The Parallel Confederacy
The Parallel Confederacy
How the Confederate States of America won the war!
Surely we've all wondered from time to time how history would have turned out, had the Confederacy won the War for Confederate Independence. Had most if not the entire key battles turned in favor of our Confederate Armies and had our Confederate Navy been able to break the blockade of our coastline? Certainly even an individual totally ignorant of history can see the Confederacy lost that terrible war and has continued under occupation, subjugation and culture genocide since the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
But what if you were to find out the Confederacy did not loose after all, but won an overwhelming victory. What if you discovered that Generals Ulysses S. Grant and W.T. Sherman both faced a crushing defeat and surrendered of their armies at the Battle of Shiloh on 6 and 7 April 1862? Further what if you discovered that the overwhelming Yankee losses suffered by the war caused Abraham Lincoln to loose his bid for reelection in 1864, afterward departing the Yankee Capital City of Washington in humiliation. It never happed that way, you might say!
There is a school of thought, which believes there are parallel dimensions, like universes, which exist side by side, accept in another dimension of time and space. There are those who believe an individual could cross over into another dimension and end up on another parallel earth by passing through a wormhole created by a strong magnetic and gravitational interference, or an anomaly in the space-time continuum.
Further there is a segment of the population, which believes the numerous ships, airplanes, and people, who have disappeared over the years in the Bermuda Triangle, were drawn into such a wormhole by its enormous power.
But what if it was true and somewhere out there in the infinite void of time and space another earth exists, an earth where the Confederate States of America was the victor in the War for Confederate Independence.
What if on that other world a Confederate Victory meant other historical events was also changed drastically form what we know on our world? Perhaps those who brought Communism and Nazism to the word, having never had the despotic example of Abraham Lincoln might have taken a different course.
The Beginnings of an Adventure
What if we ordinary folks decided to challenge the mysteries of the triangle?
It was many years ago now when we were all much younger, having since grown old with passing years. But even now the event is still as fresh in my mind as if it happened only yesterday. A group of four of us consisting John and Alice Brandon plus my wife and myself, had gathered at the Brandon home for a little socializing. John and Alice like so many of us often had the television running even when no one was paying attention and it was no different on this occasion. When suddenly we were attracted to a strange and mysterious story then running on The Science Fiction Hour. About a half dozen people not unlike us, had been invited by a local Yachtsman to sail to the Grand Bahamas. This would normally have been considered strange in and of itself, accept this particular Yachtsman happened to be their boss. The story was based upon the testimony of a group claiming to have been lost in the Bermuda Triangle and having witnessed first hand, the strange phenomena, which occurs there. We thought it was an exaggeration but a very interesting story none-the-less!
Then John came up with what we thought at that time was a brilliant idea, we'd save and pool our money, then in perhaps a years or so we could locate a Yachtsman and see if we couldn't hire him to take us to the Bermuda Islands. Oh we could have taken a commercial flight or even played the fair on one of those ocean liners, but we felt it would be more exciting to sail on a privately own ship. It took us about a year and a half to make preparations and save enough money whereby we felt comfortable to search out and approach what we hoped would be just the right Yachtsman. A couple weeks passed while we did a little private investigative work to research the who, what and where of hiring the right person and at a reasonable price, or at least as reasonable as such a voyage ever gets. We found that only a scarce few ever rented out their Yachts for a voyage such as ours, none-the-less we received a reference from several very reputable locals that a Mr. Jacob Schmidt and his wife Jo-Ann might be interested and soon preparations were underway.
However there were rumors, which if one believed them, held that Jacob Schmidt was under some kind of contract with the military to do research in the triangle. This stemmed from his ownership of a 399 foot Yacht, which is large enough to make the Navy itself envious, not-with-standing it is said to be built with the soundness of a battleship, rather then after the manor of typical Yacht construction. However he manages to afford such a yacht is beyond everyone's understanding, but it has always been my contention that owning a 399 yacht points to billions of dollars, rather then merely millions. What little information we uncovered about Jacob and Jo-Ann Schmidt as that they are rich, but have never showed off their wealth to where the average person would believe they are anything more then simply poor people who made it big time. We were however more interested in their character and reputation as honest and descent adventurers, with whom we could do business.
Making Final Preparations
The Lady Jo-Ann and her captain!
