The Gettysburg Prayer Parts One to Five by Raymond
says: what if the Confederacy exhorted their lofty war airms in the
aftermath of a victory at Gettysburg? Jeff Davis orates at Gettysburg and
delivers the Gettysburg Prayer, a summation of those Confederacy's high
principles. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not
necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
Part One, July 31st,
1863: President Jefferson Davis delivered the Gettysburg Prayer
soon after the Army of Northern Virginia's colossal victory on that
The Gettysburg Prayer by Raymond SpeerExcerpt from Jefferson F. Davis'
Matters reached a cresendo in the summer of 1863. Generals Lee and Jackson
performed a miracle at Chancellorsville but that hardly helped the sad state
of affairs in my home State, Mississippi. There, Southern generals were
barely moving and Yankee generals Grant and Sherman had subjected Vicksburg
to an unbreakable seige that could not be endured past the middle of the
My fear was that Lee and Jackson would continue to win but that continued
defeats far off in western States would eventually doom Confederate
Is Patrick Ronayne Clebourne the Savior of the Confederacy? Some people call
him that because he was admittedly the first responsible party to state
aloud that we were fighting the War with one arm tied behind our backs. Free
the Negroes and arm them to fight beside us. As early as January 1863, he
was saying that to his peers over the campfire and in March 1863 he wrote me
a long letter on the theme that we should free Negroes and recruit them as
When I got General Clebourne's letter, I felt so ill that I had to seek rest
in my darkened bed chamber for a week before I could return to my office
desk. Clebourne had made such a good case that I could not pretend he was
wrong. Yes, arming our Negroes and sending them out to fight would rescue
our independence. But was independence worth such a change?
When Generals Lee and Jackson came to Richmond to confer about their 1863
offensive into Pennsylvania, I shared with them General Cleburne's letter. I
was surprised when Jackson wept profusely and told us that he had long been
oppressed by the thought that he was prolonging the existance of slavery.
Jackson had long awaited Richmond to announce that the peculiar institution
would soon end.
General Lee told me that he was very reluctant to overstep his boundaries,
but when I insisted on his thoughts on emancipation, Lee said that the
Negroes were as many as a third of the men in the South, and our armies
certainly had need for many recruits.
I was conscious of my lack of a strong organization in either House of
Congress. Also, I had never asked the Legislators what they made of the
possibility of emancipation and my innate gloom made me think Congress might
take up my impeachment and removal from office if I endorsed emancipation.
Once I knew that Jackson and Lee were with Varina and me. the conspiracy got
underway. The generals would lead their Army into the North and hopefully
meet and destroy the Army of the Potomac. Meanwhile, I would prepare the
people of the South for a surprising revelation that would be announced if
and when great news came from the Army of Northern Virginia.
Of course, it is a matter of history what Lee and Jackson did during the
Four Days of Gettysburg. The dual movements on both ends of the enemy line
on the second day lead to the dissolution and capture of the Army of the
Potomac by the Fourth of July, 1863. Less favorable was the telegram I
received from Joseph Johnston telling me that Vicksburg had fallen to the
Yankees and that the whole Mississippi was now controlled by our enemies.
After the drama of the deaths of Union generals Reynolds, Sickles, Hooker
and Hancock at Gettysburg, the noncaptured survivors of the Yankee Army
abandoned rural Pennsylvania and Harrisburg, and crowded into Philadelphia
as a garrison. For the moment, we owned that Yankee State and that fit in
well with our plans.
On the last day of July 1863, in front of a crowd that made up the mass of
the Army of Northern Virgnia, Imade the most important speech of my life,
and for a generally good result. They yelled very loudly and cheered me for
about an hour!
"Citizens and Soldiers, picked by God and His Son, Jesus Christ, to inhabit
the most beautiful and bounteous country anywhere,
we Confederates are all born with God's greatest gift,
citizens in a republic where all of us are greater than monarchs or
As we separate from mammon worship and the political domination of the
We Confederates profess for others
the freedoms that we claim for ourselves,
and so we ask God for the wisdom and determination to free all members of
so that Slavery may end and we may all proceed to a new era of abundence".
