An Airtight Blockade

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DaveBrt

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Immediate shortage of gunpowder. After the first battle, serious shortage of caps, cartridges, powder and small arms. The Southern armies would never have had enough small arms to equip the men willing to volunteer (see the actual situation in Tennessee) and too little ammunition to be able to fight.

The Confederacy imported vast quantities of small arms, powder, cartridges, blankets, lead, salt petre -- all right from the beginning.
 

FenianPirate

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I propose this alternative past:

The blockade accomplishes an acute shortage of the means of war within the Confederacy, resulting in a shorter conventional war in the East -- painfully won by inept Union generals. Maybe there is a continuing "asymmetric" conflict in the Deep South and West, if rebel generals do not surrender whole armies and send their soldiers home. No second term for Lincoln.

President McClellan negotiates a peace, with federal compensation for slaves freed over a decade funded by a progressive income tax. Seceded States are readmitted only after Union states ratify a Constitutional Amendment removing the 3/5ths provision from Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3. Immediate demobilization of USCT regiments, with large numbers of these ex-soldiers taking their families North and into the Far West.

De facto slavery is continued through share-cropping, and there is no Negro vote until the 20th Century. Fewer southern Representatives are readmitted to the House when blacks are no longer counted as 2/3rds of a person. No President Grant. No Reconstruction. With the infrastructure of the Deep South hardly damaged, recovery is rapid once commerce is restored. With the traditional social order and white southern privilege re-established, Southerners hardly feel that they lost the war.

The newly-expanded Northern industrial base seeks overseas markets, and (under a demobilization jobs and industrial program funded by the income tax) replaces shipping lost to foreign registration with iron-hulled steamers. These offer direct competition to Britain's merchant marine. Congress matches the nearly-complete central transcontinental railroad with a second, southern route -- stipulating that the entire South rationalize rail gauges and integrate regional railroads into a system that justifies investment in a westward extension. The Southern railroad boom begins, and with growing economic return and lower export cotton prices. Indian cotton is displaced from English mills.

The best ships of the ironclad and wooden Navy are kept in active service. The larger sea-going monitors are completed, and armed with 20-inch Rodman smoothbores -- becoming a match for any European ironclad. The Isherwood cruisers are completed, and make some heralded 17+ knot Atlantic crossings. The entire Royal Navy is obsolete for the second time in a decade, and few merchant vessels would be safe from the new federal cruisers.

Enforcing the Monroe Doctrine, McClellan provides material aid to Mexican rebels and moves the western Armies to the Rio Grande, forcing Maximilian I from power by early 1866. The quid pro quo for the Southern peace is revealed: To obtain additional senators and seek a power balance, Mexican nationalists are suppressed in favor of a political combination sympathetic to Southern economic expansion into a weak post-French Mexico. The long-term goal is creation from Mexico of several US states. By 1870, the US expels Spain from Cuba, marking a period of true US colonial expansion in the Americas. US friction with France expands to include estrangement from Britain due to industrial competition.

Whaduya think?
 
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Carronade

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Constitutional Amendment removing the 3/5ths provision from Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3. ........ Fewer southern Representatives are readmitted to the House when blacks are no longer counted as 2/3rds of a person.
If the 3/5 clause is removed, we're left with representation based on total persons, blacks included. The only way we would see a reduction in southern representatives would be to add something like section 2 of the 14th Amendment, which calls for reducing a state's representation if some proportion of its adult male population is not allowed to vote.
 

Carronade

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painfully won by inept Union generals
Seems like a pointless cheap shot. An airtight blockade wouldn't make Union generals any more inept - or ept :wink: - and the South would still have its share of Floyds and Polks and Braggs. The war - east, west, Mississippi, everywhere - would probably go much as it did historically, just faster.

The entire Royal Navy is obsolete for the second time in a decade,
That would be the Royal Navy that had ironclad warships before we did, and which pioneered the development of new warship types in the steel age?

More likely would be what happened when the RN was challenged by France, Russia, or Germany - they would match and outmatch the challenger, creating new classes of ships as needed.
 

