Britain had recognized the CSA?

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I have limited knowledge of the battlefield circumstances of the F-P War but am confident stating that artillery practice as of the Civil War would have significantly diminished a range advantage such as you point to.
I'm not sure I follow this. Do you mean artillery practice as in "the way artillery was used in the Civil War", or as in "the fundamental limits of gunpowder artillery"?

Because it seems pretty clear that the Franco-Prussian War examples (of firing being given at ranges of multiple miles with effect) would seem to demonstrate that it's not a matter of the fundamental limits of gunpowder artillery, and it seems fairly evident that the Union didn't really care to establish the range at which their field guns could deliver accurate fire at deliberate rates - after all, there's no test data existing, and it wasn't in the acceptance trials for the Parrott or Ordnance as far as I can tell.
Conversely, the British considered the range performance of the Armstrong of critical import in both testing it and considering what to replace it with (where firing took place out to approx. 1.5 miles during the trials).

The point about smoke and rapid firing covers a battery creating its own problem but it doesn't address the smoke generated by other batteries on the same side or - just as important - obscuring smoke generated by opposing batteries. It also doesn't address the considerable smoke generated by thousands of small arms on both sides. There were several reasons why much of the actual fighting took place below the test-firing "accurate" ranges.
I'm not really sure I understand the battlefield scenario you're envisaging here, or rather, whether the Civil War image correctly reflects the reality that would be created here.

The situation in which I would expect counter-battery fire to take place is one where the batteries of both sides are around a mile apart, or a bit more (up to two miles if the British artillery has a hill to work with which has good visibility) and probably not during a period when both sides are conducting a maximum rate barrage of either artillery or infantry fire. This is because such periods don't make up the whole of the battle along the whole of the line, or ammunition exhaustion would quickly set in.

For the friendly infantry smoke, British tactics for skirmishing envisaged skirmish elements firing around 1-2 rounds per minute at wide dispersal (a brigade frontage on the order of a mile wide appeared in exercises, though that was shaken out into skirmish order); for the enemy infantry smoke, obviously if there is a battlefield crisis going on then that is where the artillery would be contributing. But during the periods between the battlefield crises, then counter-battery fire is both a good idea and potentially effectual.

Similarly, enemy artillery can't be firing at a rate sufficient to cloak themselves in smoke for the whole of the period of a battle. That is rapid fire and it cannot be sustained; indeed even deliberate firing can't be sustained for a whole day long battle, it involves 1 round per 2 minutes per gun and that is 300 rounds over the course of a ten hour day.


In the Franco-Prussian War, what we have is large Prussian batteries of breech-loading Krupp artillery firing effectively on enemy trenches manned by French troops possessing Chassepot rifles able to fire at 10 rounds a minute, with the guns firing in support of Prussian infantry armed with the Dreyse (which is a breech loading rifle itself, though not as fast firing). They are nevertheless able to effectively use their breech-loading artillery's long range and accuracy to entirely redress and reverse the tactical disadvantage caused by attacking a heavily entrenched enemy with longer ranged, more accurately firing infantry weapons.

If that is the kind of thing that long range accurate rifled artillery can do in an environment where everyone has a black powder breechloader, I do not think that powder smoke is going to be an impediment to effective firing in an environment where everyone has a black powder muzzle loader with about 1/3 to 1/5 the firing rate.



I think you're operating with a misleading assumption that test-firing data establishes equivalent range/accuracy superiority in actual battle conditions. Again, in an era of direct fire and distance siting limitations, the test-firing data becomes to some extent useless. The Whitworths possessed by the ANV at Gettysburg had terrific range (and, of course, complicating breech issues) but they were unlikely to play any meaningful role because of the practical limits. The consensus regarding the two Whitworths at Gettysburg is that they had some psychological effect, due in good part to the bizarre shriek the projectiles made, but no actual damage/physical effect. I'm unaware of any role Whitworths had at Malvern Hill. The Army of the P had a few on the Peninsula but they weren't really used for the reasons stated. The consensus is that they just weren't all that practical.
But test firing data establishes a relative comparison. What we have at the moment is the following data:

- the Armstrong was very accurate in test firing out to 2 miles.
- no significant counter-battery fire (or other accurate field gun bombardment) took place in North America at ranges of a mile or more.

