4th July, 1863
The Army of North Virginia (Commanded by Gen R. E. Lee) positioned itself between the Union Army of the Potomac (Commanded by Gen G Meade), and Washington DC. The capital was driven into immediate panic. Hurried plans for evacuation were put into effect. Through 3rd party diplomatic channels, a letter letter was delivered to President Abraham Lincoln from Jefferson Davis. The letter proposed a temporary armistice.
With the fall of Washington being a clear and present danger, the order was given for immediate cessation of all hostilities. All belligerent forces were to retire behind their antebellum borders. No destruction of materiel or infrastructure by departing forces. All troops to have crossed the border within 7 days of the letter’s date.
Historians will argue for more than a century over the actual outcome of the 3rd day at Gettysburg. Probably the fairest description would be a Union tactical victory but a Confederate strategic victory.
The initial plan for the 3rd day of battle was for Pickett’s fresh division to assault the centre of the Union defensive line. Gen J Longstreet was the commander of the Corps to which Pickett’s division belonged. When discussing the proposed assault he is reported to have commented. “It is my opinion that no 15,000 men ever arrayed for battle can take that position.” The lessons of Fredricksburg were still fresh in the mind of Gen RE Lee. “If I gave the command that made this field our own Marye’s Heights, the fault would be entirely my own.” Longstreet’s alternative plan was adopted.
Under cover provided by diversionary assaults all along the Union ‘fish hook’ defensive line, Gen Picket’s Division of Longstreet’s corps assaulted and held Little Round Top .
The bulk of Longstreet’s Corps headed via Fairfield to Emmitsburg. From there they headed South and then East towards Westminster where Lee established his headquarters. Meade’s previously prepared fall back defensive position along Pipe Creek had been bypassed.
Charged with delaying the Army of the Potomac for as long as possible Picket took the task given into his charge with grave determination. Despite repeated assaults throughout 4th July Pickett’s charge held firm. The remnants of his command, along with other units involved in the diversionary attacks, withdrew at nightfall in good order.
During the 4th July, contingents from Lee’s growing defensive force headed NE along the ridgeline as far as the heights overlooking Manchester. The SE end of the initial line was focused on New Windsor.
All along the ridge, temporary entrenchment were hurriedly thrown up.
Lee was concerned that Meade might attempt to turn his flank by marching down the West bank of the Monocracy river. Between Gettysburg and Fredrick the Monocracy was fordable at many points. He addressed this concern by despatching mobile contingents to occupy Liberty Town and New Market. The rolling ridges in the area provided ideal successive defence lines if a delaying withdrawal action was required.
Orders had gone out on 3rd of July to muster every spare man in the Shenandoah valley and proceed in the direction of Fredrick. The purpose was not to take and hold the town but merely to demonstrate a presence. The intention was to make the cautious Meade careful off his own flank if any approach through Fredrick was considered..
The strength of the defensive line established was never tested. It continues to be a subject of heated debate and speculation whether Lee could have held this line if pressed.
With restricted news of events in Gettysburg and a clear and present threat to the capital, Lincoln reluctantly agreed to the Armistice. The Army of Northern Virginia abandoned the defensive line and withdrew towards the Potomac river immediately.
Forts Henry and Donaldson were evacuated. Admiral Farrgut initially refused to abandon New Orleans until personally instructed by Lincoln, via relayed telegraph. Most troops had withdrawn to their allocated deployments by the deadline.
Given the short timetable for withdrawal, the bulk of the stockpiled Union supplies could not be transported out. Normally in these circumstances such resources would be destroyed by the retiring troops. The terms of the Armistice precluded such destruction, much to the benefit of the Confederate troops occupying the evacuated locations.
In Washington, Congress indicated the 13th Amendment would be rejected unless there was a permanent peace accord in place.
13th July, 1863
Within two weeks of the Armistice acceptance, draft riots erupted in New York City. Freed blacks were unfairly targeted as the cause of the war and several were beaten to death or lynched by the mobs; a black orphanage and church were set on fire. The rage subsided only when units from Army of the Potomac, supplemented by cadets from West Point, were deployed in New York.
Calls for Lincoln’s resignation grew in the Northern press.
3rd September, 1863
Francis Preston Blair was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. He convinced the two to meet at what was to be known as the Hampton Roads Conference. The Conference took place on the River Queen paddle steamer, near Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Talks between the two parties quickly reached a stalemate
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President Lincoln summarised his position as: “Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of Slavery, and which comes by and with authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points.”
