Fenians, Brits, Mexicans, Canucks and Frenchies....OH, MY! An alternate American Civil War

Chapter 81
June, 1867


Benjamin Disraeli's government would issue a formal warning to the the Emperor. Their blockade of Bangkok would not be broken until the French agreed to withdraw from Siam. Disraeli would have preferred to go into this crisis with Lord Derby but health problems had forced the man to retire. While now without question the absolute leader of the Conservative Party, Disraeli missed his old ally.

He would miss Derby's steady council as events threatened to spiral out of control.


Napoleon III had seen many of his machinations falter over the past few years, including Mexico and now the Rio Plata. But the Emperor could not back down from British bullying.

However, he was not excited about facing the British ALONE. He spend weeks attempting to gauge if Russia was inclined to assist in any way. The Czar's response was...quite simply....Siam was none of his business and that Napoleon III got himself into this situation, he could get himself out.

The Emperor did not take well to this response as the French fleet had given Russia a layer of protection against the Royal Navy when the Czar was conquering the Ottoman. But, of course, the Emperor did not do that out of the goodness of his heart as the Czar knew well enough.

After a few weeks of posturing, Napoleon III was planning on finding a way to back down when he received a rather heartening message from the Czar. Apparently events had changed rather rapidly.

A group of Greek patriots had sailed under cover of night to Crete, where the British garrison ruled the Greek peoples of the island, on board a trio of Russian flagged ships. A horde of weapons and ammunition in the first ship's hold would be discovered by chance by a pair British cutters, the Argyle and the Clarence, patrolling the island. Seeing their compatriot captured, the other two Russian-Greek ships attempted to flee. Their chances were not bad given these were modern and fast merchant ships, among the first "steam only" ships in the merchant fleet, while the British cutters were old and obsolete.

Having discovered the evidence of gun-running in the hold of the first ship, the Captain of the Clarence immediately gave chase and pursued the 2 remaining merchants towards Greece. Believing that they could outpace the British vessel, the Russians and Greeks made a run for it only to discover British gunnery had not faded with time. It would not be immediately certain of whether or not the British cutter had intended to destroy the 2nd Merchant ship or if it was an uncannily lucky shot. Either way, the shell somehow managed to find the gunpowder store and an explosion of enormous power ripped the ship in half. Only four sailors and 3 Greek passengers survived to be picked up the next day, ironically, by an Ottoman fisherman.

The British cutter then turned to pursue the other fleeing merchant, firing at extreme range and managing several hits as the ship entered Greek waters. However, at an inopportune time, the boilers of the Clarence blew after hours of strain attempting to keep up with the more modern vessel. The wounded Russian-Greek ship escaped into the darkness.

As the British sailors feverishly attempted to repair the engines through the following morning (they had raised sail to catch the meager wind), the specter of a Russian heavy cruiser arrived on the horizon. At last one of the boilers was returned to operation and the speed increased. However, it soon became apparent that there would be no escape for the Clarence. The Russians pulled alongside and an exceptionally fierce....but short....firefight ensued. Outgunned more than 10 to1, the British ship was battered to a pulp until she struck her colors, half of her crew dead.

Reports of the series of events would echo throughout Europe until both the British and Russians were worked up into a lather.

The British were outraged that Russian merchants were providing Cretan rebels with arms and the immolation of the Clarence while the Russians were livid at the death of dozens of Russian and Greek sailors.

Almost overnight, Europe became an armed camp.

The Czar suddenly seemed more willing to back his French ally.

Washington "State" (District of Columbia)

The President was pleased to finally be getting the nation back to normal. The budget had finally been balanced and progress made towards the mountain of debt.

The National Bank had finally been embodied and the previous rickety banking system well along the process of being replaced.

As many as a half dozen new states would be joining the Union in 1868's Presidential Election and perhaps two or three more returned to the fold.

The nation was stronger and more secure than ever.

Exhausted after four harrowing years of war and three more of peace, Lincoln would announce in the summer of 1867 that he would follow in the example of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe and decline to seek a 3rd term. While not wanting to be a "lame duck" as the term would later be coined for an entire year of office, in truth, Lincoln knew that his own Party needed the better part of a year to settle on a candidate. Caucuses were coming earlier and earlier as electioneering grew more sophisticated and the President wanted his own allies to have time to put their case to the Party before putting it to the voters.

Besides, Lincoln had already accomplished the key goals of his Presidency:

1. Preserve the Union.
2. Expel the invaders.
3. Liberate the slaves.
4. Settle the issue of Freedman citizenship.
5. Put the economy back upon a sound footing.
6. Maintain a strong navy.

For the most part, Lincoln had succeeded beyond even his expectations. It was time to step away gracefully....before the voters may do it for him.

