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

Chapter 132
September, 1873

Southern France

Within hours of the French armada emerged from their ports of Marseille, Nice and other southern French harbors, fast vessels bearing the Union Jack were steaming towards British fleets at the ready outside of Malta, Gibraltar and Algiers.

The sheer scale of the French consolidation of their naval resources had made a British blockading squadron impractical. However, once the French intent was clear, ships were quietly drawn from the Channel Fleet and the former Suez Blockading squadron to augment the Royal Navy forces in the western Mediterranean.

The lumbering French fleet, slowed by the transports and cargo ships, would plod southward. Their destination had only been given hours before sailing in sealed orders, only to be opened when on the high seas.

The French General Staff decided that Oran's harbor was large enough to handle the invasion force and the defenses still weak from the previous siege.

Only a few hours shy of Oran, the French fleet encountered the first British vessels. Led by the Ocean-Class Marango and Suffren, the French fleet consisted of ten ironclads and fourteen other warships.

The initial British vessels to cross swords with the French were from the Algiers blockade squadron. Gambling that Algiers was NOT the French destination, the commander took the risk of taking most of his fleet with him and steamed directly northwest. Whether by skill or luck, Rear Admiral Alexander Milne spied the smoke of a vast number ships and, knowing that word was being spread to the Malta and Gibraltar fleets as well, decided to engage in hopes of scattering the French or at least slowing them down.

From his flagship HMS Lord Clyde, the Admiral led his five ironclads and four other vessels directly into the French vanguard. The initial clash between Milne and his French opposite number would largely be a draw. What the Frenchman did not realize what that Milne was not interested in exchanging blows. Instead, he continued steaming northwesterly toward the transports. Milne's instructions were to halt the invasion. That meant stopping the French soldiers from landing. The French Line, expecting the British to turn about and face them again for another volley, was caught out of position.

Milne's attack would transform the already disorganizing convoy into a chaotic fleet fleeing in all directions. The French rear guard, consisting of 10 additional warships, had been positioned to cut off any attack from Gibraltar or Malta. Seeing their charges in danger, the French warships steamed forward to intercept. This time, the British vessels were forced to engage and the line broke into a series of 1x1 battles.

But Milne's attack had accomplished its purpose. The French fleet was disorganized and it took hours for even a majority to regather. This gave the British Gibraltar and Malta squadrons time to arrive. Sailing from opposite directions, the British ships now totaled 31 warships, outnumbering the French. Witnessing the chaos before them, the British commanders simply gave the "general melee" signal and effectively gave every Captain authorization to engage at will.

Led by the Devastation (recently arrived from the Channel Fleet), the Gibraltar squadron would tear apart two Alma-class ironclads and promptly seized seven French transports and cargo ships. By this point, dozens of these civilian ships turned and fled back to France.

The Malta fleet, led by the Swiftsure and Triumph, would concentrate most of their fire on the French warships, effectively saving Milne's beleaguered and outnumbered squadron.

Only nighttime ended the carnage. The morning would find the French fleet shuffling towards Marseille, the French warships shepherding their flock back to safety.

Despite the heavy beating taken by a dozen warships on either side, only four ships had been sunk or taken (3 French ships taken and 1 British vessel sunk).

The attempt to regain French North Africa was over.
Chapter 133
October, 1873


The disastrous event in North Africa would be the final straw for many French politicians, officials, officers and civilians. The riots would lead to an impromptu coup d'etat in Paris. Several Regimental commanders, urged by Republican leaders, declared the Empire at an end.

Emperor Napoleon III would be in Marseille at this point, overseeing the redistribution of the French forces repelled from North Africa. He would race northwards at the head of a large body of "loyalist" troops.

In early November, the two forces met south of Paris and the Emperor's forces suffering a shock defeat. The Republicans would swiftly declare the Empire at an end.

This would be somewhat premature as, a few weeks, the Emperor managed to summon enough loyal forces to retake Paris in early November.


Learning of the deposition of Napoleon III, the British cabinet rejoiced. It was another piece of good news to go with the disaster ongoing in India.

