3 years ago#1
Ron S.
Ace
Blogs: 9
Forum: 859
Votes: 8

Since Ajhall has convinced me that “What if can be fun” here is my first shoot over the bow.

As most if not all of us know the Confederate States of America (CSA) wanted to get England to official side with them. This of course would have meant the there was a good chance that France would also enter the war too. Let us say that Lincoln decides not to release James Mason and John Slidell of the famed Trent Affair. Britain then decides to declare war on the United States yet France realizing the cost of such an endeavor would not equal the rewards and the thought of coming to terms with the British opts out of the war. So basically for my scenario France has declined to support the war effort in arms.

So where would the English land their forces; Hampton Roads, Savannah, or maybe even Charleston.
Would they since they have the option also attack from the North out of Canada using British and Canadian forces?

Does the Union now withdraw its forces from the West and the South and start setting up defensive lines? If so does this end the Civil War?

Does the CSA become the Confederate States of America – Commonwealth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland?

Weigh Anchor and Launch the fleet!

Answer
3 years ago#2
Donny
Blogs: 0
Forum: 2,563
Votes: 15

Just to answer one of your questions, I always assumed that had the British gotten involved over the Trent Affair, they would have come down from Canada. They already had a few thousand troops stationed in Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada near the border. Now THAT would have made for a sticky situation, the Union getting attacked from the North and the South.

One American visitor in Great Britain said at the time that he feared had they polled the British people, 999 out of every 1000 people polled would favor going to war with the US immediately.

Reply
3 years ago#3
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11

I read an alternate history novel once that had the British strike south from Canada. They struck in Aj's back yard, Maine. This was done to create a buffer between British Canada & the United States. Plus there was only one rail line through Maine to Canada @ the time (according to the book) which made that line essential to the Brits.

Fact: Russia had a fleet in US waters during the War to show their support. The Northern cities threw out the red carpet & the Russians were treated literally like heroes! This Russian squadron spent more then a year (if I recall correctly) as quests in US waters & were wined & dined from Boston, & NY, to DC and everywhere in between.

Opinion: A not so subtle hint as to the Tsar's intention of backing the US if Britain & France intervened.

Reply
3 years ago#4
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11
Copper77 wrote:
One American visitor in Great Britain said at the time that he feared had they polled the British people, 999 out of every 1000 people polled would favor going to war with the US immediately.


I think that would depend on the class of citizen polled. Aristocrats largely favored the South, while the commoners (if they favored anyone @ all) would not likely support a government that had slavery. Which can be confusing because slavery was still legal in the United States! hmmm...
Reply
3 years ago#5
Ron S.
Ace
Blogs: 9
Forum: 859
Votes: 8
Taken from FEEFHS The Federation of East European Family History Societies

This American expedition became a military demonstration by Russia during the U.S. Civil War. England and France advocated for the southern rebels. Russia held a friendly position in respect to the federal government in the North. It increased hostility toward Russia on the part of England and France, which strove for loosening its international influence. The Russian government decided to send two ship squadrons to the US to demonstrate support for the northerners, as well as to create a potential threat to marine communications of England and France in order to make them refuse assistance to the South States.

The Russian squadrons set out towards the coast of North America in the second half of 1863. The Atlantic squadron commanded by rear admiral S.S. Lesovskii (frigate "Aleksandr Nevsky", "Peresvet", "Osliabia", corvettes "Variag", "Vitiaz" and clipper "Almaz") departed from the Russian port of Kronshtadt and went to New York. Another squadron - Pacific - was commanded by rear admiral A.A. Popov (corvettes "Bogatyr", "Kalevala", "Rynda", "Novik", clippers "Abrek" and "Gaidamak"). They went from the ports of the Far East and set out to San Francisco. In September 1863, the squadron of Lesovskii arrived at the port of New York, and the squadron of Popov - to the port of San Francisco. The Russian squadrons stayed in these ports of North America and sailed near its West and East coasts until August 1864. Individual ships of the Atlantic squadron, which were based in New York, visited Baltimore, Annapolis, Hampton, the Caribbean sea, the gulf of Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Havana, Jamaica, Curasao, Cartagena, Bermuda islands and Aspinwall. The ships of the Pacific Ocean squadron had were based in San Francisco and went for practical sailing to Honolulu, the South hemisphere, Sitka and Vancouver. Russian navy seamen showed high naval
skills, discipline and good organization during these voyages.