Almost immediately, several candidates were mentioned in 1868's election:

For the Republicans:
Secretary of State Seward
Vice-President Hamlin
There was even talk of bringing back General Grant from his extended world tour.

For the Democrats:
Kentucky Senator Andrew Johnson
Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas
General Hancock

More would throw their hat in the ring over the next year, no doubt. Lincoln was already counting down the days to his well-earned retirement.

Almost immediately, both Republicans and Democrats began jostling for position for the 1868 election.
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Anyway @Alt History Buff your thoughts on our discussion revolving around DC statehood?

I would say that the initial intent of Washington DC was to hold a few government buildings and not much more. However, the growing population would make the initial intent less important.

With the huge Republican majority in Congress and the citizens of DC almost certainly going to vote overwhelmingly Republican, requesting and being granted statehood would not be out of the question.

Of course, the Federal Government would have eminent domain, right of way, etc, over local lands but actual government property only makes up a small percentage of DC and a case can be made that DC and the Federal Government could find an agreement on how to manage the political divide.
I would say that the initial intent of Washington DC was to hold a few government buildings and not much more. However, the growing population would make the initial intent less important.

With the huge Republican majority in Congress and the citizens of DC almost certainly going to vote overwhelmingly Republican, requesting and being granted statehood would not be out of the question.

Of course, the Federal Government would have eminent domain, right of way, etc, over local lands but actual government property only makes up a small percentage of DC and a case can be made that DC and the Federal Government could find an agreement on how to manage the political divide.
But why have that issue in the first place when all those voters can be returned to Maryland and Virginia to help make them more Republican?

And again the favoritism that would be granted to DC is ridiculous cause it's the capital. Why does there need to be a compromise between the state and federal government when it can just be a federal government?

Also what about granting DC voting rights and representation without statehood? One senator, proportional representatives and electoral votes etc.

Or if you're so hung up on statehood for DC, just denote a Federal District directly around the White House, Congress, National Mall, etc in which the Federal Government has sole authority.
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Chapter 82
July, 1867


With a great deal of hesitation, Benjamin Disraeli consulted with the Queen and dispatched a message to Emperor Napoleon III that, if the French agree to evacuate Siam by the 31st of July, the British Empire would consider itself to be in a state of war with France.

As an olive branch, the British First Lord would agree that BRITAIN would also not seek any further concessions in southeast Asia, including Upper Burma and Siam itself. They would remain as a buffer between the two Empires.

However, Napoleon III, eager to strike while his alliance with Russia was likely to bear fruit, would reject this entreaty and demand that Britain pay reparations for the loss of French life in the "Battle of Siam".

Unsurprisingly, Disraeli didn't even bother to reply to this. On the 31st, he ordered the Admiralty and General Staff to commence war operations immediately against France. Fortunately, they British had several months to prepare a plan of war and had dispatched some resources to the periphery of the Empire to act with all due speed.

Still hoping to avoid a conflict with Russia via diplomatic means, the British government specifically excluded the Russians from their declaration of war.

It would turn out that was a forlorn hope and both France and Russia were similarly preparing for war.

On July 31st, Disraeli's government was presented by a formal declaration of war by Russia.

By that point, the ships were already sailing.

Rio de Janeiro

Emperor Pedro II faced unexpected backlash from his public statements calling for the gradual end of slavery. The powerful slave-owning classes would be outraged.

Brazil was somewhat different from America in its slavery. Throughout its history, manumission of individuals had been common and, by the late 1860's, nearly half the men and women of color were already free. Thus there was not a particularly powerful abolition movement despite Brazil and the islands of the Spanish Empire the only "European" bastions of slavery left.

President Lincoln would write the Emperor to encourage him not to give up and continue fighting for emancipation "within the system". Pedro knew full well what happened when American slaveowners even THOUGHT their institution was being threatened. The last thing he needed was a Brazilian Civil War.

As it was, the Emperor was also encountering problems with the Church. The Brazilian government had long dominated the Brazilian Catholic Church. As it was the state religion, the salaries of priests were paid by the government. For the past several decades, Brazil had fought to improve the education of priests. This was a successful effort but that also meant that the Brazilian Catholic church was becoming more and more agitated for independence from the government.

Through it all, the Emperor strongly backed the secular government in all things.

Rumblings of discontent emerged throughout the nation despite Pedro II's personal popularity.

Gangwa Islands - Joseon Kingdom

After months of blockade, the Russian and French ships had settled into a routine. Based on Gangwa island, the allies would quietly go about organizing trade within China. Since the Joseon King was intent on ignoring the foreigners, they may as well put their time to good use.


Monthly Donor
But why have that issue in the first place when all those voters can be returned to Maryland and Virginia to help make them more Republican?

And again the favoritism that would be granted to DC is ridiculous cause it's the capital. Why does there need to be a compromise between the state and federal government when it can just be a federal government?