Disraeli immediately offered an armistice with France (hinting that France would receive a favorable treat as a Republic). However, the swift return of Napoleon III to power prevented any serious negotiations.


Cut off from reinforcements, the French forces in Indochina would dig into their ports, praying that the British Raj does not redirect the resources they'd been sending against the Russians in Afghanistan. More than a few opined that the British Raj could easily have taken Siam, Cambodia and Vietnam away from the French with only modest effort.

In the midst of all this chaos, the fact of Chinese forces invading the "Concession" territories of both France AND Great Britain. Now armed with western weapons, only a good financial footing and the western devils now more inclined to fight each other than China, the Mandarin chose this moment to strike.

The French Concessions of Shanghai and Tianjin would fall swiftly, so denuded with soldiers that they could not put up a fight.

The British Concessions were even more sparsely defended and most would fall quickly - Tianjin, Hankou, Jiujang, Zhenjiang, Guangzhou, Amoy and Dalian were all seized over the winter of 1873/74.

With the British Raj in chaos, the foreign influence was erased with remarkable speed.

Only the American Shanghai "international" Concession would be retained and that was due to negotiation by the American Council. American warships had been sold to China for years, allowing for their victory over the Japanese. The Americans, on behalf of the other nations in this grouping of foreign extra-territorial neighborhood, would agree to remove some of the more odious condition imposed in the Chinese. Instead, the region would take on the legal characteristics of an embassy.

In modern China, foreigners no longer made the rules.
Well there goes any chance of any French government retaking North Africa in the foreseeable future. I doubt Napoleon III will hang on for long. His prestige must be wrecked and he has no foreign allies.
Chapter 134
December, 1873


Congress formally approved Colorado's admission to the Union by a wide margin. The State Legislature would be elected in early 1874 and the state would vote in the next Congressional Election.

Tennessee and North Carolina would also be granted authorization to run a full state electoral election in early 1873. IF the election went without problems, then the formal readmission to the Union would be considered by Congress.


Having been briefly ousted from Paris by Republican forces, Napoleon III would be roused again from his bed by another riot. He fled the city until order could be restored.

By this point, the Emperor had realized the depth of his unpopularity.

He needed to do something to regain the public acclaim.

And soon.


Benjamin Disraeli would hear nothing but bad news from the Subcontinent. The backbenchers were already restive and calls for a new election were turning to bellows.

Disraeli's government had done all it could to dispatch resources from Europe to India. Whether it would be enough would determine the future of his government.


Czar Alexander II would take the time in the winter of 1873 to visit the true shrine of his Reign. He had liberated the Holy City of Constantinople.

Over the past years, the population of the city had recovered from the expulsion of the Turks. Russians were in the plurality but not majority. There remained a large number of Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians and Jews but the Czar was confident he had these under control.

While the government remained in firm control, individuals remained quite independent. A group of anarchists and republicans would attempt an assassination outside of the Hagia Sophia itself. A series of bombs were thrown at his carriage but the poor aim of the would-be assassins (somewhat inebriated) would fail them and only two of the Czar's horses and his coachman were hit.

Three of the five attempted regicides were caught on the spot and the two others would be rounded up in the next few days. Three were Russian, one Jewish and one Polish.

The Russian press would seize hold of the "Jewish" and "Polish" aspects and the general Russian population would place primary blame upon those ethnic groups.

It was hardly the first assassination attempt on the Czar nor would it be the last.
Map of North America - 1874
Fenians - 1873 - North America.png
Chapter 135
January, 1874


Months of debate regarding the Pueblo Territory, the rough border with Mescalero and the ongoing debate of settlement in Wichita would finally be resolved in early 1874.

The disputed northern Mescalero would go to a new territory, Comancheria, as would the northern (considered more arable) portion of Pueblo.

In compensation, Mescalero would receive the southern half of the now defunct Pueblo Territory.

