Doctor Cimmerian

July 1st, 1863. The day everything changed. At the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil war, the Confederacy deployed a cavalry unit that was steeped in secrecy. They called it the 682nd, and it was unstoppable on the battlefield. Over 100,000 union soldiers were killed.

And then the 682nd killed their Confederate officers and rode west. They encountered other soldiers before they hit the plains of the Midwest, but almost no one lived to tell of it.

The crushing Confederate victory did not, however, end the war. While Lee continued to range in Pennsylvania, the Union consolidated a new army further north in New York. Lee's army eventually marched on New York in an effort to win another victory that could break the fighting spirit of the Union and force them to sue for peace.

He failed. 12 days later the city still stood, and Lee and his forces marched south.

Due to the shift in fortunes however, the war lasted well past 1865. In 1867 Abraham Lincoln, still alive, gave an address in honor of General Grant (who had died a year earlier) at the site of the second battle of Gettysburg to assembled soldiers of the various suffragette brigades. These female soldiers were recruited as a last ditch effort by the north to have the manpower necessary to finish the war. A year of military service earned them the right to vote, and culturally they are treated as fully equal to any male. More or less. People are still people after all.

The final battles of the war took place in Virginia and Maryland. Sherman pushed through Virginia and sacked Richmond. Confederate forces attempted to draw the union army north by Marching into Maryland but the Union army stayed in place and secured Richmond. The confederates, desperate, sacked Baltimore. And then they burned it to its foundation. Those who lived now live elsewhere.

A second confederate army under General Lee, meant to outmaneuver the Union forces and surround them instead smashed against a fully entrenched army. Four days later, General Sherman accepted Lee's surrender, and the war was effectively ended.

There's still bitterness on both sides, though reconstruction was much less harsh in this timeline than it was in reality. Lincoln's wife and children died from disease during the war, and given how vilified he was amongst southerners, decided to strike out west himself after the 1868 election. He hasn't been seen in over a decade.

Many more soldiers were killed and injured in this timeline. Slavery was still outlawed once the union was restored, but post-war reconstruction did not bar Confederates from serving in politics.