Also what about granting DC voting rights and representation without statehood? One senator, proportional representatives and electoral votes etc.

Or if you're so hung up on statehood for DC, just denote a Federal District directly around the White House, Congress, National Mall, etc in which the Federal Government has sole authority.
Please do not drag current politics out of Chat.

Chapter 83
August, 1867

Basse-terre, Guadeloupe

Augmented by 2400 British regulars from the Home Islands, another 1500 from the Maritimes, 1600 local militia from the west Indies and 400 Marines, the Royal Navy would sail into the harbor of Martinique with little opposition.

The British squadron may not be the Cream of the Crop, most of the most modern Ironclads and new steel-hulled vessels were restricted to Europe, but it was still a powerful force built around the HMS Resistance. The small French squadron had been informed in due time of the pending potential hostilities but had not been augmented.

This gave the British a local superiority at sea. Within an hour, the six smaller French vessels had been been sunk, taken or driven off by the more modern Royal Navy ships.

The fortifications of the island had not been significantly upgraded in over 30 years. In truth, the French had not made a profit in the remnant of their West Indies Empire since the abolition of slavery. Only the status symbol of being Imperial possessions kept the islands of interest.

The old masonry of the fortifications and obsolete guns were no match for the British heavy naval weapons and the sporadic French defense was silenced within a few hours and the British were able to land largely unopposed.

However, the French cause was not totally lost nor were they completely unprepared. The French governor and senior military commander had been informed of the hostilities and knew quite well that the capital could not be defended against a strong British force. The largely black militia and 2000 or so French regulars would retreat into the hills where the bulk of the French supplies had been shifted in the past few weeks.

It the British wanted this island, it would not be so easy.

Fort-de-France, Martinique

The situation in Ford-de-France was similar to Belle-Terre. The once-rich sugar island had suffered depression in recent years and probably cost more to administer than France received in any form of utility. Therefore, the island was starved of investment and her fortifications allowed to lapse into ruin.

But, like in Guadeloupe, the Governor of Martinique had been advised that any attack at sea could not be repulsed and the harbor defenses of the Capital were sure to fail.

Very well, let the British find out how much they enjoyed a land campaign in the tropics. Given that most of the defenders of Martinique were natives (augmented by 1000 French regulars which had largely also been recruited from the natives), the threat of tropical disease would no doubt be less than the invaders.

Unless, of course, the majority of the invaders were the British tropical regiments from Antigua, Barbados, Bermuda and Jamaica. Nearly 4000 British "West Indies" regiments raised from the overwhelmingly black natives and local militia were dispatched from the adjacent Caribbean islands to support a core of 600 Marines to invade Martinique.

Victory would be gleaned from winning the countryside.

St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands

With reports of war in the wind, the American "West Indies" Squadron would huddle in the very embryonic St. Thomas dock and witness a battle only a few miles out from American waters (if that) between the French and British Navies.

The United States Virgin Islands had been purchased to give the Americans a base in the West Indies. At the moment, it only seemed to put them on the front line.

West Point

The "United States Military Academy Reorganization Act" had been approved in 1866 but the first class of students not to be "recommended" by Congressmen as boons would arrive in 1867. This was part of the greater Civil Service Reform.

Once the bastion of the elites, West Point would be merit-based from now on.

In addition to a number of lower class individuals who never had the contacts to be accepted into West Point were the first eight black enrollees in its illustrious history.


Isolated from the rest of British Mediterranean territories, Cyprus was loosely held by the British Army against a resentful Greek population (much akin to Crete). With the entire Black Sea Fleet at their disposal and a French squadron on hand, the Russians sailed from the Dardanelles to Cyprus with a dozen ships of the line and fifteen lighter vessels.

Leading the way were three "Uragan" class ironclads and the brand new "Pervenets" class Kremi. The French Ironclads Belliqueise, Invincible and Normandie.

A host of smaller ships which had been refurbished from old sailing vessels and cut down into ironclads followed. Even larger ships had seen decks removed to drop weight and reduce their profile.

It was a massive squadron intended to crush any British fleet short of the Channel Squadron. With half a dozen bases throughout the Mediterranean, the British forces could not consolidate and the twelve British vessels stationed in Cyprus could not hope to withstand the entire armada. After a brief battle which cost two ships lost on either side, the British wisely withdrew.

This left Cyprus open for invasion. 10,000 Russians and Greeks would arrive along the eastern coast, causing a massive rebellion by the Cypriots against the comparatively small British occupational army of 4000 soldiers, Marines, stranded sailors and administrators.
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Is Spain or Austria going to remain neutral in the war?
Spain couldn’t do too much at this time except use their Philippine forces in SE Asia (which could backfire) or help close off the Med (kind of redundant because of Gibraltar). Not sure how good their fleets actually are. They’re also still balls deep in Haiti at the moment.
Austria and Prussia on the other hand…

EDIT: The winning play may be to woo the Italians.
Chapter 83
September, 1867


Sir John Lawrence had served ably for years in India and been a key force in putting down the Mutiny. Intelligent, energetic and concerned for the welfare of the common Indians, Lawrence was popular both in India and in Britain. A Baronet since 1858, Sir John was elevated to Viceroy of India in 1864 for a five year term. Rumors abounded that the large, fleshy man could look forward to a peerage when his term was completed in 1869.