The Atlantic squadron returned to Russia late July. The Pacific squadron returned in August 1864. The appearance of the Russian squadrons off the coasts of America caused a great political reaction and forced England and France to change their positions in respect to Russia and the Northern states of America. In 1866, the government of the US sent a ship detachment with special deputation. This detachment officially expressed gratitude to the Russian government for assistance to the northerners in their struggle against slavery.


Now we have added another player into the game which may have sparked World War I! As Russia, Britian, and maybe France might have mobilized in Europe as well.

This hole is getting deeper. Meanwhile we have moved the Union Army of the West into defensive positions in the NE the Army of the Potomac facing South. But now with Canada involved the Great Lakes are open!
Reply
3 years ago#6
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11

The way I see it Britain has early success. They overrun Maine rather quickly & perhaps several other smaller targets. However, keeping what they gain is another story. Can they protect the railroads through Maine from sabotage? How fast will front line troops be transported to confront them? The Union outnumbered the Confederates & could divert forces to intercept a new enemy using a web of railways. Recruitment would have gone through the roof in the North. Many Americans who were hesitant to fight other Americans, would have had little issue signing up to fight an invader.

Shelby Foote once said the North fought the ACW with one hand behind its back... I think the North had the resources to take on British land forces. But the greatest struggle would be @ sea...

Reply
3 years ago#7
Donny
Blogs: 0
Forum: 2,563
Votes: 15
alaskarat wrote:
But now with Canada involved the Great Lakes are open!


Which now creates a whole new facet of the Naval part of the War.
Reply
3 years ago#8
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11
Copper77 wrote:
alaskarat wrote:
But now with Canada involved the Great Lakes are open!


Which now creates a whole new facet of the Naval part of the War.


Brits need to control Erie Canal or they might be in big trouble. America seems to have been in much better shape for controlling the great lakes, IMHO. Cities like Detroit & Cleveland but most notably Chicago would likely be facilitators in construction of a Great Lakes Fleet. How vulnerable would Toronto have been @ that time?

Really, I just don't believe war would have been worth the trouble for Britain. Even if they won, the loses would be too much!
Reply
3 years ago#9
Taylor
Champion
Blogs: 20
Forum: 1,644
Votes: 14

With the option for Britain to land an enormous number of troops at various points in Canada, and the availability of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes, and digging the hole even further down the bucket of no return with Russia's support of the Federal government; the first world war would have precariously loomed in the forefront, only several decades sooner than the first world war that we know today. I can't imagine the chaos for surely there was enough in what actually happened in the war between the states.

"Shelby Foote once said the North fought the ACW with one hand behind its back... I think the North had the resources to take on British land forces. But the greatest struggle would be @ sea..."

It is difficult to predict what the results of British (and possibly French) military intervention might have been on land. But it is clear that the intervention of the most powerful fleet in the world would have permanently broken the Federal blockade of the South, and taken on the Russian ships as well.

I can't see the Linoln admiminstration in a position whereby they had enough troops to fight invaders from the North as well as the war they were involved in with the South. But regardless, with outside intervention the North would not have had the resources that they did during the war between the States, and that alone would have changed everything.

And somewhere in the White House, it is hard to even imagine a tall lanky President contemplating a speech that would announce his surrender in letting the South go.

Reply
3 years ago#10
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13

There are several things one must keep in mind vis a vis British military power in this scenario. First, it must be clear that essentially all of Britain power was vested in the Royal Navy. The Empire lived and died by the Royal Navy.