USS ALASKA

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Whaduya think?
Wow - seems like you had a lot of thought put into this. Is this from your 'Writing an alternative history with Fenian commerce raiders in 1867.'?

A few questions other than what @Carronade posted...

No second term for Lincoln.
If the war was short and the Union won, why no 2nd term?

...with federal compensation for slaves freed over a decade funded by a progressive income tax.
Why would Northerners vote yes to a tax that is compensation to Southern slave holders?

Congress matches the nearly-complete central transcontinental railroad with a second, southern route...
And what about a northern route from the Old Northwest to Puget Sound? Of which 3 ended up being built...

...stipulating that the entire South rationalize rail gauges and integrate regional railroads into a system that justifies investment in a westward extension.
Why would this be a requirement for the South when it wasn't required in the North?

Indian cotton is displaced from English mills.
But Indian cotton is something that the British can control, unlike Southern cotton.

The entire Royal Navy is obsolete for the second time in a decade...
Have heard this type of comment before at varying times in history. This was stated when the HMS Dreadnought was commissioned in 1906. 1 ship does not an overpowering force make. Until there are enough vessels of this new type available to overpower all the remaining obsolete ships in formation, it can be defeated by sheer numbers of lesser weapon systems. Something about quantity having its own quality...and creating something that others can replicate just sets everyone's clock back to zero. At that point in time, building capacity becomes the deciding factor which the UK has a decided advantage.

The quid pro quo for the Southern peace is revealed
If the Confederacy was defeated, why would there be any need for 'quid pro quo'?

The long-term goal is creation from Mexico of several US states.
Slave states? In an area that already outlawed slavery? There might be some pushback...

...the US expels Spain from Cuba...
Interesting. Why would we want Cuba? Is this to also placate Southern political interests?
117

Thanks for your response!
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FenianPirate

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If the 3/5 clause is removed, we're left with representation based on total persons, blacks included. The only way we would see a reduction in southern representatives would be to add something like section 2 of the 14th Amendment, which calls for reducing a state's representation if some proportion of its adult male population is not allowed to vote.
Good point. I was mentally confusing voting with being counted.
 

Carronade

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Some interesting speculations, but not necessarily related to the original question, the impact of an airtight blockade. If we were willing, after the Civil War was concluded, to maintain and use an army and navy that could conquer Mexico or Cuba, we do that just as well in the historical timeline.
 

FenianPirate

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Seems like a pointless cheap shot. An airtight blockade wouldn't make Union generals any more inept - or ept :wink: - and the South would still have its share of Floyds and Polks and Braggs. The war - east, west, Mississippi, everywhere - would probably go much as it did historically, just faster.



That would be the Royal Navy that had ironclad warships before we did, and which pioneered the development of new warship types in the steel age?

More likely would be what happened when the RN was challenged by France, Russia, or Germany - they would match and outmatch the challenger, creating new classes of ships as needed.
"Inept" pretty accurately describes all the Eastern generals that led the Army of the Potomac up to the arrival of U.S. Grant. Sure, for some you can substitute specific weaknesses (indecisive - McClellan, slow - Meade, etc.), but inept is a good general (pun) description. Want to know that they were over-matched? Look at the battle results. :smile:

Here goes the what-if debate:
The RN was an occasional innovator, no question. But mostly (even back to the Napoleonic Wars) they copied French designs or responded to them with a twist. Face it, they were conservative and perpetually the largest navy, and therefore were invested in their ship inventory. And, yeah, I may have been baiting folks a little with the "obsolete" comment.
But look carefully at the results of testing that the RN did at Shoeburyness with (unrifled, solid shot) 15-inch Dahlgrens against their standard armor designs, and tell me they weren't concerned. Despite Pentagon-like fogging of results in the reports (a 50-pound charge was the maximum that a Dahlgren could stand?) and judiciously substituting calculation for dangerous-results testing, you can find the vulnerabilities.
See: https://books.google.com/books?id=15MNAAAAQAAJ
In 1866, the RN's confidence relied upon numbers and ocean-going capability, which they obtained at the expense of protection. They assumed that smoothbores were no match for rifled 68-lbers because of range limits, and prepared for a war against their own guns and armor. But look at the CSS Atlanta engagement for a field test. When two or three shots that cripple a ship bearing 4- to 5-inch armor are fired from 10-inch-armor turrets, rate of fire is moot. So Monadnock/Dictator classes (15-inchers, 9 knots) and Puritans (20-inch Rodmans, 15? knots), if they could corner RN ironclads, would have prevailed quickly I think. I'm not saying they wouldn't get their hair mussed, though.
 