The settlement of western Wichita also was proceeding so quickly that it seemed inevitable that that territory would reach statehood soon. Large quantities of land had been procured from the various tribes and used to settle Freedmen. By 1874, Federal Law would also prohibit the further sale of tribal land regardless of if it was freely offered by the tribes. By this point, the large reservations had been reduced to a small portion of the Wichita Territory (roughly 20% of the territory's total land, mostly in the east).

In the meantime, Columbia and Yakima had been arguing back and forth about which held claim to Vancouver Island.


Bengal had been a hotspot in the past Mutiny and would be so again.

But the rebellions, riots and civil disobedience would reach much further than northeastern India this time.

Huge numbers of Indians in the cities protested and rioted. Even the country peasants, who seldom grasped geopolitics, would join the events by refusing to pay taxes or other acts of defiance.

While there were few major battles akin to the previous Mutiny, the entire affair appeared more....virulent....than the last.


Aided by British artillery and the constant blockade, the French resistance in Algiers finally collapsed. The precedent had been made that the Berber-Arabs would allow the French forces and civilians to depart via neutral shipping (usually Italian).

This would be the final nail in the coffin of Emperor Napoleon III.


Napoleon III was desperately looking for any kind of victory....not just for leverage on the negotiating table with Britain....but to pacify his outraged countrymen. The Emperor's errors had been manifest for years and they threatened the monarchy itself.

In hopes of placating the nation, Napoleon III pursued many public relations ploys including leaking "proposed alliances" with Italy, a joint "invasion" of India with Russia and absorbing Luxembourg directly into France (despite treaty assurances this would not happen). The latter was important as the German Confederation had not been happy with the sale of the Duchy of Luxembourg to the Emperor.

Emperor Napoleon had ordered several Corps to chase some rebel units toward Lyon. He was reading the report when the news of the fall of Algiers reached his office.

By that point, rumors abounded throughout France of the loss of their Empire. Several local units promptly revolted and threw in with the Republicans.

Once more, Napoleon III would flee the capital for the countryside.
It might be a detail, no real importance to the story but it’s been bugging for a while : the main French military port in the Mediterranean is in Toulon, not Marseille.
It might be a detail, no real importance to the story but it’s been bugging for a while : the main French military port in the Mediterranean is in Toulon, not Marseille.

Never mind Shymer, the author is clueless when it comes to European armies and navies of the period. Just enjoy the ride.
Never mind Shymer, the author is clueless when it comes to European armies and navies of the period. Just enjoy the ride.
I accepted this a long time ago, especially since the British were just total morons in their war with America. It's an Ameri-wank, so it isn't meant to make a ton of sense.
Chapter 136
February, 1874

The Hague

Though the King of the Netherlands had offered to host a peace conference, only the British showed up. The French appeared to be too busy to make an appearance.

Despite the apparent French Civil War ravaging that country, the British oddly had not seen overly many boons to the situation. Britain had already taken most of the few remaining French possessions in the western hemisphere (Senegal) or helped the natives overthrow them (North Africa).

With the subcontinent-wide unrest ongoing in India, the British were not interested in further conflict with the French. There was literally nothing left to gain unless Britain wanted to invade the French possessions in Indochina. With less than adequate control over India, using the available British forces in assaulting the French was nothing short of impossible.

Therefore, oddly, the British were eager for a formal peace.


Having fled the city once again in January, the Emperor would call upon his regional commanders stationed along the Channel and those forces which had been repulsed from Africa.

It would turn out these men had come to hate the Emperor as much as the Paris mob. Several high-ranking officers joined the Government under Leon Gambetta and proclaim a Republic.

Seeking any scrap of political support, the Emperor would proclaim that the Duchy of Luxembourg officially annexed to France. He also proclaimed that he would regain "all that France had lost".

Even the most ardent pro-Imperialists laughed at the latter.

Only the Germans paid attention to the former.

March, 1874


With spring maneuvers scheduled for the following month, the German Confederation debated what to do with the Emperor's proclamation that the Duchy of Luxembourg, still officially a part of the German Confederation after its sale by the King of the Netherlands, was to be absorbed into France.

