As a result of seeing these new toys posted on the Perry Miniatures website
I am going to share some ideas I have for an alternate North America for wargaming.
My point of diversion from history as we know it is during the Trent Affair. Rather than sending an expeditionary force to support the Confederacy (which would have enraged a significant portion of the British public, especially those opposed to slavery, but also those making a great deal of money selling arms to the Union), the British decided to take action to preserve 'freedom of the seas' and "freedom of trade'. Wielding these banners, the Royal Navy, lead by HMS Warrior and HMS Black Prince, forced the USN blockade and opened the ports of the Confederacy. Once Robert E Lee's army was assured a reliable supply of boots, rifles and ammunition, the Confederacy became strong enough to force a stalemate with the Union.
The British were careful to avoid a direct confrontation with the US, and although British forces in Canada were reinforced, US and British forces, under strict orders from their respective commands, managed to avoid a direct conflict.
As a result of the RN intervention, the Confederacy managed to achieve recognition from the Union and the map of North America was redrawn.
The state of affairs now has the United States of America in an armed standoff on multiple borders - to the south with the Confederate States of America, to the north with the new Dominion of Canada (which, while now self-governing, is still part of the British Empire) and to the west with various Indian tribes. And in the extreme north-west, there is an armed standoff on San Juan Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, ongoing since a pig was shot in 1859.
The Confederacy is deep in debt to British and French bankers, struggling to pay for weapons and other materials provided during the War of the Secession. Economies are hard to find, as the CSA must keep a standing army to protect against potential aggression from the USA. And the border to the south must also be guarded, as Mexico is in chaos.
In Mexico, Emperor Maximilian is being kept on his throne by a combination of French and Austro-Hungarian soldiers against a popular uprising led by Benito Juarez (and supported by the USA).
Other forces present in North America include:
Alaska is still part of the Russian Empire, and the Tsar has stationed elements of his army to protect his interests there. The Great Game has taught the Russians to be cautious of the British, and the Russians in Alaska face both the Royal Navy and the British mercantile interests of the Hudsons Bay Company.
In the Canadian North West, Louis Riel leads a provisional government of Metis seeking recognition from the new Dominion of Canada. With support from Francophone Canadians (and an enthusiastic group of Zouves Pontificaux) and the Fenians, the Metis are getting ready to face an expeditionary force of Canadian militia led by Garnet Wolseley.
The Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Fenian Brotherhood are dedicated to the overthrow of the British Empire. Based in the USA, and sometimes receiving tacit support, they launch attacks against the British in Canada. They have provided a battalion of Civil War veterans to support the Metis at the Red River Colony.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has set up an independent nation in Utah Territory, named Deseret. The USA cannot tolerate this challenge within their territory and is preparing to use military force to bring the Mormons back into the fold.
It's getting late, so I'll stop there for now.