In frustration Lincoln described President Davis’ intransigent position as “He affords us no excuse to deceive ourselves. He cannot voluntarily reaccept the Union; we cannot voluntarily yield it.”
President Davis portrayed the conference in harsh terms, saying that Lincoln had demanded unconditional surrender and that the Confederacy must continue to fight.
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In desperation Lincoln tried to buy his way out of the situation with the ‘Amnesty Resolution’: Amnesty and $400,000,000 for the Southern states if they ended armed resistance and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment
$400,000,000 in 1863 would be worth approximately
$7,790,000,000 in 2016. (About 1/6th the ‘capital’ value of the slaves to be released.).
For comparison the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost between $4 and $6 Trillion.
There were 3,521,110 slaves in 1860. Full compensation would have cost $2,816,888,000 then.
$42,589,643,800 at today’s value.
$42 Billion sounds like a lot.
It’s about 1% of Iraq & Afghanistan wars.
5th September 1863
At the invitation of Francis Player, an additional delegation was admitted to the negotiations. Representatives of the Democratic party headed by Gen George McClellan joined the conference.
A series of unilateral proposals were put forward by Gen McClellan. These became known to later historians as; ‘The McClellan Compromise.’
Slavery would not be abolished. Article I Section 9(1) of the confederate constitution already made the importation of slaves illegal.
Gen McClellan had travelled extensively in Europe and had been present as an observer during the Crimea war. He pointed out that Compensated Emancipation had successfully been used by a number of states to bring an end to slavery.
In particular: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, British Empire, Chile, Colombia, Danish colonies, Netherlands, Ecuador, French colonial empire, Mexico and Central America, Paraguay, Peru, Spanish Empire, Sweden, Uruguay and Venezuela.
In 1862 President Lincoln had signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Proclamation. Despite a full appreciation of the challenges any supporting bill would face in Congress, he found it difficult to argue against the principle.
To compromise,…… emancipation would not be compulsory. Current slaves would enter a seven year ‘apprenticeship’, at the end of which they would gain their freedom. Compensation would be paid by the Federal government with one tithe paid each each year. One quarter of which at each ‘quarter-day’ (Candlemas, Whitsunday, Lammas and Martinmas). The final payment of 40% would be paid as a lump sum at the end of the 7 years. At this point the ‘apprenticeship’ would be completed and full emancipation would be granted.
Furthermore, Gen McClellan had already obtained draft approvals of specific agreements-in-principle from the Ambassadors of Great Britain and the Imperial French court (McClellan spoke fluent French. Eventually his daughter was to marry a French diplomat.)
France and Britain agreed to only buy cotton from plantations farmed by apprentices or by waged freemen.
The blockade currently strangling the Southern States would be lifted for all commodities except ‘Blood-Cotton’ ie Cotton sourced from Slave owning plantations.
McClellan introduced Clara Barton to the conference. She had tended wounded at: Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. The conditions endured by wounded (on both sides) had affected her deeply. She was then inspired by Henry Dunant’s book ‘A Memory of Solferino’ and its call for the formation of national societies to provide relief voluntarily on a neutral basis. The newly established ‘American Red Cross’ was to oversee the certification of plantations as free of ‘Blood Cotton’.
Only Plantations approved by the Red Cross would be allowed to export across the Atlantic.
It was accepted the system wasn’t perfect and there would be abuses. These were predicted to be small and were deemed acceptable.
Furthermore, the 3/5ths rule would be abolished. (This convention counted each slave as 3/5th of a person for the purpose of calculating a state population and hence number of representatives sent to congress.) All sides in the negotiation agreed there was no need to discuss any change to franchise arrangements. This change significantly increase the number of Southern State representatives. Added together they formed what became known as the Southern-Caucus within congress. The dominance of the Northern States was greatly reduced when it came to creating or progressing legislature in the house of representatives.
The state of Texas had been granted a peculiar concession when the Republic had joined the Union in 1845. Under the terms of joining, it had the option of splitting into five separate states, at a time of its choosing. It was agreed to approach the Texas legislature in Austin Texas with a view to implementing this option. Each new ‘State’ sent two senators to Congress. The immediate effect of the change would be to increase the number of senators from Southern states considerably. It was agreed to approach Ex Texas Gov, President and Senator Sam Houston to explore this option. Gov Sam Houston was ousted as Governor in 1861 for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States. A slave owner who repeatedly voted against the spread of slavery.