Second, and a corollary to the above, the British had no "enormous numbers of troops" to land in North America. The professional British Army, much like the regular US Army, was primarily a constabulary force, keeping order in Britain's far flung Empire of colonies. The French were the country with the large, "elite" armed force of Europe. Thus, it's difficult, if not impossible, to see the British acting without the direct asistance of the French. It's also important that British and French relations were not all wine and roses. There was always an underlying suspicious tension between the two nations, thus it's hard to see them acting in concert for any length of time.

Third, if we accept the proposition (and I do) that Britain's power lay in the Royal Navy, we then have to understand how the RN was physically positioned. The Crown had a relatively small portion of its RN Fleet close to hand in home or even Atlantic waters. Most of the RN was scattered in various stations around the globe. It wasn't a simple matter of sending a radio message to the Fleet recalling them to home waters. It took a great deal of time to initiate and carry out this process. Given that the British armed forces raison D'Etre was maintenance of the colonial Empire, it's hard to imagine the Crown risking its colonial possessions by recalling the RN home to engage in a North American war.

Which leads to Fourth. What benefit was there to the Crown to get involved in a North American war? Baldly stated, little or nothing. There was no hope of reclaiming America, either united or divided, as a Crown colony. There was a very good chance of the French getting a toehold in North America in Mexico (which in fact came near to happening anyway), which, without some counter-balancing "benefit" for Britain was not something the government wished to risk. To enter the war on the side of the Confederacy risked a great deal politically at home. I don't care what anybody thinks of the role of slavery in the onset or prosecution of the war, in the working classes of Britain, in the neighborhoods of Manchester, Coventry, Leeds, et al support for the Confederacy was tantamount to support for slavery. And as bad as things got for the unemployed textile workers, they could not stomach supporting slavery (I know, the people in the colonial possessions were de facto slaves, but they weren't seen as such by the masses of British citizens, and that perception, right or wrong, made a huge difference). By this time, the British were developing viable cotton-growing alternatives within their Empire.

Fifth, the USN at this time, was NOT the USN of the War of 1812. It was a fleshed out, professional, viable threat to the RN. Perhaps -- even certainly -- the RN would prevail, but at the cost of a serious blooding. And then, to what end? Was there enough benefit for the British to risk the RN and, by extension, its colonial possessions to get involved in a war in North America? I don't see it. Better, perhaps, to let the US destroy itself through fratricidal warfare, then swoop in and claim the leftovers.

Reply
3 years ago#11
Taylor
Champion
Blogs: 20
Forum: 1,644
Votes: 14

There would have been no advantage to Britain entering the war but in this scenario it has already ensued, since President Lincoln has refused to let Mason & Slidell go. But the fact remains that Britain did land 11,000 troops off the eastern coast of Canada, sending a clear message that there would be more to come. Even if it was not wine and roses between England and France, Napoleon III had previously sent several envoys to Britain regarding recognition of the Confederacy. And with Britain now declaring war on the U.S., it’s very likely that France would follow in her footsteps.

Reply
3 years ago#12
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13
But the fact remains that Britain did land 11,000 troops off the eastern coast of Canada, sending a clear message that there would be more to come.


Indeed, but where were these others to come from? 11,000 made a decent sized division, or a small Corps in the Union order of battle. It would require significantly more than 11,000 troops to have an impact, and in a war footing, would the RN have unimpeded ability to land more troops 3,000 miles from home? In a war scenario, the USN would have been on hand to challenge further landings, and with only Fleet units ready to hand in the Home Fleet or Atlantic Squadron, would the British be able to land more troops (which they didn't really have) under hostile conditions for a questionable return? Even assuming the French also intervened, they would depend on the RN to guard any force sent, and their likely avenue of approach would have been through Mexico, as opposed to a contested landing along the rough coast north of Virginia. Even if a British/French force came through Canada, would have been any more likely to succeed? Remember, the US had significant defenses along the Canadian border, a hold-over from the tension resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of the 1840s. Then, there's the question of what Europen interention would have done to psyche of the Union populace, perhaps stirring an even greater surge of patriotism and enlistments. Were the British and French willing to provide more than moral or diplomatic support (If that), in the face of significant political discord and resistance at home over Mason and Slidell? A recognition of the CSA would mean a de facto state of war between Britan/France and the US. Was there a way the Europeans could come out ahead in such a scenario? I don't see it.