After meeting with Jacob and Jo-Ann we discovered the Schmidt family were indeed adventurers of the first order and shared our interest in the triangle, believing as such, we felt we had earned the voyage of a lifetime. Jacob smiled as he replied to our request; "Yes indeed I will take you to Bermuda as well as the grand tour of the triangle at no additional cost to you. You fine folks, stated Jacob, are people after my own heart, so let us together challenge the infamous Bermuda Triangle and see if she is as threatening as her reputation." Then he laid down an offer we couldn't refuse! "If every one of you are not totally satisfied that you have gotten your money's worth, then upon our return I will reimburse the cost of your fair. There are a few rules however, he stated, as on any ship I am the captain and therefore the final authority. There will be a crew of twenty-four, not including my wife Jo-Ann and each of you two couples, who will have a private stateroom, which includes all the normal facilities. I believe you will find them quite adequate!
You will have the complete run of the ship accept for the pilot house and the engine room, where entry is by invitation only and I've given you a reduced price based upon my receiving your help and assistance. The women can help with the cooking and tending to the household chores and the men with such duties, as I may deem necessary. I can assure you, no one will be over worked but never the less your help will be required. Upon reporting onboard for the voyage you will be escorted throughout the ship, including a run through on our safety features. Oh, you will find a cabin on the forward starboard side, which is marked 'authorized personnel only.' I alone will authorized entry into this particular cabin, which is always locked!" Both couples were given a list of the minimum items recommended for the voyage and you will be advised as to my recommendation that you tend to a few legal requirements prior to departure, such as a well should you not return. It was a couple months later when we all boarded the 'Lady Jo-Ann' and it was obvious to everyone as to where Captain Jacob Schmidt had gotten the ship's name.
We found the 399 foot Yacht the 'Lady Jo-Ann had earned her reputation as being sounder then a battleship and was beyond a doubt extremely well equipped and quite luxurious. It was also obvious the designer had built the ship for rough seas! While John and Alice Brandon as well as my wife and I were from northwest Florida the voyage was scheduled to set sail from Miami in early April that same year, so we all made preparations to arrive in sufficient time to board the ship two days before the sailing, as requested by Captain Schmidt. This was to make sure we became completely acclimated with the ship, its layout as well as its operations, as well as to be on hand when the supplies were brought onboard. So we arrived in Miami located the Lady Jo-Ann and began to settle into our assigned stateroom. Captain Schmidt encouraged us to scout around on our own and get ideas as to the general layout of the ship, before he gave his formal welcome aboard tour. The Lady Jo-Ann was everything we had expected and more, besides we were quite awed by what we saw as a most gorgeous and splendid ship, inasmuch as we were people of meager means having sacrificed enormously for what we believed would be a great adventure.
The Voyage Begins
The Lady Jo-Ann gets underway for an adventure of a lifetime!
However we were a little taken back when we were told the sailing time was delayed due to the expected arrival of a very special couple. A couple who we later discovered are renowned experts, having made a life's study of the Bermuda Triangle, and without whom stated Captain Schmidt, the ship would not be getting underway. The scheduled underway time had been set at 8:00 P.M. and it was now noon and the mystery couple was only now coming up the gangplank. Captain Schmidt took another 45 minutes for them to get settled into their staterooms before announcing the ship would be getting underway at 1:00 P.M., which was now 15 minutes away. Obviously we would be introduced to our latest arrivals when time permitted, but all of us were now taking the captain serious when he indicated we were on an adventure of a lifetime. We were beyond a doubt in for a lot of excitement, considering the last minute arrangements and the delay it took to get this couple onboard before the sailing.
But finally we had all settled in, the ship then got underway making its way out of the channel and past the sea buoys, into the Atlantic. The ship's crew was busy going about the business of the ships operations, after having settled into their own birthing area. The ship had several crew’s quarters, which were open bay, and each contained birthing for a dozen men and given the watch schedule, even they would find plenty of privacy. The ship had all the comforts of home including a laundry and a well-stocked spacious kitchen with dinning facilities. The ladies went about the business of preparing the noon meal as well as doing a bit of lighthouse cleaning about the ship. A crewman as well as their own husbands would assist them from time to time. In the meantime, Captain Schmidt had decided that there would be two on watch on the bridge at all times, a trained crewman and an assistant who might be anyone of us as well as he himself who would serve as navigator, although at least two of the crewmen were also trained and skilled at navigating a ship on the open sea.
The ship had sufficient life rafts and life jackets for everyone and the captain made sure everyone was made familiar with putting on the life jackets, launching and operating the motorized life rafts. But then there was the deck mounts, which had been built into the ships, super structure near the railing, two forward and two aft and placed near the railing. My years of experience as a sailor told me these were gun mounts, which could not be adequately hidden by their being caped in order to disguise their true purpose. While we come to see just how luxurious the ship really was, still I couldn't help but see what was obviously self evident to any experienced sailor with a minimum of sea time. This ship was more then a luxury Yacht' A situation of which many would fail to take notice! Still we had now passed beyond the sea buoys, the sky was clear, blue and the day was excellent for sailing. Very soon we were beyond the sight of land, even while using binoculars and while I had spent a career as a sailor, I never was a sailor at heart. However this trip was different, it had a very special purpose, which had always interested as far back as my youth.