I was excited at the close of my address, so I ended with a Rebel Yell,
whereupon the Earth shook as my audience returned the sound of celebration.
Part Two, December
23rd, 1864: the Confederate House followed the CS Senate
and two-thirds the Confederate States in passage of the Emancipation
Amendment, which repealed every endorsement of slavery in the Confederate
Constitution and established a prohibition against slavery or any sort of
involuntary bondage. The celebration of the Greatest Christmas Present
continued in every Confederate State well into the new year of 1865,
(Winston S. Churchill's Commentary, 1933.)
When the Confederate Congress returned to session, there were eight
different bills of impeachment on file at the House Judiciary Committee to
the effect that President Davis ought to be removed from office. It was
pointed out that the president had disparaged the guarantees of slavery
written into the CSA Constitution, and one complaint went to the core of the
issue and declared Davis had gone insane for love of the Negro.
News of the Gettysburg Prayer were passed off as inconsequential by radical
Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens, who grumbled that Southerners could admit
that they were defeated and be rid of slavery without arguing the issue
among themselves. The Lincolns held a reception for General Grant, who was
cheered on the assumption that he would soon take the battle to Lee. But
every federal general was either dead (like Hancock) or in a Richmond jail
like George Meade (whose nerves were shattered), so it was no easy matter to
get a new federal Army ready to try to defeat Lee.
Around Washington DC went higher walls, deeper trenches, new artillery
batteries and even telegraph lines to the new entrenchments. Though Lee have
famously replenished his artillery by seizure of the heavy guns of the Army
of the Potomac, Lee was hardly disposed to strike the fortress that was
Washington and so quiet returned to the East theatre of the War.
At the next big battle between the Union and the
Confederacy, Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, the South had reinforced its
Western Army with Longstreet's Corps which featured Hood's Texas division
and Pickett's Virginians. The men of Hood and Pickett co-operated and broke
the position of Union General Thomas, putting out of commission the Army
that Grant had great plans for.
The British Cabinet voted to offer the two sides in America the services of
the British Foreign Officer as mediators to end the ongoing War. Made in the
first week of October 1863, the British offer to act as a mediator was
rejected by Abraham Lincoln two weeks later even as Davis accepted the
proposal. The "People's Militia of New York," the ruffians and hooligans
who had dominated the streets in most parts of the metropolis since the
Gettysburg-caused shortage of Union regular troops, took up arms again when
Lincoln spurned a peace conference and were reduced in urban combat by
Yankee arms which encircled the city.
Adroit maneuvers by General Jackson's infantry and General Stuart's horse
soldiers permitted the Confederacy to exploit eastern Pennsylvania and New
Jersey from their base in central Pennsylvania. While Grant used his talents
and men to suppress rioters block by bloody block, Lee waited on the
strategic periphery of New York, certain that his foe could not take any
substantive maneuver against the Army of Northern Virginia.
The great successes of the winter of '63 and '64 were Stuart's rescue of
4,000 prisoners of war from a camp in the far north, and Jackson's candy
raid, when Jackson's men had brought to the South so much in the way of
supplies that many of the wagons were hauling candy!
Given time illuminated by victories, support grew for implementation of
emancipation. Foes of Davis forced votes in Congress on the issue. The
Senate gave an emancipation amendment majority support and the House was ten
votes shy of a majority, but no one could argue that there was no reasonable
support for the deal.
Negroes in gray uniforms were usually in garrisons in Confederate territory
and public opinion was galvanized around Christmas when black Confederates
near Trenton, New Jersey, atacked and ran off an equal number of federal
white troops, who began reciting the Gettysburg Prayer on the field of
In spite of everything, given the size of the Union's edge over the
Confederacy in population and in productive capabity, the South still stared
defeat in the face at the beginning of 1864.
Part Three, May 11th,
1864: the House Judicary Committee passed articles of impeachment
against President Abraham Lincoln.
(John Hays' Commentary, 1906.)
The Tycoon [Abraham Lincoln] had been worried by the very positive response
that Prime Minister Palmerston and Foreign Minister Russell
gave to Lee's vistory at Gettysburg. And the New York Draft Riots were
terrible as they interupted our efforts to replenish our armed forces.
But circumstances grew better for the Union in time.