IMHO, the entire question of European intervention is way overstated and never a realistic option, even had Lee decisively defeated McClellan in Maryland (a HIGHLY doubtful proposition unto itself). There just was not enough return for the investment. In the end, I think the USN could have stood toe to toe with RN, at least for a time and especially close to US shores, causing far more damage than the Crown was willing to risk.
Reply
3 years ago#13
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11

I think both Aj & Taylor make good points (under this senerio). However the mistake is the assumption that America would be the focal point of this NEW world war. I think the focus of European powers would have quickly shifted to Europe. There is no reason to believe Germany would remain neutral. The Franco-Prussian war was only a decade away after all... Germany & Russia vs Britain & France? Most European resources wouldn't have been expended on the American front, but in Europe.

LOL, this actually happen a century prior to the ACW. The French & Indian war/Seven Years War began on the American frontier & developed into a global conflict.

Ironically, George Washington sparked the flame with the killing of a French officer in French territory!

Reply
3 years ago#14
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13

Mike, you correctly raise a point which I deliberately avoided in my stream-of-consciousness ruminations. Prussia (Germany) most certainly came into the calculations of the French and British as they pondered what the would and wouldn't do vis a vis North America. I think the French got involved in Mexico when they did because it was a relatively "safe" way to get a toehold on the NA Continent, a way that wouldn't unduly make von Moltke and Bismark look their way. The political history of Europe in this period is far more complex than we often understand.

Reply
3 years ago#15
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11

I'm in agreement Aj.

However, what if the British did invade Maine via Canada?

Under this senerio, troops would have needed to be diverted & transported north from the ATOP. If so R.E.Lee & the ANV would have finally been on a equal footing with their opponent. This (to my thinking) would be a huge advantage for Lee. He most definatley would have taken the offensive! That General fought to victory in battle after battle while being outnumbered. I can't help believe Lee would have had great success in the field on equal terms...

Reply
3 years ago#16
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13

Mike, there are several possible scenarios here.

As I mentioned earlier, Northern, ME was still well fortified from the scare of the 1840s, locally called "The Aroostook War", the New England part of a much wider set of border disputes between Britain and the US in the late 1830s-40s ("Fifty-four forty or Fight&quot. It wasn't a simple matter of crossing the border and marching troops south. Northern Maine, then as now, is largely impenetrable forests. The only avenues of invasion necessarily followed clear and finite paths, all of which were well-fortified in the 1860s. The terrain alone would be an ally for any forces opposing a British invasion. A minimal force, probably a division bolstered by militia, could almost certainly successfully oppose a smallish professional force trained to operate as either a constabulary force, or for combat in the wide-open spaces of Europe.

A British attack through Eastern Maine from New Brunswick would face a very significant barrier in the St John River, which separates the Province and the State. Again, there are few realistic crossing points, all of which were fortified and readily defensible by relatively small forces.

An invasion via the coastal route was as close to impossible as anything imaginable. The coast of Maine, along it's entire length from 10 or so miles south of Portland all the way up to the Canadian border is INCREDIBLY rocky and hostile to invasion, more than its possible to imagine unless you've seen it. In the few accessible points, i.e. Portland, the Kennebec River and the Penobscot River, there were enormous forts (Knox on the Penobscot, Popham on the Kennebec, Preble/Georges in Portland) purpose built for that exact scenario. These forts were even more unbreachable and imposing than Sumter. It would take considerably more than 11,000 troops and a few wooden ships-of-the-line to get past these obstacles.

