Empire of Liberty: The Lion Is Humbled

Previous Chapter: The World at War

“Oh God! It’s all over!”

~ Lord Frederick North upon hearing about the capture of Savannah

Excerpt from Douglas Oswald’s “Annotated History of the American Revolution”, University of Michigan Press, 1932.

The surrender of General Howe in New York, Campbell in Montreal, and the alliance between the French, Spanish and the Americans forced a shift in British war policy. The Admiralty and Ministry of War made the decision as early as October of 1778 that the war could not be won north of the Carolinas. All efforts were refocused on defending the home islands, Gibraltar and British interests in the Mediterranean Sea, retaking as much of the Caribbean as possible, and defending Britain’s oriental interests. Throughout the fall and winter of 1778-1779 a massive reshuffling of the Royal Navy occurred across the Atlantic with the first warships bound for India rounding the Cape of Good Hope in the early summer of 1779. By April of 1779 most of the remaining British garrisons north of the North Carolina-South Carolina border were withdrawn further south. Those that remained were largely interior forts and trading posts used to operating in isolation.

Furthermore, the disasters in 1778 led to a political crisis. Lord North, the British Prime Minister, was ousted by a vote of no confidence in November of 1778. The failure of the North government and the Tories led to the appointment of the Marquess of Rockingham as the next Prime Minister and ushered in a government led by the Whigs who had generally been more in favor of peaceful settlement with the Americans. Rockingham quietly let it be known around London that the war would be refocused on the European adversaries and retaining as much of the Caribbean as possible. He also allowed important ministers to know that he would not allow a protracted war as the king desired but rather would evaluate the situation in 1780. If peace with the Americans, and the potential loss of some of the Caribbean, was necessary to defend the British Isles, Gibraltar and India then North America could be lost. Part of North’s logic was that if the new United States controlled the Caribbean sugar islands then at least that meant the French and Spanish would not possess them either. A post-war diplomatic solution would surely reestablish reliable trade routes as those islands’ economies were dependent on British trade and perhaps a few could be convinced to rejoin the empire if an independent United States proved shaky economically and militarily. Perhaps, most importantly in Rockingham’s thinking was that in late 1778 the British situation in the Caribbean had recovered slightly.

In the summer of 1778, the British held most of the Windward Islands and had two powerful fleets defending the region (under Admirals Hood and Barrington). Of course the allies had powerful fleets in the region as well and the British lost St. Vincent to a combined Franco-American force on June 19, 1778 but they repulsed a French force from taking Barbados in July. Furthermore, Rockingham authorized a bold strike in the Caribbean where the allies would least suspect it. In November of 1778, a third fleet assembled at Nassau under Admiral Sir Richard Howe, the 1st Earl Howe (brother of William Howe who had just surrendered New York) and departed for the Caribbean. Poor French intelligence believed this force was set to attack Puerto Rico and sweep the Leeward Islands while the combined fleet of Hood and Barrington would sweep north. This would confine the Americans, French and Spanish to the western Caribbean while securing everything from San Juan to Port-of-Spain for the Admiralty. This was not a bad estimate and indeed Rockingham had listened to that very proposal from the Admiralty before selecting something more…unorthodox.

On November 21, 1778 Howe’s fleet defeated a hastily prepared Spanish fleet at the Battle of Las Galeras, just off the northeast coast of Hispaniola [1]. Their direction appeared to be towards Puerto Rico. Instead, on December 1, the Spanish defenders of Santo Domingo  were caught off-guard when the Royal Navy descended on the ancient port and took it for themselves. The capture of the strategic city opened a new theater in the Caribbean and confused control of the seas even more. It allowed the British a tenuous link between Britain, Bermuda, occupied-Nassau and the occupied Windward islands. To the allies, it quickly became clear that the British were fighting for an uti possidetis cease fire [2]This reality ensured the war would last longer than necessary as France and Spain saw Britain fighting a traditional war of hegemony while the United States refused to begin its existence abandoning sister-states. This also ensured more island hopping campaigns and a renewed allied push into the Carolinas and Georgia. This ran contrary to Rockingham’s thinking as seen in correspondence to his Secretary of State William Petty, the 2nd Earl of Shelburne:

“The colonials are not as unified as they seem. If the Congress can secure peace and independence at the expense of a handful of [Caribbean] islands they will seize it without hesitation. That the islands even joined in the first place is a mystery and a lucky accident to the rebels. This war was always about the mainland and Canada, they would cede the whole Caribbean if it achieved the original purpose of their Declaration.” 