Palmerston and Russell said little and did nothing. The skanky Irish used
Lincoln's refusal of London's note as an excuse to break windows and steal
goods and to assault Negroes foolish enough to remain in the vicinity of
such human curs. General Grant had to use raw recruits to break those Celtic
rebels, but Grant came through despite all setbacks.
President Lincoln kept the Government focused on the War and on restoring
the Union. In the middle of December 1863, General Sherman fought hard to
break the Rebel seige of the town of Chattanooga but failed by the slimmest
of margins. The next March, 1864, the Rebels had been pushed from
Chattanooga and federal army were marching in northern Georgia. Two months
later, General Grant advanced towards Richmond and was stopped still by a
collision with Lee and his Army.
Our nemesis arrived in pink memos and bills, most from New York. The Tycoon
had neglected the Hellcat [his wife, Mary Lincoln] and ignored her from
Gettysburg onwards. The Hellcat passed her time away by ordering the most
expensive fabrics, carpets, curtains, china and dresses and promptly
exceeded the budgets that Congress had set for the White House. Worse yet,
she acted daft and incurred all the more bills.
The scandal of the ages broke over the First Lady's refusal to honor her
debts. The Democratic minority made the most they could of that issue and
the president was accused of uncontrolled expenditure also. It was also
alleged that the Tycoon had overpaid for military supplies also.
During May. in the middle of the battle of Spotsylvania, the Judiciary
Committee passed impeachment articles by a majority of both Republicans and
Democrats on that Committee. The grounds were repeated excessive
expenditure for White House goods and blame for that behavior fell on
Lincoln as well as his wife.
Lincoln made a deal for both his wife and himself by which neither of them
would be criminally presecuted and both be allowed to collect either a bonus
or a pension. Lincoln's last appearence in Washington DC was at the swearing
in ceremony of President Hannibal Hamlin.
By July 1864, I had been dismissed from the White House and replaced by
Hamlin's own choice in secretaries. For the following months, Hamlin did his
best to overcome Lincoln's unpopular legacy but McClellan prevailed.
says Mary Lincoln, distracted by the war, seemed to try to cope with her
misery by going shopping. In our universe, people were much, much more
tolerant of her expenditures and Lincoln paid more attention. Had Lincoln
been fatally distacted by bad news from the War, his wife's indirect
plunder of the public purse could have ruined Lincoln by association. To
view guest historian's comments on this thread please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Part Four, February
18th, 1864: in Montgomery, Alabama, the second president
of the Confederate States of America, Edmund Ruffin of Virginia, was sworn
into office. As a favor to Alabama congress members who were slow in
accepting Richmond as the capitol, the incoming president agreed to be sworn
into office in the same place that his predecessor, Jefferson Davis, entered
Davis had spent a year as Provisional President and his six year term as
president was so counted from 1861 to 1867. Besides seeing the Confederacy
survive a cruel war, Davis had delivered the Gettysburg Prayer of July 31,
1863, and,more challenging, had managed the Big Christmas Present of 1865
which emancipated all slaves in the CSA.
Jefferson Davis had encouraged Robert E. Lee to run for the presidency, but
Lee politely but stubbornly refused the honor. Notably, Thomas Jonathan
"Stonewall" Jackson volunterred for the race and conducted it on a
"Christian" platform of full civil rights for all Confederates. Popular both
for his faith in God and his skills as a General, Jackson was a strong
candidate for the office.
As ex- US President Lincoln noted on a tour of the South that election year,
General Jackson's expression of God's will made Negroes eligible for entry
in public schools and churches, brought them into juries and witness
podiums, and gave them full contractual rights. "There are men counted as
Abolitionists in the North who are not as definite or assertive as General
Jackson is on the question of Negro rights".
"Frankly, I find it unbelievable that a population so adverse to Negro
personal rights in 1860 are so favorable to the idea in 1867," wrote
Lincoln. Lincoln and his wife (blamed by many for the scandal which wrecked
Lincoln's support when he may have been on the verge of victory) were
recognized and welcomed courteously at all places. "Perhaps my defeat in the
late War makes me seem pleasent but ineffectual".