So, I think, without even reckoning the war fever a British invasion would stir up, a relatively few troops would need to be shifted from the AOTP or other forces in and around Washington. I think any British force coming by that route would have been mauled and routed, perhaps even captured whole or literally destroyed. The British were out of their element in such a situation. The French, too. Remember their training and experience were on the open terrain of the European continent, small local conflicts in distant colonies against poorly armed and trained tribal forces, or in the deserts of North Africa, not the rocky, mountainous wilderness of Northern Maine

Would Lee have used the opportunity to attack? I don't know. My instinct says "Probably not". The AOTP would still be essentially intact. I guess it depends on what he hoped to accomplish under such a scenario. Capture Washington? As unlikely in this scenario as it was during the Gettysburg Campaign. I can't see Lee lashing out just to lash out. Let's also not forget that the Union still had VERY powerful forces in The West, forces that were quite comfortable fighting in rugged territory and quite used to winning. The Union still held three Aces to the British/French/CSA Pair of Kings. And during all this, what about the Prussians? Seeing the French and British so heavily pre-occupied, it's easy to see Bismark licking his chops and pouncing on the French along their common border.

I think in the end, you'd see a forcefully reunited USA that was much stronger in the wider world, and a British Empire that would have taken a severe hit. Britain was far more interested in and concerned about The Raj in India than they were in North America. It's like grabbing an elephant by the tail. Now that you've got it, what the he ll do you do with but hang on and hope for the best?

Reply
3 years ago#17
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13

Have any of you noticed that if you put a close quote next to a close parentheses you get a silly ?

Reply
3 years ago#18
Mike D.
Champion
Blogs: 16
Forum: 1,506
Votes: 11

You raise good points Aj, but don't you think Britain played war games? Didn't they send attaches with both armies? I think the British knew full well what kind on fortifications the US had on their boarders. I think they would have been able to make needed plans & provisions for this type contingency. And if not strike Maine, then how about NH, or VT.

What type of troops would they face? Certainly not the best front line troops. I definatley think the Lincoln administration would have re-enforced the North. What choice would they have had? How would it play in the public eye to let any US soil fall into an invaders hand?

Reply
3 years ago#19
Ron S.
Ace
Blogs: 9
Forum: 859
Votes: 8

Before we continue on perhaps you all should take a look at this article I found on of all places a Web Site in the UK "American Civil War Round Table UK" It gives some interesting in sight to the UK's preparation for war with the Union.
http://www.acwrt.org.uk/profile_After-the-Trent-or- Third-Time-Lucky.asp

Reply
3 years ago#20
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13

Excellent article. I'd be interested in seeing it expanded on.

A couple of off the top of my head comments. It's highly unlikely that any of the scenarios envisioned in the article would have come to pass, as the author rightly implies. Neither side really had anything to gain taking that route. Lincoln understood this very clearly, and he was the voice of moderation and reason in the Cabinet. The "affair" occurred at the height of Seward's mistaken fantasy that he was somehow the real power in the Cabinet, the premier to Lincoln's figurehead rule. He was quickly and skillfully disabused of this fantasy by Lincoln. Anyway, it's hard to envision cooler heads not prevailing, but since this is a "what if" scenario, lets go with it.

Mike D had asked "what about the British attacking through NH or VT?" NH was out of the question. It's border area with Canada is small and if anything, even more hostile than Maine's. The traditional route of attack is indeed down Lake Champlain. It offer the easiest way to move from the St Lawrence into the interior of the Northeast. This area, however, was very well defended with terrain and weather quite hostile. Would it succede? Let me think about it.

