Out of range of the eruption zone and protected from windblown ash by the Appalachians, the area now known as the Carolina Confederacy fared much better than most of the rest of the US. Still, with crops from the Midwest no longer coming in, large numbers of refugees, and the loss of most of the former US government, things were by no means easy. At the time of the eruption, North Carolina was the 8th highest producing state in agriculture. As such, this state was quickly able to dominate the agricultural trade in the surrounding states while the other states began shifting their agricultural production towards staple foods as well. South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and southern Virginia began trading amongst themselves and soon enacted trade deals amongst each other, with trade deals leading to mutual defense agreements and so on. In 2022, five years after the eruption, the four states signed the the Treaty of Carolinian Confederation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
While all 4 states had stable enough agricultural bases by 2022 that food shortages were a minor issue, the area still had problems; the main issue across every state being raiders. While each state had a defense force, mostly made up of their pre-Eruption military units, these defense forces were spread too thin to actually drive out any raider gangs. Once united, each state began a conscription and training program, South Carolina leading the way as they still had access to the facilities and instructors at Parris Island. Within a year, the Confederacy had a large standing army and each state had a sizeable militia. Now having proper military forces, the Confederates set to work clearing out the raiders.
The Confederacy pushed in one nearly continuous line, from the coast to the mountains, and numerous raider gangs were brutally put down. Those gangs that hadn't been destroyed escaped into the mountains, and the Confederate forces stopped at the foothills to resupply and rest. On their third day of rest, the Confederate camps started reporting individual raiders running towards their camps, all of them unarmed and waving anything white they could find in the hopes of surrendering. The Confederate commanders were intrigued by this and took them prisoner for questioning. Upon questioning, the raiders reported seeing nightmarish creatures in the woods and begged to be taken back to civilization. Rumors of monsters in the Appalachians had reached the coast before the Confederacy united, but few put any stock into these legends. The Confederate forces sent a few special forces units to investigate and upon entering the mountains, they were immediately set upon by creatures matching the descriptions the raiders gave and retreated back to their camps. In the coming months, research teams were sent out to gather information on these new creatures, but few of them returned and none ever came back with information. At the same time, the Confederacy focused on securing any Interstate systems that crossed the Appalachians and important cities along them. As such, cities like AshevilIe and Roanoke became frontier cities and numerous military checkpoints were set up along the Interstate systems.
Northern Virginia was unable to be fully retaken by the Confederacy as the raiders in the area were too numerous to successfully wipe out and the ash beast infested mountains extend farther East in Virginia than they do the other states. The Confederate Army still keeps checkpoints in this area, and even has a decent sized base near what was once the border of Maryland, but lacks the manpower to legitimately reclaim the territory. Meanwhile, on the coast from southern North Carolina and on, the hurricane season has picked up and now lasts from late February to mid November. Storms now almost always slam straight into the Eastern seaboard instead of heading into the Gulf of Mexico as they usually did pre-Eruption. At the height of the season, storms come in weekly. As such, the storm affected areas of the Confederacy are only settled from October to April.
The Confederacy has also began to butt heads with the surrounding nations. Usually these issues are resolved through trade wars and economic sanctions. Sometimes, however, these issues lead to small scale wars. These border wars, as they're called in the Confederacy, are often over in a matter of weeks and only officially involve the state militias. This is intentional. As a confederation, the Confederate federal government has plausible deniability, as it can always claim that a bordering nations quarrel is with an individual state and not the federal government. Still, the Confederacy always provides limited support in these border wars in the form of special forces units, spies, and advisors. As of late, the Confederacy has been having quite a few border wars with the Tennessee Expeditionary Force, mainly over trade.
System of Government Edit
The Carolina Confederacy is partially based on the old Confederate States of America, and as such is a confederation of sovereign states. Each state is only required to contribute towards the federal military, keep a state militia in case of invasion, and help with the upkeep of federally owned roads and buildings (the Interstate systems and federal embassies in large towns). The states are not required to adopt any laws, so federal congressmen have to be half salesman and half statesman. The only places that are required to follow federal laws are the embassies and the city of Charlotte NC which serves as the capital. That said, almost every law that has went through the Confederate Congress so far has been adopted by each state.
Agriculture and Industry Edit
With each state now having strong enough bases of staples like corn, wheat, poultry, and cattle to prevent massed famine, some farmers have started branching out into other forms of agriculture. The tobacco industry in Virginia and North Carolina has had a massive rebirth, and these two states, along with more limited tobacco production from South Carolina and Georgia, have allowed the Carolina Confederacy to become the world leader of tobacco production. Tobacco products from the Confederacy have became coveted across the post-Eruption world. Georgia and South Carolina have both ramped up cotton production. Georgia has also surpassed the other Confederate states in fruit production with South Carolina not far behind.
