Union of Confederate States
|This article refers to a micronation which is defunct and no longer exists. You can help make the article reflect that or ask on the talk page for further information.|
The Union of Confederate States (or, "the U.C.S.") was a micronation created by five friends in 1964, consisting of several subdivision lots and houses along Ralston Road in the city of Mobile, Alabama. Counting its successor states, it lasted for approximately two years.
General Information & Background
Ralston Road is a residential street in Mobile, Alabama, in the United States of America. It runs east-west through neighborhoods of modest houses built in the 1930s through 1950s. In its westernmost section, it threads together the neighborhoods of Westlawn and Dauphin Acres. The Union of Confederate States stretched the length of approximately two blocks along this part of Ralston Road.
The terrain of the former U.C.S. lands is flat, except for a slight dip in elevation at the boundary between the Westlawn and Dauphin Acres neighborhoods. The part that lies within Dauphin Acres is land that was reclaimed from Wragg Swamp (see 1935 map of area ), and has long been prone to flooding. A system of ditches drains the area, carrying the water to Eslava Creek and thence to Dog River, Mobile Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The climate is subtropical. Mobile (not Seattle, as commonly thought) is the rainiest city in the United States, making the U.C.S., during its short existence, possibly the rainiest micronation ever carved from territory of the U.S.
Most of the land formerly claimed by the U.C.S. is and was contained within several residential subdivision lots. Some of the territory is taken up by drainage ditches, electrical power lines, and, of course, streets.
When formed, the U.C.S. had a population of around 18. At the height of its territorial expansion, its population was perhaps 35 or 40.
The history of the U.C.S. is hazy due to the loss of all original documents pertaining to its founding, boundaries, treaties, etc. The following is what is remembered by one of its founders, Steve Smith (User:Stephensmith).
In the summer of 1964 five friends, all around the age of 13 and living within a short distance of one another on Ralston Road, founded the Union of Confederate States. The name was chosen to honor its national "ancestors," the Confederate States of America and the United States of America ("the Union"). The founding of the U.C.S. was announced with a declaration of independence from the U.S., and formalized with the drafting of a constitution.
At the beginning the new nation consisted of the five subdivision parcels (and their houses) where the five founders lived, each parcel being considered a state within the U.C.S. Each of the founders was recognized as the governor of his respective state. From east to west, the states and their governors were:
- Wallace state [official name not remembered], situated on the north side of Ralston Road across the street from the entrance to Westlawn Elementary School. Governor: Frank Wallace.
- Wright state [official name not remembered], also situated on the north side of Ralston Road across from the entrance to the Westlawn school. Governor: Charles (Charlie) Wright.
- Gristerra ("Grey earth"), situated on the north side of Ralston Road, on the corner of Ralston and Dobbs Avenue. Governor: David Clotheir.
- Oceana (so named because it was bordered by the largest body of water in the neighborhood, a major drainage ditch), situated on the south side of Ralston Road midway between the eastern- and westernmost parts of the country. Governor: Russell Hughen.
- Westavia (a play on "West" and "Steve" in honor of its location and its founder), situated on the north side of Ralston Road, on the corner of Ralston and Poydras Avenue. Governor: Steve Smith.
David Clotheir was chosen President of the U.C.S. with Steve Smith as Vice President. The attic of David's house in Gristerra was designated the national capital.
Early Nationhood & Territorial Expansion
In the weeks immediately following the establishment of the U.C.S., the founders busied themselves writing new documents of various sorts and designing national and state flags, seals, mottoes, etc. None of these is known to have survived, and little is remembered of what they said or looked like.
One of the things the founders enjoyed doing was drawing maps of their new country. It bothered them that the U.C.S. appeared quite fragmented, with the only contiguous states being the Wallace and Wright states. Gristerra was separated from its nearest U.C.S. neighbor, the Wright state, by one non-U.C.S. lot. Gristerra, Oceana, and Westavia in turn were all separated from one another by several non-U.C.S. lots.
The fragmentation problem was solved in the most expedient way possible: maps were simply redrawn to bring in all of the intervening yards and houses required to "unite" the country. The newly incorporated territory was divided between Gristerra, Oceana, and Westavia, all three of which thereby gained in both size and population.
President Clotheir and Vice President Smith held discussions on the matter of informing residents of the added territory that they were now part of the Union of Confederate States. There was even some thought given to collecting taxes from them. Nothing came of these discussions, though, with the result that two-dozen or so new citizens continued to go about their lives under the assumption that they were still inhabitants of the United States.
Disunion & War
For reasons not clearly recalled, David Clotheir and Steve Smith decided to rewrite the national constitution so as to abolish the offices of President and Vice President and replace them with two Co-Consuls. Meeting in the Gristerran attic, they composed an intricate document, which on superficial reading appeared to guarantee the widest possible democracy but which actually made David and Steve co-consuls for life with dictatorial powers.