If I write at length on this next musing, it's because I am far more familiar with it thanks to my research on Maine's CW units. The Maine invasion route was the least likely and probably the one that would have lead to the most severe British check. As I noted before, the area was already fairly well fortified as a result of the disagreements of the 1830s/40s (as an aside, if that diplomatic conundrum didn't lead to war, then the Trent Affair had no chance of escalating). As I noted before, Northern Maine offers up enormous terrain difficulties and natural obstacles -- If one thinks of the difficulty of the Ardennes as an invasion route in the 1940s, multiply that at least 20-fold, a hundred fold in 1862. Keep in mind that the primary towns in No. Maine at the time, Caribou and Houlton, were accessible from Bangor only by stagecoach at that period. And again, the St John River along the entire border of Maine and New Brunswick was a very formidable obstacle. It was larger and rougher than the Rappahannock in NoVA.

Speaking of St John, it lies about 25 miles up the Bay of Fundy, a place of the largest tides in the world and not a particularly inviting place. The USN, basing out of Portland, or even Boston, would be in a better position blockading that body than a RN squadron attempting -- it's eminently defensible. Surprisingly, Grand Manan Island at the mouth of the bay, would have made an ideal spot for the British to fortify and defend the Bay, but this was never -- as far as I know -- even contemplated. Given the relatively narrow mouth of the Bay, St John would not be an ideal harbor. In WWII, it was bypassed in favor of Halifax, Portland and even St John's NF. Now in thinking of logistics, the British would have faced significant difficulties. The North Atlantic crossing was and is a nasty task to conquer for much of the year as the RN discovered in WWI and WWII. Depending on a 3,000 mile logistic line through treacherous seas was a tenuous prospect at best.

The issue of McClellan and the AOTP is perhaps the most enigmatic piece of the puzzle. I can't think of any Union commander at that point of the conflict who was a realistic replacement for him -- Grant wasn't Grant yet. That said, I do think McC would have been right in his element defending against a British invasion. Not only would he theoretically relish a chance to face a European power, given that he thought like a European commander and considered himself cut from the Napoleonic cloth, he would almost certainly have been placed in a position of defending (his strength) rather than attacking. How he responded is one of the great "what-ifs" going. My sense is he would have done a creditable, if not spectacular job. Washington was well-fortified against attack, even with a much diminished garrison. A holding pattern there, with continued operations in the West would have been a very viable option under the circumstances. And we must assume the USN would have given a good account of itself. It was then in the process of a huge expansion, it was very professional and very motivated. A one-on-one match for the RN? No, but strong enough to make the attempt at going against it in the absence of clear-cut benefits highly unlikely, especially not at the expense of it's colonial holding in India and SE Asia.

Finally, I have to wonder about the Canadian stomach for an invasion of the US. Given the very large number of Canadians serving in the US forces (I'm talking about those served in Union, not Confederate forces), it seems at least questionable to count on unqualified support from Canadian volunteers.

All and all, a risky nut for the British to attempt, and one not likely to be attempted without clear-cut benefit.

Reply
3 years ago#21
Ron S.
Ace
Blogs: 9
Forum: 859
Votes: 8

Very good Ajhall. Something that one might also consider from a logistical point is how would the British Army fare removed from the Royal Navy’s support? The further the British moved inland the harder it would to come by buy supplies and reinforcements if need.

The other thing is what would be the British objective of this war? You can capture the capitol or any other major city but that did not work for them in two previous wars. That just ties up combat forces in occupation duty. I don’t think that the British could ever conquer the United States and at some point the British Coffers would start feeling the pinch of a long war.

Reply
3 years ago#22
Ajhall
Master
Blogs: 28
Forum: 3,911
Votes: 13

Indeed, that's been my contention all along. What possible benefit was there for Britain to become involved in a war with even a divided US? There was no valid return worth the very risky investment. Say what you will, but the US was no Indonesia populated by primitive tribesmen, India of fractured individual tribes, or even outdated Egyptian Mameluks, which is exactly what they were used to dealing in the colonies. Then toss in the political unpopularity of a war "for Southern slave holders" (which is how it would be perceived, right or wrong), and I just don't see how it could happen. The British Government and Shadow Government weren't stupid.

