There the battle that changed history ended after three days of fighting, with a Confederate victory. The battle was the largest battle in North America up to that point, and now, it was the most decisive. The Confederates then moved on Washington D.C. and again, crushed the Union army defending it.
Following Washington's fall, the Army of Northern Virginia conquered Maryland, and Jefferson Davis declared victory over the north. This prompted a recognition of the Confederacy by Europe. Following this, England and France forced mediation between the two warring nations.
To many, it seemed that peace was now true.
Uneasy Peace, 1863-1876
After the war's end, it seemed that the two sides would reconcile as neighbours. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. The union refused any trade to the confedracy and also gained a resentment towards Britain and France, for recognizing the Confederacy.
But still, peace was the norm from 1863-1876, unfortunatley, the CSA began to feel that the heavy taxes the US placed on using the trans-continental railroad meant that the Southerners' began demanding a port in the pacific, and thus the ability to build their own trans-continental railroads.
They had two options. 1, they could offer to purchase the southern portion of California and use San Diego as a port, or, they could invade Mexico and use it as a port, Unfortunatley, both these would mean that the United States would go to war, either to defend Mexico or defend California. There was another option though, the Confederacy's allies, Britain and France.
They turned to France and offered a partitioning of Mexico, the French the southern half and the Confederacy the Northern half. The French accepted the idea and informed the British. The British agreed, they saw the seizing of Mexico as a good way to make sure the Union could be forced into a defensive war on 3 fronts(Canada to the north, the Confederacy to the south east, and Mexico to the South West).
The 2nd Mexican War
The invasion began on July 4th, 1876, the centennial of the United States. The festivities planned for the day, were suddenly cancelled upon learning of the Confederate invasion of Mexico. President Hans Samson demanded the reason for the attack. Confederate president Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson responded by saying that, with the partitioning of Mexico between the CSA and France, that they would no longer have to use American railroads.
This angered the Union, and on July 6th, Congress declared war on the Confederacy, Britain, and France. The British had already stationed 100,000 regulars in Canada and the South had transferred half its army to attack California.
To honor his promise to defend Mexico, President Samson turned to other nations for help. Germany and Austria felt that an alliance with America would help them balance the power of Britain and France, but both sides ultimately refused to intervene, as neither had the navy to successfully cross the Atlantic to help America.
The invasion of New England began in August, and the Union was forced to defend its northern border and pull back the troops fighting in the south too fight the british. The British navy also began shelling Boston, New York, and other key ports in America.
The Western front in Mexico is not much better; the French have crushed most of the Mexicans in their border and the Confederates are completing the conquest of their half. An invasion of California by the south is pushed back by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who was stationed there for the beginning of the war.
Sherman's successes are the only comforting thing for the US. By September the two front war, blockade and Bombardments of their ports are taking there toll. At the same time, the Confederacy has conquered Missouri and Kentucky and West Virginia, and occupied Maryland. The government flees Washington as the guns of the Confederacy move in on the city.
With the fall of Washington D.C, victory seems impossible, and many Americans call for peace. Finally, Congress votes 51% in favor of peace and, for the second time, the Americans are forced to sign a treaty in a second humiliating defeat.
The war was a pointless war to many Americans, especially the fact that it was fought simply because another nation had ports on the Pacific. At the same time, no general in the army but Sherman followed the suggestions of the German military observer, Alfred von Schlieffen. As in 1864, the Incumbent president was defeated in a land slide by republican and general Sherman.
Despite disliking the Confederates for two losses, Sherman still deduced a way to defeat the British- Confederate, French alliance. That was allying with Germany, despite it still being a young country, just 5 years old, yet growing in strength.
Together, the pair formed the Double Alliance, which was joined by Austria a year later, forming the triple alliance. At the same time, Sherman formed a plan for a way to defeat the Confederacy, it stated that their would be two main Army groups, one in the east, one in the west. The plan was that, in the event of war, the western army would invade Mexico and Texas, while the eastern army would attack Virginia. This would send the Confederates into disarray, and allow the Union to defeat them.