Rockingham would have been wise to remember that it was the delegation from Jamaica that initially proposed a formal declaration of independence in the first place.

Back on the American Main, George Washington’s continental army pursued retreating British lines into South Carolina.

Excerpt from Benjamin Chou’s “Untold History of Early America”, Random House Publishing, 1992.

This movement of the war effort from the north to the south proved pivotal to George Washington and his larger scheme of using the independence effort to his personal gain. In 1780 the four great military heroes of the revolution in the public’s mind were Guy Carleton, Benedict Arnold, George Washington and William Briggs [3]. As a naval officer, Briggs was largely confined to the defense of the Caribbean and was not a direct political adversary to any of the mainland based founding fathers. His naval brilliance and charisma was necessary to holding the Caribbean and while he would surely prove to become a post-war political force, he was out-of-the-way and necessary in the current moment.

More pressing to Washington was what to do with Carleton and Arnold now that the many scattered theaters of the war had been refocused on one southern campaign. All three men knew there could only be one military leader in charge of the Continental Army in the south. Technically, Washington was the overarching commander of the rebellion’s war effort but in practice he was the leader of the effort in the Mid-Atlantic colonies. His position gave him an inside track but there was a push to have two commanders in the south or have Washington held back in Philadelphia while Carleton and Arnold led the actual war efforts.

In the end Washington was able to use his considerable political influence over the Congress to kill four birds with one stone. Carleton, being necessary to the loyalty of the Québécois, would maintain watch over Canada and lead operations against Indians and British agents in the northern North American interior. Arnold would lead the charge against Indians and agents in the southern North American interior, namely relieving the chaos that had been raging from western New York and Pennsylvania down into the Kentucky and Tennessee frontiers. This naturally left Washington as the only choice to lead the Continentals against the British in the Carolinas. This relegated Carleton and Arnold to inferior theaters, allowed Washington to take the bulk of the glory and furthermore actually forced Arnold to defend Washington’s valuable land holdings and investments that his family had made in western Virginia and Pennsylvania. While the more dignified Carleton seemed to accept his new orders with relative grace, a letter from Arnold displays how livid the general truly was.

“It was only together with myself to the north and [Washington] to the west that we expelled the British [from New York]. It speaks volumes about the true nature and character of the man that he would relegate my expertise and perhaps the lives of true patriots by my going west to Ohio instead of south to Carolina. I would pray that he could sleep at night knowing how many men must die needlessly but I know full well that what will come for him in his remaining years is worth it in his soul.”

To his credit, Arnold performed his duties on the frontier with professionalism and won several battles against British-aligned tribes. Operating out of Fort Nashborough (later Nashville), he formed a lifelong friendship with General George Rogers Clark (the celebrated frontier general who led the Illinois Campaign and became the victor of  Kaskaskia and Vincennes). The two led militia forces against the Shawnee in Ohio and relieved besieged Spaniards when St. Louis came under repeated Indian attack.

To the norther, Carleton busied himself with an attack on Fort Detroit, the most important British held outpost west of the Appalachians. Partnering with allied Indian tribes and local French traders, Carleton led a motley group across the Ontario Peninsula in the fall of 1780, seizing Detroit in a brief, but pitched battle, on October 9, 1780. Instead of returning to Montreal, Carleton made winter quarters in Detroit and used the strategic location to support Arnold’s operations in the Ohio Valley. In 1781, in coordination with a small French flotilla, Carleton attacked Hudson Bay Company trading posts and forts throughout the summer, effectively ending British control of Canada and leading to the inclusion of Rupert’s Land into the coming peace treaty. These were among the last military operations of the American Revolutionary War and most of the captures were bloodless affairs.

*

Excerpt from Douglas Oswald’s “Annotated History of the American Revolution”, University of Michigan Press, 1932.