Reply
3 years ago#23
fstroupe
Champion
Blogs: 25
Forum: 1,469
Votes: 21

I've never been able to see Britain ever seriously consider getting in the war, nor France for that matter. Surely it was obvious to the Brits that the CSA did not desire to be a British colony. And surely it was obvious that at least at the present the CSA had no desire of ending slavery.

What would England have to gain from a co-defeat of the US other than continued status as a trading partner with the CSA? Defeating the US meant merely to be left alone to the CSA. I cannot imagine the Brits providing soldiers, ordinance, ships, and money just to maintain a status quo and a guarantee of cessation of any trade between Britain and the US.

Reply
3 years ago#24
Ron S.
Ace
Blogs: 9
Forum: 859
Votes: 8

It looks like the British are not coming after all. It just makes no logical sense to spend the time, money, and manpower for cotton.

Reply
3 years ago#25
macreverie
Ace
Blogs: 27
Forum: 986
Votes: 16
alaskarat wrote:
Since Ajhall has convinced me that “What if can be fun” here is my first shoot over the bow.

As most if not all of us know the Confederate States of America (CSA) wanted to get England to official side with them. This of course would have meant the there was a good chance that France would also enter the war too. Let us say that Lincoln decides not to release James Mason and John Slidell of the famed Trent Affair. Britain then decides to declare war on the United States yet France realizing the cost of such an endeavor would not equal the rewards and the thought of coming to terms with the British opts out of the war. So basically for my scenario France has declined to support the war effort in arms.

So where would the English land their forces; Hampton Roads, Savannah, or maybe even Charleston.
Would they since they have the option also attack from the North out of Canada using British and Canadian forces?

Does the Union now withdraw its forces from the West and the South and start setting up defensive lines? If so does this end the Civil War?

Does the CSA become the Confederate States of America – Commonwealth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland?

Weigh Anchor and Launch the fleet!


Invasion would not have been necessary. Britain could have immediately broken the blockade and at the same time imposed her own blockade of the north. This would have been obvious to "ole abe" et. al. so even this would not have been necessary. They (abe and friends) would have immediately sued for peace and let the the South have her independence . (The only possible alternative would have been for abe to convince Napoleon to enter the war on his side. France was the only nation that could have posed even the possibility of a threat to the British navy. I believe that scenario highly unlikely though)

This was what the Secessionists were counting on. They put too much stock in the economic power of cotton. Theirs was not all together an unreasonable reckoning though. International trade at the time still depended almost exclusively on sail power. This meant that cotton canvas powered much of that trade. Trouble was there was a glut of cotton on the market when the war began and Egypt and India were able to take up some of the slack.
Reply
2 years ago#26
Geoffrey
Guest

Wouldn't it be in Britain's interest for a divided United States. As the post stated earlier there was tension along US / Canadian border. Also Great Britain had other vital holding in the Caribbean that a strong US could have endangered. So A Confederate states offered considerable advantages to the British who were concerned about additional outbreaks of hostilities in the near future. Also the British did not see the US as a world power, to them we were still just those upstart colonials, little better than the natives. Now I do not believe that The British would have tried A full scale invasion, more likely they would have extended credit to the Confederacy, and possibly offered some supplies to them. Possible used the Royal Navy to open some select ports in the Confederacies to allow the resuppy of the South.

Reply
2 years ago#27
blueshawk1
Champion
Blogs: 7
Forum: 1,344
Votes: 6

I haven't read every word of every post, too much, but scanning, I saw a lot of reference to the British coming in from Canada.
macreverie was the only post I saw that hit on what I assumed would happen - as one person did point out earlier, the Royal Navy was Britain's biggest power, and I believe their part would have been as macreverie said, to prevent the blockades of the south and possibly even run a blockade on the north.

