Discussion England Supported the Confederacy?

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Urbancohort

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As a minor correction, a black man was considered 3/5 of a person.

My apologies, inaccuracy as the result of typing in haste and tired.

Thank you for this correction.
 

Urbancohort

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You raise some good points. On the other hand far more Union casualties were inflicted by Enfield rifles vs the Confederate Navy.
The UK's role in the ACW is complex. The UK supplied weapons to both side's. The UK traded with both side's. The UK allowed the Union Army to recruit men on it's soil. The UK briefly threatened the Union with war. The UK allowed naval ships on both side's to use it's ports to replenish food and fuel.
The UK only diplomatically recognized one side.
The UK allowed American shipowners to reregister their ships as British to protect them against Confederate raider's.
The UK built Confederate raider's and blockade runner's.
I know you know the above but some of our newer members may not.
Just pointing out the complexity of the British role in the ACW.
Leftyhunter
I didn't know much of that, Lefty hunter, many thanks
 

Saphroneth

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I didn't know much of that, Lefty hunter, many thanks
Some of it's inaccurate or at least oversimplified; the biggest single one is probably the bit about reregistry. Those ships weren't re-registered, they were sold - they now had British owners and a British crew, and the original owners could not get them back again.
 
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67th Tigers

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As a minor correction, a black man was considered 3/5 of a person.
Not quite. Slaves were considered with a weight of 3/5ths of a freeman (white or black) for one purpose only - the proportioning of Representatives and taxes.

The compromise was reached as the northern states argued slaves were not people and were entitled to no representation, and the southern states argued that slaves were people, and entitled to full representation (even if they could not vote for it).

Both sides of the debate agreed Native Americans didn't count as people for this purpose.
 

Saphroneth

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The compromise was reached as the northern states argued slaves were not people and were entitled to no representation, and the southern states argued that slaves were people, and entitled to full representation (even if they could not vote for it).
Though this could equally be framed as the Southern states wanting to amplify the effect of their own votes. 100,000 voters in a state with 100,000 slaves would (under their plan) have the same impact as 200,000 voters in a Northern state with zero slaves; that is, a Southern vote would have the same impact as two Northern.
 

67th Tigers

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Though this could equally be framed as the Southern states wanting to amplify the effect of their own votes. 100,000 voters in a state with 100,000 slaves would (under their plan) have the same impact as 200,000 voters in a Northern state with zero slaves; that is, a Southern vote would have the same impact as two Northern.
Which was exactly the intent.
 
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Urbancohort

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Not quite. Slaves were considered with a weight of 3/5ths of a freeman (white or black) for one purpose only - the proportioning of Representatives and taxes.

The compromise was reached as the northern states argued slaves were not people and were entitled to no representation, and the southern states argued that slaves were people, and entitled to full representation (even if they could not vote for it).

Both sides of the debate agreed Native Americans didn't count as people for this purpose.
Quite right and thank you. This is what happens when one posts in haste...
 

Saphroneth

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In the War of 1812 six American Frigates gave the Royal Navy all they could handle because the RN was involved with France and their empire. In the 1860's the U.S. Navy was fast becoming a first-rate navy with a lot more than six frigates. It is not conjecture to say that the U.S. Navy of the mid-1860's would have given the Brits fits.
I know this is a while ago, but I thought it would be interesting - did the USN wield more frigates in 1862 than in 1812, let alone "a lot more"?


In 1812 the US Navy disposed of the frigates Constitution, Constellation, United States, Chesapeake, Congress, President, Adams, Boston, Essex, New York and Macedonian. Total eleven.

In 1862, the US Navy disposed of the steam frigates San Jacinto, Mississippi, Susquehanna, Powhatan, Wabash, Roanoke, Colorado, Minnesota, Niagara. Total nine.

It happens that five of the 1862 frigates were "first class" (Wabash, Roanoke, Colorado, Minnesota, Niagara) while at least six of the 1812 frigates were.

The only way to count the USN's frigate line as being larger in 1862 than in 1812 is to include pure sailing frigates in the 1862 count; against a Royal Navy that would take the very last of her pure sailing ships out of service that very year, this comparison is disingenuous.
 

unionblue

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My tour guide in Halifax, Canada insisted that the British stationed soldiers in Halifax after the Civil War because England feared the United States would invade in retaliation for the British support of the Confederacy. I said I thought England might fear that, but that essentially the British did NOT support the Confederacy. Was I right or was he?
@wbull1 ,

Your post above reminds me of an interesting story I heard when I was stationed at Ft. Drum, NY. This was in 1989, I believe, in a conversation with another soldier who had been at Ft. Drum for a while.

