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Trent war - possible timeline of events, battles, and outcome

Discussion in '"What if..." Discussions' started by Saphroneth, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    852
    I've done a lot of research into (and examination of) the prospect of a war coming out of the Trent Affair over the course of the last few years. My hope is to use this thread to examine my results, get things in order, and to - ideally - work out what scenes to do for a future prose story.




    For the purposes of this examination, I am making the following assumptions in addition to what can be determined from the historical record:


    1) The point of divergence from our world's history takes place during the three-day meeting over Christmas at the White House, at which historically Abraham Lincoln was persuaded to release the prisoners; here, his decision is instead to ask for mediation.
    2) This is sufficient for war to be declared by the British cabinet.
    3) There are no pre-emptive British plans for military action; all action takes place after the news of the declaration of war.
    4) The US cancels planned amphibious operations during the crisis (i.e. Burnside's expedition moving to Fort Monroe), but does not recall their blockade until they are aware of the declaration of war.

    Points (1) and (2) are there to get a war in the first place, and represent to me a plausible set of reactions. Point (3) is possibly not supported by evidence as Dunlop has mentioned conditional war orders; point (4) is impossible to be sure about, so I have taken the conservative option which exposes the US to less danger.


    With this in mind, the timetable of events around the declaration of war and the moving of ships is as follows:

    1861
    27 December: Lyons, the British ambassador in DC, is informed that the Union desires mediation.
    28 December: The City of Washington leaves New York carrying the relevant mail.
    29 December: Lyons leaves the US via New York on the sloop HMS Rinaldo.
    30 December: At this time, events begin to diverge in Canada. The news of the release historically arrived in Canada on the 30th and preparations for war were halted; here, they are not.


    1862
    5 January: The frigate Immortalite arrives at the Chesapeake and is informed that Lyons has quit the country. She turns for Bermuda, and will effectively provide Adm. Milne a war warning ahead of time.
    8 January: City of Washington arrives at Queenstown, Ireland, at 2:20 PM, and the despatches are taken ashore by a government messenger. They travel by train to Dublin, then to Kingstown, and are taken across to Holyhead.
    9 January: The dispatches travel by special mail train and arrive in London around 6AM. Telegraphs go out to the members of Cabinet not in London (Duke of Newcastle, Sir Charles Wood, and Gladstone) and the last of the three - Gladstone - arrives late at night on the 9th.
    This is also when Immortalite reaches Bermuda, having run hard to get there.
    10 January: Cabinet meeting. As per point (2) the decision taken is for war. Getting to the Queen (at Osborne on the Isle of Wight) to confirm this takes another several hours, and returning to London is not done until about 5PM.
    11 January: Adams (US ambassador) meets with Russell and is informed that war has been declared; he is permitted to leave the United Kingdom in the USS Tuscarora with the embassy. This is also when telegraphic messages begin going out to other locations - for example, Gibraltar (and Dacres' squadron), Malta and India will all learn of the war by telegraph.
    12 January: The Europa passes out of telegraphic contact with Queenstown, Ireland. The messages for war, for both parties, are aboard her. This is also when a ship leaves for Bermuda with the war news.


    25 January: News of the war arrives at Bermuda, via a special mail ship (average journey speed 9.3 knots)
    26 January: The Europa arrives at Halifax late in the evening, and the North American continent finds out war has been declared.
    27 January: The mail ship North Star leaves New York for Panama, carrying a war message to the Pacific Squadron. This is also when news of the war reaches St Thomas, which is the base for US operations in the Caribbean - over the next few days the Cadmus (21) and eventually the Diadem (32) - sent down owing to concerns over the nonexistent USS Orlando - will snap up the Quaker City, William G. Anderson, Iroquois and Shepherd Knapp.
    This is also the day the Sagniaw is caught in Hong Kong by the Imperieuse (the news having arrived that morning from India), and also sees an early attack on Fort Montgomery.

    28 January: Milne leaves Bermuda for the Chesapeake in force.
    29 January: The news of the war reaches Port Royal and the SABS begins concentrating. They plan to run north - without transports they cannot evacuate the expedition.
    30 January: Dacres touches at Bermuda and picks up instructions to attack Port Royal, SC.

    1 February: A British mail ship reaches Havana, and finds Dunlop's squadron (less one ship) here instead of at Vera Cruz, having moved here during the period of tension. Dunlop immediately makes for the Gulf Blockading Squadron.
    4 February: Milne reaches the Chesapeake, and fights a battle with the USS St Lawrence as he does.
    5 February: The North Star reaches Panama.

    7 February: Dunlop engages in battle with the Gulf Blockading Squadron.
    8 February: The war news arrives in San Francisco - the telegraph has been down for weeks, and the news has come by boat. The telegraph will start working the next day.
    9 February: Milne attacks Fort Monroe. Dacres reaches Port Royal.


    15th February: Battle of Cape Hatteras as Dacres overhauls the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.




    This largely covers when people get the information, and how soon they pass it on. I have not covered the situation in the Pacific except for when news arrives there. Scenes to write up include:


    The Trent affair itself.
    The discussion in Lincoln's office.
    The arrival of the news in London.
    The British cabinet meeting.
    Various viewpoint characters (e.g. John Tarleton being assigned the Severn, meaning he has to leave his pregnant wife at home; Percy Wyndham heading north to Canada; George McClellan being told he has to find enough troops to invade Canada, and so on.)

    That being said, I'm also likely to leave some bits as terse (or not so terse) information messages.


    Any issues with the course of events as laid out, do let me know. I'm trying my best to produce a timetable which represents the likely outcome.



    My next post will likely be on the movement of ground troops by all sides.
     

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  3. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

    Joined:
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    Movement of Union ground troops


    In making this analysis, I have assumed the following:

    Burnside's coastal division is not sent to Fort Monroe.
    The Port Royal force, and other coastal forces, are not withdrawn.
    All US troops in a given command (the East and the West) will be moved in division sized chunks of equal size. This is mainly to make the numbers easier - I will assume effectively that smaller units do not exist AND that their strength is added into the larger units for the purposes of calculation.
    The Union will stand on the defensive everywhere, with the exception of an attack on Montreal. This has good historical basis as historically Lincoln was reading a book on the necessity of attacking Montreal during war with Canada in the critical period.
    Troops in places like Kansas and California have enough to be getting on with for themselves.
    There is no prospect for the Union to neutralize Canada before the thaw begins, as they cannot concentrate combat power quickly enough. The only time a large force can take the field in Canada is the summer anyway.


