Harry Turtledove Wiki

Atlantean War of Independence

7,223pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk15 Share
Atlantean War of Independence
Timeline Atlantis
Date 1775 to 1778
Location Atlantis
Result Atlantean independence
Colonies of Atlantis


Commanders and leaders
Victor Radcliff

Isaac Fenner
Custis Cawthorne
Habakkuk Biddiscombe
Baron von Steuben
KingdomofFranceflagKing Louis XVI
KingdomofFranceflagMarquis de La Fayette

UKujesGeorge III

UKujesWilliam Howe
UKujesCharles Cornwallis
UKujesHabakkuk Biddiscombe

The Atlantean War of Independence, also known informally as the War for Freedom, was a military conflict between the colonies on the continent of Atlantis and the Kingdom of Great Britain. The war lasted for just over three years, and, thanks in no small part to their alliance with France, the United States of Atlantis emerged as an independent republic.


The war came about as a direct result of Britain's victory in the decade earlier conflict, which ended with Britain in control of France's Atlantean possessions in 1761. The British government opted to impose taxes upon their Atlantean subjects to recoup the costs of the war to expand its territory and then defend its gains.[1] This plan did not reckon with English Atlantis's historical tendency to resist such acts.[2] By 1775, Atlanteans were thoroughly angry with the taxation. People such as Richard Mitchell began printing pamphlets expressing that anger.[3]

In 1775, British troops learned that settlers had been gathering weapons in Croydon, and moved to take them. A battle ensued, and the British received a substantial black eye. The war had begun.[4]

The First YearEdit

At the OutbreakEdit

With war arrived, various important figures in the Atlantean community formed the Atlantean Assembly and raised an army. A small group personally met with Victor Radcliff and implored him to lead this new army.[5]

Radcliff (who'd narrowly escaped Hanover after the fighting started), was hesitant to take the position. The highest ranking Atlantean soldier of the previous conflict, and a descendant of the Radcliffe family, Victor Radcliff wanted to settle down and continue his life as a farmer. However, his sense of duty won out, and Radcliff accepted the position. His friend, former slave, Blaise Black, acted as his adjutant.

Initially, the British Army was commanded by General William Howe. His second-in-command was Charles Cornwallis, Radcliff's one time colleague during the previous war.

Weymouth, Bredestown, and other Atlantean DefeatsEdit

The first major battle came at Weymouth. Howe moved south from Croydon onto Weymouth, where the Atlanteans kept a substantial arsenal. Radcliff pulled the arsenal down into New Hastings, but quickly realized that he could not hold the town. Instead, Radcliff decided to give Howe a Pyrrhic victory. He sent cavalrymen under Habbakuk Biddiscombe to delay the British long enough for the rest of the Atlantean army to show up; Biddiscombe succeeded in this task, and the mostly un-trained and ill-disciplined Atlantean army arrived and took up positions behind walls lining the countryside. The Atlanteans poured ragged volleys of fire into the charging redcoats of Howe's force before withdrawing into the city.

The Royal Navy, prevented by prevailing winds from assisting during the battle, shelled Weymouth. Radcliff and other Atlanteans were distracted by the gunfire and were surprised when a deserter named Daniel Pipes told them of Howe's flanking maneuver. His task of securing the arsenal completed, Radcliff pulled the Atlanteans out of Weymouth before Howe could strike, much to the British general's chagrin.

Radcliff returned to New Hastings to face the Assembly. Initially, he faced criticism, which he responded to by praising his men. This prompted Assemblyman Custis Cawthorne to initiate a resolution thanking Radcliff for not despairing of the nascent Atlantean republic. Radcliff returned to the field with the faith of the Assembly, and prepared to defend New Hastings. As he watched frigates and man-of-war off its coast, Radcliff hit upon the idea of raising a warning flag that yellow jack had broken out in the settlement. It did temporarily hold off the invasion. Instead, General Howe attacked Bredestown.

In response, Isaac Fenner, Speaker of the Assembly, and Bredestown's favorite son, approached Radcliff about keeping Bredestown out of British hands. Radcliff immediately saw the strategic folly of this, instead opting to make the fall of Bredestown costly for Howe, a strategy Fenner reluctantly agreed to.