With British forces confined to South Carolina, Georgia and the Floridas by the summer of 1779, Washington sought a slow advance into the region in an attempt to force a battle on his own terms. With French allies landing at Wilmington that spring, Washington and Lafayette could afford to engage the British and attempt a decisive battle. Even if they lost, the British lacked the resources to push any further than North Carolina. The allied force engaged the British at the sweltering July 9, 1779 Battle of Columbia. While the allies achieved victory, the British managed a disciplined withdraw to Augusta, Georgia, largely due to their control of the bridge over the Broad River. Similar to Columbia, the town of Augusta straddled the Savannah River and commanded the only decent bridge for miles. The loss of interior South Carolina consolidated British forced, stretched thin over the vast territories of South Carolina and Georgia. Washington contemplated securing South Carolina and waiting for an allied fleet to capture the ports of Savannah an Charleston, which could eliminate resupply for the last British army operating on the American Main. However, all parties fleets at this moment were quite occupied and stretched alarmingly thin in their own right.

In the wider war, from late 1778 until its conclusion, the royals and the allies could never truly achieve consistent victory. While it it true that the British defeated Spanish militia forces at the Battle of La Guayiga, north of Santo Domingo, in March of 1779, their successes on Hispaniola were countered with allied successes in the western Caribbean and the windwards. Spanish forces from Veracruz scattered British logging settlements in the Yucatan and captured the Bay Islands, consolidating Central America for themselves for the first time since the days of the conquistadors. The French sent d’Estaing’s fleet south to defend their own Caribbean possessions and join up with the other French admirals in the region. The French repulsed an attack by Hood’s fleet on St. Lucia in January of 1779. On April 7, a combined fleet under Briggs and d’Estaing retook Grenada from Barrington. Later that year, an attack by Howe on Martinique was repulsed by that same Franco-American fleet.

Barrington, Howe and Hood all sent requests to London for more ships and naval registers from 1778 until the end of the war reflect an ever dwindling number of vessels and experienced sailors for all sides. For the Americans, they never had much in the way of an indigenous warship construction industry. While shipyards in New England could turn out sloops, brigs and an occasional frigate, the United States did not produce a single ship-of-the-line from its own industry throughout the entire war. All of the Continental Navy’s most powerful ships came from capture or purchases. For the European powers, their navies stretched to the breaking point due to ever increasing fronts in the global war. After the entry of the Dutch into war in 1780 (thanks to the British seizure of a Dutch ship in 1779 and some backbreaking American diplomacy by John Adams), the Royal Navy suddenly found itself defending the home islands, blockading the English Channel and Bay of Biscay, engaged with Franco-Spanish forces across the Mediterranean, resupplying troops on the American Main, defending Bermuda, holding the Bahamas, engaged in operations in Hispaniola, engaged in intense fighting in the windwards, dueling with France and the Dutch for control of the Cape of Good Hope, on the offensive against the French and Dutch in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and across the East Indies, and defending British merchants or harassing enemy trade across the oceans. The Admiralty simply lacked the ships to engage any one of these operations in full. And we should remember that the Royal Navy was by far the strongest naval force of the era and if London found itself stretched thin in naval operations then imagine the frustrations of Paris, London and Amsterdam.

*

Excerpt from Philip Tadros’ “Great Battles of the United States”, University of Egypt Press, 2012

The Battle of Brownsborough 

With no naval support, the onus lie on Washington and Lafayette to finish the job on the mainland. Washington needed to squeeze the British and ensure Augusta did not become another bloodier version of Columbia. To General Henry Clinton, another loss would force a retreat to Savannah which would ensure a siege that would last only as long as the Royal Navy allowed it. While he didn’t doubt the Royal Navy’s capability, at what point would the death of his men and the navy’s efforts become useless? A victory would preserve honor and give London more leverage at the negotiating table. Washington ended up splitting his force, taking his continentals up the river to a narrow stretch and constructing a pontoon bridge. This allowed Washington to cross into Georgia while Lafayette commanded the French in Carolina. Clinton, well aware of the strategy, refused to allow the maneuver to fully execute and be caught in a siege. He opted to defeat one army at a time, and to ensure this, to the shock of Lafayette, Clinton detonated the bridge at Augusta. Scrambling, Lafayette’s force raced north to protect and utilize the continental’s bridge but, for the moment, Washington and Clinton would engage alone and Washington had no way of knowing that the British had blown the Augusta bridge.