In truth, the tensions with France had been rising for years, even as the German states feuded internally. The French treatment of Germans in Alsace and Lorraine had long been a sore point and now the Emperor would openly state he was tearing up his treaty with the German Confederation.

It was also quite obvious that the French Empire, now ridden with divisions after years of economic collapse, was as weak as it ever would be.

Though they loathed one another, the King of Hanover, King of Prussia and Emperor of Austria knew that this may be the only chance they would ever get to lay low the French.

When the joint Army maneuvers of 1874 commenced in April, they would be ready to travel a bit further.

Von Moltke, who had served the Prussian King so well, would dust off one of his many, many contingency plans developed over the years for an attack on France.

He prayed that the damned Emperor would be so kind as to continue fighting the Republicans just long enough for the Germans to make their move.

He also prayed that none of the three powers of the Confederation didn't take the opportunity to stab the rest of the German states in the back.


Seeing that the British were apparently not coming back to invade Afghanistan, the bulk of the Russian forces billeted in the foreboding mountains were given the euphoric news that they were going home.

This confirmed what few British politicians were prepared to accept: that the Russians never had the slightest intention of invading India.


Augmented by her new warships purchased from the United States and her victory over the Japanese a few years prior, the Mandarin was secure enough in his own borders to outlaw the import of opium....but not its use. The taxes on domestic opium production were simply too valuable. He also placed tariffs on European and American imports, something effectively forbidden under the old "unequal treaties".

The exports of silk, tea, porcelain and other traditional Chinese exports would be joined by large amounts of coal, iron and other goods for the world market which soon outpaced imports. The century-long drain of silver (opium derived) from China had finally stopped.


The Emperor of Japan, Meiji, had spent a decade attempting to bring his country under control. The old Domain system was abolished over the years and the central government assumed control over the army, navy, educational system and other key facets of Japanese life.

Despite the chaos occasionally cropping up in his country, the destruction of the Shogunate ensured no concerted resistance against him.

The Emperor, like his advisors, would see the rapid industrialization ongoing throughout the world and know how easy it would be to be overrun by foreigners. Even mighty China had spent half a century in humiliating subservience.

For Japan to continue to exist independently, the nation must have resources, resources not in abundance at home beyond a modest coal and iron supply.

The interest in the Joseon Kingdom over the past years were a result of discoveries of coal and iron in the northern Joseon Kingdom. Unfortunately, this was not overly promising as the Kingdom was a nominal client of China and Russia was looking increasingly for influence.

However, there WERE other options to support Japan's industrialization program, regions without strong defenders.
Chapter 137
May, 1874

Western Germany

The demand of the German Confederation that Emperor Napoleon III and the Republican faction back off on plans to annex Luxembourg were, rather predictably, ignored. The French had their own Civil War and couldn't be bothered by foreigners.

The British appeared willing to allow the French to settle this themselves as they concentrated upon their own problems in India.

No one really believed that the feuding German states would actually cooperate enough to make them dangerous. However, the traditional game of oneupsmanship continued to the present day as none of the three leading German states - Austria, Prussia and Hanover - were inclined to look weak before the rest of the Confederation.

In the end, the Germans agreed to act during their spring maneuvers.

General Von Moltke was considered one of the best staff officers to every grace Berlin. His fame and reputation was so high than many of the competing German states did not want him to command the Confederation armies for fear it would give Prussia a leg up.

But the stakes were too high to avoid giving a talented soldier and planner of Von Moltke's stature a key spot at the table. Von Moltke spent the previous two years reviewing the transportation and supply system of the Confederation, two key aspects of war which tended to be ignored until too late.

He also had been placed in charge of strategy. If the Confederation were to war against a neighbor - Italy, Russia, Denmark, France, etc, or any combination of these - a plan must be in place to achieve victory. No nation on earth had managed to create a General Staff as efficient as the Prussians and Von Moltke ensured that this was transferred to the Confederation.

Carrying capacity of the railroads moving west were carefully studied, supply depots set up in ideal places and, in May, the German Confederation dispatched 250,000 soldiers westward in one lurching movement.