    The three large field commands of the US army, Jan 1862 (PFD strengths as of Dec 31 1861)

    Department of the Potomac (183,000)
    HQ
    Banks (already in New England)
    Blenker
    Casey
    Dix (really the Baltimore and Annapolis garrison)
    Franklin
    Heintzelman
    Hooker
    Keyes
    Lander
    McCall
    McDowell
    Porter
    Smith
    Stone
    Sumner
    +sundries (e.g. cavalry)

    Each division very roughly 11,000 strong, except for Lander which is larger



    Department of the Missouri (91,000, is AP not PFD)
    I can't find the division list but there'd be about seven-eight divisions of the same size.


    Department of the Ohio (72,000)
    There'd be about six divisions of the same size.


    In March the above were combined under Halleck's overall command, and were:

    -Grant
    McClernand
    Charles Smith
    Lew Wallace
    Hurlbut
    WT Sherman
    McKean/Schofield

    -Buell
    George Thomas
    McCook
    Mitchel
    Nelson
    Crittenden
    TJ Wood
    George Morgan

    -Pope
    Paine
    Stanley
    Schuyler
    At sixteen total, these are probably about 10,000 each. If I've missed units, I'm not missing men as I'm dividing the men known to be there by the number of divisions I've identified.




    The minimal level of coastal defence is, effectively, a division each at NY, New England and Philadelphia on top of what's already there (the troops present being able to handle manning the forts but not a lot more). This is incapable of standing off a serious British landing except by being right there in brigade strength (with reinforcements to rush to the scene), though, so more is probably quite likely. NY, for example, might need two divisions (one for the city proper, one for Long Island).
    Coastal positions can support armies with essentially unlimited supplies for this sense (or they can south of Maine, at any rate, Maine is a bit more vulnerable because there's only one rail line and it's near the coast in several places).
    I estimate the requirements sent would be Philadelphia (1), NY (1), Boston (1), Portsmouth (1) and Portland (1).
    Total five divisions required. This seems to me at least to be about the least the US might feel they could get away with, but if you disagree please speak up.


    Facing Canada, the main point of effort is the line of Lake Champlain. That's the best avenue to push up into Canada and hit Montreal.
    I'd say the limit on what you can support there is on the order of 40K or 50K, because of the quality of the rail lines. Say four or five divisions.
    Buffalo and Detroit can both support quite large forces; of the two Buffalo would be "offensive" to try to cut the Welland and Detroit would be "defensive". My estimate is that these would be about 20K each (2 divs).
    And a small force on the line of the St Lawrence (1 div) to try and interdict it.


    Grand total 14-15 divisions.



    So here's how I'd move them around, I think:

    -Pope's army is kept to two divisions and is essentially in a defensive role. The battle of Island Number Ten is not organized. (Paine's division goes to Detroit)
    The remainder of Pope's army is there to prevent the Confederacy getting back into Mississippi, but is likely to be raided again later if reinforcements are needed.
    -Grant's army is cut in half, to three divisions (losing Charles Smith, Hurlbut and Lew Wallace?). These go to Detroit (Hurlbut) and Buffalo (Charles Smith, Lew Wallace).
    Grant's army might be materially capable of Henry and Donelson, but I doubt it would be allowed to as it would uncover a huge fraction of the frontier (as no more troops are available to transfer in). A defensive posture is more likely.
    - Buell's army of the Ohio gives up three divisions, because of the need to keep at least one strong force in the west in case of things getting nasty. Nelson (to the St Lawrence), TJ Wood (to NY) and George Morgan (to Philadelphia).
    Buell's force is intended to move to provide reinforcements where they might be needed west of the mountain spine.
    - Rosecrans in the Shenandoah area gets his men back (essentially Lander's division) as the AotP cannot afford having their flank turned now
    - The Army of the Potomac needs to give up about seven divisions to make up the numbers, which will reduce it considerably. It will get most of the recruits in the pipeline, but in return will see the transfer of Banks (to Boston), Sumner, Blenker, Stone (to Plattsburg area), Porter (to Long Island Sound area), Casey (to Portsmouth) and Heintzelman (to Portland)
    The AotP has to stand on the defensive, and though it swells back towards the old size a lot of them are new recruits with poor weapons.




    What that leaves the US Army at is:

    Facing CSA (McClellan in command of the east, Halleck the west)
    Army of the Mississippi (Pope) (under Halleck)
    2 divs (Stanley, Schuyler)
    Army of Western Tennessee (Grant) (under Halleck)
    3 divs (McClernand, McKean, WT Sherman)
    Army of the Ohio (Buell) (under Halleck)
    4 divs (George Thomas, McCook, Mitchell, Crittenden)
    Army of Western Virginia (Rosecrans) (under McClellan)
    3 divs (Rosecrans, Cox, Lander) - Rosecrans in the Cheat Mountain valley, Cox in the Kanawha valley, Lander at Harpers Ferry
    Army of the Potomac (McClellan)
    6 divs (Franklin, Hooker, Keyes, McCall, McDowell, Smith) plus new recruits

    Coastal defences (no overall commander, though much under Dept. of New England )
    Baltimore (under McClellan)
    1 division (Dix)
    Philadelphia
    1 division (George Morgan)
    NY (under NY Gov and Major General Morgan)
    1 division (TJ Wood)
    Long Island Sound (dept of NE)
    1 division (Porter)
    Boston (dept of NE)
    1 division (Banks)
    Portsmouth (dept of NE)
    1 division (Casey)
    Portland (dept of NE)
    1 division (Heintzelman)


    Facing Canada (under Fremont)

    Maine (dept of NE)
    1 division (Butler, also dept commander)
    Plattsburg area (Fremont)
    4 divisions (Burnside, Sumner, Blenker, Stone)
    St. Lawrence (under Fremont)
    1 division (Nelson)
    Buffalo (dept. of NY) (complex command structure) (local commander Harney)
    2 divisions (Charles Smith, Lew Wallace)
    Detroit (local commander Robert Anderson)
    2 divisions (Hurlbut, Paine)

    The shift to this configuration would not be instant and the logistics would probably take some weeks to sort out.

    The two local commanders assigned above are unassigned BG of Regulars, but were both humiliated early in the war with the CSA. I assume they're brought back in because of the war with Britain and assigned to anti-Canada commands.

    I admit the above is provisional, and that it doesn't explicitly list militia or some below-division level commands - but they're likely to be taken up with tasks like bridge guard or garrisoning forts.




    The selection of Fremont as commander of the effort against Canada is based on the fact he is the most senior unattached commander. If anyone has other questions, feel free to speak up.

    (Good points to look into here would be McClellan making the assignations of troops, possibly in conversation with Lincoln, and having the President clearly specifying that Montreal is the priority.)

    I'll next cover the British reinforcement timetable, both historically and my assumptions for how it would continue.
     
