Could have France broken the Union blockade?

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
They responded to the need to establish the blockade, and they would have responded to the need to re-establish the blockade. It would have been costly, but the major ship building yards were capable of building a better navy. I don't the French would have dared to attack Portsmouth, ME, Boston, Brooklyn or Philadelphia.
Oh, I think they'd have given it a go, not least because I know how weak the defences were and that they had several ships designed for attacking forts. Boston's entire fortification system has one condemned gun in early 1862!

But even assuming the French don't do that, building a new navy from scratch capable of fighting battleships is going to take more like years than months - which is more than enough time for the French to have landed an army corps.


If France blockades all the US Ports then by definition no one gets cotton.

Er... no? What?
If Charleston and Mobile and New Orleans are unblockaded then export of cotton resumes from the CSA.

France didn't do all that well against Mexico don't see why the US any easier a nation to go to East with.
If it becomes a guerilla war, they might have trouble, but if it becomes a guerilla war then the CSA is already independent anyway.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Oh, I think they'd have given it a go, not least because I know how weak the defences were and that they had several ships designed for attacking forts. Boston's entire fortification system has one condemned gun in early 1862!

But even assuming the French don't do that, building a new navy from scratch capable of fighting battleships is going to take more like years than months - which is more than enough time for the French to have landed an army corps.




Er... no? What?
If Charleston and Mobile and New Orleans are unblockaded then export of cotton resumes from the CSA.


If it becomes a guerilla war, they might have trouble, but if it becomes a guerilla war then the CSA is already independent anyway.
You got me on one point I should of said grain not cotton.
A total national mobilization to build war ships might take less time then years if experienced ship builders can train and supervise new workers for round the clock work shifts.
One would think that growing cotton in West Africa is far cheaper and easier then fight a long distance war.
Leftyhunter
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
You got me on one point I should of said grain not cotton.
Oh, I see. So you're incorrect in a different way.

A blockade stops contraband. It does not stop all goods. If the French do not make grain contraband, then any neutral ship (i.e. British in this case) can sail right into NY harbour and load up on grain.

To stop grain being exported you need an embargo, and for that the US government will have to bear the burden of responsibility.


A total national mobilization to build war ships might take less time then years if experienced ship builders can train and supervise new workers for round the clock work shifts.
Why exactly do you think that whatever ship acceleration measures you're thinking of were not taken historically? The Union was trying to expand their navy as fast as possible, issuing major contracts with penalty clauses to shipbuilders, and the shipbuilders were unable to keep pace with the contracted delivery dates in many cases. That's why the Passaics all delivered late, for example - there were bottlenecks in labour, engines, iron armour and guns.

Some ships will be built fairly quickly, but to build a navy capable of outfighting the number two navy in the world is going to take quite a long time. The USN will need at least one heavy frigate (or equivalent) per French battleship, and USN heavy frigates - like the heavy frigates of other nations - took a long time to build. Years, in fact.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The French had the weapons, but not the will. The regime had internal and external enemies and could sustain itself without British tolerance. And the French did not have enough influence in the US to affect policy without taking direct military action.
However the threat of a repeat of the US Revolutionary war Yorktown campaign last throughout 1862.
The British on the other hand, had enough economic power and naval power, along with moral authority on the slave trade, to pressure the US to expand its war aims. That pressure was never fully satisfied until Maryland and Missouri abolished slavery by state action. That led to another attempt to get the 13th Amendment through the House, and when that was accomplished, much of the tension in US/British relationships eased.
 

Yankeedave

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Location
Colorado
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
Who would France, England, or any nation willing to sail goods to Cuba needed to be guarded from? Every nation's flag was said to be flying from the various vessels in port there. Then they sailed under french flag to Mexico. Don't know if it was guarded.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Who would France, England, or any nation willing to sail goods to Cuba needed to be guarded from? Every nation's flag was said to be flying from the various vessels in port there. Then they sailed under french flag to Mexico. Don't know if it was guarded.
Obviously no naval escort was required by any
Who would France, England, or any nation willing to sail goods to Cuba needed to be guarded from? Every nation's flag was said to be flying from the various vessels in port there. Then they sailed under french flag to Mexico. Don't know if it was guarded.
My point was there was no need for the French Navy to guard it's vessels sailing to Mexico as Mexico was a recognized nation although at the time status a a nation was disputed in terms of an independent nation vs part of the French Empire.
I didn't mention Cuba which was then part of the Spanish Empire. Havana was used by blockade runners but the ports nearest the most important Confederate port which after the fall of New Orleans was Wilmington, North Carolina were more important.
Leftyhunter
 

Yankeedave

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Location
Colorado
Obviously no naval escort was required by any

My point was there was no need for the French Navy to guard it's vessels sailing to Mexico as Mexico was a recognized nation although at the time status a a nation was disputed in terms of an independent nation vs part of the French Empire.
I didn't mention Cuba which was then part of the Spanish Empire. Havana was used by blockade runners but the ports nearest the most important Confederate port which after the fall of New Orleans was Wilmington, North Carolina were more important.
Leftyhunter
And Mexico.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
And Mexico.
I have a thread " how did Mexico subvert the Union Blockade". Once the Union occupied Brownsville ,Texas the Mexican ports of Montomoros and Bagdad were not that important. Once Vicksburg fe it was very difficult to import European goods via Mexico to Texas to acros the Mississippi River.
Leftyhunter
 

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