We do NOT have the following data:
- the accuracy statistics of the Parrott or Ordnance in test firing.
There may be data in Peterson's Notes on Ordnance, and a footnote referencing this book stated that the mean deviation of the 3" rifles averaged 12 feet at 1,200 yards, but it is not clear if the figure is actually from the book.

There are thus two possibilities:
- the Parrott and Ordnance rifles were comparable to the Armstrong in being accurate at a range of 1-2 miles, and the reason why no counterbattery fire took place is that there is a fundamental inability (relating to troop training or conditions) to do that.
or
- the reason why no counterbattery fire took place in North America is that it is due to the inability of the guns to perform well enough (i.e. Peterson's Notes actually does contain the 12 feet at 1,200 yards figure and this figure is substantially correct.)


The missing data would determine which of these it was, because if the guns were incapable of it then obviously that is the problem.


Now, we happen to have other suggestive data, about the large Parrott and Ordnance rifles when used as siege guns (where they were at least somewhat effective out to several miles) and deviation data of the large Parrott and Armstrong rifles (inferior to the Armstrong field guns).*
In addition, we have what could be called "negative data", which is the lack of the accuracy statistics for the Parrott and Ordnance field guns.

That negative data is important because it suggests an alternative explanation for the lack of counter-battery fire - which is that long range accuracy was not considered a sufficiently important trait to actually test in the field guns the Union was accepting. This would then mean that they did not consider long range accuracy important.


However, if the "fundamental inability" explanation noted above was correct, then we would expect not to see effective counter-battery fire or long range firing in the Franco-Prussian war. And we do.
This forms another piece of circumstantial evidence around the idea that the limits on long range firing in North America are related to either the gun, or the biases and training/doctrinal deficiencies of the Union and Confederate artillery arm (if the gun is capable of it), rather than a fundamental limitation on the ability of a long ranged rifle to deliver effective fire.


It is for this combination of reasons that I think that the hypothesis "a sufficiently precise field gun in a black powder environment can deliver effective fire at 1-2 miles when used by a trained artilleryman" is more correct than the hypothesis "the Parrott/Ordnance guns were comparably precise to the Parrott/Armstrong gun but it is fundamentally not possible to deliver effective fire at 1-2 miles in a black powder environment".



* those numbers are:

30pdr Parrott at 1030 yards: mean impact from centre of target 16 feet.
12pdr Armstrong at 1130 yards: mean deviation 3.12 feet

4.5in Ordnance rifle at 1820 yards: mean impact from centre of target 19 feet
12pdr Armstrong at 2146 yards: mean deviation 4.44 feet
4.5in Ordnance rifle at 2220 yards: mean impact from centre of target 25 feet

If the 10pdr Parrott is comparable to the Armstrong, and thus around five times more accurate than the 30pdr, it seems like that would be something someone would notice.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Perhaps a thread detailing the technical aspects of different types of artillery is in order?
I'd be willing to leave it as "in my opinion, the British artillery has the potential to provide a significant benefit to field battles in Canada"... and to discuss a different relevant topic, which is the potential greatest impacts of British intervention at six-month intervals starting Winter 1861 (the historical Trent).