  4. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    British reinforcements - historical situation


    n.b. the establishment strength of a British infantry battalion was 1,119 officers and men for the fighting battalion, but the units actually in Canada pre-crisis were smaller. However, the military train is a separate establishment, so each British infantry battalion can be assumed to be about 900 effectives as a conservative average. (This would be equivalent to a 1,000 or 1,100 PFD Union unit.) As they're long-service units, many of them experienced, they're also less vulnerable to desertion.

    Historically in Canada pre-crisis there were four battalions of British infantry (the 1/17th, 30th, 47th and 4/60th) and the Royal Canadian Rifles, who were sort of a 1 1/2 strength battalion used to garrison forts. There were also two foot battalions in the Maritimes (the 62nd and the 63rd).

    The first reinforcements were dispatched from Britain shortly after the news of the Trent reached them, and the following had arrived:

    1/16th (minus one company) arrived at Bic 27th December
    1/Rifles arrived at Halifax 26th December, then tried for the St Lawrence and failed. Available from the 3rd January, arrived at St Johns on the 9th.
    96th had a troubled crossing and would not reach the Maritimes until Feb (both ships hit storms)
    2/Scots Fusilier Guards arrived Halifax 9th Jan
    1/Grenadier Guards arrived Cape Breton 30th Dec
    2/16th 3 Jan Halifax
    2/17th 9 Jan Halifax
    1/15th arrived 15-24 Jan (both ships hit storms)


    With the storms spun off the California Megastorm dying down, the rest of the transports can be modelled as taking 10-12 days on average (the fastest were nine). The news of the historical climbdown arrived in London late on the 8th of January, so the next troopers could be conjectured as being sent on the 9th or 10th - thus further battalions start to arrive about 21 Jan, a little before the war news.


    Historically some troops were sent down the sledge route through the Maritimes, which turned out to be quite efficient (about 200 a day - by 1st Feb the 62nd, 1/Rifles, 1/16th detachment and the 1/Grenadier Guards had already passed through Montreal and the 1/SFG was en route) and there were plans to use the 62nd to garrison and protect it in the event of war.


    In addition to all of the above, there is the Canadian mobilization itself. Historically there was a fairly significant rush of volunteers to add to what was present pre-crisis (pre-crisis it was about 5,000, and IIRC there were at least another 10,000 volunteers) and there was also a limited militia embodiment scheduled for the 31st of December which had a very good response. (It was cancelled as news of the climb-down came on the 30th). Diaries report that the mobilization (General Militia Order 1, intended to raise 38,000 Rank and File) was actually oversubscribed, and it is therefore a reasonable assumption that the organic armed forces of Canada would be in excess of 55,000 - potentially substantially.

    (In terms of armament, while many of them might have to train with old percussion muskets for the first short period, so many Enfield rifles passed down the sledge route even historically that every man would have one by the time they would be called upon to use them.)



    This does not count the Maritimes, which had their own volunteer and militia forces and indeed were quite militarized.


    Ahistorical


    So much for the historical information. The following is my prediction of the forces available in Canada and the Maritimes, first assuming that the British are limited to routes through their own territory and the sea.
    I have assumed that the British would first send the troops they had alerted to send (but had not sent), then the full-strength battalions in Britain, then those retraining after foreign service, then reinforcement units from the Mediterranean. The latter would be freed up by British volunteer and militia troops, as per usual British custom.




    26 Jan (War news arrives)

    In Canada

    1/GG
    1/Rifles (on sledge route)
    1/16th
    1/17th
    30th
    47th
    4/60th
    RCR

    Aside from the Grenadier Guards (who would be drawn upon for the Fort Montgomery operation if conducted) there's enough regulars here to have a battalion at both Detroit and Niagara frontiers, one along the St Lawrence border and one each at Quebec and Montreal. My assumption is that they'd be spread out over the districts helping to train troops!
    The RCR is garrisoning the important border forts.

    In the Maritimes

    1/SFG (ready to move to sledge route)
    62nd (sledge route guards)
    63rd (moving to St Johns, next down the sledge route after the Scots)
    1/15th
    2/Coldstream
    2/20th
    36th
    45th

    Stuck on passage
    96th




    15 Feb (for reasons to be shown later)



    There's been enough time for another three battalions to get down the sledge route - the Rifles, SFG and 63rd have finished, and the CG are en route.

    In Canada

    1/GG
    2/CG (on sledge route)
    1/SFG
    1/Rifles
    1/16th
    1/17th
    30th
    47th
    4/60th
    63rd
    RCR


    With the Guards arriving, the Brigade of Guards is being constituted at Montreal. The staff have also arrived (via the sledge route) and there's seven regular battalions spread out over the four other positions, so there's probably some brigading being done there as well.


    In the Maritimes

    There's been enough time for another fourteen battalions to arrive, though some of the trooper space has been taken up by the first-arriving cavalry and so only another ten have arrived - the troops just now arriving left Britain in the first days of February, and were probably alerted to their impending move after the formal declaration of war. Starred troops are those not alerted historically.


    62nd (sledge route guards)
    1/8th *
    1/10th
    1/11th
    2/12th
    1/15th (after 96th on sledge route)
    2/16th
    2/17th
    2/20th
    36th
    45th
    55th
    58th
    76th
    96th (next for the sledge route)



    There's twelve battalions not in the sledge route "queue".




    31 March (thaw renders the sled route unusable).



    With another 44 days since the previous look, there's been time for 6-7 battalions to go down the sled route - I'll assume the 62nd remains in place to protect the road and the settlements along it. This means the 2/CG have finished, and that the 96th, 1/15th, 1/10th, 2/12th, 36th and 45th have also gone down. The 45th are the last down the route as the thaw begins at St Johns, and the road becomes impassable.




    In Canada

    1/GG
    2/CG
    1/SFG
    1/10th
    2/12th
    1/15th
    1/16th
    1/17th
    30th
    36th
    45th
    47th
    4/60th
    63rd
    96th
    1/Rifles
    RCR


    At sixteen battalions plus the RCR, this is enough for a brigade each at five operational stations with one battalion spare (probably the 45th as the last to arrive). I would assume a brigade each on the Niagara and Detroit points of contact, two battalions at Kingston (brigaded with one battalion of local volunteers or militia) along with one similar mixed brigade at Quebec and two mixed brigades at Montreal plus the Guards. (Plus the main body of the militia, which has by this point been undergoing training for a few months and can at least be trusted in the defences that have been prepared...)
    Functionally under this model this is what the garrison of Canada looks like until the 16th of April, when the first steamers reach Quebec; after that the number of troops present jumps quite quickly.