11th September 1863
Subject to being passed by the United States Congress and the Confederate Congress the heads of terms of the McCellan Compromise were accepted in principle and signed by President Jefferson Davis and President Abraham Lincoln.
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Prisoner exchanges were agreed and rigorous penalties were declared for any abuses towards returning individuals who had fought for ‘the other side’ during the war. (It being assumed driven by a defacto act of conscience.)
To avoid the slave owners and local authorities transferring slaves to indentured servitude, the draft act to end ‘Peonage’ was to be implemented before the end of the first apprenticeships. The Act making Peonage illegal was eventually passed by congress in 1867.
In response to signing of the McClellan compromise Abraham Lincoln faced a storm of protest from many parts of the republican body politic.
From one wing because Slavery had not been made technically illegal. (just economically unviable.) From another wing because of the perceived ruinous sums involved in the compensation.
There was one serious impediment to progress:
The Emancipation Proclamation made by Lincoln on 1st January 1863.
The proclamation had not yet been passed by congress and was in the process of being drafted as the 13th amendment to the constitution. It was expected to be ratified some time in 1865.
7th December 1863
The “Hiatus bill” was passed by the Confederate house on this day. In theory members of the Confederate house would hold themselves in readiness for the recall of the house, while elections of Senators and Representatives were conducted. In practice many members stood for election and ended up in US Congress.
27th January, 1864
In an effort to counter the storm of challenges from all sides, Lincoln took the calculated risk of seeking a reinforced electoral mandate for his course of action. He resigned the Presidency on 27th January 1864.
Lincoln later claimed there was an agreement he would run unopposed. To his dismay the Democratic party put forward a candidate of their own. None other than Gen George McClellan. Delays in progressing legislation and adjusting to peacetime footing delayed putting the vote to the electorate.
8th November, 1864
Presidential elections were held on Nov 8th 1864 and Gen George McClellan was elected as the 17th president by a slim majority.
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1864 to 1867
Released from war spending, a period of prosperity began for North and South. Now known as the ‘Pax McClellan’.
Firstly, draft troops in Union forces were released from service and as their fixed terms expired. A small regular standing army was maintained. Most postings were to the frontier territories West of the Mississippi.
Confederate military units were first transferred over to become State Militia. Gradually participation in that service dropped off.
Military spending reverted to antebellum levels.
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The more time that passed since the cessation of hostilities, the more the Northern populace objected to the economic burden of the compensation payments. This financial burden was compounded by the corresponding increasing prosperity enjoyed by southern states from the combined incoming capital and the opening up of trade. The introduction of the Cotton-Gin for cotton processing had made the process less labour intensive. As the South industrialised the number of industrial scale mills grew rapidly. These new mills attracted skilled European immigrants South when they arrived instead of West. As more of the cotton was processed into cloth for export and the availability of labour reduced, many of the plantations diversified or sold land to the increasing number of European immigrants. Share cropping became commonplace. The reduced Western expansion by arriving immigrants from Europe lessened the population pressure and delayed many Territories progress to becoming full State members of the United States.
The emancipation compensation payments of 1864, 1865, 1866 and 1867 were made, all be it with ever increasing reluctance.
The South continued to industrialise. The Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond grew to become the largest such facility in the world. All across the South, foundries sprang up. Many were funded by overseas investment. From Iron rails for the rapidly growing rail networks to the equipage of massive weaving mills for processing of cotton into cloth for export. Across all aspect of industry, the Southern economy grew to rival that of the North. It was only a matter of time before it surpassed its neighbour.
Release of Emancipation Compensation payments during 1868 were each delayed in Congress. Various political factions saw an opportunity to advance their own causes by making things difficult for President McClellan. (Further complicated by the prospect of Presidential elections on the horizon.) Reverting to compromise as a lever for progress, McClellan put forward a number of proposals. Most controversial were adjustments of tariff rates for various commodities and finished goods. These were particularly detrimental to Southern economic interests and were seen as an attempt to placate Northern business interests who were feeling disadvantaged.
The impositions of restrictive trade policies brought accusations of tyranny in the Southern Press.