The German Confederation Army would largely follow nationality up to the Corps level but the higher ranks had been specifically chosen for the purpose of avoiding placing too many high-ranking officers of one nation (Prussia) in command.

The supply problems, though addressed as well as any army could expect in this day and age, would be stressed almost immediately. Many units still used the old Dreyse Needle Guns but others had been updated to Mausers and Werders. This created complexity in the supply process.

The outstanding line of Krupp Cannon had largely replaced the aging muzzle-loaders, with a few exceptions.

The old adage that "an army marches on its stomach" had not changed in centuries...or millennia.

Never before had such a challenge been undertaken: a group of bickering small nations united to take on a giant of Europe.

When the first Germans crossed the border, they were alone. Their only ally would be France's internal division.


First Lord of the Treasury Disraeli would spend months attempting to prevent contentious legislation from reaching the floor of Parliament. One vote of no confidence could sink the government.

For the most part, Britain had not come off badly in this war. They'd made a few gains at French expense like Senegal and New Caledonia....and caused far more pain to the enemy by aiding the Moroccans to lead the Magreb in rebellion. Negotiating a transference of Egyptian alliance from France to Britain was a coup worthy of song.

But even the THREAT to India greatly outweighed any conceivable gains.

Losing India meant losing the true value of the Empire.

It could not be allowed.

While rumors of German discontent at the presumed annexation of Luxembourg had been batted around for years, Disraeli never truly believed that the squabbling Germans could possibly act in unison.

He certainly didn't believe they'd act without British alliance or assistance.

Disraeli had been wrong often lately.
Chapter 138
June, 1874


The expected riots emerged after President Hamlin announced that, once again, the March State Legislature elections had not been free and fair, as the law demands. Shops were looted, public officials were targeted and, most of all, the Freedmen community was blamed. However, by 1874, the Freedmen were almost universally armed with repeating rifles and "raiders" who arrived in the night would often face a rather sharp welcome.

Against the odds, the North Carolina elections were deemed suitable fair and that State was to be welcomed back into the Union via the November Congressional election.

Like much of the south, large numbers of soldiers were billeted in North Carolina under the auspices of the Department of Reconstruction. Over half these soldiers were Freedmen themselves and would take exceptional interest in ensuring their own people were not marginalized.

Northeastern France

The French forces had been caught completely flat-footed by the German invasion. No one, perhaps not even the German Confederation itself, had believed that enough unity, much less effective collaboration, would be possible in a relatively short span of time.

France, in 1874, possessed roughly, 350,000 soldiers. About 50,000 of those were in prison camps in North Africa or living a tenuous existence in Indochina.

That left roughly 300,000 professionals....100,000 almost evenly split between the two warring sides: Republicans and Imperialists.

The other 100,000 were billeted in remote barracks, their officers receiving repeated demands to march from BOTH sides.

Napoleon III had retreated....again....to Lyon with the bulk of his supporters.

The Republicans under Leon Gambetta had at least momentary control over Paris. Other cities were split. The southern coastal cities had largely fallen to the rebels. The northern and western cities more or less imperial.

As 200,000 Germans poured across the border, the French forces, aligned to fight one another, found themselves at odds. The northeastern border with Luxembourg collapsed almost immediately as the Duchy fell. It helped that the French (neither Imperial nor Republican) had actually occupied Luxembourg before they announced its annexation to France. Unsurprisingly, the Luxembourgish people were less than sanguine about this plan and actively threw their support to the Germans.
Though Alsace and Lorraine were also primary objectives of the German invasion, the Prussian strategist Von Moltke instead sought to gain those after the fact. He wanted to end the war quickly and, to do that, he needed Paris.

Thus, the German invasion would not see significant resistance in the opening days except in the most northern border fortresses, at Thorville. And even here, the Germans simply besieged the fortresses whenever possible rather than pause to take them. Von Moltke's strategy rested upon one thing: speed.

And possible MORE SPEED.

