Alternate History

The Union's Dark Fall of 1863

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October 25, 1863 - Confederate sentries begin to detect Union scouting activity in the area around Brown's Ferry. The onsite commander relays this to General Bragg, and is subsequently made sufficiently aware of deployed local Confederate reserves he had not known of prior.

October 27, 1863 - Union forces begin their assault on Brown's Ferry, but a lack of fog means their crossing occurs under fire. Despite that a bridgehead is secured, and the Federals forces begin an effort to consolidate and push further on. However, Confederate forces soon begin to arrive on scene, and the Federals end up largely contained near their initial landing zone. Heavy fighting goes on throughout the night.

The battle is ultimately decided the following day, when 4000 men of Longstreet's Corps arrive as the Army of Tennessee's relief force for the area. Fierce fighting ensues, but ultimately Confederate numbers and the fatigue of the worn out Union forces decides the fighting. With heavy casualties, the Union assault force is destroyed and the survivors forced into the river.

October 30, 1863 - With Brown's Ferry securely in Confederate hands, the Union cannot sail the resupply steamships. The situation for the besieged Army of the Cumberland is now critical, with the men only having enough rations left for the following morning's breakfast while the civilians also trapped in the town have only four cases of bread for their entire population of 2000.

November 4, 1863 - With starvation fully in effect, the 40,000 strong Army of the Cumberland under George Thomas is forced to surrender to Bragg's Army of the Tennessee. General Grant is forced to resign in the aftermath, while William Sherman's 17,000 men withdraw back to Nashville and its fortifications, where they are joined soon after by Joseph Hooker's 20,000 strong Corps from the East. Their Confederate opponents are themselves too exhausted to follow up on their major victory to mount a large-scale pursuit. A stalemate ensues in the Western Theater, as both sides reorganize and rebuild over the Winter. 

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