Think that's reasonable?
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
In a determined effort by the British to fight the US, in which France does not help the US, Britain would win. But they were not in a position to conquer the US. That decision had already been made during the Polk administration.
After the settlement of the US/British North America boundary, money and people flowed back and forth across the Atlantic. If the British had fought the US they would have been freezing British investments in the US, and fighting another English speaking people, many of whom had relatives in Ireland and England. Britain fighting the US was very unlikely. Britain giving the Confederacy more help was possible.
However, the British could have frozen the war in April 1861 by stating they would not honor the blockade, and that they would embargo nitre to one or both belligerents. They did not do that. The possibility of finally getting a right of inspection treaty from the US to finish off the suppression of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, balanced against the possibility that the British would have been in a position to permanently support a slave nation, tempered enthusiasm for the Confederacy. A think it was Earl Russell who stated roughly, for God's sake, let us stay out of it.
If the British had intervened in December 1861, it would have ended the war for the time being. That was why the Confederacy dangled the diplomats in front of Captain Wilkes in Havana. But the Lincoln administration was not going to war with Britain. They might have made a show of belligerency, but Lincoln was certain to back down.
By June 1862, how much difference would British intervention have made? The US controlled the Mississippi River below Memphis and occupied New Orleans. How much cotton was going to come out of the south if it did not control the Mississippi? By that time to the US had made strong strategic progress in the Border States, along the Mississippi, in the far west, and on the Confederate coast. By the time the issue of interventi0on heated up again in September and October 1862, military people in Britain began to consider the cost of intimidating the US. The cost would be substantial and cotton exports would not be immediately restored, even with intervention.
Therefore the window of intervention closed in approximately May 1862.
Up until that time, the British textile industry had sufficient cotton. The slow down was due to the softness of demand in India and China and the value of the cotton as speculative investment.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
As the prior attempts had already proven, the British could win on the Atlantic coast. But in the upper Great Lakes, the Columbia region and all across the Pacific, the situation was more favorable to the US. Gaining a victory over the US produces some short term benefit, at the expense of antagonizing a fast growing nation bent on dominating North America.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
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Location
Denver, CO
Why would the British, who had just spent 70 years fighting the slave trade, eliminating slavery in their empire and working with Portugal and Brazil to abolish slavery, suddenly reverse course and economically support a slave nation? They were not very fond of Yankees of any persuasion, and in the opening months of the US Civil War, both belligerents were slave nations. Why would the British choose one or the other side to aid?
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Why would the British, who had just spent 70 years fighting the slave trade, eliminating slavery in their empire and working with Portugal and Brazil to abolish slavery, suddenly reverse course and economically support a slave nation? They were not very fond of Yankees of any persuasion, and in the opening months of the US Civil War, both belligerents were slave nations. Why would the British choose one or the other side to aid?
For other geopolitical reasons, though it's unlikely. It's not like the fact that both sides were slave owners means the British can never take sides at all, it just means that the "poor Johnny" factor is weaker (though not nonexistent).
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
So, British intervention in:

Trent (winter 1861): utterly strategically devastating for the Union on every level. Shortages of powder, gun iron, muskets and rifles. Blockaded. Large hostile army on the northern frontier and no spare troops to send there, and no capacity to do so. Some troops cut off by blockading ships.

Summer 1862: Fewer shortage issues owing to imports in last 6 months, but the entire Army of the Potomac is cut off from supply and captured. No spare troops to deal with the hostile army on the borders, and while new troops can be raised it'd take months to muster them in. Might actually be as bad as winter 1861.

Winter 1862: Relatively manageable, though that's a relative matter. The blockade is still bad news but the Union has significant slack infantry assets.

Summer 1863: The Union has slack infantry in the west but in the east it's in trouble. The blockade is as ever a problem, but here the risk from a hostile landing around Washington is high.

Winter 1863: Similar to winter 1862.

Summer 1864: If it happens after mid-May, and especially after mid-June, the Army of the Potomac is lost. That's obviously not good; the best possible time would probably be early July as this would cut off reinforcements to Washington (all of 6th and 19th Corps) and indeed see them all captured.

Winter 1864: If this happens at the right time then Sherman's army and Grant's army are both lost. This would be strategically crippling to a staggering extent given how late it is in the war.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I'm not sure I follow this. Do you mean artillery practice as in "the way artillery was used in the Civil War", or as in "the fundamental limits of gunpowder artillery"?

Because it seems pretty clear that the Franco-Prussian War examples (of firing being given at ranges of multiple miles with effect) would seem to demonstrate that it's not a matter of the fundamental limits of gunpowder artillery, and it seems fairly evident that the Union didn't really care to establish the range at which their field guns could deliver accurate fire at deliberate rates - after all, there's no test data existing, and it wasn't in the acceptance trials for the Parrott or Ordnance as far as I can tell.
Conversely, the British considered the range performance of the Armstrong of critical import in both testing it and considering what to replace it with (where firing took place out to approx. 1.5 miles during the trials).