The northeastern border of France was perhaps her Achilles Heel. With fewer significant natural barriers like mountains and wide rivers, the French monarchy had, for centuries, south to expand into the region to protect her weakest point. Huge expenses for fortifications were justified along the Rhine and the Army of the Rhine under General Bazaine (of Mexico fame), was never left wanting for anything.

However, these fortifications would prove less than useful in the case of an invasion occurring during a French Civil War. Many of the officers commanding the border fortresses from Thorville to Strasbourg had yet to declare for one side or the other. Thus, no concerted French resistance came in the hours and days following the German strike through Luxembourg. The French were found entirely on the backfoot.

Once into France, the Germany army split into three sections:

1. 60,000 men doubled back to catch the frontier garrisons along the border from behind and cut them off from supply. These enormous border fortresses from Thorville to Metz to Strasbourg would halt virtually any direct assault cold. However, the flanking maneuver caught them by surprise. The great fortresses became prisons as the French lacked the manpower to break out on their own. And communication between individual fortifications proved almost impossible once the Germans seized Alsace and the Moselle. These French forces numbered perhaps 70,000.

2. A second force of 45,000 swerved further south, this one intending to stall or hold the next largest discrete army in France, those 75,000 or so directly under the Emperor's command, from either halting the march on Paris or breaking free the Army of the Rhine. Unfortunately for the French, the Emperor would waste a great deal of time attempting to assume control over his own officers, many of whom were professions from the various wars over the two decades (Crimea, Mexico, Italy, North Africa, Indochina, Prussia, etc.). Generals MacMahan and Trochu would seen be livid at the Emperor counter-manding their orders. However, the Emperor fancied himself a military expert and demanded command of the army.

3. The final army of 95,000 men would head directly for Paris with orders not to stop for anything. This force found the "Republican" army of 70,000 milling about the Capital as few of the highest ranking Generals had thrown in with the Republicans.

The majority of the remaining French forces were largely mired in outlying garrisons, jealously guarding their commands from enemy forces. Indeed, so disorganized were the Republican forces that they barely had formed ranks outside of Paris when the Germans arrived within sight of the Capital.

Perhaps the only break the French would receive in this battle was that a few intelligent rail operatives were quick-witted enough to halt all rail traffic and sabotage the lines running towards the border. Had this not occurred, it would have been possible for the Germans to reach Paris in less than a day.
The expected riots emerged after President Hamlin announced that, once again, the March State Legislature elections had not been free and fair, as the law demands. Shops were looted, public officials were targeted and, most of all, the Freedmen community was blamed. However, by 1874, the Freedmen were almost universally armed with repeating rifles and "raiders" who arrived in the night would often face a rather sharp welcome.

Against the odds, the North Carolina elections were deemed suitable fair and that State was to be welcomed back into the Union via the November Congressional election.

Like much of the south, large numbers of soldiers were billeted in North Carolina under the auspices of the Department of Reconstruction. Over half these soldiers were Freedmen themselves and would take exceptional interest in ensuring their own people were not marginalized.
Get it in your heads, people. You lost the damn civil war, slavery is gone, and this is a new era. The Federal government has been patient, lenient even. Either get over it, or keep living underneath martial law.
Chapter 139
July, 1874


It had taken nearly a decade but the trio of Belgian adjudicators would agree that Labrador rightfully belonged to Newfoundland. The lands had never been conquered by the United States in the Anglo-American War of 1862. It was Quebecois manpower which had seized it after the war and Britain and Newfoundland agreed to arbitration with Quebec.

The primary contention was that the Newfoundlanders had never even explored beyond the shorelines and had never taken custody of the remote and cold region populated by sparse tribes of natives. Beyond forestry and some recent indications of mining potential, Labrador wasn't worth much to anyone and the Quebecois didn't contest the decision. It would be like losing your claim to Antarctica. Big deal.

In truth, the Newfoundlanders' attention had been directed towards renewed British attempts to forge some sort of Commonwealth with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The last time the British attempted to encouraged Federation had failed miserably with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick indifferent and Newfoundland hostile to the idea.