But that seemed very, very far away as Sir John read the news of the commencement of hostilities with both Russia and France. In truth, the Viceroy was not overly worried about what either could do to threaten India. The Russians were not going to march through Afghanistan to invade Indian nor did he believe even the combined French and Russian fleets in Asia could overcome the Royal Navy. Even if they DID, that wouldn't necessarily vex India that terribly much.

The only thing that concerned the Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of India (usually considered the British Army IN India plus the armies of the three Presidencies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, plus regional or princely formations like the Punjab Frontier force or the Hyderabad Contingent) was a recurrence of the Mutiny if large numbers of Indian soldiers were ordered overseas to Siam or Vietnam. Equally concerning was if the the 70,000 British soldiers (either in the British Army itself or serving in the various Raj formations) were to be withdrawn to other theaters.

The ghost of the Mutiny haunted all.

But the Viceroy and Commander in Chief did their duty. They organized a force of 15,000 British Regulars and Bengali units specifically selected and organized due to their willingness to serve overseas (mostly Muslim).

When the Queen demanded her soldiers, these would be the first line of defense.

Melbourne, Victoria

Throughout the past 15 years, Victoria would exceed 500,000 souls and receive the Queen's blessing for self-government. In the meantime, the other colonies of the Continent and the offshore islands of Tasmania and New Zealand appeared stunted.

The New Zealand wars had ravaged those islands and proven to the Crown Minister in London that the New Zealand government only existed due to the presence of Crown Troops.

In the years leading to the current problems, various petitions would be cast about to unify these disparate colonies into a single sovereign government. Most of the colonies seemed interested with the exception of Perth and New Zealand. The latter would, in 1867, discover the limits of their power when a French fleet sailing out of New Caledonia arrived in Auckland to annihilate the few Royal Navy vessels on hand, seize every merchant vessel and then issue a casual bombardment of the town which promptly commenced a massive fire.

As several regiments of British troops had been withdrawn from the Islands in anticipation of a larger war in Siam (another 5000 were being prepared to sail from Melbourne and Sydney), the Maori tribesmen rose up on their greatest rebellion yet. By Christmas, the colonists had been forced to retreat to the cities and the countryside once again fell to the natives.

So remote from the center of power, the raids by French and Russian vessels over the next few years would lead to great demands for Confederation throughout the region's British colonies.


President Lincoln would summon the British, French and Russian Ambassadors and inform them that America's neutrality would remain paramount. The United States Navy would patrol their coastlines and repulse any raiders or "blockades" which may be set up.

He also promised that "war material" would not be distributed to combatants by America's government or private citizens. The French and Russian Ambassadors pointed out that America's grain exports (and that of Canada and Quebec) were, by nature, war material.

Hoping to keep the peace, he announced that American ships would not convey grain to any of the feuding parties (though he left the door open to BRITISH ships carrying shipments of grain).

This was a brilliant ploy by the allies as Britain was dependent upon North American grain while both Russia and France were self-sufficient.


Having seized Cyprus from the British (the garrison held out for a month before surrendering), the Russians, French and Greeks would set their sights on Crete.

For unknown reasons, the British fleet defending Cyprus had not automatically sailed to Crete (the logical destination) but all the way to Malta. This granted the allies a great opportunity to overpower another small British garrison dominating a sullen Greek peoples.

In a rather remarkable repeat of the previous month, the allies used their numbers, armor and guns to overwhelm the British navy flotilla and land an army of 5000 Greeks and 3000 Russians to rapturous Cretan civilians. Soon, the British were reduced to holding only a few fortifications and isolated outposts.

While it was assumed that Cyprus and Crete would be turned over to Greece, this was not explicitly stated by either France or Russia. However, the now-armed population backed by Greek soldiers considered this a fait accompli.
Spain couldn’t do too much at this time except use their Philippine forces in SE Asia (which could backfire) or help close off the Med (kind of redundant because of Gibraltar). Not sure how good their fleets actually are. They’re also still balls deep in Haiti at the moment.
Austria and Prussia on the other hand…

EDIT: The winning play may be to woo the Italians.

I'm not sure if any of the Central European Powers have any interest in the conflict or anything to gain.
Chapter 84
October, 1867

British Ionian Islands

Having seized Cyprus and Crete in such quick succession created a sense of euphoria among the French, Russian and Greek allies (particularly the latter).