The Battle of Bredestown was short and to the point. Radcliff marched his field artillery, his riflemen, and a regiment of infantry from New Hastings to Bredestown, leaving the majority of his forces in New Hastings. General Howe engaged outside of town, driving back the Atlanteans through the outskirts of town, while the Atlanteans engaged in house-to-house fighting, using both riflemen and artillery. Although Radcliff had fully intended to lose the battle, the cost was still substantial, as reports came that the British refused to take prisoners. Soon, Radcliff realized the time for retreat had come when one of his most aggressive soldiers, Colonel Dominic Whiting sent word that he could no longer hold his position. Radcliff conducted a successful retreat across the Brede, and then destroyed as many bridges as possible.

For his part, General Howe came to fully appreciate the level of commitment of the Atlanteans, as they inflicted substantial casualties on his troops, casualties which were far more costly than he could afford. He wrote a letter to one of his colleagues, which was intercepted by Atlanteans. This is probably why Howe did not pursue Radcliff at once.

Radcliff had sufficient time to take stock in New Hastings. He was even given a bit of good news when he was informed that over 100 new recruits were available to him. More good news came when Howe's letter was captured and brought to Radcliff.

Two weeks later, Howe began sending skirmishers into New Hastings. Before he could initiate an attack, rains began that lasted for days, and finally caused the Brede to burst its banks and flood New Hastings proper. Despite the logistical nightmare of keeping powder dry, Radcliff ordered that fortifications be built miles outside of town. The rains were too heavy for that, and after some time, Radcliff ordered the building stopped. When the rains finally stopped, Radcliff received word that Howe attempted to move on New Hastings, but the heavy mud completely halted the advance. Radcliff's forces were vulnerable to the mud as well, so he could not take advantage of the situation.

Howe's men began skirmishing again days later. The attack came in earnest a few days after that. The Atlantean lines began withdrawing under artillery fire. Soon, New Hastings was threatened. When Radcliff alerted the Atlantean Assembly, Isaac Fenner assured Radcliff that the Assembly would evacuate, and hope that Radcliff would bloody Howe as he had at Bredestown. Radcliff realized that this would be impossible. Soon, it was clear that Howe had broken the Atlantean lines, and Radcliff alerted the Assembly. He and his men retreated back into New Hastings, and then headed north, back over the Brede, and the Assembly moved on to Honker's Mill.

Avalon and TerranovaEdit

While the duel between Radcliff and Howe was probably the most crucial fighting in the first year, it was by no means the only fighting. As 1775 came to a close, the British landed several Copperskin mercenaries at Avalon, a crucial port town on the Atlantean west coast. When word came to Radcliff, he opted to send few troops to Avalon proper, but instead sent one Thomas Paine, a radical thinker with impressive oratory skill, to the continent of Terranova. Paine was able to incite rebellion in certain of the settlements there, and dividing Britain's attention.

Radcliff's Winter CampaignEdit

As 1775 ended, Howe went into winter quarters in New Hastings. Radcliff, however, took the unorthodox step of actually campaigning through the winter.

The winter campaign proved successful, as the British garrisons of three towns fell to the Atlanteans in short order: Sudbury, Halstead, and Pittman's Ferry. By following this course, Radcliff hoped to carve a path to the sea. The campaign even saw the retaking of Weymouth for a time after a fierce battle.

Howe had no choice but to march on Weymouth. Realizing that he could not defeat Howe on an open field, and doubtful he could manipulate Howe into a trap, Radcliff ordered a withdrawal from Weymouth. Nonetheless, the winter campaign had been a success, as Radcliff had shown Howe that the Atlanteans were still in the fight.

The Second YearEdit

Howe Marches SouthEdit

With the arrival of Spring in 1776, Howe took most of his troops from New Hastings and headed for French Atlantis by ship.[6] This prompted the Atlantean Assembly to send the popular printer and politician, Custis Cawthorne, to France to gain support for the Atlantean cause.[7]

Concurrently, Radcliff moved south after Howe, retaking first Bredestown,[8] then Freetown (and it was from here Cawthorne sailed to France)[9], before crossing the Stour River.[10]

Initially, the French Atlanteans were as resistant to the English Atlanteans as they were to the British.[11] However, Radcliff was able resolve this problem with promises of Atlantean paper money as a carrot and cannons as a stick.[12]