The obvious reason for the renewed push from London was the transparent attempt to unify the Maritimes against America. Given that America now outnumbered the Maritimes' combined population by about 60 to 1, Federation or not probably not factor much into a war between America and the Maritimes.

The idea would go nowhere again.


Throughout the subcontinent, the British authorities were.....ever so slowly....restoring order. The overstretched British army would eventually put down the worst of the violent flareups.

But fighting the Indians was proving far easier than governing them.

By summer, 1874, the 2nd Indian Mutiny had spread across the continent, encouraging participation from all aspects of society. Urban Indians from all faiths would unite in daily protests and demands for political representation. The rail stations ground to a halt as the civic workers refused to show up for work. The bulk of the British Indian Army and Navy continued to strike, refusing to leave their quarters.

By the spring, the British officials had learned the folly of attempting to force the Indians to suppress their own people. A British officer in the Deccan, outraged at his Regiment refusing to leave their barracks, would arrest the party of soldiers chosen by their comrades to present a petition for reform and promptly had them whipped before the regiment. A riot broke out in which 16 Britons and 30 Indian soldiers were killed or wounded.

Mass desertion become common as whole regiments simply....evaporated.

Educated Indians would rally the population with passionate speeches, ones which would evoke British memories of American and Irish secessionists over the the past century. Many would be summarily arrested...but this usually only brought about more violence.

Rural Indians, kept largely ignorant of the events of the greater world, were approached for the first time by their urban cousins and urged to refuse to pay taxes.

Calls emerged throughout the country for a boycott of all British-made good.

Even large numbers of the famous Indian Civil Service began to defect by the hundreds to the calls for reform.

The only consistent supporters of the British Raj in India would prove to be the assorted Princes themselves. A century of successful British expansion by seizing the thrones of recalcitrant Indian monarchs had led to direct British rule over most of India and indirect through Princes more akin to puppets than truly independent monarchies. These men knew the cost of defying the British and quietly did what their British appointed "advisors" told them to do. However, there was no mistaking the glee in the eyes of many Indian Princes at the prospect that maybe....just maybe....they may reclaim their own autonomy for the first time in generations.

In later summer of 1874, the Indians were elated to find that Sir John Lawrence, who had been viewed as sympathetic to the Indian people in his first term as Viceroy, had been reappointed to the position.

Benjamin Disraeli had spent the past year in a virtual panic and had come to Lawrence (who had spoken against Disraeli's Afghanistan policy) for advice. Lawrence bluntly stated that the people of India were swiftly reaching the point where they were inclined to obey a foreign power without representation. If there was any hope for peaceful British governance of India, the higher classes must be involved in government.

The Disraeli government had, only with much persuasion, agreed to a series of reforms. Lawrence was empowered to increase the number of Indians in Civil Service (and equalize their pay with British administrators), add several Indians to the Imperial Council, expand University education on the subcontinent, create a new officer's college for Indian Army and Navy personnel (previously the natives were limited to the rank of Subedar Major), eliminate any hindrances on Indian promotions, etc, etc.

The breadth of the proposals stunned many corners of British society, including many members of Disraeli's own party.

It was in this moment that the Gladstone faction made its move.


Despite crowing of seizing French territories (New Caledonia, Senegal, etc) and effectively costing France much of their Empire, this was not the same as Britain gaining much of anything for a long expensive war.

Defeat in Afghanistan could not be disguised. The fact that Russia DID NOT march from the hills into India brought into question the entire purpose of the war. The disaster in Afghanistan led to a greater catastrophe in India. The loss of control in India led to the British Concessions in China being cancelled.

Gaining Senegal and New Caledonia did little to offset these problems.

However, it would not be the war (at least directly) which would bring down the Disraeli Government. It would be Ireland.

Having successfully avoided any contentious legislation in Ireland, the Irish MP's, which had long tended to support the Tories, would finally cross party lines to Gladstone's Liberals in a vote of no confidence when Gladstone promised to make "Home Rule" a cornerstone of the Liberal Party platform.

