The death of Jake Featherston, President Confederate States of America, at the hands of Cassius Madison on July 7, 1944 was a decisive event in the conclusion of the Second Great War in North America. Before his assassination it wasn't clear how long military resistance in the Confederacy would last; after his death the will to resist in a coordinated effort disappeared, and the country would formally surrender to the United States of America a few days later. Featherston's death was officially confirmed by the US government, and proof of his demise provided to the world press lest anyone doubt his death and continue the war in his name.
Featherston and his inner circle, at this time consisting of Attorney General Ferdinand Koenig, Chief of Intelligence Brigadier General Clarence Potter, chief of the General Staff Willard, Director of Communications Saul Goldman, personal secretary Lulu Mattox and several others, had been fleeing across Virginia and the Carolinas in several staff cars by night since Richmond-Petersburg fell to US arms in the spring. As the party arrived in Spartanburg, South Carolina, they realized that they would have to find a way to cross the US-occupied corridor in Georgia and lower South Carolina. Featherston was in favor of crossing the lines in civilian clothes while Potter proposed making a quick dash by night in airplane. Potter won out and a plane was flown down from Charlotte to pick them up.
The plane flew over the front line with its lights on, alerting US air defenses which shot the plane down in Georgia. The group managed to escape the burning plane, but Lulu Mattox and General Willard were both injured and unable to move on; Mattox was killed by Featherston, at her request, while Willard remained behind to be captured by a US patrol. The remainder, Featherston at its head, pushed on until they found a road. Using the north star as well as the location of the moon, they walked south, hoping to discover an ungarrisoned town which would provide transportation for the dash across US-held Georgia. Twice they had to take cover as convoys of US soldiers drove past, checking out the burning transport. As the first light of dawn began showing the party passed a sign that announced their imminent arrival in the small town of Madison
Around this time Cassius, a former guerrilla currently working for the US Army as a black axillary soldier in the town of Madison, entered into his patrol routine. He saw Featherston and his party walk down the road, initially thinking they were US soldiers before recognizing their army and Freedom Party uniforms, and took cover in the pine forest lining the side of the road. He was going to let them walk past before reporting their presence to the US Army when he identified Featherston's voice. Without a second thought Cassius shot Featherston three times in the chest and head; Featherston was dead before his body hit the ground. Cassius took the rest of the inner circle prisoner and awaited reinforcements from Madison, which quickly arrived and realized the importance of what had occurred. A signal corps photographer snapped several shots of Featherston's body and face, which would shortly be revealed to the world by the US Army and government as proof that Featherston was dead. What happened to Featherston's corpse afterward isn't clear, but it is generally accepted that it was quickly buried in an unmarked grave in a nearby forest. Cassius was rewarded with American citizenship (and took the name Madison as his surname in the process) and a nest egg of money (which Congresswoman Flora Blackford helped him to safeguard against the unscrupulous).
Possibility of a war crimes trial?
Before Cassius Madison's action, it wasn't entirely clear just what the United States were going to do with Jake Featherston's person should he land in their hands, as this was an event unprecedented in history. Some voices in the US government called for a crimes against humanity trial, as what was given to Goldman, Koenig, Potter, and others. Army officers suggested a summary execution had Featherston been taken alive, to spare the postwar world the farce of a trial, which could be used by Featherston as a political platform. Thus, the positive reception given to Madison after he took the initiative and solved the problem for everyone.