    In the Maritimes

    Under this model, the 45 days have given time for an extra thirty battalions to arrive. This is actually more than the British garrisons at home can supply (there were 16 battalions up to strength aside from those alerted and the 1/8th, and a further nine retraining after foreign service), though by this point the cavalry would also be arriving in earnest and so would some battalions freed up from the Med. As such I'll assume troops released from the Gibraltar, Malta and Corfu garrisons start to arrive as well - these will be indicated by a star - and that four of the "retraining" battalions are sent (indicated by a ^) to total 20 from home and six from the Med as of this point.


    62nd (road guards)
    2/1st^
    1/2nd^
    1/3rd^
    2/6th *
    2/7th *
    1/8th
    1/9th *
    1/11th
    2/16th
    2/17th
    2/18th
    2/19th
    2/20th
    2/21st
    1/22nd *
    2/25th
    26th
    29th
    31st
    32nd
    41st
    49th
    53rd
    55th
    58th
    1/60th
    61st
    76th
    78th
    84th
    86th
    87th ^
    100th *
    4/Rifle *

    This is 35 battalions, placing the total in BNA as 51 - enough for four corps on the British pattern - of which two thirds is in the Maritimes.
     
    Andy Cardinal, steve59p and JohnW. like this.
  5. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

    Joined:
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    British reinforcements - alternate scenario.


    The alternate scenario presented below is one I feel might be the more likely, which is that the British attack Portland to secure the Grand Trunk rail road into Canada - both to deny it to their enemy and to use it themselves to move troops down. This operation was one seriously considered, historically, and for the purposes of this analysis I assume a landing takes place just east of Saco, Maine (where there is a good beach and which cuts the rail line to Portland) with eight British battalions and four of Maritimes militia/volunteers, plus artillery.
    My assumption is further that the force would depart on the 15th February, that it would take several of the possible troop ships (thus reducing the arrival rate in Canada) and that it would be successful enough to allow troops to begin passing down it some time in March. With this in place functionally the only troops needed to be kept in the Maritimes and Maine are those actively involved in combat operations, and so by the same 31 March date as listed in the previous post:




    1/GG
    2/CG
    1/SFG
    1/Rifles
    1/8th (rail)
    1/12th (sled)
    2/12th (rail)
    1/15th (sled)
    1/16th
    1/17th
    2/17th (sled)
    26th (rail)
    30th
    32nd (rail)
    45th (rail)
    47th
    53rd (rail)
    1/60th (rail)
    4/60th
    63rd
    76th (rail)
    78th (rail)
    84th (rail)
    96th (sled)
    RCR

    24 battalions means the prospect of forming ten mixed (2reg/1mil) brigades, a spare battalion (ready to brigade with someone if needed) and the Brigade of Guards. That's enough for a two-brigade division each at Sarnia and Niagara, a brigade at Kingston, a four-brigade corps at Montreal and a two-brigade division to go wherever.


    Portland

    1/10th
    1/11th
    2/16th
    2/20th
    36th
    55th
    58th
    76th


    Maritimes


    62nd (road guards)
    2/6th *
    2/7th *
    1/9th *
    2/18th
    2/19th
    2/21st
    1/22nd *
    2/25th
    29th
    31st
    41st
    49th
    61st
    86th
    100th *
    4/Rifle *

    The * has the same meaning as before.

    Another nine battalions from home, five from the Med and five from elsewhere could be freed up in addition to all this by the time the ground is hard enough for serious campaigning. With the assumption that each corps would have one volunteer battalion and the rest would be British by the time of the roads hardening in May, here's the possible corps assignments:


    Maritimes (or Maine)


    1/10th
    36th
    Maritimes volunteers

    1/11th
    2/16th
    1/14th

    55th
    76th
    1/21st

    2/20th
    58th
    87th


    Montreal

    1/GG
    2/SFG
    1/CG

    30th
    4/60th
    Volunteers

    1/12th
    2/22nd
    63rd

    2/13th
    2/24th
    85th


    Niagara Frontier

    1/16th
    1/17th
    Volunteers

    2/1st
    1/2nd
    1/3rd

    2/19th
    29th
    31st

    2/6th
    47th
    1/Rifles

    Sarnia



    2/17th
    96th
    Volunteers

    26th
    78th
    61st

    41st
    49th
    100th

    2/2nd
    2/6th
    2/8th


    Quebec division (i.e. strategic reserve)

    1/8th
    1/15th
    45th

    2/12th
    32nd
    Volunteers


    Kingston division

    53rd
    84th
    Volunteers

    2/18th
    1/60th
    76th


    Amphibious unit based in Halifax (functionally grand theatre reserve)

    2/7th
    1/9th
    2/21st

    1/22nd
    2/25th
    86th

    4/Rifle
    2/3rd
    (Volunteers? Royal Marines?)



    Again, if there are any errors - or if, against all odds, some of this has been interesting - do speak up.
     
  6. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

    Joined:
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    And, as an example of the kind of prose writing I would do:








    White House
    Washington, District of Columbia
    26 December 1861



    "You can't be suggesting that we give up on this! These... these... rebels have been captured by the Federal Government, and-"

    "It is not the question of whether they are rebels which exercises me, Mr. Stanton-"

    "Gentlemen," Lincoln said firmly.

    The talk subsided, and all eyes turned to the tall man who was the President of the United States.

    "Gentlemen, we have been about this for two days already," Lincoln stressed. "We have talked for all of Christmas Eve, and all of Christmas Day, and now we look fair to talk through all of Boxing Day as well. But the time we have for talk is not unlimited."

    He left a pause, for anyone who wished to speak up, then continued. "Mr. Welles, the facts of the incident please."

    "The facts, Mr. President," Welles confirmed. "On the 8th of November last, the sloop San Jacinto - under Captain Charles Wilkes - intercepted the British mail steamer the Trent in the channels between the Bahama banks and the island of Cuba. There he stopped the Trent and took off the persons Mason, Sliddell, and their secretaries, charging them to be contraband."

    "So much for the facts of the incident," Lincoln agreed. "Mr. Seward, what of the response?"

    "I have been informed by Lord Lyons that the action of Captain Wilkes has been seen as illegal by the British Government," Seward stated without preamble. "Lord Lyons is the British ambassador to the Union, as you all know of course, and he made this case to me earlier this week in forceful terms - it is clear to me that he is acting with the instructions of the British Cabinet. I have been shown his covering letter, for he had permission to do so, and it is clear that anything short of capitulation - of surrendering the aforementioned commissioners and their secretaries - would be grounds for Lord Lyons to immediately depart this country, and would mean war."

    There was a moment of hushed silence, for this was a part of the response they had not heard yet.

    "I cannot bring myself to believe that the British would give us only the options of capitulation or war," Lincoln stated. "We are well aware of the Rebel sympathies in some parts of the British government, perhaps, but I have been assured that the British position with regard to the Rebellion is to avow neutrality."

    Seward began to speak, but subsided as Lincoln kept talking. "It is my opinion that the very harshness of the British dispatch is intended to ensure that we do not delay in announcing our official position."