15th April, 1868
President McClellan attended a theatrical performance of the play ‘Our American Cousins’ at Ford’s theatre in Washington DC. John Wilkes Boothe entered the private box and shot President McClellan in the back of the head with a derringer pistol. As he shot the President, Boothe was alleged to have said: “Sic Semper Tyranis”. President McClellan was taken to a boarding house across the road from the theatre for treatment. There, he died of his wounds.
Congress immediately called a vote to suspend all Compensation payments. The motion was defeated in the house of representatives, primarily due to a block vote by Southern Caucus representatives! Vice President Andrew Johnson tried to hold things together. The relationship between North and South deteriorated month by month as new Presidential elections approached.
3rd November, 1868
General US Grant was elected as 18th President on 3rd November 1868. There was a widespread sentiment that…during the war “If Lincoln had brought him East, we’d have won the war and it wouldn’t have cost a red cent in compensation!”
A ‘Budget of national prudence’ was narrowly defeated by Congress in January 1869. It had planned for all payments due that year to be delayed till 1870 when another vote would be taken.
In a momentous decision, President Grant passed the budget by Executive Order after Congress had gone into recess. A vote on ‘Defending Legislation’ which would rescind the Executive Order fails to win a majority. Many southern delegates had left Washington at the start of the recess hand had not been able to return to congress in time for the vote.
By the end of 1870 Southern hopes now rested on the Supreme Court review of the Executive order.
From 1869 the supreme court consisted of Judges from: Maryland, New York, Maine, Iowa, New Jersey, Illinois and two from Ohio. All were from Northern States.
The court ruling was delayed repeatedly. During this time, legislation was passed to vastly increase military spending on Federal forces. In response the Confederate Congress was recalled to service and State Militias were called to arms. Payment of Tariff duties and other taxes were withheld by Southern States.
When US Senators and Representatives were withdrawn from Washington the original Budget of National Prudence was amended and passed by congress.
Southern States were declared to be in belligerent revolt and the country was on the brink of recommencing hostilities.
The supreme court ruled 5 to 4 in March 1870 that the executive order to pass the ‘Budget of National Prudence’ exceeded the authority provided by the constitution and ordered its immediate repeal. By then it was too late.
Both sides blamed the other for starting the war.
Mississippi & Alabama state legislatures voted to annul the McClellan compromise. All payments made so far forfeit due to breach of contract. ‘Property’ was to be returned to ownership!
Several problems with this course of action quickly emerged.
Firstly the remaining Southern states wanted to maintain the profitable trade in Cotton and Tobacco with Europe. Most ‘Blood Cotton’ came from Mississippi and Alabama. These remaining states voted to maintain the conditions of the McClellan Compromise. Payments would be maintained at 66 2/3% by the Confederate government until such time as US Federal government could be compelled to make good on: missed payments, interest, war costs if that became necessary and punitive damages at the discretion of the Confederate Congress.
Secondly: Most ‘property’ was gone. Plantation owners had been applying for and receiving payments for apprenticeships setup at the end of hostilities. In reality most of the ‘apprentices’ had left for paid employment elsewhere. Most picking and processing was done by incoming white settlers either under terms of employment or as share-croppers.
Other consequences emerged
Of all the Southern States, Texas had received the least of the Emancipation Compensation payments. Heavy industrialisation had nevertheless occurred in the South of the State. A massive deep water port had been excavated in Corpus Christi, TX. Much of that investment had come from European finance houses. It was only with the arrival of the Prussian Norddeutsche Bundesmarine fleet in Galveston that it was commonly known most of the investment had come from Germanic States.
Much of the increasing investment was coordinated by an organisation called Adelsverein, or Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas). With their support, German immigration had increased rapidly over recent years across a wide belt of South Central Texas as well as around the Industrialised areas adjacent to Corpus Christie and Galvestson.
Then there was Louisiana…
Back in 1803 the ‘Louisiana purchase’ had taken place for 80 Million Francs ($15M)
The Bourbon Restoration in 1814 followed the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Congress of Vienna upheld rulings of the Treaty of Paris. The major European powers were all represented.
Apart from the territories carved up by the big players there was a small catch-all term included. France was to retain all of the territory which it had possessed as of 1st January 1792. There were a few very specific exceptions where ownership was transferred to Great Britain. (Tobago, St. Lucia, Seychelles and Mauritius).
