A generation after the War of Secession ended, the Democrats, who had mainly walked softly around the CSA were finally voted out of office by a fed up public who voted back in the Republicans under the leadership of James G Blane. Blane had run mostly on a hard line platform towards the CSA which by now appealed to the people of the USA.
To the south, the Empire of Mexico was bankrupt, and desperately needed money to pay its creditors. The solution presented itself when the CSA opted to buy the provinces of Sonora and Chihuahua from the Mexicans for three million dollars. Realising that this would give the Confederates a Pacific port, President Blane threatened war if the sale went ahead.
In the CSA, President Longstreet knew that a quick, decisive war along with intervention from England and France was the CSA's only hope as he knew a grapple with the USA would end only in defeat for the Confederacy. England on the other hand didn't want anything to do with the CSA unless they agree to manumit their slaves, while France refused to do anything without England. He agreed to their demands, and all slaves within the CSA would be manumitted one year after the end of hostilities. With backing from both countries, Longstreet went ahead with the sale.
CS forces moved into the newly purchased provenances and Blane issued an ultimatum. Withdraw or face war. CS forces in the provenances refused to budge and when the deadline passed, Blane asked for and received a deceleration of war from Congress.
The War Begins
The US Army, under the leadership of Major General William Rosecrans had no clear goal in fighting the war, just to pull at the CSA where ever it could and let the shear numbers of men win the war for them. Rosecrans also had no military plans for dealing with England and Canada to the north, under the belief that England wouldn't support a slave nation and the CSA wouldn't let their slaves go that easily.
The CS Army, under the leaderships of General Thomas Jackson preferred the hit hard and fast, however he was restrained in his actions by President Longstreet. Longstreet wanted to present to the world that the CSA was a smaller nation defending itself from a larger aggressor. Although Jackson hated this, he planed for such a campaign anyway.
After war was declared, the commander of the Confederate forts outside Washington D.C., Colonel William Elliott demanded the surrender of the city. Rosecrans' adjutant, Captain Saul Berryman refused, and the bridge in Washington, leading from Maryland to Virginia was blown up from both ends.
As the next day dawned, the Confederates opened up with an artillery bombardment on the city. Their targets were mainly government and military institutes, along with famous landmarks. The bombardment continued for a few hours before ceasing. Instead of trying to destroy the capital, it had been more of a demonstration that the South could be frightful if it so chose. Having hit a few targets, the Confederates had gone on to fight the war elsewhere.
In order to take the pressure off the city, the US Army invaded Northern Virginia. This helped relieve the tension, and the forces around Washington withdrew. However, the defeat suffered by the Union allowed the Confederates to gather their strength along the Potomac and threaten the whole state. This finally lead to the US surrendering.
The first major fight of the war occurred in Northern Virginia, where the Army of the Potomac clashed with the Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Jackson at the Battle of Winchester. Here he routed the US Army and chased them back across the river. As he made ready to attack Harpers Ferry, he was stopped by Longstreet, who wanted to present the CSA as defending it's self. The Army of Northern Virginia would remain camped along the Potomac for the rest of the war, until the case fire dragged on too long that Jackson threatened to march into Maryland.
It was in Kentucky the major campaign of the war was fought on the banks of the Ohio. The U.S. Army, under General Orlando Wilcox tried to cross into the Confederate state of Kentucky and capture the city of Louisville, with an eye towards returning the state to the U.S. The C.S.A., under their own General-in-Chief Thomas Jackson, was able to establish excellent defensive positions, resulting in the Siege of Louisville. The formidable Confederate defenses forced Wilcox's troops to advance incrementally at best, with each move paid for in blood.
The front remained the centre point of the war until the case-fire was called. In spite of Jackson's demands, US Forces remained encamped inside Louisville until the surrender when they finally left.
Arkansas was only a minor front compared with the others. Here, the US Army crossed the border and captured the town of Pocahontas. However, due to more pressing concerns in Kentucky, this front didn't advance any further. Due to this being the only victory the US Army had, it was loudly trumped by the War Department. Unfortunately, the town fell back into Confederate hands not long afterwords, but they did not pursue the fight across the border.
The US landed the first blow of the war with a raid into Indian Territory by Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Armed with the latest weapon of war, the Gatling Gun, he lured first a war band of Kiowas and then a party of Confederate cavalry into an ambush, decimating both groups.
In retaliation, the Indians and CS Cavalry launched continuous raiding parties into Kansas for the remainder of the war.
New Mexico Territory
In the southwestern desert of the New Mexico Territory, the Trans-Mississippi Department under General Jeb Stuart led the Confederates only offensive operation against US territory. Although Stuart was aware of Longstreet's defensive strategy, he believed that the best way to defend the new territories was to make the Yankees defend their own. Although communications from Richmond were sketchy at best, Stuart heard no word of reproof from the War Department in regards to his plans, so he marched into New Mexico Territory as soon as the declaration of war reached him.
The campaign got off to a promising start when he manged to hoax the US commander at Contention City, which impressed the Apaches under Geronimo leading to an alliance between the two forces. After this, they successfully lured US Forces into an ambush at the Battle of Madera Canyon before fighting the Battle of Tombstone. Now having cleared the territory of all US Forces, they returned to CS territory where they dispatched US Raiders with the newly formed Fifth Cavalry, now being called the Fifth Camelry. With no more opposition left, the New Mexico front remained quiet, until tensions between the Apaches and the CSA's new Hispanic subjects led to a vicious war between the Apaches and the CSA. Stuart himself was a casualty of this conflict.