The Strange Fog Bank
What mystery lay just over the horizon and what lay beyond?
Our trip would take us to Nassau, Roosevelt Roads and Jamaica, then after lying over for an extra night, we set sail for Freeport Grand Bahamas, afterward we would depart in route for Bermuda itself! It was the stop over at Roosevelt Roads, which is a U.S. Navy Base, which resolved in my mind any doubts as to Captain Schmidt’s connections. Particularly after he had taken on fuel, supplies and a cargo which was well camouflaged, but which would later be revealed to all of us as weapons and ammunition of some type. That convinced me the good captain was on a special research mission for the military, which was confirmed when several of the permanent crew, was overheard using nautical terms rarely used outside of navy circles. The best I could make out was that the professional crewmen were supplied to the captain, compliments of the U.S. Navy. Likely they themselves were Special Forces personnel of one kind or the other, since they seemed to professional to be common seaman.
We had made four stops during our voyage thus far and felt very fortunate to have done so under fair skies and relatively calm seas; we couldn't have had a better and more pleasant time. Now we were leaving the Grand Bahamas in route to Bermuda! It has been many years since I was on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard and patrolled these same waters and the islands were even more magnificent then I had remembered! The captain was obviously in no special hurry and it had been about two weeks since we had left Miami, and now we were finally docked in the Bahamas. Our mystery guests, Mr. Joseph McClain and his wife Susan were polite, cheerful and sociable, but they left no doubt of their being onboard for professional reasons, rather then merely as late arriving tourists.
On the morning of the fifteenth day we set sail from Freeport Grand Bahamas heading on a course, which would take us to the Bermudas. We were seven hours away from the Bahamas, it was mid afternoon and the weather once more was beautiful with excellent visibility. When suddenly Captain Schmidt who sounded quite concerned called me to the bridge. Upon entered the bridge and greeting the captain he gave me the binoculars saying; "Take a look 'dead' ahead on the horizon and let me know what you see!" I took the binoculars and began to focus on the horizon according to the captain's orders. "Looks like a fog bank to me and a rather large one at that! It seems to be hovering close to the sea but strangely enough the center almost looks like a huge ball sitting on the water, rather then being oblong or flat and it doesn't appear to reach any higher then a couple thousand feet or thereabouts. Also the color appears strange to me for a sea fog, it seems to have a kind of green hue but with a black center.”
Swallowed in a Vacuum
Entering a realm where both man and machine are lost!
We were rapidly approaching the fog bank and at 15 knots we'd likely be entering it in an hour to an hour and a half, and the expression on the captain's face told me he had a plan in mind. Just then Joseph and Susan McLain entered the bridge, the only two given free access to the bridge. After greeting the captain Joe as his friends called him stated; "Captain, I recommend the ship be secured for what is likely to be an emergency situation ahead." The captain turned to the seaman on watch standing next to him and stated; "give the order to secure the ship." The seaman began to speak over the ship's intercom and announced; "Your attention please, secure ship has been ordered, all loose items on deck as well as open hatches and passageways will be made secure. No one is permitted on outside on deck at any time until further notice, without the specific permission of the captain." The tension on the bridge was becoming as tick as the darkening fog outside!
The crew of professional seaman Captain Schmidt had brought onboard clearly demonstrated that wherever he found these men, they certainly were no armatures. The fog back drew ever nearer and as I stood on the bridge, it was clear the captain had made several attempts to avoid the fog bank by altering course sufficiently to steer clear of what was becoming completely clear to everyone, that a monster was hovering over the sea dead ahead. It wasn't more then 45 minutes until we were on the outer fringes of the fog bank and the captain ordered all hands onboard to put on their life jackets. This chore was completed by the time we had entered the fog bank and what had been a bright and clear day was suddenly as dark as a moonless night. I was beginning to understand what Jonah in the Holy Scriptures felt like when a whale was swallowing him. It was as if we were being drawn into a vacuum by a power to strong to resist, even for Captain Schmidt's powerful engines, which were even then pulling hard in an attempt to move the ship away from the approaching pitch-black center.