This was just enough to bring down the Tories.

A new election was called for the fall, one which would see Gladstone once more thrown back into power.
Chapter 140
August, 1874


Years after the nominal seizure of Siam, the French still had not truly established domination of the hinterlands. Having been effectively cut off for years, the 15,000 French personnel were gradually worn down with years of rebellion. Over 6000 of the 15,000 French personnel had died since the commencement of the war (about 2000 to battle and 4000 to disease).

French control over the coastal areas began to fray until thousands of Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Siamese sepoys rebelled en masse over lack of pay. This encouraged the general population of Bangkok to rise up and forced the French garrison from their final safe bastion.

The King of Siam, having retreated to the hills years before, would arrive in Bangkok in September, reestablishing the Monarchy.


Though European politics baffled the Mandarin Court in Beijing, there were enough foreign advisors (often mercenary sailors and soldiers from Europe and America) and a core of teachers and industrialists attempting to bring China into the 19th century who pointed out just how weak the French position was in Vietnam.

Empress Dowager Cixi had effectively ruled China in the name of her young son, the eighteen year old Tongzhi Emperor. A cunning and aggressive leader, she supported technological innovation but had no interest in other western ideas.

It had been Cixi who had supported the "Self-Strengthening Movement" and the purchase of foreign weapons and ships. While not a military-minded bureaucrat, Cixi was aware that the French weakness due to the British war ensured that the modest garrisons in southern Vietnam could not be reinforced. Long a Chinese tributary state, China had given up any authority over Vietnam years before when the western nations humiliated China in the Opium Wars and forcing China open with Concessions.

In 1873, Cixi had sent a message to Emperor Tu Duc. The latter's loathing of Christian missionaries had led to an ineffective war in which he ceded southern Vietnam directly to France as a colony and accepted French "protectorate" status for the rest of his Kingdom.

The Vietnamese Emperor was eager for any aid from abroad. He was quite certain his throne only existed as long as the French allowed it.

Over the past decade, the Empress had purchased foreign ships, cannon, etc and brought in advisors to produce of the same at home. Finally back on a respectable financial footing, China was able to afford a great deal of military aid.

This included several modern vessels at a time when France's Pacific Fleet had not been supplied in over a year.

Led by two-recently purchased Kalamazoo-class ships, the Chinese fleet would descend upon Saigon. The French fleet, by 1874, had been reduced to only two operable Ironclads (two more had suffered engine trouble and had been in drydock for over a year as they awaited new engines from Europe).

The Battle of Saigon was something of a confused affair. The French would lose the Province-Class Revanche and the Alma-Class Thetis in the battle, their only two functional ironclads. However, the other heavy French ships were able to fight off the remnant of the battered Chinese navy.

The French held the harbor....but the Chinese/Vietnamese invasion from the north would soon leave the 10,000 French soldiers and their 20,000 Sepoys of increasingly dubious loyalty in a terrible position as their supplies had long since started to run low. The Sepoys would commence deserting in droves and soon the French governor would be forced to recall virtually all his forces to the Saigon region.

Phnom Penh , Cambodia

King Norodom had initially agreed to a "protectorate" agreement with France in order to protect his throne from his enemies. Years later, he had effectively become a French puppet.

With the example of the Siamese revolt, the King would summon his supporters to slaughter the French administrators controlled his customs, taxes, etc.

With only a handful of French troops in the country, there was little that the French could do....beyond bombard the Royal Palace with local gunboats stationed off of Phnom Penh. While King Norodom grieved for the loss of his palace, he considered it a fair trade to be rid of the French.

The King even approved allowed the handful of French soldiers, civilians, missionaries, etc to depart his country in peace (though some were ripped to pieces by mobs). Eventually, with no support to be had by land, the French would sail to the only safe harbor....Saigon.
I wonder if Germany is going to unite in this war, with the Emperor of Austria as Emperor of Germany and a careful balance of power between Austria, Hanover, and Prussia as the Big Three and the smaller German states.