    "What position will that be?" asked the Secretary of War, Cameron. "There has been a great spirit of celebration throughout the land for the capture of the Rebel commissioners - I do not think we should lightly tell the country that it was all our mistake, and that the greatest and most admired victory of the War thus far must be abrogated."

    Seward still looked uncomfortable.

    "I have heard the opinions of a number of respected legal professors on the matter of the Trent," Bates spoke up. "From Theophilus Parsons of Boston to Richard Henry Dana and to the former Minister to Great Britain, Edward Everett, all are agreed that the seizure of the commissioners was a legal one."

    "My thanks, gentlemen," Lincoln nodded. "I believe that this confirms my appreciation of the situation."

    He nodded to Seward. "Mr. Seward. Please inform Lord Lyons that, on this issue, we feel that it is of the utmost importance to seek the best resolution for all concerned that comports with international law. As such, the persons of Mason and Sliddell will not be released, though we would not oppose any attempt at international mediation which the British Empire wished to organize, pursuant to a mutually agreeable selection of mediators which does not unduly bias the deliberations of the panel."

    "I will do that, Mr. President," Seward agreed. "If, that is, you cannot be persuaded to reconsider?"

    "My appreciation stands," Lincoln stated firmly.
     
  7. JohnW.

    JohnW. Sergeant Major

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    Well done!!!! absolutely a page turner :D
     
  8. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    I'll next look at the Confederate situation, demonstrating the extent to which it helps to not need to watch the coasts. (Mostly. The below does not account for a fairly large fraction of Confederate theoretical PFD, but they're assumed to be garrisoning the coasts and handling bushwhackers.)






    JE Johnston's Army of Northern Virginia (with Valley and Fredericksburg force) is

    1st Division (MG GW Smith) with brigades of GT Anderson, Wilcox and Toombs
    2nd Division (MG Longstreet) with brigades of AP Hill, DR Jones and Pickett
    3rd Division (MG Holmes) with brigades of French, Fields and SR Anderson
    4th Division (MG Jackson) with brigades of Garnett, Burke and Fulkerson
    5th Division (MG Ewell) with brigades of Elzey, Trimble and Taylor
    6th Division (MG DH Hill, promoted historically late March) with brigades of Griffith, Featherstone (ex- GB Anderson) and Walker
    7th Division (BG Early) with brigades of Early, Rodes and Kershaw
    8th Division (BG Whiting) with brigades of Whiting, Hood and Hampton

    Army of the Peninsula can leave a brigade to occupy Fort Monroe after it falls, and become

    9th Division (MG Magruder) with brigades of Rains, McLaws and Cobb

    At Norfolk, Huger can detatch Blanchard to occupy the defences and become

    10th Division (MG Huger) with brigades of Colston, Mahone and Armistead

    North Carolina can produce a full division:

    11th Division (BG JR Anderson) with brigades of Wise, JR Anderson and Branch

    And can combine Ransom's brigade with two more from SC/Georgia:

    12th Division (BG Ransom) with brigades of Ransom, Gregg and Lawton

    Leave Gist's brigade at Charleston (meaning the total garrison of Georgia/SC is still over 10,000 plus Gist) and you can produce

    13th Division (MG Pemberton) with brigades of Evans, Drayton and Mercer.


    These average about 10,000 PFD (3,000 per brigade plus divisional troops) or a bit more, but I'll assume 10,000 man divisions. It makes full allowance for fort units (e.g. Heth's brigade is elsewhere) and allows Johnston to place 30,000 at Manassas as a screening force (probably under DH Hill?) and take the other 100,000 across the Potomac - probably to march on Baltimore, though I suspect they'd clear the Valley first. The critical question here is how much McClellan is allowed to uncover Washington, because if he has to leave 30,000 troops there to counter DH Hill he's left with 36,000 PFD as his manoeuvre element and that's very much not ideal!

    Johnston liked two division corps, which results in an interesting situation for such a campaign - McClellan would outnumber any one corps but be outnumbered against two, let alone five. The question of what Lee does is an interesting one as he's senior to JE Johnston.



    In the West, meanwhile, there's 34 infantry brigades under AS Johnston at about 3,000 effectives each. Functionally Beauregard would be running the actual army.

    1st Corps - MG Polk
    BG Clark - Clark, Stewart, Wharton
    BG Cheatham - Donelson, Maney, Maxey
    BG Johnson - Pillow, Floyd, Buckner
    (~30,000 PFD)

    2nd Corps - MG Bragg
    BG Ruggles - P Anderson, Gibson, Pond
    BG Withers - Gladden, Chalmer, JK Jackson
    BG Breckinridge - Bowen, Traube, Statham
    (~30,000 PFD)

    3rd Corps - MG Hardee
    BG Hindman - Liddel, Wood, Marmaduke, Trapier
    BG Cleburne - Cleburne, Hawthorn, Gardner
    (~23,000 PFD)

    4th Corps - MG Van Dorn
    BG Sam Jones - Little, Hebert, Green
    BG Sterling Price - Hogg, Churchill, Rust
    BG Maury - Moore, Dockery, Phifer
    (~30,000 PFD)



    My concept of operations here is that they'd "roll up" the Union armies west to east. To start with Dorn and Hardee would hold the frontier (along the Cumberland River) under Johnston, and Polk and Bragg would concentrate against Pope (under Beauregard), pretty much flattening him 3:1 unless he evacuates, before going after Grant. Once Grant's localized then Johnston (under Hardee and Van Dorn) can concentrate against Buell, probably forcing him to retreat in the direction of Louisville.


    The grand total here of the field forces comes to about 233,000 PFD, and there's a lot of slack in the system. Another couple of divisions could be provided for either army without much strain (these counts do not include fort garrisons, for example there's 29 infantry regiments in the historical garrison of Fort Donelson and only 16 are in the above ORBAT, and no coast dividend is represented), and of course by the time the campaign season opens (March-April) there's good weapons flooding into the Confederacy.
    I think the likely outcome for the Union is that they suffer a nasty defeat or two and have to retreat from Kentucky and south Missouri. Worst case would be that Pope, Grant and Buell are all stomped on in succession and the Union has no good units to rely on in the West.





    The next post is an ops plan developed from staring at a road map of Maryland.
     
  9. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    Glad to hear it. I've got some ops plan stuff to do, as well as a serious look at the economic situations - the Union is in pretty severe trouble for some perhaps surprising strategic materials.
     
