What If Lee Won At Gettysburg?

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
No need to even send a Corps, honestly; the French Navy alone could probably deal a death blow by breaking the blockade of the South and forcing the evacuation/surrender of coastal Union positions. That would free up a lot of Confederate manpower, allow for all of the above and general trade (increasing the diplomatic chance of general recognition), and, finally, would prevent things like the Overland Campaign given the French and C.S. Navies would prevent the logistics needed for it. Whether or not they could've instituted a blockade of their own upon the Union is possible, although I am not sure.
Too bad he didn't try it. The domestic reaction in France, and the political fallout in the US due to foreign intervention would have been interesting.
 

GwilymT

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
There's a lot that European nations could do to impair the Union war effort without sailing armies across the Atlantic, though. Things which would be perfectly plausible for Napoleon III to do (with the British telling him they wouldn't intervene against him) include:

- selling the Confederates a modern ironclad warship complete with weapons.
- allowing the formation of a French force of what are basically Confederate mercenaries.
- giving good loan terms for the Confederates.
- selling artillery.

It's also the case that if Napoleon III wanted to intervene, the scale of intervention we're talking about wouldn't exactly need to be on the scale of a hundred thousand men. A complete corps of French troops with artillery and cavalry in proportion (on the order of 30,000 men, very roughly) is the kind of thing the French could ship to the Crimea with a couple months' notice, and their training is good enough that they'd be able to have a very significant impact on the Civil War in the east.
But on the whole they weren’t inclined to do any of these things and it’s unreasonable to think that one CSA victory would cause them to.

For our “what if” to be plausible there has to be more.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Whether or not they could've instituted a blockade of their own upon the Union is possible, although I am not sure.
I don't think they could blockade the whole of the Union coast, but it's much easier to merely seriously impede Union commerce - closing the Chesapeake, the Delaware and the entrances to New York would allow shutting down of much of the internal Union coasting trade and mean shipping has to use smaller ports, and that's not a bad return on investment for four large squadrons all things considered.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
But on the whole they weren’t inclined to do any of these things and it’s unreasonable to think that one CSA victory would cause them to.

For our “what if” to be plausible there has to be more.
My understanding of Napoleon III's attitude to things is that he could be convinced to back this sort of thing. One CSA victory by itself might not do it, but a CSA victory followed by weeks or months of practical occupation in the North would make intervention more plausible.


Let's not forget, though, that selling warships would be completely legal.
 

Generic Username

Corporal
Joined
May 12, 2019
Location
Yes
Too bad he didn't try it. The domestic reaction in France, and the political fallout in the US due to foreign intervention would have been interesting.
Most evidence suggests the French populace were pretty firmly Confederate; most of the claims of Unionist support come from Unionists themselves, hardly an objective source.
 
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