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FenianPirate

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Some interesting speculations, but not necessarily related to the original question, the impact of an airtight blockade. If we were willing, after the Civil War was concluded, to maintain and use an army and navy that could conquer Mexico or Cuba, we do that just as well in the historical timeline.
Just having a little fun here. Did I exceed the parameters of the assignment? :smile:
 

FenianPirate

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Wow - seems like you had a lot of thought put into this. Is this from your 'Writing an alternative history with Fenian commerce raiders in 1867.'?
No just messing around this morning, although past research shaped it obviously. Other responses follow:

If the war was short and the Union won, why no 2nd term?
It was a negotiated peace after McClellan wins election. The war lingered in the south and west when the CSA would avoid engagement and retain mobility and over stretch Union logistics, then attack in the rear? S__t, I don't know.


Why would Northerners vote yes to a tax that is compensation to Southern slave holders?
End the draft, end an ugly lingering war (think of recent events). Progressiveness of the tax would be a populist theme (stick to the rich, including especially the propertied Southerners whose slave compensation would, of course, be taxed). Slow, decade-long emancipation that held Negroes in the agrarian South would reduce the immediate threat of black men as labor competition.


And what about a northern route from the Old Northwest to Puget Sound? Of which 3 ended up being built...
Sure, but the South lost the transcontinental railroad route after decades of locking it up. NW routes are an economic decision. A Southern Pacific route has other, more vital and immediate political benefits.


Why would this be a requirement for the South when it wasn't required in the North?
Because, just because. It's a negotiation after all. There needs to be greater commercial incentive and lower implementation costs for the railroad company, since the checkerboard of federal lands that they will receive won''t be anywhere near as arable and valuable as the UPRR/CPRR got.


But Indian cotton is something that the British can control, unlike Southern cotton.
Midlands industrialists like lower costs, and they like the quality of Southern cotton. Depends upon whether HMG would enact protectionist measures.


Have heard this type of comment before at varying times in history. This was stated when the HMS Dreadnought was commissioned in 1906. 1 ship does not an overpowering force make. Until there are enough vessels of this new type available to overpower all the remaining obsolete ships in formation, it can be defeated by sheer numbers of lesser weapon systems. Something about quantity having its own quality...and creating something that others can replicate just sets everyone's clock back to zero. At that point in time, building capacity becomes the deciding factor which the UK has a decided advantage.
A-yuh.


If the Confederacy was defeated, why would there be any need for 'quid pro quo'?
Remember, this was negotiated by McClellan, who got elected on a peace-at-any-price platform. This gambit combines a national political objective (seeing off the French) with an unacknowledged political leveling tool for the South.


Slave states? In an area that already outlawed slavery? There might be some pushback...
Of course NOT slave states! What did all those Union soldiers and sailors die for, just saving the Union?


Interesting. Why would we want Cuba? Is this to also placate Southern political interests?
Same reason as Mexico, only easier to implement quickly. Co-opt Cuban nationalism into a statehood movement.
 

sailorruss

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I like it, but my take on an "airtight" blockade, and it was darned near around my way, would culminate in the "big Indian War" that Sherman spoke of. It is a bit of a diversion from the airtight blockade. I see interconnections, so it is a stew rather than five courses on different plates.

So here goes:

As the south was making niter, rolling bandages, ETC, from the beginning, going underground en mass was the best way to take out troops in line. By this point the rule book was thrown out by the southern commands. The armies, right down to company levels were disbursed with orders to kill or wound as many blue clad soldiers as possible.

Quantril was brought east and Anderson left in the west as advisors. The Special Forces of the CSA.