After the Eruption, most factories and machine shops in the states that make up the Carolina Confederacy were abandoned. For years, that sat in their dormant state, often untouched, as most raider gangs lacked the vision to make use of them. This changed after the Confederacy united and wiped out or drove away most of the raiders. With newly secured factories, the Confederacy offered generous contracts to former factory workers and mechanical engineers in order to get these factories working again. The Confederacy prioritized arms companies first, so factories of former companies like PTR, PSA, and Daniel Defence were quickly swarmed with skilled workers. In less than two years, most of these factories were in working order and were churning out rifles as fast as possible. Now that the government contracts are smaller and less frequent, these companies have began selling rifles to civilians and foreign nations. Recently, the Confederacy has turned it's attention towards the BMW factory in South Carolina and the shipyards in Virginia, but it lacks the funding to begin serious work on these projects.
Confederate Military Edit
While conscription did occur when the raiders were cleared out and could occur again during wartime, the Confederate military is normally a volunteer force. Recruitment for the federal military is handled by military recruiters at the Confederate embassies, who often travel the surrounding areas to find more recruits. The Confederate military has two branches, the Army and the Navy.
The Confederate Army has four subbranches, the Infantry, Cavalry, Special Forces, and Logistics. The Infantry includes standard infantry units, as well as artillery units. The Cavalry has a pair horse regiments and a pair of fairly new motorcycle regiments. The Special Forces have a single regiment, but the actual strength of this unit is unknown. Logistics is, as the name implies, concerned with supplying the rest of the Army. The Confederate Army has numerous bases across the Confederacy, but mostly operates in the capital and Northern Virginia.
The Confederate Navy, having only been formed after the raiders were cleared out, is still fairly small in terms of manpower. Still, they have a fair number of ships, including a pair of carriers and six Aegis destroyers. Unfortunately, the Confederacy only has the resources to keep two destroyers actually running. These two ships spend their time patrolling the East Coast nearly full time, but they aren't enough to actually keep the sea lanes clear. As Norfolk is outside of the post-Eruption storm zone, almost all of the Confederate Navy is based here.
Confederate State Militias Edit
Each state has two branches to their militias, an Infantry and a Cavalry. Logistics is handled by the Infantry while most of the combat is handled by the Cavalry. Each branch is split into three regiments, usually split along regional lines. Some of the states are working on small building small navies as well. Virginia and Georgia both make use of converted pre-Eruption civilian ships while North and South Carolina are working on getting a pair of retired WW2 ships back in action, the USS North Carolina and the USS Laffey respectively.
Federal and state militaries both follow similar patterns of equipping their troops. Battle rifles in .308 are standard issue in the Confederacy as PTR Industries and numerous AR makers were already present in the region, and adopting existing rifles was quicker than coming up with a new design. AR10s are more common amongst the soldiers, as AR10s were more widespread pre-Eruption and their makers are more widespread post-Eruption, but PTRs have a better reputation and are more coveted among the troops. Machetes are also standard issue as they are a handy tool in thick brush and are a good back up weapon against ash beasts. Rifles chambered in 5.56 are still used for close quarters usage, but are mostly used by special forces and on ships and have basically taken the role of pre-Eruption submachine guns.
The coastal plains to the East were heavily populated before the Eruption, and with massive number of refugees immediately after the Eruption and the hostility of the Appalachian Mountains afterwards, it has remained heavily populated afterwards. Farming and industry are heavy in this area and provide lots of employment to the people of this area. The climate here has gotten slightly cooler than it was pre-Eruption, but this hasn't influenced the growing season too much. Ash cover is nearly gone here, as the wind has blown away most of what fell here. The main problem here is the hurricane season. Storms come almost every week at the height of the storm season. While over half of the storm systems bring little more than a heavy rain, some of them can be quite devastating, and as such, almost no one lives in the coastal Confederacy below southern NC after May. Residents of the affected areas usually move to the closest large cities around April and come back in October.
This place is also very heavy in farming and industry. The area isn't quite so heavily populated, but it nearly equals the Coastal region in economic might. Interstate checkpoints begin in this region and carry on to the state borders. As with the Coastal region, this area has gotten slightly cooler as well. Ash was able to reach large portions of the Piedmont area, but was pretty light compared to the rest of North America. This ash has provided nutrients to the soil, but hasn't interfered with much beyond that. In the very Westernmost portions of this area, ash creatures have been sighted, but these sightings are extremely rare and no attacks have been reported yet. The capital, Charlotte NC, is located here and was chosen for its centralized location.
The Appalachians are very sparsely populated nowadays. Ash was heavy here, and there is permanent layer of ash in this area that is usually few millimeters thick, if not thicker. Clouds of ash mixed with precipitation roll in from the West every so often, creating ash rains and ash snows. Ash creatures have a heavy presence in this area, and as such, the military and the state militias have a heavy presence along the Interstates and in towns and cities. Outside of those areas and between Interstate checkpoints though, the ash beasts rule. Very few people live outside of towns and cities with a military presence, and those that do often have the scars to prove their tales.