Not entirely satisfied with US rule, the Mormons of Utah rebelled against the USA. The uprising itself was actually quite limited in its scope. Aside from cutting off telegraph and railroad lines from Utah to the rest of the U.S., the Mormons took very little direct action against the United States. General John Pope took control of the state quickly. He and his successer, Colonel George Custer ruled the state with an iron fist. Custer in particular proved quite ruthless, killing many suspected polygamists, leaving behind an angry Mormon population, determined to gain independence.
In the north, there were no military plans among US commanders for dealing with Canada. North of the border, British commanders waisted no time. In order to force Blane to quite the war, a combined British and Canadian Army invaded Maine. This invasion had two purposes. To humiliate Blane, who's home state was Maine, and to finally settle the Canadian, Maine border which the British had never been satisfied with. The invasion was a success and the combined armies drove the Yankees south to the Penobscot River. Upon reaching the river, the armies halted and remained encamped along the river until the US surrendered. After the war, the border was redrawn in favour of the Canadians.
In Montana, the US Army was likewise unprepared, and many volunteers found that the army wasn't accepting them. The front was quite for a good chunk of the war until a combined British and Canadian army under the leadership of British General Charles Gordon crossed the boarder with the intention of raiding the gold mines in the territory.
The US Army under the leadership of Brigadier General George Custer, Colonel Henry Welton and Colonel Theodore Roosevelt engaged the British and Canadians at the Battle of the Teton River. The battle ended when General Gordon's forces attacked the US defences head on and were decimated by Custer’s Gatling guns. The attackers were routed and forced to flee back to Canada. US forces were halted in their pursuit when word of a ceasefire finally reached them. The victory here was greatly hyped in the US press after a string of deserters and gave US president Blaine the courage to drag the ceasefire out until April of 1882.
As a result of this battle, Custer and Roosevelt became heroes of the war, prominent national figures, and rivals for the remainder of their lives.
War at Sea
The war at sea was a minor affair, due to the small size of the US Navy. The US Navy, much like the army wasn't a worthy fighting force after years of neglect but was still much larger than their Confederate counter part. In the Confederacy, as the deadline for the US ultimatum drew closer, the CS Navy took to sea. It's strategies and goals were unclear but it's prime objective was not to be caught and contained in their ports like they had been during the War of Secession.
When war was declared, the ships of the US Navy were slow to react; Possibly due to the entrance of the Royal and French Navies into the war on the Confederacy's side. The US Navy had no major strategies for fighting the war against three Navies, while the prime goal of the Royal Navy was to implement a military and economic blockage of the United States.
The Royal Navy's first blow landed on Lake Ontario, when a small fleet from Toronto attacked the cities of Rochester, Cleveland and Buffalo. As the war continued on, the Royal Navy tightened it's blockade by bombarding New York and Boston on the East coast while also attacking Seattle on the West Coast. The attack on San Francisco was accompanied by a raid of Royal Marines on the San Francisco mint. This raid proved successful while the commander of San Francisco, Colonel William Sherman, proved helpless to stop it. The French Navy also played a minor part in the war, sending their ships up from Mexico to bombard Los Angeles.
After these attacks, what little remained of the US Navy was confined to their ports as the ships of both England and France now lay at anchor outside all major port cities of the US, blockading both coastlines. Their major gaols compleated, the blockade of the US was kept in place for the duration of the war, and the ensuing cease fire, until the US agreed to surrender.
Cease Fire and Surrender
As 1881 drew to a close, the war for the US was going badly, with defeats on all but one front and forces closing in from all sides. US commanders seemed to have little in the way of strategies while their Confederate counterparts were beating them at every turn. General and Chief of US Forces Rosecrans became increasingly reclusive and even openly critical of US President Blane, often refusing to talk to the President by blaming bad telephone communications.
After Jackson launched his counter attack in Kentucky that destroyed the US salient there, Blane asked for a cease fire along all fronts. The President was hesitant to surrender as he realised he would be condemned for losing the war, and he didn't want to lose the northern part of his home state of Maine. But sadly, he too saw the writing on the wall, and as the months dragged on, the Republicans split with a faction joining the Socialists, and started turning on the pressure to end the war with public demonstrations.
Finally fed up, CS minister to the USA, Judah P. Benjamin along with General Jackson threatened a renewal of the war again, this time, the Army of Northern Virginia would invade Maryland. Faced with no way out, Blane agreed.
Long term effect
Even up until the end of the Second Mexican War, the leaders of the United States stubbornly heeded George Washington's farewell address warning against "entangling European alliances." After the Second Mexican War, frustrated German observers pointed out to President Blaine that the Confederate States had decisively beaten the United States in two major wars specifically because the Confederacy had allied with Britain and France. Faced with the humiliating defeat of the Second Mexican War, the message finally got through to the United States' leaders that the USA needed a counterbalance to the CSA's allies. To that end, the formed an alliance with Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, which would become the Central Powers.
The Confederacy continued its alliance with Britain and France. The price for this was manumission of the slaves. Out of this amendment to the Confederate Constitution, and the admittance of the new states of Chihuahua and Sonora, the Confederacy developed political parties, the Whigs and Radical Liberals. Unfortunately, the Confederate victory would also lead to the CSA becoming complacent about future conflict with the USA.
In the United States, mandatory military service was introduced, as was rationing. April 22 was designated Remembrance Day in honor of the country's defeat in two wars. The Statue of Remembrance, a woman with a sword, was erected in New York harbor. The Republicans became a regional party as about one-third of their support went with Abraham Lincoln into the Socialist Party and another third went to the Democratic Party. By 1914, the Socialists would eventually replace the Republicans (who faded into obscurity) as the second-rank party in the United States.
In Germany, Alfred von Schlieffen developed the Schleiffen Plan based on his studies of Robert E. Lee's victory at Camp Hill. The plan was employed in the Great War, which the Central Powers eventually won.