Over the course of the past year, the Royal Navy had been stretched to the breaking point, particularly among her precious ironclads (some of which had been specifically built while others were reconstructions upon the bodies of older, wooden vessels. In, the British had produced 24 Ironclads in the past seven years, an impressive feat on any level.

However, four of these had been lost fighting the Americans while two of the others were not seaworthy and intended only for testing (one had sunk while sailing to Siam). That left 18 ironclads in the British service, which nearly matched the British in numbers. All of the British ships would be "broadside" ironclads or the redesigned "central battery" ironclads. The first of the British turreted ships akin to the Americans would not arrive until 1868 with the HMS Monarch.

Of the 18 ironclads technically in service, three were unavailable undergoing repairs or redesign. Of the remaining 15, only 9 were in European waters as 3 had been sent to the Caribbean to aid in the assaults on Martinique and Guadeloupe and 3 others were stationed in India (or blockading Siam).

The French, on the other hand, had completed 18 ironclad warships in the same timespan and lost only two of these to the Americans while two more were stationed in Asia and two under refit.

Thus the French alone outnumbered the British 12 to 9 in ironclads stationed in Europe. Most of both navies weighed in the 6000 ton displacement category.

The Russians had built a number of monitors meant mainly for river defense but these were not intended to confront heavier ships at sea and largely were restricted to the Dardanelles. The three ships of the 3000 ton Pervenets class were similarly not intended as ships of the line.

However, the Russians DID have two large ironclads of similar size and firepower in the Sevastpol and Petropavlavsk (ironically built in London as Russia did not yet have facilities to construct their own warships of this class). These had been heavily invested in the attacks on Cyprus and Crete.

Leaving moderate squadrons to protect the harbors of Cyprus and Crete, the massed French and Russian fleets, sailed for the next logical strike: Corfu.
, The British commanders of Cyprus and Crete had made the error of retreating to Malta. If the Cyprus squadron had instead retreated to the next most likely point of attack, Crete, then the naval engagement off that island may have gone quite differently. Instead, both British squadrons had been defeated in detail by overwhelming force.

Having determined by September that effectively ALL the heavy ships of the Russian and French fleets had already sailed for the Mediterranean, the government made no objection when the British Admiralty dispatched another 4 of their precious ironclads to the Mediterranean (bringing the Mediterranean squadron based in Malta up to seven ships.

Many in the government objected, stating that this left the home islands up for invasion.

However, even the non-Ironclad Royal Navy was immensely powerful and likely more than capable of defeating an invader sheer size and firepower. Besides, there had been no noticeable preparation for invasion, therefore there was time for the Admiralty to take a risk. To keep 6 of the 9 British functional Ironclads based in Europe in the Channel while the entirety of the Russian and French fleets attack the British Mediterranean positions was utterly unacceptable. This would almost certainly guarantee the eviction of the Royal Navy from that body of water.

By October, all six of the British heavy Ironclads had gathered at Malta along with over 24 British warships of all makes and models (and levels of armor). Admiral James Hope, an exceptionally charismatic and capable office, would assume command and sail directly to Corfu without delay. He was certain that the enemy was not ready to assault Malta and, even if they were, the powerful fortress island would hold on for quite some time.

Instead, the Admiral from his command ship HMS Black Prince led the Valiant, Agincourt, Northumberland, Caledonia, Ocean and twelve powerfully armed, "lightly-armored" wooden-hulled ships to Corfu.

His timing could not have been better as he actually caught the allied vanguard in sailing steadily north into the Ionian Sea. Not intending to allow the enemy to gather their forces, Hope attacked at once, his powerful ironclads at the fore.

For the first time since the Battle of New York, there would be a mass clash of ironclads. British attacked in three formations, the ironclads in the middle while the lighter ships served in the wings.

The French and Russians attempted to form a similar profile but made a terrible hash of it, instead only managing to form two lines. This allowed the lighter British vessels to face only one enemy volley which the French and Russian faced the volley's of the heavy British ironclads from within and the heavy guns of the older wooden warships from without.

Almost immediately, the battle lines would collapse after the first pass. Hope did not hesitate to issue the "general melee" order and count upon British seamanship to see his sailors through.

Within an hour, it was apparent that the French ironclads of the Provence class were under-armored with only 4 inches of armor at the beltline. Worse, the French vesselss were actually wooden-hulled ships without the excellent flood-prevention upgrades now common to British ships. The upgraded British muzzle-loading cannon easily smashed through this relatively flimsy protection.

The Heroine, the Savoie and the Flandre were sunk outright while the Russian heavy warship Sevastpol was battered so badly she was forced to strike her colors. She sank hours later. Captured after furious battles were the Russian Perventet class Ne Tron Menia and two lighter French ships.

For his part, Admiral Hope lost only the Ocean, one of his heavy wooden ships-of-the-line and a small frigate.