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  10. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    Ops plan for the spring Confederate offensive. Looking at the division scale:




    Johnston has 13 divs, McClellan has 7 in Washington and 1 at Baltimore, plus 10K-20K (very) fresh recruits. (The troops in WV are too far away to help, and can be stopped up with the odd Confed brigade unaccounted for)

    2 Confed Divs at Manassas and one Confed Div at Leesburg act as a threatening force. McClellan has to respond to the threat, so he deploys 1 Fed Div at the Arlington Heights (abandoning the outer defences in the Alexandria area as too long to man) and one Fed div across the river from Leesburg.

    Johnston doesn't need to take Harpers Ferry because it was still in Rebel hands in Jan 1862 and McClellan didn't have the forces to mount his "bloodless" offensive. He crosses the river in force and reaches Frederick MD.

    McClellan needs to watch both turnpikes out of Frederick (to Washington and to Baltimore), so deploys one division to each - he can't reuse the Leesburg division because he doesn't know how strong the Rebel force across the river is. He has three left in Washington.

    Johnston pushes 2 Divs (one corps) down the Washington turnpike as a distraction and screening force (they encounter McClellan's screen on the turnpike but do not overwhelm it), and makes with the rest of his force for Baltimore. For supply he has the B&O Railroad at least as far as Ridgeville, and he uses the Patapsco River as a screen as he advances towards Ellicotts Mills via the turnpike. (Using two more divisions to form his screen to the north against possible Union forces coming down from PA, he has six left).

    McClellan beats him to Ellicotts Mills by having his Baltimore division rush there and fortify, joined by his Baltimore Pike division and followed by the rest of his disposable force, and holds the line of the Little Patuxent as being the best way to stop Johnston from reaching either Baltimore or the rail line. McClellan has five divisions here if he calls in everything that's not facing the Confederates directly, Johnston has six.

    Here Johnston entrenches, then leaves a single corps (2 divs) with his Patapsco screening force on call (another 2 Divs) and performs a march with 4 Divs via Cocksville, Unity, Damascus and Clarksburg (or via Cocksville, Brookeville, Mechanicsville and Rockville if he's being daring) to reach the Washington Pike. With six divisions on this line of operations, he either defeats or drives back McClellan's screening force here (the ones facing Leesburg and on the Washington Pike) and reunites with the Leesburg force to give seven divisions.

    If McClellan pulls back everything he can spare from Ellicotts Mills without making it easy for Johnston's remaining force there to take Baltimore (meaning he can withdraw at most four divisions out of his five, and that's pushing it and requires a perfect guess) and manages to win the race to Washington, then McClellan has four field divisions in the Washington forts north of the river, one south (facing two) and the remains of the force he had on the turnpike road (two damaged divisions, assuming Johnston didn't just turn and capture them via Rockville), plus about five brigades of very green troops. Johnston has seven divisions north of the river and two south, and his line of operations also takes him down Rockville Pike - the road for which there is a fort gap in 1862 due to a topographical planning error.

    McClellan can't withdraw his remaining force around Ellicotts Mills without losing Baltimore, so that's pinned. If he pulls back the division south of the river then the CSA takes the heights, so that's pinned too, and he doesn't have the troops to risk a flanking movement via the smaller roads. But Johnston can weaken his forces facing both peripheral areas (by a division or so) and reinforce his initial success without real risk, or even send a corps through Leesboro and Colesville to cut the rail line (and, incidentally, march north and turn the Ellicotts Mills force). If he doesn't do that he can just fight a field battle at (depending on results) between 7:6 and 9:4 and almost certainly win.

    This is, I think, pretty close to a checkmate.
     
  11. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    Potential US strategic material shortages. Sources are historical import records, Robcraufurd's analysis on Union rifle supply (found here) and various others.

    Remaining in stock historically on 30 June 1862 (Ordnance dept.):


    1,036,871 lbs powder
    9,054,435 lbs saltpetre (incl. army reserve of 3.8 million lbs, which is not very high quality as it's been stored for about 15 years)
    (combined this is the equivalent of about 13,078,000 lbs powder in store, a little under twice the expenditure since the beginning of the rebellion)

    4,588,265 lbs lead
    855,000 lbs lead bullets
    (combined this is 5.7 million lbs of lead, or about 33% of expenditure since the beginning of the rebellion)

    100,163,000 percussion caps not issued (about 29% of expenditure since the beginning of the rebellion)


    335,896 small arms (muskets and rifles, of which 94,000 "good rifled arms" at start of June 1862) along with 2,184 carbines and 16,294 pistols.


    For powder and saltpetre, no separate navy purchases were made until July 1862.



    Imported from Britain (summary of British trade) and shortfalls w/ Executive Document 99 analysis for rifles:

    DuPont purchase of saltpetre 5.2 million lbs (about 6.91 million lbs powder equivalent). 31+172+323+50+49+10+15+25+25 = 700 tons also imported from Liverpool
    Average yearly imports of salteptre from India "direct to America" is about 8,000 tons saltpetre per year over three years (assuming a constant rate, this is about 4,000 tons saltpetre or 11.7 million lbs powder equivalent in the first half of 1862)

    Saltpetre shortfall approx. 5.5-7.5 million lbs powder equivalent. Even assuming that the rate of imports is abnormally low in H1 1862 the Union is running on empty for powder by the end of H1 1862, which means fewer rifle rounds per man and less ammunition per fort/ship/battery. It also means that the powder quality will dip markedly some time in April/May as the army reserve is tapped.


    Lead

    The "1862" year in the saltpetre column includes nearly 64,000 cwt of saltpetre, which has to include the Du Pont purchase. Same row has an import of 13,150 lbs of lead into the US.
    Assuming that only 25% of this was imported in H1 1862 this is 7,232,500 lbs of lead imported, leading to a shortfall of about 1.5 million lbs of lead on 30 June 1862 (in other words about 10% of total issuance to date). There will be a considerable shortfall in available lead for bullets and for other tasks.


    Percussion caps

    In the 1862 FY about 32 million percussion caps were imported. The 1863 FY has about 171 million imported.

    The Union will be able to keep supplying percussion caps, though it will get quite short.


    Rifles
    Rifles recorded as shipped from Liverpool (specifically Liverpool) to the North in H1 1862:

    3725+11500+100+600+100+1160+771+6500+160+77+600+160+3600+800+2+100+192+25+1400+1+100+220+2650+120+200+520+320+9200+40+476+2250+480+476+100+564+800+1370+125+580+160+520+800+60+886+720+1000+80+21+21+48+760+760+20+1000+1000+100+21+1540+1000+1000+6+2+100+15+500+1000+120+300+400+500+5+1520+200+20+320+1000+1000+340+180+640+1000+6+48+16+1000 = 73,919 (sailed by June 11)

    +110,000 gun barrels in late May which were probably not turned into guns by June 30


    Thus the shipments were indeed mainly in 1862, and Robcraufurd's analysis of Executive Document 99 is actually overly optimistic on when the weapons arrived in the US (as the 116,763 British Rifles are listed as being mostly in 1861, with only 48,384 in 1862). I'll use his figures except for Enfields, which I will correct by shifting 30,000 from 1861 to 1862 - functionally an assumption that Liverpool exported just about all British weapons that went to the US.


