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

Chapter 38
  • Late May, 1863

    The St. Lawrence south of Montreal

    General Hooker's initial attempt to bluff the city of Montreal into surrender were not accepted....he no doubt knew. The British commanders of the region would refuse such an idea and prattle about glory and what-have-you. The Americans would have bee no different.

    Reminding the British and Canadians that the city of Montreal was defenseless against American artillery was a bit more straightforward. Not naturally gifted by geography, Montreal could easily be shelled into submission (or annihilation).

    In truth, Hooker was delaying as well for two events to occur:

    1. The heavy American siege artillery arrived by land through the woods south of the city. The Grand Trunk Railway had been effectively sabotaged by the retreating British and would be useless for at least most of the summer until replacement track could be laid. Thus moving the heavy guns took time.

    2. His men to acquire or build enough boats along the St. Lawrence to cross the river in force.

    To his surprise, Hooker was approached by the city fathers of Montreal. As the leading city in Canada, most of the wealthiest citizens lived on the island, usually on huge estates. The civilian government had managed to convince the British not to garrison the island. If America would accept, then the city would be considered "neutral".

    Hooker and Lee considered this. It had been their assumption that that the island city would have to be conquered. However, taking the island would do relatively little to achieve their true objective....cutting Canada in half. For that, they had to get to the north face of the St. Lawrence.

    The conquest of the city would only slow the Americans down. Its destruction would likely have the same emotional impact on Canadian sensitivities as Britain's torching of Manhattan. In short, Montreal didn't mean much.

    Indeed the soldiers wondered just how the hell the Canadians had managed to get that past the British. Hooker opined that maybe the Queen's representatives were being held in low esteem after starting this war and then Canada having to live with the consequences of a three-pronged invasion.

    Time was the deciding factor. The winter came early in this region and it seemed unlikely that the remnant of their campaign would see them cross the St. Lawrence, assume control over the Montreal region and then March on Quebec.

    Thus the agreement was struck. America observers were allowed into the city but otherwise no fortification of Montreal would be accepted on either side.

    Only later would history record that the French-Canadian politicians, regular regiments and militia threatened mutiny if the city were put in danger.


    Many years before, the city of Toronto (then known as York and perhaps closer to a town than a city) was burned to the ground by a retreating American army in the War of 1812.

    America's reputation in Canada had not improved much since and the arrival of now 35,000 soldiers within the portion of Canada once known as Upper Canada were not being welcomed with open arms.

    But General Hancock, commanding the 20,000 soldiers from Buffalo who had seized Kingston, the Welland Canal and now Toronto, would struggling to receive any semblance of support. At most, the Canadian public seemed to shun him.

    After several small pitched battles, mainly against local militia which were easily enough dispatched by experienced and far better armed American regulars, would generally scatter.

    Another 10,000 men had been requested and granted by Lincoln, this time including a full Brigade of Freedmen. Hancock suspected that, come winter, most of these men would be missing Alabama or South Carolina. But, for now, Hancock was accept any help he could get.

    Even the Irish were failing to come out in droves to support the Union Army. Hancock reckoned that, the moment the Union left (of its own volition of compelled by British arms), that such welcoming fellows would be strung up by their neighbors much as King George's supporters would face a terrible retribution after Redcoats abandoned large swathes of America.

    Still, Hancock had hoped for more. Would America really try to force these sullen Canadians into the national fold against their will?

    It had happened the previous year with the Confederacy but there were other issues at stake there. For instance, they HAD been Americans. Also, the slavery question loomed large.

    Was America's destiny to conquer and conquer?

    The whole conflict began to leave a sour taste in Hancock's mouth.

    June 1863

    Providence, Rhode Island

    After learning of the invasion of Canada, the First Lord of the Admiralty, frustrated at taking humiliating defeats such as Portland and the Chesapeake, authorized his Navy to "stop fighting with one hand behind its back" and approved seizure of any American ships caught at sea (oddly, this hadn't been explicitly ordered until this point) and for his fleet to assault a series of American coastal cities. Some cities were well defended by coastal batteries (like Baltimore) and others by geography (Boston).

    But several others were easy pickings for the Royal Navy. Providence would burn in late May, 1863. It would be but the first of many cities along the east coast.


    The British Mediterranean squadron had finally been challenge the Russian fleet in the Bosporus. While not directly given orders to "attack" the Russians, it was ordered to "forcibly compel Russia to remove naval vessels in the region by previous treaty" which, as best anyone could tell, meant keep the damned Russians out of the Mediterranean. Of course, by June 1863, the Russians were already besieging the Turks in Istanbul.

    To the British shock, the seaway was not only guarded by the Russian Black Sea Fleet....but French as well.

    This was the first signal of what Napoleon III was planning behind the scenes. It would only get worse from there as a pair of Corvettes dispatched to the Nile would report back that elements of the Russian Northern Fleet had somehow snuck past Gibraltar and made for their new friends in Egypt.

