What If England Had Cut Off Saltpeter Supply

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Couple of corrections here.

Firstly, in looking at the stockpile you need to look at the flows involved. Where do you think all that saltpeter came from, and how much do you think was issued over the course of 1861 and 1862?
The answer is that the saltpeter came from Britain, and that without British imports (which the US recieved in 1862) the Union would have run out of spare powder by the end of June 1862.

Secondly, in looking at food supply you need to take "British food supply minus US food" and compare it to British food supply in other years; the answer that comes out is that without US grain the British food supply is typical for a normal year.


They certainly made several pro-US decisions!
It is English policy to foment the utmost division within all foreing nations.
 

Saphroneth

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This is not accurate. The South did not worry about saltpetre.
What about it isn't accurate? Those numbers are from Rains, who wrote a history, thus:



"The caves of Arkansas were rich in nitrous earth, and those of Texas still more so, and these supplied the armies west of the Mississippi river with material for gunpowder. As early as practicable I sent out instructed powder-makers to both those States, who under the directions of the military authorities, assisted to put up the necessary powder mills for the Trans-Mississippi department, which after the fall of Nashville was left necessarily to its own resources.

In the early part of November my time had become so much occupied that it was no longer practicable to attend to the production of saltpetre, and Mr. F. H. Smith was sent from Richmond by the Chief of Ordnance to relive me from its duties. At a later day a separate department was established, called the Nitre and Mining Bureau, which then had the entire charge of its production.

In the latter part of November, by the desire of General Lovell the able officer in command at New Orleans I proceeded to that city and examined the temporary arrangements for making gun powder, and also conferred with him relative to procuring a supply of saltpetre from abroad. He suggested the chartering of the steam ship Tennessee, then lying idle in the river near the city, to proceed at once to Liverpool and take in a cargo of saltpetre and return to New Orleans, or, in case of necessity, to put in at Charleston or Wilmington. The suggestion met my views, and was approved by Mr. Benjamin, then Secretary of War, but was not carried out on account of the effective blockade of the mouth of the Mississippi.

The Confederate Government, however, by its agents in Europe, purchased saltpetre which was shipped on swift blockade runners which arrived from time to time at Charleston and Wilmington. This proved to be adequate to our wants, and about two millions, seven hundred thousand pounds were thus received during the war and sent to the Confederate Powder Works. The amount obtained from the caves amounted to about three hundred thousand pounds for the same period. Thus the total amount received at the works amounted to about 1,500 tons."

- General George Rains, History of the Confederate Powder Works



It is English policy to foment the utmost division within all foreing nations.
It's really not.

Also, "British" and "foreign".
 
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Saphroneth

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I meant in terms of needing it from overseas. They could harvest it themselves.
Well, they could harvest ten percent of their total supply, and it's not like the Confederacy was amply provided with surplus gunpowder and had no need of more. It's like claiming Japan was perfectly fine for oil in WW2 because of the domestic Akita, Niigata and Nutsu fields.
 
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Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
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The Confederate Government, however, by its agents in Europe, purchased saltpetre which was shipped on swift blockade runners which arrived from time to time at Charleston and Wilmington. This proved to be adequate to our wants, and about two millions, seven hundred thousand pounds were thus received during the war and sent to the Confederate Powder Works. The amount obtained from the caves amounted to about three hundred thousand pounds for the same period. Thus the total amount received at the works amounted to about 1,500 tons."

- General George Rains, History of the Confederate Powder Works
What about the Niter beds? They produced nothing?
 
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Philip Leigh

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Saphroneth

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There was no nation known as India until 1947.
There was however an area collectively known as "India", so it's a reasonable period shorthand; there's not really another term that encompasses the whole area, as parts of it were "British India" and the rest was "Princely States".

During the Trent affair the British banned exports of saltpeter. Since British-controlled India was the dominant source of saltpeter the British embargo could have doomed Lincoln's war effort if he had not retuned Mason and Slidell.
Yep. This was just one of the ways the British brought pressure to bear, though certainly not the only one.
 

leftyhunter

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There was however an area collectively known as "India", so it's a reasonable period shorthand; there's not really another term that encompasses the whole area, as parts of it were "British India" and the rest was "Princely States".



Yep. This was just one of the ways the British brought pressure to bear, though certainly not the only one.
My point is that there was no independent Indian nation that had any independent foreign policy. The Princely states may of had a certain amount of autonomy but they were not nations with their own ambassadors and armed forces independent of British control. All that would have to wait a good eighty years.
Leftyhunter
 

Saphroneth

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My point is that there was no independent Indian nation that had any independent foreign policy. The Princely states may of had a certain amount of autonomy but they were not nations with their own ambassadors and armed forces independent of British control. All that would have to wait a good eighty years.
So? It's still reasonable to say "India" in this context because one is talking about material being exported from the Indian subcontinent and the collective term for the subcontinent both at the time and now was "India".
 
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leftyhunter

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So? It's still reasonable to say "India" in this context because one is talking about material being exported from the Indian subcontinent and the collective term for the subcontinent both at the time and now was "India".
Not really because India can't have an embargo because India doesn't yet exist. There is no India until 1947. There is British India and the "Princely States are more like semi autonomous colonial provinces.
Leftyhunter
 

Saphroneth

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Not really because India can't have an embargo because India doesn't yet exist. There is no India until 1947. There is British India and the "Princely States are more like semi autonomous colonial provinces.
There's a region and a political unit which is referred to as "India" (and administered as such), and that region and political unit can embargo the export of saltpetre. I think that's considerably easier than listing off every single salute state as individually instituting an embargo.

Certainly in 1876 Victoria was made Empress of India, so India was considered a single unit!
 

leftyhunter

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There's a region and a political unit which is referred to as "India" (and administered as such), and that region and political unit can embargo the export of saltpetre. I think that's considerably easier than listing off every single salute state as individually instituting an embargo.

Certainly in 1876 Victoria was made Empress of India, so India was considered a single unit!
Empress of India was a ceremonial position. There was no India until 1947 it was under British control unill that year and since India was not an independent nation it can't issue an embargo only the UK can issue an embargo.
Leftyhunter
 
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Saphroneth

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Empress of India was a ceremonial position. There was no India until 1947 it was under British control unill that year and since India was not an independent nation it can't issue an embargo only the UK can issue an embargo.
I suspect we're both caring about this more than it merits. Certainly there was the possibility of an embargo of niter from India; it'd take looking at historical communications to see whether the Trent-period embargo was ordered directly from Britain or was expected to be declared by the viceroy based on the information he recieved.

Either way, the result is the same: no saltpetre.
 
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