    British rifle deficit 78,384

    Assuming Continental imports reduced by 50% in Jan/Feb, 75% in Mar and 87% in Apr-Jun

    Continental rifle deficit 246,762
    Continental musket deficit 85,996

    Assuming domestic production is the same as in November 1861 due to loss of British gun iron

    Domestic deficit 37,915

    Total deficit: very large

    Best assumption is that raising of new units largely stops and that new weapons roughly keep pace with waste (which will be higher than the historical level due to the number of weapons "not fit for the field" in the hands of front line troops) and replacement of totally useless arms. Regiments in the pipeline are armed.



    Bottom line results:


    Union suffering from gunpowder crisis (not actual lack, but major expenditure on all kinds of programs to make up for shortfall and most of what is in use May-June is low quality)
    Union suffering from lead crisis (similar - no actual lack but needs to be careful about use volume - less ammunition issued)
    Union troops on average less well armed, and not any more numerous - US army size pretty much locked at state as of December 31 1861 report, though the companies equipped with unserviceable long arms have this rectified.


    If the war continues into the second half of 1862, the gunpowder crisis in particular will become much more acute - the amount of production the US could manage domestically from known sources (and most new ones) is on the order of 10% or less of historical usage (i.e. less than 400 tons per year) and if applied across the board would lead to every single army being badly short of resupply. This leads to the possibility that in a two-day battle the Union army would shoot itself dry on day one and there would not be any resupply...
     
  12. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

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    This situation actually occurred in Tennessee in 1861. Many units were not called to the colors because there were no arms for them. The impact on the numbers that could have been in the central CS armies was huge. The same could easily have had to occur in the North in your version.

    Your research is impressive in its depth and breadth and had certainly provided a good foundation for your scenario.
     
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  13. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    And the reverse can happen to the CSA. There were well over a hundred thousand long arms (Enfields) in store in Britain, and of course the ones the US imported historically. Since the CSA's no longer blockaded in any sense and can offer a better price (see the immediately proceeding) then they're likely to buy in more arms, and ones that are better in both quality and reliability.
     
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  14. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    US financial difficulties. (some segments taken directly from the blog I do with two other contributors)


    As any fule kno, the US has been a trading nation for centuries.


    In 1862-3, US total exports of $306m included $121m (39.5%) to Britain, and her total imports of $253m included $113m (44.7%) from Britain. However, this includes imports only from mainland Britain: when we add imports from British colonies, including the West Indies and British North America, Britain actually controlled $147m (58%) of Union imports.

    By contrast, according to the British statistics, the United States represented £19m of £121m exports (15.9%) and £28m of £160m imports (17.3%) for 1862.* In 1863, the relative importance of the US dwindled: £20m of £142m exports (13.9%) and £20m of £164m imports (11.9%). What this shows is that access to the British market is far more important to the United States, in terms both of exports and imports.


    For 1862-3 (p.36), US government revenue relied almost entirely on customs duties. Customs contributed $69m to government income of $111m (62%), but even when combined with loans and printing money this income was insufficient to meet the expenditure of $715m. As a result, the balance in the treasury dropped from $13m at the start of the 1862-3 year to $5m at the end of the year.

    This suggests that the disruption of trade with Britain, the source of 58% of Union imports, would on its own reduce the customs revenue to $29m. The cut to overall government income would be just over 36%. Britain's national finances were much healthier, drawn from a more diverse range of sources: in 1863, customs duties of £24m formed only 34% of government's gross revenue of £70m. In other words, even if the Union could throw an impenetrable blockade around the British isles, the effect on government revenue would still be less than Britain ceasing to trade with the Union (36% vs 34%).

    The other significant sources of British revenue included excise and licenses (£17m, 24%), stamps (£9m, 13%), taxes (£3m, 4%), property and income tax (£11m, 15%), and the post office (£4m, 5%). It would be dramatically easier for the British to raise the rates of their existing diversified suite of taxes than it would for the Union to introduce entirely new taxes, along with the apparatus to collect them. Some of these, like income tax and stamp duty, would certainly be susceptible to downturns in the British economy that might be caused by a decline in trade. However, the same is true of Union taxes such as insurance duty and the income tax- and, more importantly, the Union economy is far more susceptible to British economic warfare than vice versa.




    So much for trade. The other major sources of income for the Union were internal taxation (which has been mentioned above if in passing) and gold mined from California and points east. Californian gold is essentially cut off totally by the British blockade, and historically the Union was running on empty to begin with - in late 1861 the mere threat of a war with Britain led to a series of bank runs, and there is no reason to suppose the situation would improve in the event of an actual war.


    This means that, for the British, the war is a possible economic hardship; for the US, the war is the bottom falling out of the tub. (Lincoln's phrase after the climbdown.) It is quite likely that US troops would be being paid in demand notes and other paper currency experiments rather than specie, and that US trade with the outside world would - in addition to being blockaded - be functioning at a considerable loss owing to the lack of a well-backed currency base. They don't even have a viable export crop with anything like the value of cotton - and the closest thing, grain, is something the British can actually do without quite comfortably. (US wheat made up a significant % of British grain consumption during the Civil War, but it was only equivalent to the excess consumption over the food levels in the UK during many years of the 1850s.)


    I tend to assume, in the interests of making things go well enough to be unbiased for the Union, that they can keep things going fairly well for at least half a year without suffering the major problems of a country printing money - but after that, serious problems do start to come in.


    n.b. the US and UK financial years at the time had different start dates, so 1862 for one is not 1862 for the other.
     
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  15. Dom71

    Dom71 Corporal

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    Because you mentioned NY and Long Island, living here I figured I would look into it. As far as coastal fortifications those would be predominantly in Brooklyn and Southern Manhattan and the Jersey coast. long Island east of Brooklyn had very little in coastal defense there may have been a small arsenal and gun house in Sag Harbor, but it's unclear weather that survived past the war of 1812. If the British wanted to occupy Eastern Long Island they probably could with not too much trouble. However In not sure there is any strategic value to it.

    Love alternate history stories, looks very good. Thanks for posting
     
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  16. 67th Tigers

    67th Tigers Sergeant Major

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    Interestingly, yesterday I picked up "Defending the Dominion: Canadian Military Rifles 1855-1955" in a 2nd hand bookshop.