The Battle of Brownsborough occurred a few miles southeast of that frontier village, on the less wooded flood plains of the Savannah River [4]. Washington managed to get his entire force across and was marching south when his army ran into Clinton’s. Sending word to Lafayette, unaware that the French were already underway and Lafayette’s cavalry were several kilometers into their nine kilometer gallop, Washington opted to hold his ground and defend the bridge. This proved a wise, but also lucky, decision as Washington would only learn about the destruction of the Augusta bridge two hours into the battle.

Clinton tested the Americans lines (which so often broke from 1776-1777) and found them steadfast. Hoping to turn Washington’s lines and force them back against the river and across the bridge, Clinton ordered Col. Banastre Tarleton  to charge Washington’s right flank and turn it. While Clinton’s crack 40th foot infantry engaged the center of the continental lines in a diversion, Tarleton’s cavalry looped wide and made an attempt to charge the right flank. Emerging from a heavily wooded section of the battlefield, the charge was poorly executed but the extreme right flank was guarded by untested Carolina militiamen. Washington would later state he expected nothing from Clinton out of the woods, much less cavalry. The militia broke and Tarleton had a decision to make. A continuation of his charge would combine with the current engagement of the 40th foot with Washington’s center and, perhaps, break the American lines and force a retreat across the bridge. Or…Tarleton could not help but notice exposed American artillery and a few hundred meters more the bridge itself. Every Briton knew that there was no way the Crown could retake the whole of the colonies but what leverage would Britain have if Tarleton could destroy the bridge, eliminate the American’s artillery and force a wholesale surrender of George Washington’s army? How many islands would the colonials surrender (and how many honors he gain personally) if he secured George Washington as a hostage?

The temptation was too great and Tarleton violated his orders and led his cavalry towards the American artillery.

Typically in that age, a dedicated cavalry attack on an artillery regiment would likely incite panic. Tarleton expected this, but the heavy woods prevented him from being able to completely encircle and catch the artillery from behind. Furthermore, this battlefield was hardly a “field” and more a slightly wooded flood plain intersected by several creeks; hardly good country for a cavalry charge. Instead he came in at an angle, not directly under their barrels, but the Americans needed to only turn their barrels slightly to the right.

The panic never set. Artillery Colonel Thomas Jenkins of Maryland later became a political mainstay in Marylander politics for the bravery he showed that day. Seeing the charge incoming, he calmly ordered his men to point to quickly turn their cannons and load canister shot.

Who knows how the fate of the world would have changed had Tarleton been 50 meters closer at the start of his charge. Or if Tarleton had been more aware that advances in artillery design was allowing lighter and more maneuverable cannons every year. Indeed, the Napoleonic Wars would soon take full advantage of this fact and revolutionize warfare.  Such speculation is counter productive. What we do know is that his cavalry regiment was practically destroyed in a literal hailstorm of lead. Tarleton died in the first volley and only 20 percent of his initial regiment returned to British lines, an unprecedented casualty rate in that era.

Despite the dramatic moment, the battle remained unchanged. Clinton pulled back the 40th when he spotted the horrifying remnants of his best cavalry return. As the lines stabilized and the battle paced waned a bit, Lafayette’s cavalry galloped across the pontoon bridge and into Georgia. With them came word that the core French force would arrive by late afternoon.

Knowing he could not handle the combined force, especially with the destruction of Tarleton’s unit, Clinton pushed his chips to the center of the table. The 40th positioned onto the American’s still weak right flank while the 7th royal fulisiers and the 71st highlanders, would lead the attack down the center. It wasn’t much of a plan but the battlefield prevented much creative thinking and time was running out before the French arrived. Despite the best British efforts, the American lines refused to crack. The weak right flank was augmented with France’s cavalry which prevented further collapse. By five in the afternoon, the first French troops began streaming across the bridge and reinforcing flagging American lines.

By this point, Clinton’s army began running low on supplies and he was dealing with numerous wounded. Already at the end of a long baggage train from Savannah, he opted to begin a retreat towards Augusta with intention to draw closer to Savannah. A two day race incurred but the last straw came when Lafayette’s cavalry outpaced the British and sacked their baggage train. Clinton met Washington and Lafayette under a flag of truce and secured an honorable withdraw of his forces. On August 2, 1779 Washington and Lafayette marched into Savannah. The last of the major British armies in North America had surrendered.

*

Excerpt from Douglas Oswald’s “Annotated History of the American Revolution”, University of Michigan Press, 1932.

Between the surrender of Clinton and the Royal Navy being stretched thin around the world, the realities of the situation can be seen in the results.