It suddenly became clear to Captain Schmidt that we were loosing the struggle against the overwhelming power of the whirling tunnel before us and would not be able to avoid being drawn into the dark black hole in the center. The Captain then went over the intercom himself say; "This is Captain Schmidt, We are all cognizant of the fog bank into which we have been drawn, and I am sure all of you can plainly see the whirling tunnel which is dead ahead. A force the likes of which none of us have ever seen is drawing us into it. Everything that can be done has been done to avoid this very situation, but without success. Therefore everyone is advised to find some secure place and hang on least you be tossed about and injured. Perhaps a prayer at might also be considered a good ideas at this time!" As the captain finished his announcement the ship seemed to lurch forward and no one had to ask what was happening.
The Dark Abyss
What dangers lurk ahead as the ship is drawn into the abyss?
The ship had passed completely into the strong influence of the storm’s powerful magnetic like force, which we were now being calling a wormhole. We were all in awe at the power being exerted by this storm and feared what might lie ahead; would we survive or are we being drawn into an abyss from which there is no escape? It was getting even darker outside, but contrary to our expectations the sea seemed to be extremely calm, while at the same time it was getting so dark it appeared as if the portholes had been painted black. Upon entering the wormhole we must have entered a kind of vacuum of sorts where the weather conditions, as we knew them no longer had an effect, and it was as if time itself had stopped completely. We therefore had no ideas as to how much time was passing, but it seemed like an eternity. We were sure we were indeed passing through to the other side, but it was anyone's guess where the other side was, and in what condition we'd find the ship.
Then as suddenly as it all began we had passed through and found ourselves under clear blue skies and fair weather once again. Still we had no way of knowing our location or where here was! It wasn't long before Captain Jacob Schmidt came over the intercom and said; "This is Captain Schmidt, All indications are that we have come through this crisis in good order. I am asking everyone to look about their own area and report any injuries or damage to the bridge. The ship's instruments seem to have returned to normal, none-the-less after they have been checked out more thoroughly our exact location will be announced. In the meantime permission is granted to whose wishing to go out side and on deck, since the sea is now calm and the weather fair. The strange and unusual condition in which we found ourselves no longer exists!
We all went out on deck and looked about so as to see if possible, what there was to see, but just as Captain Schmidt had described, it was clear skies, fair weather and the visibility was excellent all the way to the horizon. Yet, somehow something seemed amiss, and no one could be sure exactly what it was, only that there was a strange feeling in the air. It had been about 20 minutes since the captain's announcement and still we had not heard him give our location! However it wasn't long in coming and when it did come, it was as unbelievable as everything else we had experienced over the past few hours. A voice came over the intercom saying; "All those not on watch, report to the inside lounge area at the stern of the ship immediately!" No sooner had we all mustered as Captain Schmidt himself entered, accompanied by Joseph and Susan McClair. Susan took a seat with the rest of us while the captain began to speak!
Lost in Another Time
Could it be possible that a ship has been thrown backward in time?
"What I have to say will be brief and to the point, if there are any questions, please reserve them until after the two of us have spoken. We were less then a day out of Bermuda on the way to the Grand Bahamas when we spotted the fog bank, unavoidably we entered into it and was drawn into the funnel cloud formation we have all been calling a worm hole, for lack of a better description. Mr. Joseph McClair is an expert on the history and phenomena of the Bermuda Triangle and he will explain our present situation. Go ahead Joe!" Mr. McClair began his explanation of the what turned out to be as unusual as the fog bank itself, that as our location was being described it was found to be the strangest I'd ever heard in my life, and I was myself an experienced sailor. Though nowhere near the level of our Captain Joseph Schmidt! Mr. McClair began; "The term we have been calling this funnel cloud is about as accurate as any term we could use, it is best described as a worm hole. However the common conception is that a wormhole leads to some distant place on the other side of the universe.
In this case the wormhole begins and ends right here upon the earth! Rather then move a person or object across the universe, this particular wormhole has moved us from one location to another in a very short span of time, something less then an hour. If our calculations are correct we are approximately 20 knots directly east of Charleston South Carolina. While the weather is beautiful and we could easily make it to shore by nightfall, I have advised the captain to wait until dark to enter Charleston Harbor. In the event things are somehow not as we expect, we would remain unseen by all but a few people. This would give us the option of departing without raising any undue attention!" Alice Brandon then spoke up with the question, which was on everyone's mind; "It sounds to me like there is something you are purposely leaving out of your explanation! Maybe I've watched to many science fiction movies but, 'when are we?”