I'm not really sure I understand the battlefield scenario you're envisaging here, or rather, whether the Civil War image correctly reflects the reality that would be created here.

The situation in which I would expect counter-battery fire to take place is one where the batteries of both sides are around a mile apart, or a bit more (up to two miles if the British artillery has a hill to work with which has good visibility) and probably not during a period when both sides are conducting a maximum rate barrage of either artillery or infantry fire. This is because such periods don't make up the whole of the battle along the whole of the line, or ammunition exhaustion would quickly set in.

For the friendly infantry smoke, British tactics for skirmishing envisaged skirmish elements firing around 1-2 rounds per minute at wide dispersal (a brigade frontage on the order of a mile wide appeared in exercises, though that was shaken out into skirmish order); for the enemy infantry smoke, obviously if there is a battlefield crisis going on then that is where the artillery would be contributing. But during the periods between the battlefield crises, then counter-battery fire is both a good idea and potentially effectual.

Similarly, enemy artillery can't be firing at a rate sufficient to cloak themselves in smoke for the whole of the period of a battle. That is rapid fire and it cannot be sustained; indeed even deliberate firing can't be sustained for a whole day long battle, it involves 1 round per 2 minutes per gun and that is 300 rounds over the course of a ten hour day.


In the Franco-Prussian War, what we have is large Prussian batteries of breech-loading Krupp artillery firing effectively on enemy trenches manned by French troops possessing Chassepot rifles able to fire at 10 rounds a minute, with the guns firing in support of Prussian infantry armed with the Dreyse (which is a breech loading rifle itself, though not as fast firing). They are nevertheless able to effectively use their breech-loading artillery's long range and accuracy to entirely redress and reverse the tactical disadvantage caused by attacking a heavily entrenched enemy with longer ranged, more accurately firing infantry weapons.

If that is the kind of thing that long range accurate rifled artillery can do in an environment where everyone has a black powder breechloader, I do not think that powder smoke is going to be an impediment to effective firing in an environment where everyone has a black powder muzzle loader with about 1/3 to 1/5 the firing rate.




But test firing data establishes a relative comparison. What we have at the moment is the following data:

- the Armstrong was very accurate in test firing out to 2 miles.
- no significant counter-battery fire (or other accurate field gun bombardment) took place in North America at ranges of a mile or more.

We do NOT have the following data:
- the accuracy statistics of the Parrott or Ordnance in test firing.
There may be data in Peterson's Notes on Ordnance, and a footnote referencing this book stated that the mean deviation of the 3" rifles averaged 12 feet at 1,200 yards, but it is not clear if the figure is actually from the book.

There are thus two possibilities:
- the Parrott and Ordnance rifles were comparable to the Armstrong in being accurate at a range of 1-2 miles, and the reason why no counterbattery fire took place is that there is a fundamental inability (relating to troop training or conditions) to do that.
or
- the reason why no counterbattery fire took place in North America is that it is due to the inability of the guns to perform well enough (i.e. Peterson's Notes actually does contain the 12 feet at 1,200 yards figure and this figure is substantially correct.)


The missing data would determine which of these it was, because if the guns were incapable of it then obviously that is the problem.


Now, we happen to have other suggestive data, about the large Parrott and Ordnance rifles when used as siege guns (where they were at least somewhat effective out to several miles) and deviation data of the large Parrott and Armstrong rifles (inferior to the Armstrong field guns).*
In addition, we have what could be called "negative data", which is the lack of the accuracy statistics for the Parrott and Ordnance field guns.

That negative data is important because it suggests an alternative explanation for the lack of counter-battery fire - which is that long range accuracy was not considered a sufficiently important trait to actually test in the field guns the Union was accepting. This would then mean that they did not consider long range accuracy important.


However, if the "fundamental inability" explanation noted above was correct, then we would expect not to see effective counter-battery fire or long range firing in the Franco-Prussian war. And we do.
This forms another piece of circumstantial evidence around the idea that the limits on long range firing in North America are related to either the gun, or the biases and training/doctrinal deficiencies of the Union and Confederate artillery arm (if the gun is capable of it), rather than a fundamental limitation on the ability of a long ranged rifle to deliver effective fire.