Shortly after Spain’s entry into the war, Spanish soldiers laid siege to the Rock of Gibraltar. A makeshift British fleet attempted to relieve the Spanish blockade in February of 1780 only to be handed a surprising defeat at the hands of Spanish Admiral Don Juan de Lángara. Insult to injury occurred when Lángara took advantage of the chaotic British situation in the Mediterranean to seize the port of Minorca. A scandal ensued and Rockingham’s government found itself forced to reorganize the Admiralty, drawing ships away from the American theaters in favor of more crucial European waters. Plans were found decades later of a planned invasion of Halifax, an attempt by the Royal Navy to retake the great port and open a new theater in what had been a quiet region of the war. It appears those plans were scrapped in Rockingham’s reorganizations. To assist Gibraltar, Hood would eventually redeem his American shortcomings by defeating a numerically superior Franco-Spanish fleet off the coast of Morocco. His victory at the Battle of the Pillars on May 2, 1780 relieved the Rock and earned him redemption as the 1st Viscount Hood. Even with Hood’s victory and the Admiralty’s reorganization the Royal Navy lagged behind its usual standards.

A Franco-American force retook Barbados in June of 1780 and at no point were the lightly defended Dutch possessions on the Guyanese coast or southern Africa threatened (though a half hearted attempt to take the Cape Colony was foiled by France).

Spanish forces from New Orleans, led by Bernardo de Galvez, engaged in operations to expel the British from the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi outposts. His Spanish soldiers defeated British forces at Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola from 1779 through early 1781 forcing the British to direct valuable resources for the defense of the Floridas. In fact, several regiments were redeployed from Georgia to East Florida as London considered the colonies a lost cause but hoped to defeat the Spanish and retain the Floridas. While the strategy failed, it likely withdrew troops from Clinton’s army and hastened his defeat in the summer of 1779.

An April 1780 seizure of Bermuda by Franco-Spanish forced shocked the Crown which long held the island as impenetrable. More a product of luck than planning, the Franco-Spaniards happened to stumble on the island just as a fleet left to resupply Santo Domingo but before a fleet arrived from Portsmouth to defend Bermuda itself. In the end, the Franco-Spanish force only held Bermuda for a few months before they were dislodged, though it wouldn’t be the British who dislodged them.

Perhaps most shockingly, in an attempt to bring the dragging war to a close, French forces took the channel island of Jersey  on February 9, 1781. This marked the first successful invasion of the island since the 10th century when the island came under the control of William I “Longsword”, the Count of Rouen and great-great grandfather of the eventual Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, who brought possession of Jersey with him to Britain. A hastily prepared July 19 attempt by the British to retake the channel island even resulted in failure. In a display of priorities, the loss of Jersey resulted in Rockingham tendering his resignation to George III on July 26 with the Earl of Shelburne becoming the next prime minister.

This says nothing of the conflict between the British East India Company and the French and Dutch in India and the East Indies. When word reached India of the war in late 1778, the British began seizing the lightly defended French Indian ports. The 1779 capture of Mahe by the British sparked the Second Anglo-Mysore War when Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, intervened against the British on behalf of his French allies. That war would last until 1784 and end status quo ante bellum. The Dutch, caught flat footed in India, surrendered fortifications on Sumatra, some ports in India, and the great port of Trincomalee, to the British. Ultimately, the Dutch regained all of these possessions save for the Indian port of Negapatam. The next time, peace with Britain would not be so lenient.

Of course, the requisition of ships from the Americas in favor of the Old World allowed renewed vigor amongst the allies. Barbados and Bermuda were both taken in the summer of 1780. Briggs’ was in the process of planning an attack on the Bahamas to retake Nassau when an event hit the region that, finally, ended the war in the Caribbean. Though, many locals would have taken occupation from any of the powers involved over what actually happened. From October 10 through 16 a massive hurricane swept through the Caribbean devastating everything in its path [5]. The storm flattened Barbados, Martinique and St. Lucia but wrought destruction from Trinidad to the Leewards. While we have no definitive track of the storm for obvious technological reasons, it turned north at some point and dealt terrible blows to the Greater Antilles before curving through the Bahamas and hitting Bermuda before vanishing into the north Atlantic. In a week, a storm wrought more destruction to the primary theaters of the Caribbean than years of war. It also brought the wider conflict to a close.