Nearly as humiliating as the French and Russian warships scattered, the following armada of cargo and transport ships bearing 8000 Russian and Greek troops sailed heedlessly forward. One Russian frigate, three transports bearing 3400 men and two cargo ships were seized before the fleet managed to turn away.

It had arguably been the most decisive victory at sea for Britain since Trafalgar and halted allied progress in the eastern Mediterranean.
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Chapter 85
November, 1867


Abraham Lincoln had just spent two hours skimming the litany of legislation proposed by Congress. Virtually overnight, that body seemed to give up on constantly demanding favors and support for every bit of legislation. "Lame Duck" status did have some perks but it also meant that the members of Congress no longer considered Lincoln important enough to bother.

Exhausted with the details of educational reform and distribution of resources on Indian reservations, the President was entirely overjoyed to see John Nicolay escort into Lincoln's office the new Secretary of the Navy Dahlgren, the Swedish ship-builder John Ericsson and an unfamiliar gentleman with a long beard.

Dahlgren had recently retired from the Navy and assumed the mantle of Secretary of the Navy with the retirement of Gideon Welles. Ericsson remained hard at work on the new generation of ocean-going ironclads.....er.....if that was still the name as the hulls would be constructed of steel.

The President warmly embraced the interruption. At least Dahlgren and Ericsson could be counted upon to show him something interesting beyond dry figures.

"Gentlemen," Lincoln shook their hands, "Always welcome. And who is our new friend?"

"Mr. President," Dahlgren nodded, "I have the pleasure of introducing Mr. Robert Whitehead, born of Britain and lately resident of the Austro-Hungarian Empire."

Lincoln nodded and extended his hand to the forty-something. "If you are new to our shores, sir, please be welcomed."

"I am overwhelmed, sir," the Englishman returned, clearly taken aback at being granted an audience by the leader of a vast country. "Though I have only arrived these three weeks, I have been warmly received."

Lincoln signaled the men to sit and settled into his own chair. The efficient Nicolay brought coffee and, obviously as a courtesy to the Englishman, tea.

"What brings you to the Presidential Mansion today, gentlemen?"

Dahlgren explained, "Mr. President, Mr. Whitehead is perhaps the world expert on the self-propelled torpedo. For the past several years, he's been managing a weapons concern in Austria-Hungary and, this year, presented a rather remarkable advancement in the mechanics of the torpedo."

Ericsson broken in, his already thick Swedish accent deepening in excitement, "You may recall, Mr. Lincoln, that the Confederate's used a submersible called the CSS Davis to effect during the Rebellion and the Union countered with the USS Alligator, that last one sank multiple ships in the Chesapeake."

The President nodded. He recalled the excitement at the time but had heard little since regarding submersibles.

"And did the Navy department continue its research in the field?"

Dahlgren nodded. "Yes, sir. Mr. Ericsson and other engineers had been experimenting for the past several years and greatly improved the air pumps, the initial manually propulsion and even have a working prototype of a powered motorized submersible. However, the biggest problem has been the creation of a reliable torpedo. The previous designs required the submersible to maneuver close enough to a ship's hull and affix the torpedo manually. Then the submersible would retreat far enough away and detonate the bomb by wire."

"A very dangerous occupation, if I recall correctly," the President intoned. He'd gone down in a test run of one of the prototypes during the war. Beyond being so cramped his back locked up, the President also had the misery of Mrs. Lincoln's anger for the following week.

"Indeed," Ericsson broke in. "There are also ways to counter the submersible, ideas which we and most of the naval powers of the world have been working on."

Catching the drift, Lincoln inquired wryly, "And Mr. Whitehead here has resolved that problem?"

"More than resolved," Dahlgren replied, "his invention may vastly improve the effectiveness of the torpedoes and safety of the crews. HIs powered torpedo may be launched hundreds of yards from a ship. It has a contact trigger which would automatically explode when reaching the hull of an enemy ship. It also has a mechanism which causes it to stay BELOW THE WATERLINE and strike the areas of the hull beneath the standard iron shielding."

The President was warming to the idea. "Do you have a demonstration for me?"

Dahlgren smiled, "Both of Ericsson's new submersible and Mr. Whitehead's new torpedo. While still both prototypes, the potential is amazing. I am also reviewing a proposal to adapt the Torpedo to be fired from very small, fast gunboats. Such weapons would make blockades very, very difficult in the future."

The President nodded, "And the cost of this research?"

Ericsson was smug, "I've built half a dozen submersibles, kept several engineers, not counting Mr. Whitehead, on permanent staff of these projects and still the total cost of the program is less than it costs to operate a mid-sized ship for a year. Best of all, the small size of the ships and torpedoes would mean that they could be produced vastly more quickly, cheaper and in greater numbers than the ironclads being produced today. In time of war, this could prove quite useful."