    The British commander knew he could not act without adequate and, more importantly, DIRECT orders from London. Forming a blockade across the Bosporus was one thing. Effectively declaring war upon Egypt, Russia AND France would require a bit more instruction.

    June 1863

    Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Galicia.

    The Franco-Russian Treaty of 1863 was largely a rehash of the agreement proposed by Napoleon III to the Czar near the end of the Crimean War. Effectively, it would split Europe into two spheres, one of French influence and one of Russian.

    In the Crimea, the British had learned of this and made their own separate peace with Russia, vowing never to trust the French again. Of course, just a few years later, the Emperor would pull the same trick in Mexico.

    Now Napoleon III would recreate Europe in his image. All he needed was the Russian Bear. Still smarting from Crimean War, the Czar reached an agreement.

    After the general revolt among the Poles in Prussia's Grand Duchy of Posen and the Kingdom of Galicia, the Czar would dispatch 180,000 Russian troops across the border to "maintain the peace" among this neighbors.

    At this time, Prussia had been pressed to the bring in the West, having lost most of the Rhineland and stubborn Austrian defenses had virtually stopped any southward momentum. The renewal of hostilities by Denmark were but a modest distraction, largely handled by the garrisons of Schleswig and Holstein. The Polish rebellion caused chaos leading almost to the breakdown of the Prussian government.

    Then the damned Russians invaded. Frederick the Great had faced a similar situation a century earlier. But Wilhelm was NOT Frederick the Great.

    Worse, believing that the Prussian King was on his last legs, his only remaining significant allies, Saxony and Mecklenburg, officially announced the withdrawal of their forces from the war. Saxony was an especially deep betrayal as the Protestant state was among the front line fighting Austria and, cutting her borders, had trapped a large number of Prussian soldiers.

    Throughout the previous decades Prussia had come to represent the best....and worst of Germany. While driving the modernization of the German Confederation (with Austria as a rival), Prussia had brought northern Germany into the modern age. However, this came at a cost as the further the assorted German petty states advanced, the more defacto control Prussia gained. By 1863, the smaller states of northern Germany were terrified that disagreeing with the King of Prussia was tantamount to giving up their thrones.

    Prosperity came with a terrible price.

    When Prussia said go to war.....you went.

    The Russian invasion of 120,000 into Posen would cut off East Prussia and leave Brandenburg largely on its own. Saxony and Mecklenburg promptly switched sides and joined the rest of the German Confederation centered around Hanover (and propped up by France).

    Despite holding a great deal of Austrian territory, the King of Prussia would see the writing on the wall and remove is senior advisor starting with Bismarck, who had gotten him into this mess.

    The Franco-Russian peace would be terrible....but the harsh terms were demanded by the German Confederation for fear of Prussia rising again to prey upon THEM.

    Austria would find itself bankrupt, largely a spectator in the peace and with 60,000 Russians occupying Galicia and 90,000 Italians in Venetia. The Austrian Emperor could do little as his own will to fight had faded greatly.
    Chapter 39
  • July, 1863

    The St. Lawrence River east of Montreal

    After spending weeks struggling to assemble adequate ships to storm the shores north of Montreal, Hooker and Lee were beaten to the punch. After Lee had travelled along the Grand Trunk Railroad to the Canadian border, America did not forget it HAD a Railroad. While Hooker and Lee's army had kept the attention of most of the British and Canadian forces in the region, a second force under General Reynolds would make a sudden strike 20 miles north with 6000 men.

    Bafflingly, the majority of the British forces remaining in North America remained either in Halifax or Quebec (13,000 total) with another 4000 spread throughout the Maritimes. Only in June did the British Army reinforce Quebec with 4000 of these Regulars (deeming the defense of Halifax from a non-existent land invasion the priority).

    By the time the bulk of the "Quebec" garrison marched southwest towards Reynolds, he'd already pulled 12,000 men across the River. Embarrassed at being beaten by an old friend from the Army of Eastern Virginia, Hooker ordered his own crossing west of Montreal.

    In fairness, Hooker and Lee's crossing had been held up by the presence of several gunboats on the St. Lawrence. The local Lachine Rapids had made navigation by large ships past Montreal impossible until the formation of the Lachine Canal through Montreal Island. With that canal now shut due to the Island's "Neutrality", the bulk of these gunboats were trapped east. This allowed Hooker and Lee to cross to the west of Montreal, though in the face of some opposition.

    Still, by Mid-July, most of their 15,000 man army had crossed the St. Lawrence in force.

    Luckily, the British garrison in Quebec took its sweet time in advancing, allowing Reynold to march west and Hooker east until they managed a neat pincher movement, wiping out most of the remnants of the regional forces which had been decimated along the southern shore.

