Deadlands - Divided States of America
The Disputed Territories
The Disputed Territories refer generally to the three States that have yet to declare whether they will join the Union or the Confederacy: These States are Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, and quite commonly also include the Sioux Nations and the Coyote Confederacy. With the Civil War now in a state of ceasefire, the two countries have begun to turn their attention to reclaiming these territories at any cost. Each assert a claim to the territories, perhaps not without justification. Although officially the ceasefire has required both sides to withdraw their troops from the Disputed Territories, each side can be assumed to have their own agents and agendas to try to reclaim these lands.
Kansas has been the site of 25 years of guerilla warfare, and shows no signs of calming down any time soon. According to the original Kansas-Nebraska act, which opened Kansas to settlement back in 1854, the people of the territory would vote on whether the territory would enter the Union as a free or slave state. One can guess what kind of conflict this caused.
For a while, Kansas had been fighting its very own Civil War, well before the Blues and Grays ran into their little problem. “Border ruffians” from Missouri filtered across the border and tried to ensure Kansas became a slave state, while abolitionists—called “Jayhawkers”—tried to counter their efforts. Neither group shied from violence to influence the decision of Kansas’ citizens. Kansas wound up joining the Union as a free state only a few months before the Civil War broke out.
While no major military campaigns have been fought here, the long tradition of guerilla warfare and intimidation continues to this day. Diehard Rebs and staunch Unionists often live side by side in some Kansas towns. The fact that regular military units are pretty much prohibited in Kansas only allows these tensions to boil out of control, sometimes even erupting into “Territorial Wars” between towns loyal to differing nations. The fire of the Civil War may only be embers and coals, but Kansas is a powder keg, and the fuse is still burning.
Both the Union and Confederacy are quick to claim Colorado, and neither seems willing to negotiate the point. In fact, both nations count Colorado as a state, pretty much regardless of Colorado’s thoughts on the matter. Being so far West, most folks in Colorado don’t care too much which flag they salute, but there are always a few bad apples to spoil any bunch. Unlike Kansas and Oklahoma, Colorado’s agriculture isn’t its main attraction for the squabbling nations. Colorado’s economic lifeblood is gold and silver, along with a few big cattle ranches scattered about the state.
No major battles and precious few skirmishes were fought in Colorado in the long War Between the States, but that doesn’t mean it is untouched by violence. The Battle of the Cauldron, the biggest engagement to date in the Great Rail Wars, hit in late 1876. All six of the competing Rail Barons pitched in. Some had legitimate interests in the area, while others simply assumed the rest of the Rail Barons were up to something. The Cauldron wasn’t an ongoing battle as generals Back East might understand it, but a series of small, bloody skirmishes waged over the course of a month. The campaign ended abruptly as the winter months closed in.
Ultimately, Union Blue and Denver-Pacific held the field, but the campaign had cost a total of just over 300 lives, and left nearly 10 times that amount crippled. Further, more than half a million dollars worth of rolling stock belonging to the various rail companies was destroyed. To this day, every spring sees renewed hostilities in Colorado—every summer long and costly battles, every fall a stalemate.
Oklahoma, at least as far as its white inhabitants are concerned, is pretty firmly Confederate. However, most of it is controlled by the Coyote Confederation, and the small part that isn’t is subject to frequent and violent Indian raids.
In some areas, the more zealous tribes of the new Indian nation have even taken to forcing the few remaining white settlers onto smaller and smaller plots of land as an imprisoned population. Usually, they are allowed to live in one of the few self-sufficient townships, though the more brutal tribes require these poor folks to live according to the Old Ways. The latter groups usually don’t last long, as they’re ill-prepared for the hardships of life on the open plain, and the former don’t exactly have it easy.
Either way, people here are not allowed to travel without an Indian war party escort, and getting the Coyote Confederation to provide one is about as much fun as pulling teeth. What’s more, the tribes have long since severed telegraph and rail lines in and out of Oklahoma, so they maintain complete control over who and what passes through their domain.
As its loyalty cannot be firmly declared however, the Union has demanded that the Confederate troops pull out of Oklahmoa under the terms of the ceasefire, a position that has served to inflame tensions.