Lincoln turned to Whitehead, "Mr. Whitehead, this is your invention. Do you have any qualms with working for a foreign nation on contract?"

Whitehead shrugged, "I had no problem serving Austria, Mr. President, and I certainly would not hesitate to serve England's American cousins. If the royalty agreement Mr. Dahlgren prepared is approved, I'll be happy to continue to develop the torpedoes for your naval office."

"Wonderful, gentlemen. Schedule your demonstration on my calendar. I look forward to witnessing these weapons in action."
Chapter 86
December, 1867


Emperor Napoleon III was not liking the sudden turns in the war. First, Guadeloupe and Martinique had been invaded by superior British forces and may have fallen by this point.

Then, the victories in Cyprus and Crete appears to be have been following by a route at Corfu.

Despite the Emperor's explicit commands, the French and Russian Admirals in Asia remained convinced that any attempt to break the British blockade in Siam would be futile and only result in the destruction of the allied Pacific fleet.

If they don't intend to fight, what was the point of having them? The Emperor thought sarcastically.

Without the capacity to resupply by sea, the French garrison in Bangkok would be starved for munitions and powder while the British could casually prepare for invasion by utilizing their enormous resources in India. This was NOT a winning proposition. A tenuous land-ward resupply would be required through the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia, two new colonies which were hardly under unquestioned control by French forces.

Indeed, the military governor of Bangkok had been forced to summon reinforcements against the anticipated British invasion from Vietnam, Cambodia and the French Sphere of Influence in China. Native troops in each region had been raised and would even now be making their way to Siam under French officers.

Would it be enough?

Even the alliance in South America which France had sponsored and led to victory over Paraguay had come to little as Brazil and Argentina were at one another's throats again and Uruguay had returned to its Civil War.

The British, from their perch in Buenos Aires, were probably laughing.

But not all was lost:

The French forces in Algeria had marched westwards into Morocco. In previous years, the British had steadfastly refused to allow any French or Spanish encroachment upon the North African nation due to its proximity to Great Britain's precious Gibraltar. But, with war already in full swing, nothing halted the French invasion from the east. By Christmas, the French North African forces were expected to reach Fez and Tangiers.

Again, as this was predominantly a land campaign without the benefit of railroads, the stretched logistics of the operation were its greatest danger, not the armies of the Moroccan King.


"I am afraid the facts are clear, Mr. President," Secretary Stanton would grumble through his beard. "There are no shortfall of recorded incidences of voter intimidation or even flatout murder in Tennessee's election to reembody the State Legislature."

Lincoln was morose about the matter though hardly surprised. Texas and Tennessee had been the first two former Confederate States to be granted approval to reform their State Legislatures. This was intended to lead to participation in the national election of 1868.

While Texas passed the initial tests (partially due to the high number of Union soldiers versus the low population, only a minority being pro-Confederate whites (due to black migration, foreign immigration, etc), Tennessee failed miserably. There was no way that Lincoln could validate the election with a straight face.

Of course, this would lead to cries of partisanship from the Democrats, who would almost certainly carry the truncated Tennessee in any election as black Tennesseans now made up less than 25% of the state population due to resettlement West and North.

"This will cause enormous problems, Lincoln mourned. The only vindicating point was that HE probably wouldn't have to deal with it for long as the 1868 election was less than a year away and the Caucus only six months.

It appeared that at least Texas would be returned to fold, though with a much higher German and Freedman population than before. Indeed, the sheer volume of migration to the region was stunning.

Texas would be joined in Congress by six new states: Calusa, Mescalero, Aranama, Yakima, Columbia and Nebraska. Each of these had been granted Statehood in the past months and called their first State Legislatures the past November. While there were some cases of intimidation, particularly in Calusa, Lincoln did not believe than the votes should be reversed. Even in Calusa, there was a general position that the Freedmen were more intimidating to the Whites (the former being more numerous and backed by the army).
But not all was lost:

The French forces in Algeria had marched westwards into Morocco. In previous years, the British had steadfastly refused to allow any French or Spanish encroachment upon the North African nation due to its proximity to Great Britain's precious Gibraltar. But, with war already in full swing, nothing halted the French invasion from the east. By Christmas, the French North African forces were expected to reach Fez and Tangiers.

Again, as this was predominantly a land campaign without the benefit of railroads, the stretched logistics of the operation were its greatest danger, not the armies of the Moroccan King.
SMH, Napoleon III is showing Romanov levels of being out of touch with reality when he believes an invasion into Morocco would be a great stab into the British Empire when Morocco holds no British bases and is not aligned with the nation. Unless the Franco-Russian Alliance manages to launch an invasion of Egypt or somehow connect Russia to India then the British Empire is going to remain untouched and time will be Britain's ally in the pursuit of victory as France and Russia's economies fall.
So the French and Russians are maintaining a naval siege around Korea while they’re at war with Britain?