Roughly 20,000 people died from the hurricane and French and Spanish fleets were devastated across the region. The remaining British fleets, anchored at Santo Domingo (Howe) and Nassau (Barrington) were equally shattered. Only the American fleet under Briggs, anchored in Cagway Bay as they prepared to sail against Barrington, found itself spared. All sides floated opportunistic naval ideas to take advantage of the changed situation but by this point the war was effectively finished. Indeed, it had been over on the American Main for over a year when the last British forces surrendered in Georgia.

***

The year 1780 saw the conclusion of major hostilities around the world (though a few sporadic battles occurred in 1781, mainly on distant frontiers). In turn, diplomats converged on Paris to negotiate the end of the war.

The Treaty of Paris was formally signed on January 10, 1782 between the United States and Britain. Several separate peaces occurred in short succession between London and Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam (though the war in India would continue into 1784). The nature of the war and the way its last two years played out largely ensured that an uti possidetis peace occurred (save for Britain and Spain where some territory actually swapped)In it, all of the American colonies were granted their full independence and provided the remainder of British territory in North America including Rupert’s Land and the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Spain gained the Floridas and the former British possessions and protectorates in Central America. Britain retained Gibraltar, Minorca, Tobago, and Bermuda. Never having actually occupied more than the environs of Santo Domingo, and with the Great Hurricane having wrecked the occupying force and its fleet, Britain sold Santo Domingo back to Spain in exchange for Minorca. For all of her trouble, France only gained some west African outposts (a French force recaptured Saint Louis and the Senagalese territories which Britain had taken in the Seven Years War). The Dutch ceded the Indian port of Negapatam to Britain but were able to retain control of Ceylon and their East Indies possessions. The territorial retention might have been a blessing for Amsterdam but the cost of the war and the blows to the Dutch navy ultimately proved irrecoverable.

Britain’s generosity with the peace terms came about due to continental gains in 1781 throughout the North American frontier and the Shelburne government’s desire to begin peaceful trade as quickly as possible. On May 7, 1782 the Continental Congress ratified the treaty and the new United States of America was then, truly, independent.

Whether they could keep that independence, or their new country for that matter, would be another battle altogether.

—————- Author’s Notes —————

[1]: Las Galeras being the nearest land location and thus earning giving its name to the battle as often occurred in those days.

[2]: Latin for “as you possess”. This means that territory and other property remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict.

[3]: Let’s talk about the elephant in the room here. In our timeline, many considered Benedict Arnold to be one of the finer military commanders the revolution had to offer but his eventual decision to betray the United States was motivated by routinely being underpaid, under-promoted and under-recognized. Looking past his eventual decision, we must remember that Arnold was instrumental in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga (whose cannons would end the siege of Boston), played a leading role in the invasion of Canada (where he briefly acted as the military governor of Montreal) and the Hudson River campaigns including showing tremendous bravery at the key battle of Saratoga. In many of these campaigns he was wounded. Washington even wrote Congress urging them to stop making politically motivated promotions because they might lose two or three good officers (likely an allusion to Arnold). This does not excuse Arnold’s decision in our timeline. In this timeline, however, there are plenty of theaters for Arnold to take command, the war effort in the United States is generally much better than our timeline, and the Congress has deeper coffers in our timeline (even if some of it comes from replicated gold unbeknownst to most). So even if Congress treats Arnold with some contempt as per our timeline, the opportunities are so plentiful that he is able to obtain the commands and recognition he coveted. Thus, Arnold becomes a leading American officer, especially after proving himself as the hero of Hartford.

[4]: Brownsborough doesn’t exist in our timeline, at least anymore. It was a tiny frontier village roughly corresponding to our timeline’s Pollard’s Corner.

[5]: The Great Hurricane of 1780 remains the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Like this timeline, its impact on the war in the Caribbean was profound. For those wondering why chaos theory has not been applied (the whole butterfly effect where the butterfly flaps its wings in Texas and the tiny change to wind patterns adds up resulting, eventually, in a storm in China), I’ve opted for a gradual build up. The initial change in the timeline only occurred five years before so while weather patterns will change, those drastic changes take time. I have no intention of changing certain other natural events like earthquakes or the Tunguska event which are completely out of human control or interference.

Next Chapter: A Rocky Start

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