    It confirmed that the usually listed arms in Canada (15,060 Enfields, 10,000 old smoothbores etc.) were those in the Imperial stores, and were in addition to the property of the Province of Canada (who had ownership of sufficient Enfields to equip her existing volunteer infantry, and owned Brunswick rifles for the artillery btys etc.). It also confirms that the 30,000 Enfields went over the sledge route and were available by the thaw. That gives Canada roughly enough percussion arms to enbody 60,000 volunteer infantry by the thaw.

    On 6th May 1862 AT Galt told the House in Ottawa that the Province owned 7,500 Enfields, with 2,000 of those purchased since 30th November 1861. He appears to conflate other arms, specifically percussion smoothbores, with the Enfields, and the appropriate numbers of actual Enfields is 3,100 in Nov '61. The April '60 returns show the 2,000 extra weapons on issue are smoothbores and Brunswicks. It appears these were replaced by Imperial Enfields in '61. The rough number of infantry weapons in PC in Dec '61 can be estimated as:

    Enfields: 15,060 in Imperial stores, ca. 2,000 Imperial weapons on issue to the militia and 3,044 provincial weapons on issue to the militia = 20,104

    Smoothbores: 10,000 in Imperial stores. The provincial government owned several thousand, and in April '61 a handful of companies reported having percussion smoothbores on issue.

    Round to 30,000 infantry longarms, 20,000 Enfields and 10,000 Smoothbores, with 30,000 Enfields arriving in February-March '62.
     
  17. Saphroneth

    Saphroneth Sergeant

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    Useful. That suggests that the defence scheme could be pretty much fulfilled out of Canadian troops (the total requirement was IIRC 70,000 troops in permanent works and as corps d'observation, so you'd just need another 10,000 Enfields coming by ship, sled or rail to make up the numbers) and anything else is a bonus.



    The thing which is interesting to me is that New York itself is not very well defended! 67th has looked into this as well, but AFAICT any one of the three task forces intended to be in US waters could have forced the Narrows. (Dunlop's force was the smallest in terms of heavy ships and would have the most trouble.)

    Any ironclads (of which the British had a fair few) would find it quite easy, but even without them there's a fair amount of scope for destroying the forts.


    As for likely British strategy on that front, they'd said they might destroy US cities (specifically Milne said it would be a pity to do so) but I think their likely actual actions would simply be to break through the forts and either bombard the naval yards or demand the surrender of the city. (Destroying the forts sends enough of a message to be going on with, IMO.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  18. steve59p

    steve59p Private

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    Saphroneth

    Bloody hell!!! There's a lot of detail there and while I knew the US could run into trouble in a war with Britain I didn't realise it could be so bad so quickly. By the sound of it the union is going to face almost total defeat with the south overrunning virtually all its desired territories by the end of the year. Even with Britain not doing more than blockading, guarding Canada and occupying Portland and associated areas of Maine.

    I have a few thoughts.
    a) Given how destructive war would be and that Lincoln would seem to be aware of at least some of those points would he actually be willing to go to war? Possibly he thinks he can win very quickly and force some concessions from Britain but that seems to me about on a par with the Japanese war plan in Dec 1941!

    b) If Britain successfully seized Portland and a section of Maine would that prompt the union to try attacking to 'liberate' it instead of - or if their mad enough - also trying to attack towards Montreal?

    c) Would the south be that organised in moving forces north from no longer threatened coastal sections? Both in terms of having the necessary intelligence information of union forces and in terms of avoiding the sort of bickering and disputes that seem to have occurred in the confederacy at time?

    d) While the USN blockading forces are going to be driven away if not destroyed there would probably be a threat of raiders from the north attacking trade from both Britain and the south. Not going to be as destructive as what's happening with the US trade and economy. One other factor here is that as the blockade tightens the US is also going to see coastal trade being affected, although the better railway network will take up a good amount of the slack, and also see their fishing and whaling fleets devastated or isolated in ports. Also there's going to be virtually no new immigrants while volunteers in the union army from Britain and Canada, of which there were some are going to be in an awkward position, as is the union army as how much can they trust those men?

    e) What attitude will the UK take to the south? I can see the fact it will be greatly strengthened by the British dow being useful as it further ties down large union resources and no doubt there will be private trade. However will they recognise it quickly? I can see two reasons for delaying on this. That it avoids linking them too closely with the unpopular slave states and that it leaves open the threat of doing so later if the unions doesn't quickly come to terms. Which would be the case if the UK wants a quick war to 'teach a lesson' and make sure the US was wrong to stop its shipping and makes compensation. However if the British attitude is more punitive from the start then their likely to move to recognise the south much more quickly.

    f) Related to this what are the war aims of the two powers? They must have some other than "we're at war, kill them". How long before Lincoln, if the wheels come off as quickly as it appears they will, looks to come to terms and how much might the British attitude harden in the meantime. After all, barring a total destruction of the north, which seems highly unlikely tending on ASB, its going to exist and be a significant neighbour to Canada, both in terms of trade and potential military threat no matter what happens.

    Anyway, many thanks again for a massively researched thread and looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.
     
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  19. Dom71

    Dom71 Corporal

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    If you use the war of 1812 as a template of sorts NY wasn't well defended then either. British warships moved up and down Long Island Sound with relative impunity. They would attack merchants leaving Port Jefferson causing a cord wood shortage in NY city.
     
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  20. steve59p

    steve59p Private

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    Just seen this reply while writing my post. Not sure how many true ironclads the RN had at this point although it can probably start producing new ones, if only basically floating battery designs pretty quickly.

    Would the occupation of the basically undefended bulk of Long Island be useful for Britain. I.e. as a way of greatly tightening the blockade, of making a political point about how vulnerable the coastal settlements are and possibly of a war of luring the union into one-sided battles? Thinking here that taking the bulk of it quickly and if there is political pressure to drive the British out fairly raw recruits making largely frontal assaults on well dug in regular forces could be very, very costly, both in terms of blood and morale.

    If British forces crush protective forts and demand a cities surrender what would that mean. I doubt Britain wants to have a large amount of troops tied up in garrisoning assorted lodgements with large hostile populations they would also have a duty to feed and otherwise maintain. Possibly a quick occupation, if neigbouring union units didn't intervene to smash any war capacity and possibly seize any moveable government assets. Also there's the question of if some hot-heads don't surrender the city how much will the RN do to level it with gunfire?

    One other thing they might try and do is possibly raids on coastal facilities, especially say railway bridges to disrupt the US transport and communications as much as possible but that would depend on how quickly forces could be landed to overrun any garrisons and then wreak and get out.
     
    JohnW., DaveBrt and Dom71 like this.
  21. Dom71

    Dom71 Corporal

    Joined:
    May 12, 2017
    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Port Jefferson was a ship building port. They would probably destroy that harbor. They didn't invade there in 1812 so my guess would be they didn't find it strategically important. They did cause a great deal of terror to the population however.
     
    steve59p and JohnW. like this.

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