Calling it a naval siege is probably overstating it. I'm talking about a few secondary ships and a few hundred soldiers on Gangwa Island. The "Hermit Kingdom" would be unable to dislodge them.
Chapter 87
February, 1868


With the Republican Party Caucus scheduled for May, the Democrats opted to pull theirs forward to April to give additional time to agree upon the Platform and candidates.

Naturally, the politicking had already commenced. To the shock of virtually everyone, two of the top candidates removed themselves from consideration:

Stephen Douglas had become quite ill in the past year and announced that he was not yet able to run. Others cannily pointed out that Douglas' "illness" coincided with an election which the Illinoisian the Democrats had "no hope of winning".

Similarly, General Winfield Scott Hancock, a popular Democrat with an impeccable reputation as a Unionist but also respected "states' rights". However, at only 44 years and never holding public office, he was advised by no less an expert as Douglas that gaining the nomination of a doomed election may doom his political career from the start.

This would leave a fairly shallow group of nominees in April. The names near the top were somewhat shocking:

Clement Vallandigham was the leader of the "Copperheads", midwestern Democrats sympathetic to the South, and was effectively exiled to Canada for nearly two years. Now out of office (he lost reelection badly in 1862), Vallandigham would form a Corp of "Redeemers" who of Northern Democrats who refused to acknowledge the propriety of the war. This was intended to, of course, bring in Southern Democrats as well and Vallandigham spent much of the past four years deriding Lincoln's refusal to return the Confederate states to the political fold.

The other frontrunner, if one could call it that as such an early stage, was a man who had been a key member of the Republicans over the past few decade (and a Radical one at that).

Salmon Chase had served as Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury for 4 years and then 4 years on the Supreme Court. In that time, he'd not only greatly served the country but in-exhaustively served his own ambitions for President. Lincoln finally got tired of this and replaced him in 1864.

While still a staunch believer in Freedman's rights, Chase somehow drifted back to the Democrats and offered an "anti-slavery" wing of the Democratic Party a standard bearer. Unlike Vallandigham, nobody ever accused Chase of being a traitor. He WAS however accused of not being a Democrat.

Other men would put their names forward in the next months, but the stark lack of candidates around whom a party may rally was not looking good.


Napoleon III was livid. While his attempts to lure Spain into the anti-British coalition had predictably failed, that didn't bother the Emperor much.

However, seeing his "client states" of the Northwest German Confederation and the Kingdom of Italy abjectly reject entreaties to join the war....or even provide some resources....was somewhat disconcerting. The King of Hanover stated to the effect that "France's Emperor got his country into this without German assistance, he can get it out without German assistance". The King of Italy effectively demanded that France hand over pieces of North Africa seized in the past few decades, namely those lands west of France and Russia's "ally" Egypt. France had taken Cyrenaica and Tripolitania after the collapse of the Ottoman and certainly would not give it up.

Still, the French Navy still had a slight edge in Ironclads as the first two of the 3500 ton displacement Alma-Class (the Alma and the Almide) had been commissioned in the past two months as had the newly 7000 ton displacement French ironclad, the Ocean (the first of her class).

These would salve some of the sting of losing four Ironclads at Corfu.

Of course, the Emperor had other problems. While the massed ironclads of all three fleets - Britain, France and Russia - were largely concentrated in the Mediterranean, the older, lighter warships of the Royal Navy were picking apart the allied counterparts in the North Sea, the North Atlantic and the Caribbean.

Reports of fading French resistance in Guadeloupe and Martinique were reaching the press (those newspapers were naturally shut down).

Thus far, the only victories of the war for the allies were Cyprus and Crete. However, those islands were largely now held by Greek and Russian troops and the King of Greece, presumably with Russian approval, announced "enosis" with Greece. Neither "ally" had bothered to discuss this with the Emperor.

Granted, the true gain of Cyprus and Crete was the removal of those islands as British bases, but the war had not gained France itself anything at the moment.

The Emperor could only hope that the battle of Siam was going well. If not....then what was the point?

A desire to make gains in Africa was part of the impetus of this war. Morocco was the last major non-French client in North Africa. If Britain could be separated from her bases in the Mediterranean, then the Sea would become little more than a French lake.

In the meantime, the Foreign Minister would announce that the French (and Russian) attempts to encourage insurrection in India had failed miserably. With total British domination of the Indian Ocean (at least west of Indochina), there was little opportunity to deliver arms and....much more importantly.....few rebel contacts to whom to deliver them. Any Rajas of the subcontinent still on their thrones owed this to their loyalty to the British crown. Beyond finding some random unhappy peasants and giving them weapons, there was no real path to formenting rebellion.

If India was to rebel again....it would be entirely on THEIR terms, not the Emperors.