The more conservative candidate was Edmund Ruffin, a famous journalist and
advisor on the agriculture and economy of the South. Though not in any
office, the Virginian traveled thousands of miles encouraging the
establishment of the CSA. At Fort Sumter, Ruffin was given the honor of
firing the first cannon ball at the fort and the Yankee flag.
When Lee kept on refusing to run, Ruffin got the support of white
conservatives. General Jackson said he welcomed Edmund Ruffin's competition
and that he expected Ruffin to compete for the Negro vote.
Jackson carried the Negro vote of the so-called Black Belt while Ruffin won
the Border States votes. Jackson accepted his defeat with ease, having
acquired 47% of the popular vote.
Over the next six years, President Ruffin vetoed public education bills and
organizations that would use public money to build private businesses. He
reopened the Citadel and the Virginia Military Institute to serve as West
Points for young soldiers of the Confederacy. Ruffin also stationed soldiers
on the edge of the Rio Grande, incomfortable with the aid and comfort the
United States was promising President Juarez's rival.
"I love this country," said the president. "There is no better place on
earth. I wish to celebrate the remainder of my life with my family, in my
gardens, until the Good Lord calls me home".
After leaving office in a Montgomery ceremony in 1874 in which James
Longstreet of Georgia became the third president of the CSA, Ruffin wrote up
a three book sheet of memoirs, only one of which concerned his residency,
Ruffin died of a heart condition in 1878.
says In real life, Edmund Ruffin had a broken heart when the South lost
the Civil War. Rather than accept a world where the "good guys" had not won,
in Ruffin's case he committed suicide by firearm in 1865. To view guest
historian's comments on this thread please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Part Five, February
18th, 1874: James Longstreet of Georgia became the third
President of the Confederate States, taking his oath of office on the
elevated porch of the Alabama Capitol building in Montgomery, the same place
where his predecessors in office, Jefferson Davis and Edmund Ruffin, had
During the war, Longstreet had been a corps commander in the Army of
Northern Virginia, third in command behind Lee and Jackson. President
Davis had promoted him to be the chief of the Confederate Army following the
demobilization, but President Ruffin had removed him from that post and
installed Jubal Early in it.
Retiring from active service, Longstreet alleged that there was a move afoot
to unlawfully deny Negroes their earned veteran's benefits. "If Early will
do it to a crippled Negro, is there any reason for a crippled white man to
expect better?" asked Longstreet rhetorically. "I want every veteran of our
Armiies secure in the knowledge that his country will provide for him in
spite of his injury."
Both President Ruffin and General Early expressed great respect and sympathy
for veterans of both colors, but the incumbents said the central government
did not have the money to open a nation wide chain of"soldiers and sailors"
homes for injured vets. Those who disagreed rallied behind Longstreet's bid
for president in 1873.
James Longstreet associated himself with his fellow Confederate General
William "Billy" Mahone, who organized the Readjuster Party in opposition to
Ruffin's people, the Citizens Party. Mahone said that the only motivation of
a politician should be to readjust things so that public affairs worked
better. "We want government that costs less and does more," said Mahone,
who endorsed Negro candidates on all levels.
The first National Convention of a Confederate political party was held in
New Orleans by the Readjusters. James Longstreet was nominated on the first
ballot and Edmund Kirby Smith was chosen as the vice presidential nominee.
Robert M.T. Hunter of Virginia had served President Ruffin as his Secretary
of State, and received his chief's endorsement as the presidential candidate
for the Citizens Party. Hunter's running mate was Stephen Mallory, who had
served with distinction as Navy Secretary to both Davis and Ruffin.
Longstreet complained during the campaign about the naval appropriations
which Hunter and Mallory sought from Congress, arguing that money ought be
raised for the care and comfort of "amputee heroes and widows and orphans."
The Citizens Party retaliated with accusations that Longstreet had been
surly and argumentative in his contacts with Lee and Jackson, and one of
Lee's clerks even said that Longstreet's poor attitude had forced Lee and
Jackson to consider removing him from his
corps command on the second day of Gettysburg.
More substantly, the Readjuster Party wanted a law to be passed by the
central government to assure Negro voting rights in every State. The
Citizens Party backed denial of the ballot on voters who could not prove
lteracy, and said voting rights were best left to the States.