Napoleon III was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was the first democratically elected president of France. The Parliament tried to block a second term. The following Coup d’etat resulted in him becoming the Emperor of the Second Empire.
In late 1869 it looked like the American Civil War was about to break out again.
On 14th July 1870 (Bastille Day) Alphonse James de Rothschild arrived at the Whitehouse in Washington DC to deliver a promissory note for $15 million.
The United States was given notice that under the terms agreed at the Congress of Vienna, France was to retain all of the territory which it possessed as of 1st January 1792. Since the sale of Louisiana had been made under duress caused by allied forces, the Emperor Napoleon III considered the purchase……….. null and void.
However, to avoid any diplomatic unpleasantness, and in the interest of maintaining peaceful relations with neighbouring states, the Emperor had instructed repayment of the original funds…. in full.
It was pointed out that much of the territory could be described as a) legally. an abandoned asset or b) Under de-facto control of a foreign power. (CSA)
The Louisiana State Legislature voted almost unanimously to become a colony of France. Immediately this was modified by Conseil d’État in Paris to have Louisiana regarded as an integral Department of France itself.
There was dancing in the Streets of New Orleans to celebrate.
Furthermore, any region of greater Louisiana, contiguous with the Mississippi river, with its own established legislature and that was recognised (now or in the past) as a State within the United or Confederate States of America would hereby have its territory seceded to state control in-perpetua as a gracious gift by the Emperor. (One small exception being that the ‘State’ of Arkansas would have to cede all lands south of the Arkansas river within its border as being transferred to the State of Louisiana. This sensible arrangement was for the benefit of their mutual security.) Whether by accident or intentionally, Kansas was excluded from the list of Trans-Mississippi states.
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The last week of December 1870 is known as the Devil’s Christmas.
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The Confederate States of America declared war on the United States.
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The United States of America declared belligerent States as being in rebellion.
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French forces landed in the Port of New Orleans to be welcomed as liberators.
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Prussian Forces landed in Corpus Christi and Galveston.
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[Author’s note: From this point on the alternative history becomes more tenuous/tortuous in an effort to bring all the troop types manufactured by Baccus into play!]
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A British Expeditionary force was revealed to have been massing on the Canadian border around Thunder Bay in Ontario. British scouts had been spotted all across the Minnesota territory.
Their presence was described as a pre-emptive strike in the face of intelligence reporting a possible invasion of Canada by forces from the US.
In 1865 an American ship, Erin’s Hope, had been intercepted by the Royal Navy. It was loaded with men and ammunition, heading for Ireland. Enhanced interrogation by British forces revealed detailed plans for an invasion of Canada.
In Philidelphia William Randal Roberts was elected president of an organisation planning the invasion. 3000 troops would invade from Chicago and 5000 from Cleveland. These two forces however were intended as feints. The main force of 16,800 would concentrate in St. Albans, Vermont under the leadership of Brigadier-General Samuel M. Spear. Spear’s troops would deploy after the other two forces had engaged and would march directly for Montreal.
It was believed the invasion had been ‘postponed’ when news was broadcast that a British expeditionary force had been despatched to the Canadian border. Nothing had happened for several years and it was decided that since the British force was already deployed in-theatre, they might as well move South into disputed territories and extend the Canadian borders in the interests of territorial security.
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The British government formally complained to Russia on behalf of the Canadian authorities in British Columbia after it was reported Russian troops were transiting overland from Alaska in the direction of Seattle.
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The great fire of 1851 in San Francisco had destroyed a quarter of the city. The fire (possibly arson) broke out in a paint and upholstery store above a hotel on the south side of Portsmouth Square.
In the immediate aftermath, large swathes of land had been purchased at very suppressed values, by a number of local intermediaries. Over the years, more surrounding land and many controlling interests in businesses were purchased. The buyer was unknown, though rumoured to be oriental. The press was full of reports about a threatened invasion by China.
On the 31st December 1870 the ex Confederate navy Ironclad, CSS Stonewall, sailed into the San Francisco bay. The ship had been sold at the cessation of hostilities with the US. The ship had been renamed the Kotetsu and arrived at the head of the entire Japanese Imperial Fleet. The Emperor Meiji personally guaranteed protection of Californian citizens from imminent Chinese invasion. This protection was something the remote government in Washington DC was unable to do. The landing of Japanese forces in California was met with relief by the local population because of the security provided.