It is for this combination of reasons that I think that the hypothesis "a sufficiently precise field gun in a black powder environment can deliver effective fire at 1-2 miles when used by a trained artilleryman" is more correct than the hypothesis "the Parrott/Ordnance guns were comparably precise to the Parrott/Armstrong gun but it is fundamentally not possible to deliver effective fire at 1-2 miles in a black powder environment".



* those numbers are:

30pdr Parrott at 1030 yards: mean impact from centre of target 16 feet.
12pdr Armstrong at 1130 yards: mean deviation 3.12 feet

4.5in Ordnance rifle at 1820 yards: mean impact from centre of target 19 feet
12pdr Armstrong at 2146 yards: mean deviation 4.44 feet
4.5in Ordnance rifle at 2220 yards: mean impact from centre of target 25 feet

If the 10pdr Parrott is comparable to the Armstrong, and thus around five times more accurate than the 30pdr, it seems like that would be something someone would notice.
I'll leave it at this. You like theory. I like actual practice and reality. War is not fought in a Power Point with "suggestive data" accumulated largely in controlled environments. Rather than continuing to kill this thread on an ancillary topic, I'll forego responding, but please do not assume that the points you've made cannot be refuted. Back to the original topic.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
So, British intervention in:

Trent (winter 1861): utterly strategically devastating for the Union on every level. Shortages of powder, gun iron, muskets and rifles. Blockaded. Large hostile army on the northern frontier and no spare troops to send there, and no capacity to do so. Some troops cut off by blockading ships.

Summer 1862: Fewer shortage issues owing to imports in last 6 months, but the entire Army of the Potomac is cut off from supply and captured. No spare troops to deal with the hostile army on the borders, and while new troops can be raised it'd take months to muster them in. Might actually be as bad as winter 1861.

Winter 1862: Relatively manageable, though that's a relative matter. The blockade is still bad news but the Union has significant slack infantry assets.

Summer 1863: The Union has slack infantry in the west but in the east it's in trouble. The blockade is as ever a problem, but here the risk from a hostile landing around Washington is high.

Winter 1863: Similar to winter 1862.

Summer 1864: If it happens after mid-May, and especially after mid-June, the Army of the Potomac is lost. That's obviously not good; the best possible time would probably be early July as this would cut off reinforcements to Washington (all of 6th and 19th Corps) and indeed see them all captured.

Winter 1864: If this happens at the right time then Sherman's army and Grant's army are both lost. This would be strategically crippling to a staggering extent given how late it is in the war.
That's all somewhat true. The British intervention in late 1864 would have needed to be particularly massive to even slightly endanger Grant's or Sherman's army. Only in an imaginary world are the British going to make massive landings in the US to rescue a crumbling Confederacy. But Russia was probably hoping the British would give Russia an excuse to raid the British empire. But what effect does that have on US opinion especially in the border states and in the west? If the Confederacy wins its independence due to British interference, a stronger, nationalist, anti-British party is certain to form in the US. And people in large sections of the border states are going to question whether being dependent on British power is better than being part of the US. Americans were not overly found of the British at that point, especially in the middle 8 states which had not as much English immigration in the settlement period.
If the British intervene in that way, the US is certain to abolish slavery, by force if necessary. And history provides strong evidence that there would have been a second war, with the US much better prepared.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
That's all somewhat true. The British intervention in late 1864 would have needed to be particularly massive to even slightly endanger Grant's or Sherman's army. Only in an imaginary world are the British going to make massive landings in the US to rescue a crumblins confederacy. But Russia was probably hoping the British would give Russia an excuse to raid the British empire. But what effect does that have on US opinion especially in the border states and in the west? If the Confederacy wins its independence due to British interference, a stronger, nationalist, anti-British party is certain to form in the US. And people in large sections of the border states are going to question whether being dependent on British power is better than being part of the US. Americans were not overly found of the British at that point, especially in the middle 8 states which had not as much English immigration in the settlement period.
If the British intervene in that way, the US is certain to abolish slavery, by force if necessary. And history provides strong evidence that there would have been a second war, with the US much better prepared.

