Could have France broken the Union blockade?

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
los angeles ca
They use their port in Matamoros, Mexico to skip the blockade. It then moves inland crossing the Mississippi River at Vicksburg.
True I have a thread about that"How Mexico subverted the Union Blockade". On the other hand once Brownsville ,Texas fell to the Union it's importance greatly diminished. After the Union left Vicksburg fell.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
They were an ally to the u.s. They docked for various needs I am sure. My point was Russia as an influence.
France was far more effective using its navy to ensure goods made in to Mexico, thence to the C.S.
All Britain did was burn the south economically.
Actually RN shipes docked in Montomoros as well see the Fremantle Diaries . A British Frigate to Freemantle from Havana to Montomoros. Since there was no chance of a foreign attack on the US the Russian Navy was not a deterrent. If you like I can bring up a thread why the Russian Navy temporarily docked in US ports.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
They were an ally to the u.s. They docked for various needs I am sure. My point was Russia as an influence.
France was far more effective using its navy to ensure goods made in to Mexico, thence to the C.S.
All Britain did was burn the south economically.
Only very briefly was Czarist Russia a US Ally but that's considered modern politics and that was decades after the ACW.
Leftyhunter
 

Yankeedave

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
Colorado
Only very briefly was Czarist Russia a US Ally but that's considered modern politics and that was decades after the ACW.
Leftyhunter
Between assasinations.
Actually RN shipes docked in Montomoros as well see the Fremantle Diaries . A British Frigate to Freemantle from Havana to Montomoros. Since there was no chance of a foreign attack on the US the Russian Navy was not a deterrent. If you like I can bring up a thread why the Russian Navy temporarily docked in US ports.
Leftyhunter
The Brits are getting supplies through there also. I did not know that. I wonder what the numbers are on that.
What was more effective U.S. wise...moving on Mexico France Britain at Cuba or Mexico or going after Vicksburg....france will ditch Mexico after the war and some politics are done.
France isn't getting fabric thru. Britain is. Britain sold a bunch of equipment to the south but is now buying cotton from itself in India and Egypt and selling to the south loomed. With guns.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Between assasinations.

The Brits are getting supplies through there also. I did not know that. I wonder what the numbers are on that.
What was more effective U.S. wise...moving on Mexico France Britain at Cuba or Mexico or going after Vicksburg....france will ditch Mexico after the war and some politics are done.
France isn't getting fabric thru. Britain is. Britain sold a bunch of equipment to the south but is now buying cotton from itself in India and Egypt and selling to the south loomed. With guns.
To be fair every arms exporting nation sold weaponry to both sides of the ACW on a cash and carry basis.
There was by mid 1862 massive textile workers layoffs in the UK,France and Czarist occupied Poland. Anyone could buy cotton from the Confederacy but there was a ten percent chance of it being confiscated and obviously blockade runners could only carry so much cotton.
No need for the Union to send troops to Mexico once Brownsville was taken for a bit over a year. Once Vicksburg fell Texas was more or less isolated from the Confederacy.
Yes Western European countries traded with the Confederacy but they traded more with the Union . King Corn replaced King Cotton. I have a thread about that.
Havana was used by blockade runners but the most important Confederate ports by far after the fall of New Orleans is Wilmington, North Carolina and the British and French Carribean Island's are closer then Cuba.
Leftyhunter
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
It appears that France was reluctant to actively support the Confederacy unless Great Britain did so as well. We often hear the British Navy could have broken the Union blockade, but did France have the Navy that could have accomplish this with out British help? I know the French Army was being used in other important ways and that France may not have had too many land troop to send to the Confederacy. But could France have spared enough ships for the time it would take for them to break the Union blockade?
The French were waiting to see what the British would do.Could the French risk a war with the British if the British were to side with the Union esp, since the British had emancipated its slaves in all of its colonies.The English were also wise because if they were to enter a war with any European country ,they would rely on the US to remember that they had remained neutral and had not attempted to break the embargo with the Confederacy or to go to war against the US with the Confederacy.The French had other more important local issues and would not have challenged England.The wisest thing that both could hope for is at the end they would .as Bismack latter would do ,is to be in a position on a international bases and to take advantage of this.Both seemed to be placing their stakes on the Union victory and even if the Confederacy were to win they would still need the markets of both of these countries to sell their cotton. They would suffer till the end of the war but by doing this they would win either way/
 

Yankeedave

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Location
Colorado
Can Britain supply itself and the south? i.e. guns etc...
And kind of off topic. The south capped the limit on what could be be imported via the blockade. Was there a similar limit on what came through Mexico?
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Secretary of State Seward warned both Britain and France that the Federal Union would go to war against them if they intruded in America's Civil War.*

*Howard Jones, Blue and Gray Diplomacy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 5, 24, 37-38
Good find but interference isn't the same thing as retaliation for recognition. No nation that is fighting rebels is going to tolerate foreign interference if it can realistically fight back. Also it's not France's or the UK's buisness how many rebels or collateral civilians the US has to kill either deliberately or accidentally. It's an internal affairs of the US.
So in that sense Lincoln and Steward were absolutely correct.
Leftyhunter.