Howe landed at Cosquer.[13] and was met by Radcliff on field of battle. Before the battle actually came, a local landowner named Ulysses Grigsby provided Radcliff with a suitable location for a possible ambush.[14]

The subsequent Battle of Grigsby's Field was a successful rout of the British as Howe blundered into Radcliff's trap.[15] Howe himself was killed during the fight.[16] Charles Cornwallis now commanded British forces in Atlantis.[17]

Radcliff pressed on to Cosquer, which the British had fortified.[18] After some debate, Radcliff opted not to attack, preferring instead to hold Cornwallis's men in.[19] To Radcliff's relief, Cornwallis opted to retreat from Cosquer, and Radcliff, not wanting to place his men under Royal Navy guns, let Cornwallis go.[20]

To the West Coast and Back AgainEdit

Cornwallis sailed for the west coast,[21] and Radcliff and his men marched over the Green Mountains to New Marseille in pursuit.[22] Ironically, two important events occurred during the march that rendered the whole exercise a moot point: the Atlantean Assembly issued the Atlantean Proclamation of Liberty[23], and France recognized the United States of Atlantis and declared war on Britain.[24] Thus, while Cornwallis was able to take New Marseille, he almost immediately evacuated and went back to Hanover, one step ahead of Radcliff.[25]

Radcliff's trip to Hanover was not as smooth as Cornwallis's. Several men's enlistment ended, and they simply returned home.[26] While on the march, Radcliff sent off a letter begging the Atlantean Assembly to maintain enlistments for the duration of the fighting.[27], and was met with a rude denial.[28] Happily, new companies joined him.[29]

Another setback came in the unexpected defection of Habakkuk Biddiscombe to the British. Biddiscombe's challenges to Radcliff's leadership had grown increasingly bolder.[30] When Radcliff shot down Biddiscombe's scheme for kidnapping Cornwallis,[31] the resentful Biddiscombe had reached his limit, and deserted.[32] Biddiscombe was initially a propaganda victory for Cornwallis. However, Cornwallis soon discovered that the vainglorious Biddiscombe was no more respectful to the British general than he had been to Radcliff.

The Atlanteans Retake HanoverEdit

As the Atlanteans marched back east, Thomas Paine's efforts in Terranova were bearing fruit, and Cornwallis had detached part of his garrison at Hanover to help put the rebellion down, which left Hanover vulnerable.[33]

Marching along the Blackwater towards Hanover[34], Radcliff and his men came across a hastily built stockade. After convincing the garrison at the stockade that the Atlanteans did not intend to attack by setting up camp, Radcliff's men launched a sneak attack that very midnight.[35] The stockade fell in short order,[36] and the Atlanteans continued on to Hanover.[37] He was greeted by a variety of informants who were able to sneak out of Hanover. Using this information, Radcliff was able to develop an effective plan of attack, and after fierce fighting, Cornwallis left the city and returned to Croydon and New Hastings, and Hanover fell back into Atlantean hands.[38] Radcliff returned to winter quarters inside Hanover, Cornwallis at Croydon.[39] He also fortified the town.[40]

The Third YearEdit

Redwood Hill and the Arrival of the FrenchEdit

As in the 1777 campaign season, Cornwallis marched for Hanover. Having heard of Radcliff's fortifications, he bypassed Hanover, trying to lure Radcliff out into the open.[41] Instead, Radcliff opted to harass the British line of march with riflemen, a plan that included capturing all British soldiers who left the line.[42] From a captured sergeant, Radcliff learned that Cornwallis marched for Redwood Hill.[43]

A fierce battle was soon fought for Redwood Hill. The British had built an observation post. The Atlanteans took it in short order. In response, Cornwallis sent more troops to retake it. Soon the fight escalated into a full scale battle. After fierce fighting that lasted through the day, Cornwallis gave up and retreated from the Hill, effectively ceding Hanover to the Atlanteans.[44]

French troops under the Marquis de La Fayette arrived at St. Denis, and engaged Cornwallis's men while marching towards Cosquer.[45] The British, now accustomed to the Atlantean style of fighting, actually used this approach to harass the French. Radcliff personally agreed to help train the French in the Atlantean school of fighting.[46]

Thus, when the French marched into the interior of Atlantis to escape the British, and continued north back to Hanover, they were better able to engage their enemy. East of Hooville, French and British troops engaged in a brief fight which allowed Radcliff to rejoin the Atlantean army.[47]