Redcoats on the Rappahannock!!

John Bull at Bull Run!!

The Union Jack and Jackson!!

(...wakes up, surrounded by empty bottles of JD...) :confused:
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
That's all somewhat true. The British intervention in late 1864 would have needed to be particularly massive to even slightly endanger Grant's or Sherman's army. Only in an imaginary world are the British going to make massive landings in the US to rescue a crumbling Confederacy.
No it wouldn't; both armies were using seaborne supply in late 1864. The Royal Navy cutting off supply renders both armies untenable without a single soldier landing.


But Russia was probably hoping the British would give Russia an excuse to raid the British empire.
I don't think that's likely, given the Russians were shifting their navy to New York in case of war breaking out between Britain and Russia - which is what you do if your last war had you being completely pinned in port and you want to have some cruisers in the next one.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
No it wouldn't; both armies were using seaborne supply in late 1864. The Royal Navy cutting off supply renders both armies untenable without a single soldier landing.



I don't think that's likely, given the Russians were shifting their navy to New York in case of war breaking out between Britain and Russia - which is what you do if your last war had you being completely pinned in port and you want to have some cruisers in the next one.
And both armies had more than enough capacity to live off the countryside and re-establish communication with their railroads.
 

wausaubob

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Location
Denver, CO
1627003024889.png

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-canadian-border-established
The odds that the British were going to jump back into North America and fight the US were vanishingly small after 1846. The odds that such intervention would have been a net gain for the Confederacy are questionable. The reaction in much of the US and the border states would have been most likely an incredible surge in passionate nationalism.
 

wausaubob

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Location
Denver, CO
If the British did not intervene in April 1861, when it would have been relatively cheap and easy to do so, they weren't going to do it. This is particularly true because just the threat that they might got them everything they wanted.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
And both armies had more than enough capacity to live off the countryside and re-establish communication with their railroads.
Not really.

A large chunk of Grant's army is on the wrong side of the James, and needs to cross it before marching north (in winter) not to the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (because that one relies on supply down the Potomac to Aquia) but to the Orange and Alexandria. It's a journey several times longer than the ones he could make while in supply during the Overland offensive.

Sherman, meanwhile, has a preposterously long journey to make. He has to make it back at least to Atlanta, but rather than marching through harvest time Georgia he's moving in winter through an area where his army has already marched and had all the forage and other supplies; if Hood takes out the Dalton garrison then reaching Atlanta isn't enough.



If the British did not intervene in April 1861, when it would have been relatively cheap and easy to do so, they weren't going to do it. This is particularly true because just the threat that they might got them everything they wanted.
The most likely sort of intervention (as opposed to a separate, concurrent war) is a multilateral one, driven by concern over the bloodshed. Obviously more people had died by, say, April 1863 than by April 1861.



The odds that such intervention would have been a net gain for the Confederacy are questionable. The reaction in much of the US and the border states would have been most likely an incredible surge in passionate nationalism.
I think this judgement ignores what actually happened when war with Britain seemed possible during the Trent affair (a collapse of confidence in the banks) and that while national confidence is important for a nation it can't really compensate for:
- a switch in which of the two is being blockaded
-- the economic disaster the Union suffers just from the British ceasing trade with them
-- the loss of the coasting trade to the Union and its reestablishment for the Confederacy
-- the loss of all or significant parts of the Union supply of raw materials for gunpowder, bullets, guns specifically, iron manufactures more generally,
- the addition of 150,000 or more troops to one side, many highly trained and universally well equipped
- the capture of any Union coastal enclaves, possibly including a major field army
-- the freeing up of Confederate coastal defence forces

In the most extreme case, that of Trent, extra confidence doesn't make guns appear from thin air, and this leaves the Union army unable to increase in size any further; it doesn't make gunpowder appear from nowhere either.
 