Mr. McClair then gave an even stranger reply; "It is my conviction that we have not only moved within 20 knots of Charleston South Carolina, but over a hundred years backward in time. Now you are free to place me under psychiatric care for saying this, but I believe it to be true. Sufficient to say if I am wrong, no damage has been done, but if my theory proved correct, we can't go charging into Charleston Harbor with a vessel out built in the twenty first century." There were no further questions and everyone remained silent within their own thoughts while waiting for evening to come where upon we could find out for sure, precisely when and where the strange fog bank hand taken us. We had all finished the evening meal, which had been served a little late when we heard the engines and felt the ship moving forward. We were on schedule just as the captain had said; it was just turning dark as we approached the mouth of Charleston Harbor. The sea was still calm but with a slight overcast, just enough to give the ship a little cover!
Our Arrival in a New World
What happens when the Yacht docks in historical Charleston?
As we approached Charleston Harbor we couldn't help but notice there was no sea buoy, no bright city lights, only very dim lights which might be considered bright by standards of a long ago time, but certainly not in the twenty first century. Also there was a noticeable absence of the ocean front construction, which would mark our own time. The captain found a small slip just large enough for a 399-foot yacht, knowing it would never be sufficient, but also realizing there was little other choice. After securing the ship to tree stumps ashore and whatever else could be located, the captain gathered everyone in the lounge once more. Captain Schmidt then gave orders that he, Joseph McClair and one of the crewmen would go ashore and look around, then return with a complete report on our situation. Everyone else was to turn to finding a way to camouflage the ship, using branches; leaves or whatever can be found while at the same time allowing for a quick departure if necessary.
After the three men had departed everyone went to work; the remaining crewmen not actually on watch went ashore looking for material while the ladies came up with an idea of using a few large natural colored king size bed sheets, attaching small stems and leaves and covering those areas of the ship which might not be so easily camouflaged by other means. A crewman also took several of us to a storage locker below decks where a number of large camouflage canvases were stored. There was no explanation given for there being onboard if the first place, but we all knew it had something to do with the captain's intended mission, since it was known to all of us that weapons had been brought onboard before the ship sailed. Anyhow it took the better part of three hours but since there was plenty enough canvas the bed sheets were not needed. Enough branches, leaves, shrubbery and moss were brought onboard so as to add a little realism to the camouflaging.
Captain Schmidt and the other two men returned about 11:00 P.M. with bags filled with clothing and a startling report that we had not only been thrown backward in time, but it was now the fall of 1863 and we had obviously ended up on a parallel earth. Mr. Joseph McClair reported there were few people about this time of night with whom we could communicate, so we had to break it off until tomorrow morning. We had blackened the portholes as well as restricted the lighting to night vision lighting only so as not to attract attention. The lights were extremely dim, just bright enough to keep from tripping over something, but we made due and everyone turned in for the evening. For some reason beyond my understanding everyone seemed to sleep well, since no stirring could be heard throughout the ship. Only occasional footsteps could be heard outside our cabin door as the watchman made his rounds of the ship form time to time. The camouflaging obviously worked since no inquired was ever made regarding the strange ship moored in the small inlet not far away.
Ashore in Historic Charleston
What would we find in a city that we had only read about in history books!
The next morning we all gathered for a breakfast consisting of cereal, rolls and juice! Nothing hot was served since it would require firing up an additional generator and that might attract a few unwanted guests. Afterward the captain ordered everyone going ashore to dress in the period clothing which he and his crew brought onboard the evening before. All six of us guests in addition to the captain and his wife made preparations and around 8:00 A.M. we began filing ashore. As it turned out the city itself was only a couple miles away so we decided to walk into town! After walking some distance we could see Fort Sumter across the harbor, the Blood Stained Banner and the Battle Flag was waving proudly over the small island. Jo-Ann gazed at the flag for a while then asked; "If this is 1863 where is the Stainless Banner, wasn't it the Second National Flag? Joe McClair answered by saying; "Obviously in this parallel Confederacy only two national flags were ever created and by this time it would be what we call the Blood Stained Banner.”
We reached the business side of the harbor, which was already filled with people hustling and bustling around the city, the sound of horses and carriages filled the air. Alice Brandon began to wonder out loud what all of us were thinking; "Don't these people know there's a war on, it seems from the looks of things the war hasn't even touched Charleston?" About that time we happened upon a general store, which had a small stack of newspapers, which had been conveniently laid where, everyone, could see them. Captain Schmidt in his former years had traveled to so many strange and unusual places, he had long since made it a habit of carrying small nuggets of gold which resembled a gold dollar, except these were unmarked. He pulled one out and gave it to the proprietor of the store, who in turn looked at it and said in a low voice, alright I recon this gold is as good as it gets. He gave the captain his change back in Confederate currency, currency that was of an extremely high quality given the war.