The Road to CroydonEdit

Using runners (pigeons had been decimated by the British), Radcliff reconnected with the Marquis, who proposed an attack on Cornwallis's men in two weeks with the aim of pushing the British away from Hanover and into Croydon. De Lafayette speculated that by walling the British up in Croydon, they would be unable to claim that they governed Atlantis. Radcliff agreed.[48]

Within a matter of weeks, the French and the Atlanteans, pressing from the west and east, respectively, linked up and set Cornwallis retreating north.[49] Skirmishing continued, pushing Cornwallis further and further back to Croydon. Cornwallis intended to make a stand in Pomphret Landing, and ordered that all the bridges that crossed the Pomphret be destroyed, making it difficult for the Atlanteans and French to attack the town.[50] Radcliff proposed that French engineers, by the light of the full-moon, make a show of building a bridge in one spot.[51] Radcliff himself made a point of showing himself to British scouts.[52] Convinced that their enemies were determined to bridge the river at this location, the British made sure to have sufficient troops at this spot, while other French engineers successful bridged it further east, routing the British.[53] They held Pomphret Landing proper long enough to allow a retreat east.[54]

Radcliff wrote a letter to Cornwallis in Croydon imploring him to surrender, to no avail.[55] Realizing that the Royal Navy could at a minimum keep Cornwallis supplied, Radcliff approached de La Fayette about aid from the French navy. They agreed upon a plan to send Atlantean merchants to find the French navy (the Marquis having no idea where it was, much less how to communicate with it) in the hopes that the French could bottle up the British, cutting off all aid the Royal Navy could deliver to Croydon.[56]. In the meantime, the Atlanteans and the French kept pushing Cornwallis back to Croydon.[57] A set-back came at Garnet Pond, when a long rain began to fall.[58] A feint attack quickly fell apart thanks to the rain, and the Atlanteans were repulsed.[59] The weather left both sides waterlogged. For lack of any better ideas, Radcliff and de La Fayette decided to try the same plan again, gambling that the British wouldn't think their enemy would be so stupid. With Baron von Steuben leading the feint and de La Fayette making the primary attack, the British were taken by surprise and defeated.[60] Radcliff personally came to the front, and for a time he and his men were locked in a death struggle with Habakkuk Biddiscombe himself, until all of the British forces retreated to Croydon[61]

Siege of Croydon: The End of FightingEdit

The Siege of Croydon was a long one, stretching out through the winter of 1777 and into the first weeks of 1778. The British had successfully fortified the town. Moreover, a harsh winter had slowed all progress by the Atlanteans to a stand-still.[62] When a blizzard began, Radcliff concluded the risks to his men were too great, and decided not to attack.[63] This decision ultimately proved correct as French ships arrived weeks later, just after New Year's.[64] In due course, Cornwallis opted to surrender.[65] However, when the fate of Biddiscombe's Horsed Legion, whom Cornwallis did not want to be harmed, became an issue, the British elected to take 24 hours to consider Radcliff's demands.[66] Radcliff in turn debated with himself and his men as to what should be done about Biddiscombe.[67] Cornwallis similarly met with a council to debate what to do about the cavalry commander.[68] However, it was ultimately Biddiscome who made the decision: the Legion fought their way out of Croydon, and the issue was rendered moot. The surrender proceeded, and the war was effectively over.[69] Radcliff and Cornwallis were reunited once again, although under less-than-ideal circumstances.[70]

Resolution and AftermathEdit

In the aftermath, the British government had no choice but to recognize the United States of Atlantis. Radcliff negotiated a peace with two representatives from Britian: Richard Oswald and David Hartley.[71] He was soon joined by Isaac Fenner and Custis Cawthorne, both recently arrived from France.[72] While Fenner was not happy that a treaty was now fait accompli, Cawthorne was quite sanguine. The only sticking point was Atlantean treatment of the Loyalists. In the end, it was ultimately resolved to Britain's satisfaction.[73]

Radcliff saw the Marquis de La Fayette off.[74] Word came that Biddiscombe was in Kirkwall. Radcliff saw to it he had a trial, and even testified against him. Biddiscombe was convicted and hanged.[75] With that, Radcliff returned home, although he soon returned to service after the United States of Atlantis adopted the model of the Roman Republic, and named Radcliff Consul of Atlantis.[76]