It was said, that before Ft. Drum was activated as a Regular Army post from a training camp for the National Guard, it had been noted that the largest formation in the Canadian Army at that time were brigades. When Ft. Drum became the official home of the 10th Mountain Division, with about 10,000 US soldiers being assigned there, Canada decided they needed an equal, opposing force across their border to counter a potential 'threat,' seeing how Ft. Drum was only 35 miles from their border. Thus, the first Canadian division since WWII was created, by combining some existing Canadian Brigades into a Division.

Now, how true this story is, I have no idea. This was a talk between two soldiers on a boring detail with not much else to do than try and out top the other with 'war stories.'

But your post reminded me of such and I thought it would provide you some amusement to your very interesting thread topic.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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Saphroneth

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With regard to that story, the British had troops stationed in Halifax before the Civil War as well. I think the driver for Imperial concern over Canada was more the generalized attitude in the US that they'd take Canada one way or another.

During the Indian Mutiny in 1857 the British Army had a brigade stationed in Nova Scotia - the 62nd, 63rd and 76th foot - and another in Montreal. This was shifted around somewhat, with some troops leaving and then others being brought in, but as of the start of the Trent Affair there were two battalions in Nova Scotia and four in Canada proper.


Once the Trent Affair dust settled there were 12 battalions in Canada and the Maritimes, plus local troops like the RCR.

(Troops in the Maritimes aren't automatically in Halifax, but it's the place that it makes the most sense to place troops.)
 

wausaubob

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The official position of the US Government was that the Confederacy was not a nation; this is their prerogative.
The official position of the US government was also that the Confederacy was not a belligerent; this was not supportable, because the US had declared a blockade. A blockade is an act of war; this does not require it being made against a nation, but it does require that the other side is a belligerent.

What the British did was to not embargo either side. The Union was purchasing enormous amounts of weapons and materiel from British merchants, and to suggest that the British should have embargoed the Confederacy (i.e. actively prevented the sale of war materiel by making it illegal for private British citizens to do business with Confederate merchants) is to suggest the British should have actively taken a side in a very strong way.

To explain why this would be so strong, it is necessary to point out that a key component in the British political and national psyche in the mid-19th century (leading into the 20th) was the idea that free trade - trade unrestricted by governmental action except in the direst of emergencies - was a positive good which was worth economic disadvantage to support. It was an ideological commitment, born out of a political battle in the 1840s decisively won in favour of free trade by 1852 - which is why the British selectively embargoing one combatant would be so shocking.

If the British embargoed both combatants, meanwhile, the US economy essentially collapses. Trade with Britain and her colonies was 58% of US imports in 1862-3, and customs revenue made up roughly 2/3 of all US government income in the same year; a shutdown in trade cuts US government income by more than a third.
Belligerent status was the best policy. And it was the actual policy enforced by the US, at sea, on land and at the end of the war.
Despite the angry words of NE and NYC merchant, the sailors on the Confederate raiders and blockade runners were consistently treated as POW's or non combatants. Treating them as pirates or smugglers would have provoked a war.
Treating captured Confederate soldiers as anything other than POWs, would have been disastrous.
At the end of the war, treating the Confederates as enemy combatants was the only way to persuade the to disperse, go home and try to follow the laws, including the abolition of slavery.
 

wausaubob

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There is far too much that was British in the US strategy during the Civil War to support the assertion of any deep enmity between Britain and the US.
The US blockaded the Confederacy. It also targeted New Orleans, which closed the Mississippi to the Confederacy. Blockading, not privateers was the preferred British strategy. Capturing New Orleans was a British operation, which was attempted in the War of 1812, but not successfully. The British were aware that the US dominance was based on Illinois and the states surrounding it. Those western railroads were paying their bills and their investors. And it was in the western states that the British were shopping for unginned cotton in the lead up to the war. It was inconvenient for British conservatives and US Republicans to admit how intwined the interests of the two countries had become. At the most dangerous interface between the two, which was on the high seas, most US officers wanted the US navy to drawn even with the British. People like Wilkes who wanted to provoke a war, were few and far between. I think the typical US naval officer had too much respect for the British. And most US officers were embarrassed by US tolerance for the illegal trans Atlantic slave trade.
After Polk settled the boundary between the US and British No. America in 1844, British investors had a great deal more confidence in investing in the US. British investment naturally gravitated towards those investments that worked with the Canadian economy and the British had more confidence in the paid labor economy of the north.
The southern US bought luxury items from the US. But during the railroad boom of 1850-1860, the British sold a good deal of railroad iron and other equipment to the US.
And by the time the census report was published in 1864 it became very clear that there a large number of British subjects and former subjects living in the northern states.
 
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67th Tigers

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(Troops in the Maritimes aren't automatically in Halifax, but it's the place that it makes the most sense to place troops.)
There was permanent barracks space for two regiments at Halifax; one at the Citadel and the other at Wellington Barracks. Normally there would be three regiments assigned to Maritimes Command. Two would be at these two locations in Halifax, and the third would be posted to the Stone Barracks at Fredericton, NB.
 
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