The only real way for the south to make it through was to head into the mountains and swamps, ambush being the order of the day. A mix of night attacks and strikes against Union stores would keep them on edge. That was a problem. The other arm of the US Army came out. In turn they would be destroyed as they wouldn't understand much more than the ghosts who shot them and vanished.

No quarter what so ever. For every one man wounded it took two to carry them. Using the large formations of green troops with officers who had never heard the crack of Enfields and Colts there was a mass of confusion. The wearing of uniforms was dropped to battle shirts. Companies became hidden cadres.

Bridges were destroyed, tunnels collapsed and union supply depots blown up or raised.

African Americans guerillas posed as run away slaves, contraband or fighting in units. War broke down race. Anyone in bondage was emancipated for the war, right down to the family level. These noble soldiers fought for home just as well as any caucasians. Race and slavery was a moot point as it became understood that all must be with and for freedom.

Women and young adults proved just as adept as striking the underbelly as a veteran of Gettysburg. There was too much of a population to lock everyone up. Too many mouths to take food from without US becoming hated worse than they were. Butler & Ewing did their best to make things miserable for the south. Forrest gathered as much of a fighting force as the ANV, bringing in fierce fighters. There was very little quarter given.

Small industry couldn't turn out cannon, but produced enough to sustain the small units. Cottage industry sprang up in every cave, outhouse and root cellar from Virginia to Key West. Laths were constructed to last long enough to churn out new barrels, springs being hand forged. These places were guarded by troops and all could be destroyed during a delaying action.

All weapons left on the field, powder and guns et al, were taken. Hauled to specific points where they used most effectively. Earthen batteries were used as traps to draw in Union troops into many more Cold Harbors.

More sons dying far from home. Slowly draining the north of man power and further demoralizing those who were drafted into service. Many fled. Some to the southern lines.

The retaking of Key West alone broke the seal on the airtight container of a blockade squadron. It didn't allow for much to get through still. It was psychic wound that was not going to close.

There was a backlash from the Northern populace. Lincoln was not reelected but Little Mac could not conduct this war as much as he couldn't run the army twice before. His position was precarious as a war democrat. He sued for peace. He was listened to, as was his platform to Davis and Lee. The terms were accepted after negotiation and the war ended.

It left a bad taste in the north's mouth and the Little Napoleon was a one term wonder.

After the war Native Americans who fought for the south lobbied for better treatment of their people. Wars were fought with the backing of Stand Waite, becoming a sad state of affairs for the second northern invasion. A sorry state of affairs that could have been understood after the Minutemen tactics used by armies in the east.

So that is my take.

The popular conclusion was that south could not win.

If you look at it with 150+ years later set of glasses it's very easy to see now that there was no chance of a southern nation.
The north was far more industrial. More troops, more ships and vicious tactics against soldiers and civilians alike.

Only by taking and holding key points, fighting as insurgents and that terrible loss of life that came with it would have demoralize the north. The Confederacy would 'make do', filling mushroomed nipples on rifles and pistols, cutting down weapons (e.g. Roger's Rangers sawed off flintlocks in the F&I War) as well as decentralized industry. It would have made a hard road to hoe for the men in blue.

To say nothing of the taking weapons from the field from the bodies of the slain. Irregular warfare, which Lee himself said he would have advocated had he known how his home and people would have been treated, knowledge of topography, excellent intelligence made it more of a blood bath than four years of war could have ever been.

And as a southern soldier said, give them one season of planting crops and they would be back the next.

I in no way mean this as an insult to north, south, east or west. Nor any race what so ever. Both sides fought very hard and have my respect. We can all get along.

I did get called "inbred" by a person my wife knows from the north east the other day though. My fault from being from Florida.

Sectionalism still rears it's pointy little head every now and again.
 
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FenianPirate

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I like it, but my take on an "airtight" blockade, and it was darned near around my way, would culminate in the "big Indian War" that Sherman spoke of. It is a bit of a diversion from the airtight blockade. I see interconnections, so it is a stew rather than five courses on different plates.