Gernika, in the extreme south of the continent of Atlantis, remained Spanish until it was purchased by the United States of Atlantis in the 19th Century.[77]

The British temporarily put down the uprisings in Terranova. However, those seeds had been planted. In the early 19th Century, while Britain was at war with France, various Terranovan settlements rose up again, with some aid from the United States of Atlantis. This led to the War of 1809 between Atlantis and Britain, which ultimately proved a draw.[78] Nonetheless, various entities in Terranova were able to gain independence, following the Atlantean lead,[79] although some were perfectly content as part of the British Empire.[80]

For all of its stated goals of liberty during the War for Independence, Atlantis did not resolve the matter of chattel slavery. The issue continued to fester just below the surface, until finally resulting in the Atlantean Servile Insurrection in 1852. Ironically, and appropriately, the insurrection was led by Frederick Radcliff, the grandson of Victory Radcliff and a Negro slave.


  1. The United States of Atlantis, pg. 6-7.
  2. See, e.g., Opening Atlantis, pgs. 108-162, HC.
  3. Ibid., pg. 17.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 26-28.
  6. Ibid., pg. 141.
  7. Ibid., pg. 142-150.
  8. Ibid., pg. 151.
  9. Ibid., pg. 152-153.
  10. Ibid., pg. 155.
  11. Ibid., pgs. 156-157.
  12. Ibid., pgs. 158-159.
  13. Ibid., pg. 159.
  14. Ibid., pgs. 168-170.
  15. Ibid., pg. 173-176.
  16. Ibid., pg. 175.
  17. Ibid. pg. 179.
  18. Ibid., pg. 183.
  19. Ibid., pg. 184-185.
  20. Ibid., pg. 185.
  21. Ibid., pg. 189.
  22. Ibid., pgs. 190-214.
  23. Ibid., pg. 198.
  24. Ibid., pg. 215.
  25. Ibid., pgs. 209-214.
  26. Ibid., pgs. 222-223.
  27. Ibid., pg. 223.
  28. Ibid., pg. 225.
  29. Ibid., pg. 224.
  30. Ibid., pg. 228-231.
  31. Ibid., pg. 228.
  32. Ibid., pg. 231.
  33. Ibid., pgs. 236-237.
  34. Ibid., pg. 239.
  35. Ibid., pgs. 240-241.
  36. Ibid.
  37. Ibid., pg. 243.
  38. Ibid., pgs. 245-249.
  39. Ibid., pgs. 250-254.
  40. Ibid., pg. 254.
  41. Ibid.
  42. Ibid., pgs. 256-257.
  43. Ibid., pgs. 258-259.
  44. Ibid., pgs. 259-261.
  45. Ibid., pgs. 269-271.
  46. Ibid., pgs. 271-273.
  47. Ibid,. pg. 300-302
  48. Ibid. pgs. 307-310.
  49. Ibid., pg. 314.
  50. Ibid. pg. 324-325
  51. Ibid., pg. 326-329.
  52. Ibid., pg. 328.
  53. Ibid., pg. 329.
  54. Ibid., pg. 332.
  55. Ibid.
  56. Ibid., pgs. 334-336.
  57. Ibid., pg. 337.
  58. Ibid., pg. 338-339.
  59. Ibid., pgs. 340-341.
  60. Ibid., pg. 343-349.
  61. Ibid., pgs. 349-353.
  62. Ibid., pgs. 354-364.
  63. Ibid., pg. 363.
  64. Ibid., pg. 370.
  65. Ibid. pg. 372-374.
  66. Ibid, pg. 375.
  67. Ibid., pgs. 376-378
  68. Ibid., pg. 416.
  69. Ibid., pgs. 380-384.
  70. Ibid., pgs. 382-387.
  71. Ibid. pg. 392.
  72. Ibid. pg. 394.
  73. Ibid, pgs. 406-407.
  74. Ibid. pgs. 408-410.
  75. Ibid. pgs. 417-421.
  76. Ibid., pgs. 433-438.
  77. Liberating Atlantis, generally.
  78. Liberating Atlantis, pgs. 47-48, HC.
  79. See, e.g., Atlantis and Other Places, pg. 19, HC.
  80. Ibid., pgs. 382-383.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.