We soon found the answer to our mystery as Captain Schmidt continued browsing through the newspaper! The headlines read, "General Robert E. Lee's invisibles route the Yankees at Gettysburg as General Stonewall Jackson outflanks the blue bellies. Abraham Lincoln is deeply concerned over the likely arrival of the Confederate Army, soon to come knocking on his door." There's your answer said the captain, General Jackson did not die of his wounds in this parallel Confederacy and rode into Gettysburg at the head of his army. In another story it read; "Confederate Navy's blockade proves effective in halting Union re-supply efforts by sea!" In yet another story it read;" Generals Sherman unable to out pace John Bell Hood's rapidly advancing cavalry! Sherman rapidly running short on reinforcements and supplies is known to be nearing surrender. Generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Hunt Morgan's enlarged armies combine forces for an invasion of Ohio. Their hope is to cut the Union in half, thereby shortening the war in favor of the Confederacy!”
The Confederate Wagon Train
Re-supplying the Confederate Army!
We all had decided early on to earn our own way and each found work, which would suit his or her previous training, talents and experience. Jacob Schmidt was an excellent trader and merchant, howbeit of the sea going variety, but was also quite talented at repairing electronic gadgets. Which was a skill that had always proved beneficial to a yacht owner and captain of his ship. He therefore went to work making improvements on the telegraph service between Charleston and Colombia, the State Capital of South Carolina. John Brandon had been a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marines and was quite skilled with all manor of weaponry, so he went to work with a local firearms manufacturer. He was able in a short time to make improvements on the company's manufacturing techniques, as well as increasing the efficiency and functionality of the weapons produced. The result was a more reliable and quicker reacting repeating rifle for the Confederate Army, and in far less time.
However all this gave us inside information that several wagon loads of repeating rifles were due to be shipped to Columbia and delivered to General P.G.T. Beauregards Army which would be marching through the city within a week or thereabouts. Many of the military crewman which had came with us who were not on watch decided to render their own assistance along the docks, making improvements where possible with the facilities and even the ships that were moored there. The women who came with us were all busy assisting the local ladies in the manufacture of uniforms and leather accoutrements for the Confederate Army, Navy and Marines. Jacob and I therefore decided to volunteer to take the weapons to Columbia and in so doing he added a few weapons which he had brought with him and were now onboard the Yacht. Weapons, which would prove most valuable along the way! We would learn later that General Beauregard was on his way to the general area of the North Carolina and South Carolina border, where Union General Truman Seymour had mustered the remnants of several surrendered armies into a single force of approximately 25,000 troops.
In this Parallel Confederacy, General Beauregards activities during this phase of the war would prove quite different then it had been on our world. We were nearing the half way mark in our journey to Columbia, when the wagon train was attacked by a Yankee patrol of around a dozen men. Jacob signaled the wagons to move into the brush just off to the right side of the dusty wagon trail we had been traveling, were he rushed to the side of the first wagon. As he pulled back the cover we spotted long cylinders, which, while I hadn’t ever used this particular weapon, it was quite familiar. Jacob had managed to bring along a wagonload of Grenade Launchers as well a fair number of grenades. This should only require a single launcher; I'll mount it on my shoulder and you load the grenade, it's easy I'll explain. We spotted the patrol about 50 yards away, which were hiding in some thick brushes and raining a steady barrage of fire at us. Jacob knelt down and mounted the launcher while I prepared to do the loading. Then I said 'ready' and Jacob fired! All that could be found afterward were dead Yankees; most of their horses had already scattered into the woods. The job was done before the other wagon drivers knew what had happened.
The Rendezvous with Beauregard
Could such a meeting really be happening?
We finally arrived in Columbia and I must admit it was quite different then the Columbia of the twenty first century! We had been instructed to await General Beauregard at the front entrance to the Capital and he would receive the wagons as his army passed through town. However we hid the wagon filled with the Grenade Launchers, feeling like there would be no way to provide the training or the re-supply of grenades. We'd pick them up that particular wagon as we departed on our way back to Charleston, feeling like another Yankee patrol just might want give us more experience in their use. In any case we waited in front of the capital building just as the general had ordered but I had a hunch it wouldn't be long. In the meantime the crowds began to gather along the side of the road where Beauregards Army would pass and chatter could be heard up and down the line; Beauregard is coming, Beauregard is coming, he's marching his entire army though town. Sure enough these people were right on target, already we could see the dust kicked up by the famous General P.G.T. Beauregards 35,000 troupes.