The draft of the new constitution was submitted to the full U.C.S. Congress, then composed of the five founders/governors of the U.C.S. As far as can be remembered, no vote was ever taken on it.
Frank Wallace and Charles Wright soon lost interest in nationhood and ceased their participation in matters of state. Eventually, their states were either incorporated into Gristerra or (more likely) allowed to quietly revert to the United States of America.
Russell Hughen had a falling out with David Clotheir and Steve Smith, possibly over their attempted power grab as described above. He renamed Oceana to Wasserland ("Waterland"), and declared secession from the U.C.S.
After the Wasserland secession, the U.C.S. consisted only of the states of Gristerra and Westavia, and they were separated geographically (by Wasserland). By mutual agreement, David Clotheir and Steve Smith declared that Gristerra and Westavia (which became the Republic of Westavia) would also be independent countries.
While retaining their independent statuses, David's and Steve's new nations joined in a Federation of Gristerra and Westavia in order to confront Wasserland over claims to "the Wasteland."
The Wasteland was a vast area of bare dirt (or, frequently, mud) and weeds lying on the other side of the big drainage ditch (recognized on some Mobile maps as the actual beginning of Eslava Creek) that formed the southern boundary of both Wasserland and the new Republic of Westavia. Steve had claimed the Wasteland for Westavia, going so far as to name it on maps as the Great Westavian Desert. Disputing this claim, Russell constructed a fortification, called Fort Hughen, on the Wasteland. One day as Russell was engaged in expanding Fort Hughen, David and Steve attacked. A ferocious dirt-clod battle ensued that lasted most of the afternoon and ended near dusk when Russell fled the fort and retreated across the ditch to his house in Wasserland.
Russell Hughen soon lost interest in nationhood and Wasserland's territory quietly reverted to the United States of America. Gristerra and the Republic of Westavia continued as independent countries for a time.
The major event to take place in the waning days of these remnants of the U.C.S. was the rise of the Empire of Jeff I. This empire was proclaimed by Jeff Wise, who lived on Lafitte Street, about two blocks northwest of the capital of Westavia. Jeff declared a huge part of the Dauphin Acres and Westlawn neighborhoods to be within his empire, making it about 5 times larger than the U.C.S. even at its height.
Steve Smith briefly tried to counterpose a Westavian Empire against the alarming aspirations of the Empire of Jeff I. Steve was not suited for imperial governance, though, and in any case, Jeff Wise soon moved from the neighborhood. Jeff's empire dissolved and Steve reacted by shrinking the boundaries of the short-lived Westavian Empire and making it a republic again.
By the summer of 1966, David Clotheir and Steve Smith had allowed their countries of Gristerra and Westavia to quietly revert to the United States of America. Perhaps as late as 1967 they discussed reviving the U.C.S. as the New Union of Confederate States, but nothing came of this.
Side note: Some time between 1966 and 1969, Steve read a newspaper story about two kids in Tennessee who started what they called the Confederacy of Tubbyville, named for a nearby bar named Tubby's. Evidently they wrote a letter to the U.S. government declaring secession, and soon got a visit and a grilling from two not-very-friendly FBI agents. Steve brought this story to David's attention with the observation that perhaps it was for the best that they had let the U.C.S. die. For the sake of the historical record, it would be good if micronational enthusiasts could track down further information about the Confederacy of Tubbyville. (The newspaper account that Steve saw was probably from a wire service, Associated Press or United Press International; he has no clues beyond that.)
The territory formerly occupied by the U.C.S. is remarkably unchanged today (2010). An aerial view of the neighborhood shows the same houses and other principal features that were there in 1964-1966, although some of those houses have had changes and additions made to them. Following flooding in the 1970s and 1980s, the city of Mobile improved the area's major drainage ditches. Most notably, the Wasteland (see history discussion above) long ago disappeared beneath the parking lot of Springdale Mall (originally, Springdale Plaza).
The former lands of the U.C.S. are now of course within the United States of America ... unless one accepts the view that they are actually a part of the Dominion of British West Florida.
This aerial view/map shows the approximate territorial extent of the Union of Confederate States. State names are shown in red ("Wallace" and "Wright" indicate locations of the states governed by Frank Wallace and Charles Wright, respectively, but the actual names of those states have been forgotten). It is not possible to recreate exact boundaries as all original maps and other documents have been lost.
As a young child, singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett lived at 3157 Ralston Road, later to be the home of Russell Hughen and the capital of Oceana/Wasserland. Buffett lived there from about age 2 through age 7, when his family moved away from the neighborhood (in 1953, some 11 years before the founding of the U.C.S.). The house still exists (2008).