steve59p

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
That's all somewhat true. The British intervention in late 1864 would have needed to be particularly massive to even slightly endanger Grant's or Sherman's army. Only in an imaginary world are the British going to make massive landings in the US to rescue a crumbling Confederacy. But Russia was probably hoping the British would give Russia an excuse to raid the British empire. But what effect does that have on US opinion especially in the border states and in the west? If the Confederacy wins its independence due to British interference, a stronger, nationalist, anti-British party is certain to form in the US. And people in large sections of the border states are going to question whether being dependent on British power is better than being part of the US. Americans were not overly found of the British at that point, especially in the middle 8 states which had not as much English immigration in the settlement period.
If the British intervene in that way, the US is certain to abolish slavery, by force if necessary. And history provides strong evidence that there would have been a second war, with the US much better prepared.
wausaubob

I would agree with there being a lot of resentment in the north if the UK intervened late in the war to rescue the south. There would be such propaganda even if Lincoln fouled up on the Trent Affair and started a war with the UK there. However what evidence do you have that the US would break so greatly with its historical behaviour and become some sort of heavily armed and centralised state? Apart from the sheer costs fiscal, social, diplomatic and economic of such a programme?

Things would be a lot tougher in a late intervention as opposed to an early one due to the Trent affair for instance but I'm dubious that the US as a result becomes inevitably and permanently fanatically revanchist.

As Saphroneth says Russia was in no way looking for war with the UK at this point.

Steve
 

steve59p

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
If the British did not intervene in April 1861, when it would have been relatively cheap and easy to do so, they weren't going to do it. This is particularly true because just the threat that they might got them everything they wanted.
View attachment 409102
https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-canadian-border-established
The odds that the British were going to jump back into North America and fight the US were vanishingly small after 1846. The odds that such intervention would have been a net gain for the Confederacy are questionable. The reaction in much of the US and the border states would have been most likely an incredible surge in passionate nationalism.

wasusaubob

I fully agree that once Lincoln has avoided war over the Trent Affair I think there's relatively little chance of British intervention later on. However if for some reason it did happen you do realise that the "incredible surge in passionate nationalism" is likely to make things a lot worse for the union? I would expect such an intervention, as Saphroneth says would be part of a multi-national effort but its aim would be to get a peace between the two sides. If as a result of a wave of nationalistic feeling the north rejects that then Britain [and any allies] then have to 'win' the war by changing that opinion. Which is going to prolong things and make the cost much higher for the north.

As already mentioned will doesn't generate weapons, powder, supplies etc. You could have a situation not disimilar to the latter stages of the Pacific war with Japan relying on massive numbers of poorly equipped and trained forces verses massive US firepower at all levels. In which case casualties are likely to be high and it could see a couple of years further devastation, increasingly in the north before any peace is agreed. In which case there's likely to be continued anger but a distinct lack of the capacity for at least a couple of decades to do anything about it. By which time a hell of a lot could change.

Steve
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
If the British did not intervene in April 1861, when it would have been relatively cheap and easy to do so, they weren't going to do it. This is particularly true because just the threat that they might got them everything they wanted.

The threat of British intervention really only existed between November 1861 and September 1862 with the Trent Affair and the keen interest in the progress of Lee's invasion of Maryland. Thanks to a lot of diplomatic work, the military situation and waning fears of a cotton shortage, pressure on the British government to intervene after this point never really materializes.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The threat of British intervention really only existed between November 1861 and September 1862 with the Trent Affair and the keen interest in the progress of Lee's invasion of Maryland. Thanks to a lot of diplomatic work, the military situation and waning fears of a cotton shortage, pressure on the British government to intervene after this point never really materializes.
The Trent Affair was probably the closest that the British came to taking some kind of action. Although even then, that action may have been aimed more at the federal government by perhaps "showing the flag" rather than a direct intervention towards the Confederacy. But realistically, the British were not interested in engaging with the United States, which would mean having to protect British Canada among other things. During the course of the Trent Affair, the British attempted to resolve the controversy along diplomatic lines, which of course is what happened. Britain was first and foremost concerned with defending its own interests; it and its political leadership were shrewd enough to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of intervention in the American CW, and a sober assessment of the British position came down heavily on the side of staying out of the fight. From an historical point of view, and from British interests, they made the right decision.
 
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