The ladies began to push forward, all of them bearing gifts for the troops as they passed by, for what must have been the entire afternoon. As the army came into view we could all see the general himself at the head of his army with his lieutenants at his side. While this was going on the Governor of South Carolina, Milled Luke Bonham, and several members of his staff stepped forward and stood beside the two of us. Greetings gentlemen, a fine spectacle are it not? I couldn't help but be the first to speak up; "the most amazing spectacle I've ever seen governor!" We all used the brief interlude to introduce ourselves and soon General Beauregards Army was upon us and the general himself moved out of the line, dismounted and approached the governor. The governor introduces us to the general and mentioned to him, that we had brought the weapons he required for his upcoming campaign. We then turned over the wagons to his troops shook hands again and watched as the general saluted the governors saying, by your leave sir, then remounted and continued on with his army.
While we had been watching a Confederate troops parade through Columbia South Carolina, General Braxton Bragg who was still very much alive in this parallel Confederacy, was leaving the Chattanooga area on a mop up operation through eastern Tennessee and Kentucky. Colonel John Singleton Mosby now promoted to Lieutenant General was commanding an army of 27,000 while marching through Massachusetts and New York in order to bring the war home to those areas which had supported the invasion of the Confederacy so vehemently. While General Albert Sidney Johnston who also is still very much live on this parallel earth, was marching south toward Mobile Alabama with only one order from his Commander in Chief; "Clear the area of any and all Yankee Forces remaining." In Pennsylvania General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was rapidly recouping its losses from the terrible three day battle, rearming and was now setting their eyes on Washington. In the battle yet to come General A.P. Hill would be the spearhead in a four-part thrust on the city.
Time Spent in the ConfederacyThe Parallel Confederacy proves victorious!
We stayed for a little over a month working and getting acquainted with the history, conditions and the pleasure of living in a victorious Confederacy! We discovered that so many major Confederate victories coupled with numerous raids on Union Gold and Silver stockpiles had driven down the value of the Yankee Dollar. That same condition when combined with an early crushing of attempts by the Union Navy to blockade Confederate ports, caused the Confederacy's economy as well as its dollar to sour in value. Agricultural and manufactured goods were flowing back and forth across the Atlantic and a sound economy gave the Confederacy a definite advantage and an encouragement to experiment and produce advance weapons of war. As an example in this parallel Confederacy the repeating rifle was already widely used throughout the Confederate Army and the Navy was well on the way to building what amounted to a second generation iron clad fleet of war ships. The Confederacy had confiscated a sizeable number of ships from the Yankees and had already assigned a Confederate States General Staff, which included the Navy under Admiral Raphael Semmes.
The favorable fortunes of war had lowered the casualty rate and shifted the burden of the war to where the Yankees were suffering horrible losses as anti-war riots were spreading throughout the cities of the north, adding to Abraham Lincoln’s headaches. True there were Union Armies located on Confederate soil, but these had been cut to pieces and spent more time on the run then attacking. General Juba Early had marched into Maryland in early spring of 1863 gaining new recruits and supplies all along the way. The result was that by the time of the Gettysburg Battle General James Longstreet controlled the lower third of Pennsylvania and General Early two thirds of Maryland. Abraham Lincoln's Capital City had rapidly become an island the middle of a Confederate sea. General Robert E. Lee had Stonewall Jackson on his right flank and J.E.B. Stuart on his left flank and A.P. Hill in the center and it was beginning to look like an unstoppable force aimed at any Union Army foolish enough to continue the war.
On the last morning of our stay we read in the newspaper that Union General Benjamin F. Butler who in this parallel Confederacy had never made it to New Orleans, was on trial on criminal charges, and stood a strong chance of going to the gallows. After our breakfast meal Captain Jacob Schmidt informed us that we had already stretched our luck to the limits and it was beyond him as to why the ship had not been discovered by this time. It was urgent that we depart that very evening shortly after complete darkness. The lights at night in this 1863 Charleston are minimal at best and since there is no Union Blockade, we should be able to slip out of the harbor and out to sea without anyone noticing. That's when John Brandon gave a surprising reply; "Alice and I have decided to remain in this parallel Confederacy. We both couldn't be much more happier and after so long a time, we have found our natural place. We are only in our middle age and we would like to live out the remainder of our lives in the nation we love. Besides you have no assurance as to whether the same process which brought us here, will work in reverse?”
The Return Home
Where we making a mistake by not remaining?
