My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage”, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.
T is for Texas: 1836 – Thirty-three years after the Dixie States acquired territory from France by the Louisiana Purchase, the Mēxihcans attempt to claim Texas. The port of New Orleans is no longer in Kanatian hands, as it was the only concession that the Dixies received after invading the Chesapeake Bay area in 1812 and instead lost their capital at Richmond in the peace talks. From their new capital in Memphis, the Dixie States control the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf of Mēxihco, but Kanata still has trading posts all along the coast.
On the 13 February 1836, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna leads a Mēxihca army of six thousand troops north to wipe out the massively outnumbered Texian army garrisoned at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio de Béxar. From there, seizing Texas will be straightforward. However, the unusually low temperatures in Texas, including snow, slow his progress and he is unaware that Kimantsi scouts have detected the army as it heads north and alerted the Mjölnir Militia at the trading post on the Nueces estuary. As the senior merchant, Donat Migisi values dealing with the Texians over the Mēxihcans. Kanata is anxious to see the buffer territory in the south of the continent strengthened.
With two hundred Kimantsi and Mjölnir guerrillas divided into two groups, Santa Anna’s army is harassed by a fast-moving enemy. After two weeks of ceaseless assaults, and with his forces disillusioned, Santa Anna reaches the Medina, where a final ambush decimates the invaders and only a thousand remain. The delays allow reinforcements from the other Dixie States to reach the Alamo, along with another fifty Mjölnir Militia led by Donat’s sister, Daina. Traps are set everywhere from covered pits, fire trenches and barricades creating pinch points for sharpshooters. The harassed army is driven forward by relentless marauders, and Santa Anna is forced to sue for peace. “We’ve ensured the Mexicans remember the Alamo, and remember to stay south of the Nueces,” say Colonels Travis and Bowie.
In our timeline: Richmond, Virginia was the most permanent capital of the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Although 25% of the city’s buildings were destroyed, by departing Confederate troops, the city recovered – as did Washington which the British burnt during the War of 1812, when the US invaded the British provinces of Canada.
Memphis did see some action during the Civil War as a strategic location on transportation routes. Its access by water was key to its initial development, with steamboats plying the Mississippi river. Railroad construction strengthened its connection to other markets to the east and west.
Tragically, “Remember the Alamo” is linked to a heroic but bloody defeat of the brave Texian defenders under Colonels Travis and Bowie. Snow did hamper the Mexican army, and Comanche warriors did harass the advancing troops, many of whom were conscripts, but the reinforcements were delayed and there were Mexican settlers in Texas spreading false information as well as spying for Santa Anna. Texian Army General Sam Houston was only able to exact revenge afterwards, at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Could the combined strategies of the Kimantsi warriors and the Mjölnir Militia with their generations of elite fighting prowess have bought the crucial time for the reinforcements? Was Kanata correct to side with a neighbour that had invaded them twenty-four years earlier?
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