second convening efforts are made to exclude unionists. Anti-Union sentiments were on the rise and several regular army units joined the barricades being set up in the capitol of Connecticut by radicals flying the New England flag. Upon being told that the newly signed Hartford Declaration was tantamount to Independence, Governor Strong simply replied "I suppose it is then".

With representatives from New England being present at the Treaty of Ghent, New England came under the protection of the British Empire as an independent entity. Rather than maintain an armed force, the New Englanders played off Canadian and American politicians against each other for the first fifty years of its existence, and the damage the British and later US blockade on New English ports would encourage industry inland-New England would only have to bear arms once in the next hundred years, becoming a bastion of classical liberalism-the incumbent Federalist party's main opposition (aside from the discredited Republicans) was the Radical Liberal party.

Briefly- New England breaks off and stays free through playing Canada against the US

Impact-US, without the liberal influence of the north-becomes more centralised in colonising the west. After the leadership of Oregon Country proves troublesome unelected Governors are appointed by the President to Oregon (1848), Minnesota (1849), Utah & New Mexico (1850), Nebraska & Kansas (1854) and Dakota (1855). The governors of these territories occasionally waged their own separate wars against the Native Americans.

California & Texas' Rebellion against Mexico isn't followed by application for Union quite so quickly, (Worth and Santa Fe County remain within Texas) but the two are still aided by the US, with a historic journey from Boston to California by an expedition of Volunteers to California, as an extension of the war the Yucatan peninsula is turned into a puppet state after locals and Mexican army units hostile to the central government capture the centers of government while asking the US for protection.

The US is still fundamentally free east of Kansas, as the centralising tendencies were opposed within the states with a working administration.

Second PoD: The Confederate States of America

After the contentious election, the Iowa delegates provided the crucial four vote margin needed for Lincoln to win the election, and the Democratic hold on Congress was broken. Missouri, Kentucky and Texas declare neutrality.

Western theatre sees Union forces advancing into Arkansas, pushing the Confederate forces to the Arkansas River, with some Confederate holdouts around Fayetteville north of the river. Supplies of artillery, rifles, munitions and uniforms from a neutral Texas across the river to Vicksburg, becoming the lifeline of the Confederate forces. The fortifications of New Orleans are pointed towards the sea, and while most Louisiana regiments are sent further up-river the local garrison (including Afro-American freedmen) mounts a stout defence, and while New Orleans eventually falls, Confederate forces manage to isolate the city. Breakouts are attempted, but the Union forces remain pinned down in the city under harsh conditions until the end of the war.


1862 Union forces move southward, halted at the Arkansas river by the Confederate army of the West. Landings at New Orleans seize the port, but are unable to make headway after several assaults. 1863 sees attention refocused on the Eastern bank Mississippi as a breakout from New Orleans runs out of steam. 1864’s failure at Vicksburg sees a renewed offensive to take Shreveport from the north, as the union Red River campaign advances as far as Mansfield from New Orleans and Hope after seizing Little Rock and bypassing Hot Springs-Union defeats within the space of two days significantly contribute to the end of the war. Faced with incredible manpower shortages, the Confederate command of the Western Theatre at first only accepted Afro-American freedmen into militia units, but during 1962 the special order went through giving any slave who fought for the Confederate cause his freedom. While the Western Front saw Afro-American units of freedmen and individual freedmen served in the Tennessee and Eastern theatre, the Confederate command was against the adoption as standard of such practice.


After blunders at Cairo, Paducah and Memphis, the confederate army of the Mississippi mounts a stubborn defence of Memphis, but the loss at Shiloh splits the Confederate forces, preventing any concerted effort to reach the Ohio river. 1863 Determined to cut off the confederate line of supply through Vicksburg, the union forces fail to take the fort-supplied as it still was from the west bank. A Union failure to cut the line at Jackson is the last threat to the lines of supply, and confederate harrying of withdrawing Union forces takes its toll.


Arguably the most successful of the Union offensives, the Tennessee theatre pushed the confederate forces out of Kentucky, the Confederate army under Bragg fights defensive battles at Murfreesboro (stones river), Hoover’s gap, Chickamuga and Chattanooga - while the union breakout to Atlanta is cut off.  Receiving word of Richmond’s plight, Johnston heads north-pursuing the remnants of Sherman’s army north.


After the failure at Antietam Lee focuses on defensive works, holding Richmond against repeated union attacks, the last and most serious of which coming in 1864-cutting off the city entirely from Confederate forces further south, the reinforcements from Carolina manage to break the siege. Lee’s attempts to reach Lynchburg were constantly harried by Union forces, who themselves were in a rush to defeat Lee before Joseph E. Johnston’s forces in North Carolina can reach the beleaguered capitol. The Appomattox court house ceasefire ends the war, Despite all their successes against Confederate forces, the failure of the Atlanta campaign and continued fighting potential of the Confederacy after the loss of Richmond. The union forces had faced riots in Detroit and New York, the failure to break through in the west and the Confederate capitol had become the silver bullet that the north believed would end the war.


The four years of war had devastated the Confederate economy, damaged further by the failure of European powers to intervene through an artificial shortage of cotton. Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana might have been the hardest hit buy the war, but no southern state was left unscathed by the war. Even if the status quo at the time of the truce could be maintained, drastic measures were needed to bring stability and order back to the Confederacy. The Union blockade persisted for a year after hostilities had ended, with hopes that a slave revolt and war-weariness would see the Confederacy collapse from within. The chaotic actions which followed in what some would call the second American Civil war put northern policy makers off designs on the south. Staggering inflation and war loans were only one of the states problems as slaves stirred, hearing tales of slaves becoming free through force of arms. Jefferson Davis’ flight from Richmond had discredited the man who had seen the Confederacy through the war, and many politicians of differing ideas and calibres offered different solutions to the Confederacy’s ills. Force of Arms had won the Confederacy independence, and force of arms would now decide it’s fate.

To be continued

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