We were all gathered once ore onboard the ship at 2:00 P.M. and in the same stern lounge where it all began! Captain Schmidt advised John and Alice Brandon to accept a gift of a pouch filled with larger gold nuggets, which he felt would be sufficient to give them a running start in building a new life. I will never understand why my wife and myself did not also remain behind, knowing how much we'd have loved to follow the Brandon's example and live out our lives in a victorious Confederacy. The Brandon’s gathered their meager belongings and packed them onboard the buggy, which they had purchased nearly a month before, and had been used to transport our people back and forth to the ship. Being careful to take different routes so as not to raise suspicion! We all said our good bys and the Brandon’s were off to a new life! Darkness came soon afterward, we removed the camouflaging, fired up the engines and slowly made our way through the Charleston Channel and out to the open sea. As we all looked back I began to realize, I had left my heart in a parallel Confederacy!
We sailed all that night and half way through the morning, the captain began to feel like it was indeed impossible to return to the twentieth century. When about that time the same mysterious fog bank appeared approximately 1,000 yards ahead, dead ahead and unavoidable. The difference was that this time we knew the procedure as well as what lay on the other side, over a 140 years and another dimension away was the homes we had left behind, when Jacob Schmidt promised us the adventure of a lifetime. We gradually entered into the fog bank and into the black hole, shortly remerging under a bright blue sunny sky and calm seas. None of us had to ask where we were, for after passing through the fog bank and the black hole we new, all that we had experienced lay beyond the barriers of time and space on a totally different world. As I hugged the stern rail of the ship and looked out toward the sea I thought to myself; somewhere out there, there exist a world where the Confederate States of America won its independence and has prospered in the process.
Somewhere I thought, beyond the corridors of time and space the Confederacy did manage to win the war. I also knew our dear friends John and Alice Brandon must be happy in their new world and my only regret is that we didn't make the same choice as they. Captain Jacob Schmidt could be seen standing on the port bridge wing, looking out toward He Sea; it was no mystery as to what was on his mind. We had been faced with the greatest choice ever handed to a Confederate States patriot, and had allowed it to slip through our fingers. Shortly afterward a crewman could be seen and heard giving the captain the correct bearings. We were in precisely the same locality as when we first entered the fog bank and only a couple hours had passed. Some would say we imagined the entire affair, but such is not the case! However, the experience did give me a renewed interest in our twenty first century struggle to vindicate our just and honorable cause, by bringing about an unconditional victory for the Confederacy.
Back in the Parallel Confederacy the day after we had departed, there is no doubt that reports must have filled the newspaper, of eye witnesses claiming to have seen a ghost ship heading through the channel and out to sea. Some must have even claimed to be able to read the name on her bow, the Lady Jo-Ann! But then again some would likely say, it was only a reflection of the moon off the water or maybe it was simply atmospheric conditions. Some will even claimed the government was hiding something and had caused these strange sightings! While others might even figure the Yankees were responsible! After awhile these strange sighting would be written off as the imagination by those who simply wanted to gain the attention of the press. Soon others would refuse to come forward and the entire matter then passes into folklore and legend. But whatever they might believe we know the truth; a yacht called the Lady Jo-Ann had traveled more then 140 years backward in time and onto a parallel world, where the Confederacy is a free and independent nation.
Jacob and Jo-Ann Schmidt became close friends of my wife and I, we traveled through the Bermuda Triangle many times afterward. We even experienced a fog bank from time to time as well as other strange phenomenon. But the fog bank that took us backward in time and into a parallel Confederacy was never seen again, we finally come to believe it would never return in our lifetime. A door had opened once, never to reopen for us again! If you are ever sailing through the Bermuda Triangle and see a strange fog bank with a greenish hew and a black worm hole in the center. If you are blessed that you manage to by happen-chance travel to that same world as we did, you might want to consider carefully before returning. Prior to our departure from the Parallel Confederacy Jacob Schmidt had turned over all the remaining Grenade Launchers and Grenades to John Brandon before leaving.
John had indicated he was interested in creating a new weapons research and manufacturing company to be known as the 'Brandon Arms Works' with a mission to keep the Confederacy ahead of any possible aggressor. There is no doubt in my mine that by the most desired of all weapons in the Parallel Confederacy, are those bearing the seal of the 'B.A.W.' or Brandon Arms Works. President Jefferson Davis no doubt went down in history as the father of his country, while Abraham Lincoln would have served a single term and left office in disgrace. Whatever scenario history may have followed, our adventurous journey across time and space to a Parallel Confederacy mean the Confederate States of America on this earth could have won, had a few historical incidents turned out differently. However they did not and now it is our duty and responsibility to put history back on course with a total and complete Confederate victory in our own time.
God save the Confederacy
"What passes as standard American history is really Yankee history written by New Englanders or their puppets to glorify Yankee heroes and ideals." --- Dr. Grady McWhiney