So here goes: ....
You best gird them loins, boy! They's sharpshooters in the woods.
 

sailorruss

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Insurgence is really the only way to fight. You have to break the spirit and the back of your enemies. Pick them off one by one. Don't try to clear cut the forest in a day. Just taking a tree or two when you can will do.
 
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sailorruss

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Certainly. I only made my supposition on the premise that is was. There was a lot running here, in my area and others. In fact much in the lagoon a beer bottles throw from my house.

North of here, New Symrna, had a small fort and shelling on the town. Old Fort Park is actually the foundation of a home and hotel that was singled out to have shells lobbed at it. It was set ablaze and the family moved closer to the St. Johns River to avoid the war any further.
 

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USS ALASKA

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Just having a little fun here. Did I exceed the parameters of the assignment? :smile:
'A' for effort! 'F' for making me think about all that! My brain hurts... :wink:

USS Alaska and Carronade -- Whew, you guys really made me work for it here. Is this a character-building program? ;-)
Is your character in need of reinforcement, sir? Glad I could be of assistance! :sneaky:

Again, Thanks for your input!
USS ALASKA
 
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USS ALASKA

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I had some thoughts when I posted this thread but didn't want to influence anyone's answers...

@DaveBrt pointed out an immediate tactical need that was of dire, to the Confederacy, urgency. Interestingly, I was thinking of some 'stuffs' going the other way…

1. No 'diplomats' and other agents send forth by the Confederacy.

2. No mails in and out of the blockaded area.

3. No non-Northern based news from the South out to the rest of the world.

4. No cotton comes out to back up 'cotton bonds'.

5. No 'PSYOP' value of being able to 'break' the blockade.

6. And without any of the above, no pseudo 'We really ARE a nation' pleas for support...
161

Just some thoughts...
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BlueandGrayl

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To be fair while it did make it all the more difficult for the South and there were some strategic areas captured I must make it clear however that it wasn't all "airtight" as WJC noted for starters the Confederacy found a few ways to get past the blockade first was blockade runners and of the 1,300 attempts by 1,650 ships about 1,000 succeeded delivering 1.25 million bales of cotton overseas and bringing in vital supplies even in 1864 when most Southern commerce was stifled Confederate blockade runners could still deliever supplies to places such as the Bahamas, another method was secretly trading with Northern merchants to get their supplies and Confederate agents secretly went to cities northward to get these commodities, and the third way was that the Confederacy already commercial ties to Britain through the textile industry with cotton and shipbuilding companies such as Laird Rams who built Confederate warships such as the CSS Alabama which were superior to anything the Union Navy had between 1861 until 1863 and even some of them faced off against Union ships most also destroyed commercial merchant fleet.

Also in the periods in which the Confederacy's chances of independence were good (July 1861-January 1862, Summer and Fall Pre-Antietam 1862, and Post-Fredericksburg December 1862) there few or no naval victories sure the Union did capture a few islands in the first period however these were pretty minor when compared to other triumphs and even at that time it didn't make much of a major impact as it captured only a small fraction of Confederate territory most major Union military action was on land not sea when McClellan was sick with typhoid in the East and both Halleck and Buell could not move their troops in the West the latter even explaining why he couldn't attack Confederate fortifications in the West it would have stayed this way if it weren't for Grant suggesting using ships to attack Forts Henry and Donelson. In the second period, the Confederates were already making counteroffensives in the East and West going as far as into Maryland by Lee and Kentucky the latter even having a pro-Confederate government installed by Bragg and Smith there were no more naval victories for the Northern press to hype up or report and the one attempt at taking a major Confederate port or stronghold (Vicksburg and Port Hudson) ended in failure twice the first was when the CSS Arkansas had already driven away Farragut's fleet and the second was when said fleet tried to dig a canal to get around it and fell to sickness instead. The third period was when the Confederates had fought a land-naval battle with the Union for the town of Galveston, Texas which ended in the former winning and retaking it resulting in 150 dead, 2 gunboats (Harriet Lane and Westfield) destroyed, and captured Union infantry all of this after the Battle of Fredericksburg and near the disastorous Mud March for the Union Army of the Potomac.
 
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