The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict that the nation had ever faced, with a division of the states over the legality of slavery, slavery being a major way of life in the southern states. The Confederacy was the underdog in the fight, lower population, economic avenues, manufacturing etc. And it’s common in Alternate history for them to win the Civil War, and the Confederacy capturing Washington DC is one of the common tropes. In this video, we will discussing just that scenario.
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In early May 1864, Ulysses S. Grant sent the Army of West Virginia under the command of Major General Franz Sigel, later replaced with Major General David Hunter, to destroy the railroad center at Lynchburg Virginia. Robert E. Lee sent Jubal Early’s corps to sweep Union forces from the Valley and, if possible, to menace Washington DC or swing around the North of DC and capture Point Lookout, releasing thousands of Confederate prisoners. Following a skirmish at Lynchburg, Hunter led his defeated force into West Virginia, which would knock them out of the war for five weeks, leaving little in Early’s way to defend Washington. The one force that did get in his way was 5,800 men of the middle department under Lewis Wallace, Wallace managed to delay Early at the battle of Monocacy and this gave enough time for the men under sixth corpse to arrive in DC.
The simplest way for a change, would be for Wallace to not delay Early’s forces. How this would happen could be a number of different ways, either Wallace wasn’t able to get the information about Confederate troops soon enough, thought that the XXII corps within Washington was sufficient or a variety of other factors. Regardless, this leaves Early with 14,000 veterans to battle against the XXII corps under Major General Christopher Auger manning the Washington defenses. The corps had a paper strength of around 32,000 men, However, it’s actual strength was only 9,600, and most of the defenders were either 100-day militia, men from the reserve corps or armed federal clerks. With them being out-numbered and out-skilled, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Early could have taken the field. Thus occupying Washington, but then what?