The Longstreet- Kirby Smith ticket took 47.6 percent of the popular votes
and Hunter-Mallory registered at 45.3 percent of the popular votes. (For
the first time, Virginia cast its electoral vote for the loser. Once again,
the South Carolina legislature --- and not the people ---decided where SC's
electoral votes went, and they would go to Hunter.) Longstreet won the race.
Longstreet's long time friend, Ulysses Grant, had won the 1868 US
presidential election from incumbent president George McClellan. On assuming
office as CS president, Longstreet made a visit of good will to Washington
DC, that was the basis of a week of circuses, fireworks, parades and balls.
By terms of the Davis-McClellan Agreement, the Confederacy had no rights to
block or bar or in any way hinder the flow of trade down the Mississippi
River. Moreover, the river was patrolled by US ironclads that reported to
the federal forces encamped at Vicksburg, MS. President Ruffin and his
Secretary of State, Hunter, had long bellyached about the River Rights that
the United States insisted on. President Longstreet signed a note with US
Grant acknowledging those River Rights and the US ownership of their
fortified capitol, Washington DC., as well as the US ownership of West
For the Union, there was a recognition that the lower half of the Southwest
territory between Texas and Calfornia was the Confederate territory of
Arizona, and the northern half was the Union territory of New Mexico. There
would be no military buildup on either side of that new border.
With the end of slavery in the South, given the Greatest Christmas Present
which cancelled the peculiar institution, Negroes were free to choose new
lives, and many of them went west to Arizona. In Longstreet's last year of
office, Arizona joined the Confederacy with a population that was 55% Negro
and 10% Hispanic. Of a Congressional delegation of four, two Congressmen
were Negro, one CS Senator was Negro and the other Senator was Hispanic.
As early as 1872, Horace Greeley had suggested that the two American
Governments consider Reunion as the implementation of the Gettysburg Prayer
had removed the chief cause of the 1860 breach, the matter of slavery.
Greeley had run for president against Grant and lost and died soon
When Longstreet came to office, Abraham Lincoln set about to systematically
organize a ReUnion effort between the United States and the Confederate
States. By the end of the second year of the ReUnion League's business, it
reported 50,000 members in the USA and 20 thousand members in the CSA.
President George B. McClellan, seeking appropriations for defensive
fortifications, had passed on the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire
and by 1868, Russia had sold Alaska to Britain, which added the province to
Canada. When the dictator of Santo Domingo, the eastern segment of
Hispanola just across from Hayti, offered to sell the country to the USA, US
Grant was determined not to let that opportunity pass.
Outrage was heard in both Houses of the Confederate Congress. The Citizens
Party had majorities in both Houses and denounced the"acquisition of
territory by the United States" that could "further impair Confederate trade
or autonomy." Grant was warned by Longstreet of the agitation that the
annexation of Santo Domingo was causing in the South. but Grant ignored the
pleas of his old friend. The Santo Domingo Purchase passed the US Congress
but only after a crowd of at least 100,000 came from the capitol's
Confederate neighbors and protested against the Union's expansion.
Abraham Lincoln wrote in his newspaper column that the South's victory in
the War of Secession had rebounded in favor the Republican Party. "Had the
South been re united with the North by battlefield brutality, Governor
Tilden the Democrat would now have all the Southern States backing him in
the 1876 election, and his victory over the Republicans might appear
probable. Instead, Rutherford Hayes has remained in the lead
throughout the contest, and is expected to win the presidency next
week." As assumed by all, Hayes won a respectable victory over Tilden,
even though Tilden won New York's electoral votes.
says the Readjuster Party actually existed in our history. It was a
political movement run by Confederate General William "Billy" Mahone that
recruited whites and blacks in Virginia. Between 1879 and 1883, the
Readjusters ran Virginia and gave Negroes their fair share of elected
officers and patronage. In our history, the white supremists of the
Democratic Party (the Redeemers) had tacit permission to destroy Negro
participation in politics, and the Readjusters fell to that. None of that
happened in the Gettysburg Prayer timeline. To view guest historian's
comments on this thread please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Raymond Speer, Guest Historian of
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
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