We do know Lincoln was concerned, hence his little b.s. speech to keep Britain and France from considering taking any action.

Reply
1 year ago#28
Son-of-eire
Guest

Now one thing that I have been thinking of about this the Irish factor, both sides US and CS had Irish units, but would the CS Irish soldiers enjoy the idea of fighting with British who rule Ireland, this is on 60years after the United Irishmen, also I believe that the cities of New York and Chicago would have huge boost in recruitment, especial under Irish/Irish Americans. I would also think that the generals would send the Irish units to fight the Brits in Canada due thier historical dislike for the British, and the British would encounter a much different Irish army that they encountered in Ireland, men armed with the latest rifles, cannons, and not pikes and swords. but these are just my thoughts and views, kinda of hopeful.

Reply
1 year ago#29
macreverie
Ace
Blogs: 27
Forum: 986
Votes: 16
and the British would encounter a much different Irish army that they encountered in Ireland, men armed with the latest rifles, cannons, and not pikes and swords


Something like this did actually occur of course (less the cannon) but after the WBTS and on a much smaller scale than you envision here.

In 1866 around 1000 Fenians mostly US WBTS veterans "invaded" Canada (some believe with the acquiescence of the Andrew Johnson administration) They achieved some initial success, defeating a unit of Canadians militia but were soon forced to retire back to the US by the Militia and British regulars.

During the Atlanta Campaign Thomas Sweeney, a prominent Fenian leader and US general actually proposed to CS general Patrick Cleburne, an alliance between Union and CS Irish (after the war)for the purpose of invading Canada. Cleburne politely turned down the proposal telling Sweeney that he felt when the war was over that he would have had enough of fighting. Cleburne was of course killed leading his division in the gallant but futile assault at Franklin Tennessee.
Reply
1 month ago#30
beernoser
Fresh Member
Blogs: 1
Forum: 7
Votes: 0
This post was chosen to be featured as a blog.
If the British had entered the American Civil War, would it have altered the outcome?

English participation in the Civil War would have been decisive in my opinion.

There would not have been great invasions to or from Canada. Instead, the union would be blockaded and the CSA's blockade would be lifted.

This would have had so many dramatic results they're hard to list.

1. Oregon would likely be invaded.
2. A Royal Navy squadron would eventually clean the Pacific coast of US ships which would include closing San Francisco Bay and stopping or taking over the gold trade. If an enemy army occupied California, it might be a Spanish one from the Philippines. This would hurt the US economy greatly.
3. The Royal Navy could freely bombard US coastal cities and launch raids to burn factories, etc.
4. The US would have to move tens of thousands of troops to coastal defense not to mention the northern border.
5. The economy of New England would collapse as the whaling fleet would be sunk and the fishing fleets would be kept in port.
6. Necessary imports would be stopped including 500,000 Enfeldt Rifles, optics, textiles, sugar, immigrants, etc.
7. The Mississippi River would have remained in Confederate hands.
8. Imports would have flooded into the CSA. Instead of fighting with inferior weapons, they would have had access to the most advanced weapons of Europe.
9. The CSA would have had tens of thousands of additional soldiers freed from coastal defense or watching federal garrisons on its coasts. New Orleans would have been a thriving trading city rather than an occupied city.
10. Destertion would have been a less serious problem in the CSA as families back home wouldn't be starving.

In short, I think Lincoln would have quickly sued for peace. Time would not be on his side so peace would come quickly.

PS - Please don't respond to what ifs by saying it wouldn't happen. Weird things happen in history all the time. What would England have to gain? What was its army doing on the Crimea 10 years earlier? I'm sure many English moms wondered that at the time. Years from now, people will wonder what the US arm, was doing in Iraq. History does that.

Reply
By entering this site you declare you read and agreed to its Terms, Rules & Privacy and you understand that your use of the site's content is made at your own risk and responsibility.
Copyright © 2006 - 2015 American Civil War Forum