Here is my reboot of the War of the Americas AU. It will include some revised images to accompany new ships, revised timeline, maps and additional background information. Enjoy!
This timeline explores the consequences of Confederate independence from the US after the Civil War – particularly in naval matters. Please note that world history outside the Americas from 1862 through 1917 is assumed to remain the same as in our timeline.
Point of Divergence: September, 1862 – Battle of Antietam; American Civil War.
Link to original map at d-maps.com http://d-maps.com/m/america/usa/usa/usa ... aska12.gif
Civil War and Aftermath:
With decisive victories at the Battle of Antietam in September of 1862 and the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg the following July, the Confederate States of America (CSA) finally gains recognition from Great Britain and France. This setback for the Union forces it to go on the defensive, and although the US is successful at halting the Confederate advance at the New York-Massachusetts border and in New Jersey which prevents Washington from being encircled, the country's position is untenable in the long run – particularly when both Britain and France threaten to become directly involved. US President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly agrees to a cease-fire in August of 1864.
A month later, Lincoln and CSA President Jefferson Davis agree to participate in talks sponsored by Britain and France in Washington. The resulting Secession Treaty is signed on October 15, 1864 to go into effect January 1, 1865. The treaty grants the CSA full independence from the US with possession of all western territories claimed at the start of the war. In addition, referendums are scheduled to determine the postwar status of the four so-called “Border States” of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. The secession referendums called for in the Treaty are held during 1865, Delaware and Maryland electing to remain with the US, while Kentucky and Missouri join the CSA.
In the elections of 1864, Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans take the blame for “Failing to preserve the Union” and are soundly defeated by George McClellan and the Democrats. Lincoln returns to Illinois a one-term president and after a sabbatical to the West serves two terms as Illinois governor. He dies at his home in Springfield in 1880 at the age of seventy-one.
When McClellan is sworn in March of 1865, many in the North are concerned he will revoke the Emancipation Proclamation instituted by Lincoln in 1863 as he hinted at during the campaign. However, public opinion is decidedly against anything associated with the “Traitorous South” – including slavery – and the Proclamation is upheld, with the three so-called “Recognition Amendments” (signed between 1865 and 1872) establishing equal rights as US law. Politically, however, the stigma of the Republicans “Losing the War” leads to Democratic domination of the presidency and the US Congress for the rest of the century.
In the newly independent Confederacy, President Jefferson Davis is put under tremendous pressure by Britain and France – both of whom had abolished slavery years earlier – to abandon the institution. As expected, there is resistance to this sort of dramatic change, although some measures aimed at improving working conditions and access to medical care are passed, with some more “progressive” slave-owners even instituting a form of indentured servitude – but in truth, these efforts were made more to placate the CSA’s European allies than to create real change. It would take the Second Industrial Revolution of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries to finally put the last nail in the coffin of slavery – at least in the continental Confederacy.
The postwar US Navy:
The United States Navy ended the Civil War with a decided numerical advantage over the Confederate Navy. By the time of the cease-fire in August of 1864 the USN fielded a force of 157 active combatants comprising 19 coastal monitors with 10 building, New Ironsides
(an ironclad frigate), Galena
(an ironclad sloop), 21 riverine monitors and ironclads of various classes, 12 steam frigates, 31 steam sloops, and 72 steam gunboats.
In the postwar draw-down of forces under the McClellan Administration, all riverine monitors and ironclads were either placed in reserve or scrapped within two years. By the end of 1867 the US Navy comprised a total of 96 active combatants; 29 monitors including the advanced sea-going Illinois
) class, along with 8 steam frigates, 23 steam sloops, and 36 gunboats.
The postwar Confederate Navy:
The Confederate States Navy – having been built up from nothing in 1861 – had a fleet of 26 warships (not counting privateers and blockade runners) by the time of the cease-fire. This fleet consisted of 16 casemate rams of various types and 5 steam cruisers (such as the CSS Alabama
) and 5 surviving gunboats. By the end of 1865, the CS Navy had acquired a foreign-built quartet of sea-going ironclads; the two British-built North Carolina
class barque-rigged turret ships, and the two French-built Stonewall
class barque-rigged casemate ironclads. All surviving acquired and/or converted gunboats and privateers that were operational during the war were sold off or scrapped by the beginning of 1866.
Illinois class (US):
When the Civil War ended, the US Navy had four advanced twin-turret monitors under construction. They would feature a hull with better sea-keeping abilities and would be the largest ships built by the US to date, but were jeopardized by the political chaos that characterized the immediate postwar period. It fell to Gideon Welles – the capable, albeit cantankerous – Secretary of the Navy under Lincoln and retained by McClellan, to push for the completion of the ships, arguing that with a potentially still hostile South, they would present a viable deterrent.
Commissioned between 1866 and 1867, the four ships; Illinois
), and Nebraska
) were very successful in service although, with a maximum speed of 10 knots, somewhat limited operationally.
The new ironclads displaced 5,700 tons fully loaded and were 346 feet long overall. They were armed with four 15” Dahlgren smoothbore guns in twin turrets fore and aft and were propelled by two horizontal direct-acting steam engines driving twin screws producing slightly over 2,000 horsepower. They were protected by 6” thick wrought-iron side armor with 21” wood backing which extended three feet below the waterline with 15” turret armor and a 3” armored deck.
After entering service, the Illinois’
served primarily on patrols of the East Coast. Throughout the 1870’s they fulfilled their intended function as envisioned by Welles – arguably too well as they were a major factor in the CS Navy’s eventual acquisition of ever more powerful warships. All four served until the early 1880’s by which time they were deemed obsolete and retired. Held in ordinary until 1887, they were subsequently scrapped between 1888 and 1889.
Next up: North Carolina