Pages 37-38, among others, of the Jones book show that Seward's threat applied to mere diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
Can Britain supply itself and the south? i.e. guns etc...
And kind of off topic. The south capped the limit on what could be be imported via the blockade. Was there a similar limit on what came through Mexico?
There was no official government sales by any nation to any side during the ACW. There was just cash and carry sales between various private companies and whatever purchasing agent they dealt with at the time.
US Ambassador Charles Adams was able to prevent the sale of the Laird Rams to the Confederacy. We have a few threads in the Naval Forum about that.
Any sales to Mexico are private and after Vicksburg fell it such products would have to stay in Texas.
Confederate officials could always be bribed.
The French late in the war did allow the Confederacy to buy a sophisticated warship "the Stonewall Jackson" but said ship arrived to late.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
Pages 37-38, among others, of the Jones book show that Seward's threat applied to mere diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy.
Good find of course we can't know if Steward would of carried through his threat since only the President and Congress can actually declare war.
We do know that France had more serious problems to deal with then going to war to obtain cotton.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Location
los angeles ca
Interestingly enough cotton was grown in West Africa especially in the then French Colony of Senegal. I couldn't find any figures in cotton production in Senegal during the ACW but it's hard to imagine cotton production wasn't increased to at least somewhat offset the disruption of cotton imports from the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
los angeles ca
Jstor has an article on cotton production in West Africa that covers the ACW but I can't log in . Per one book listed when one goggles "" West African cotton production during the Civil War" French efforts to increase cotton production in Senegal where not that effective.
Leftyhunter
 

Poorville

Corporal
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Jstor has an article on cotton production in West Africa that covers the ACW but I can't log in . Per one book listed when one goggles "" West African cotton production during the Civil War" French efforts to increase cotton production in Senegal where not that effective.
Leftyhunter
You are quite right Leftyhunter the Senegambia did produce cotton. As I understand it, it was of a high quality but production was low by standards of the Southern states. It was also quite labor intensive with output per worker only 10-12% of that in the South and only delivering 75lbs/acre, (any idea what the comparable figure per acre would have been in the immediate pre-war South?). As for being able to up their production I think this may be a bit of wishful thinking. A British report described the area as the “most worthless territory” on the entire (west) African coast. I know French records are quite extensive on Senegal but I’m afraid my French is all but non-existent. There was a call in the British parliament in February 1865 to further explore the potential in the region but I assume the end of the war may have put this on hold.
 

leftyhunter

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Location
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You are quite right Leftyhunter the Senegambia did produce cotton. As I understand it, it was of a high quality but production was low by standards of the Southern states. It was also quite labor intensive with output per worker only 10-12% of that in the South and only delivering 75lbs/acre, (any idea what the comparable figure per acre would have been in the immediate pre-war South?). As for being able to up their production I think this may be a bit of wishful thinking. A British report described the area as the “most worthless territory” on the entire (west) African coast. I know French records are quite extensive on Senegal but I’m afraid my French is all but non-existent. There was a call in the British parliament in February 1865 to further explore the potential in the region but I assume the end of the war may have put this on hold.
From what I gather it was pretty low. The French could not somehow incentize the African Peasents to dramatically increase the production of cotton even though there was a massive demand for cotton due to the Blockade.
Leftyhunter
 

Poorville

Corporal
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
From what I gather it was pretty low. The French could not somehow incentize the African Peasents to dramatically increase the production of cotton even though there was a massive demand for cotton due to the Blockade.
Leftyhunter
In 1904 cotton imports into the United Kingdom amounted, in round figures, to 2,800,000 bales from the USA, 620,000 bales from Egypt, 170,000 bales from India; and 112,000 bales from other countries. Interestingly, fifty years after the end of the war the British Parliament was discussing “the matter of insufficiency of the supply of raw cotton” for the mills.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
In 1904 cotton imports into the United Kingdom amounted, in round figures, to 2,800,000 bales from the USA, 620,000 bales from Egypt, 170,000 bales from India; and 112,000 bales from other countries. Interestingly, fifty years after the end of the war the British Parliament was discussing “the matter of insufficiency of the supply of raw cotton” for the mills.
That's interesting. One would think by paying a fair price to African Peasents and those on the Indian Subcontinent then said Peasents would have incentive to grow cotton in sufficient amounts.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
They were an ally to the u.s. They docked for various needs I am sure. My point was Russia as an influence.
France was far more effective using its navy to ensure goods made in to Mexico, thence to the C.S.
All Britain did was burn the south economically.
I am not aware of any French naval actions to protect foreign flagged vessels in route to Mexico. If you have example that would be very interesting.
How exactly did the UK " burn the South economically"?
The UK never recognized the Confederacy. They did allow private firms to trade with the Confederacy. The UK did allow blockade runners to use their ports in the Carribean but then again so did Spain and France.
When the US exerted major diplomatic pressure I.e. the Laird Ram Affair the UK did interfere in arms sales to the Confederacy.
Otherwise the UK was neutral as it freely traded with and sold weapons to both sides.
If Confederate cotton growers received less money per pound of cotton it would be because the blockade runners had a ten percent chance of their cargo and ship being confiscated and autioned off at a Prize Court.
Leftyhunter
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I agree with your assessment of the French Navy but the Royal Navy was a different matter. Its “world girdling fleet” as you put it was 1000 ships strong whilst the Union Navy at the outset of war could rustle up around forty operational ships, many stationed in far flung places. As for supply lines these would surely be the same as used by the blockade runners via Nassau and the Bahamas. Their superior strength would have ensured a short campaign to deny the blockade and keep the Southern ports open. But as we all know Britain chose not to interfere.
I believe you have put your finger on why the British military declared military intervention in the U.S. Civil War a non-starter. In their analysis, the British islands would have been lost almost immediately. All you have to do is measure the distance from the U.K. to the Bahamas & compare it with the distance from the U.S. to understand why they reached that conclusion. As their experience with the Boar War exemplified, projecting power over oceanic distances isn't the same as maintaining a naval presence for a colonial empire.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
That's interesting. One would think by paying a fair price to African Peasents and those on the Indian Subcontinent then said Peasents would have incentive to grow cotton in sufficient amounts.
Leftyhunter
They didn't have anyone willing to pick it?
 

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