    Indeed, the combined armies (under nominal command of Hooker) would have time to regroup and face the oncoming Quebec garrison in late July. While not a repeat of the Battle of the St. Lawrence, the 18,000 Union forces deployed would have a decided advantage over the 8000 British, 2000 Canadian regulars and 2000 militia in rate of fire as the accuracy of the Sharpe's, the rate of fire of the Winchesters, Dreyse Needle Guns, Gatlings and Coffee Mills and the experience of the American warriors would trump the superior rate of fire of the British Armstrong Cannons and the hard-won discipline of so many British regulars (though most of these had never seen combat).

    Attempts to trade volleys got the British and Canadians nowhere. Massed bayonet formations would withered so rapidly that Junior Lieutenants found themselves commanding regiments.

    It appeared that the British commanders hadn't learned their lesson and the British force was routed, leaving 3000 dead and wounded and other 2000 captured. Many of the Canadians militia didn't stop running until they arrived in their own hearths.

    Smelling blood, Hooker raced northeast towards Quebec along the well-worn roads of Canada, 155 miles, taking Riverside cities as they went.

    August 1863


    The terms imposed upon King Wilhelm were even worse than he feared. Rhinish Prussia was to be divided among his "allies" in the west with Hanover, Hesse, Oldenburg and Saxony among others. The rick, populous west was promptly allied into a new Northwest German Confederation under French "Protection".

    The Grand Duchy of Posen, taken by Frederick the Great, would be reunited with Poland....as a Russian province nothing more. Russia would also take the Polish speaking portion of Silesia and Austrian Galicia (mostly Polish and Ruthenian).

    Austria, a nominal ally to Russia, was forced to give up both Galicia and Venetia, this last to the Italians. The King of Italy had quietly agreed to the spoils with the King of France who also agreed "for the sake of European peace" to recognize Italy's control over the Papal States "provided that the Pope was well cared for" by granting him a small sovereign land surrounding the Vatican.

    This suited France fine as Napoleon III had long seen Italy as a natural ally. Only the seizure of Rome by Italian Patriots causing discomfiture among the French conservatives had prevented the Emperor from simply recognizing the deed. Now, after a Continent lay at war, fewer people cared. Naturally, a treaty of alliance was soon drawn up between Italy and France.

    Schleswig and Holstein, which had been the nominal cause de guerre, were granted to the House of Augustenburg.

    August 1863

    Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

    Newport Rhode Island

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    Norfolk, Virginia

    The orders were clear. Make the Americans pay, one port city at a time. The new Admiral serving under Milne would see no real difference between the Union and Former Confederate coastal cities.

    He attacked what was vulnerable....then attack some more.

    As America's primary trading partners before the war had been Britain, Canada, France and Mexico, there were fewer American trading vessels on the High Seas than one may think. Still, the Royal Navy managed to seize fifty-five American merchant ships in July alone. They would beat that record in August.

    American trade, even internal trade along the coastal waters, was being crushed.


    The commerce raider USS Manhattan was swiftly becoming the most famous ship on either side of the Atlantic. With stunning rapidity, the predominantly Irish-crewed vessel had seized ship after ship plying the Caribbean trade. Sugar and other tropical goods were not remotely as profitable as they had been during the old days but still Britain derived trade from these goods. One must not take one's tea without sugar, must one?

    On average, the Manhattan took a ship every few days. What valuable goods they could seize was transferred over and prize crews sent back to Mobile. Every few weeks, the Manhattan would return to the coast and reclaim her missing crewmen.

    Dozens of other American vessels plied the commerce raider trade (though they received a % of the take, these were not true privateers but sworn American officers) but none as successful as the Manhattan.

    However, such commerce raiding was swiftly becoming obsolete in the new era. Once upon a time, a fast ship may take dozens of vessels without ever spying a true warship. Even then, if they were light enough, they may expect to escape. But the rise of powered vessels meant that only the most modern ships may escape a comparable warship.

    And most modern vessels WERE warships.

    One by one, the American commerce raiders were seized until it became apparent that this was not a war that America could win and all but a few were re-tasked to harbor or river defense.

    Even at their best, the American privateers never seized a quarter of what Britain was taking from America on the high seas.

    Washington DC

    Seeing the victories in Canada touting the headlines, Lincoln wisely refused his generals nothing. If MacPherson and Hancock wanted another 10,000 garrison troops....they have it.

    If Hooker, Lee and Reynolds needed vast amounts of supplies hauled through the wilderness.....then they shall have THAT.

    The good news was the the latter proved easier as the Grand Trunk Railroad had been repaired and providing munitions, horses and reinforcements much more viable. Northeast of Montreal, the Royal Navy dominated the St. Lawrence thus a very long supply line was being built from Montreal to Qubec.

    Lincoln only hoped that Hooker could arrive and seize the city by winter.

    America's economy reeled from lack of trade abroad. The Pennsylvania steel mills were expanding quickly to cover the loss of British imports but a shortage remained the constant worry.

    The Department of War had even resorted to Confederate tactics of raking every bit of niter from caves and dung piles to ensure the northern campaign a fresh supply of gundpowder (niter being the prime ingredient). Efforts to produce an alternative by Du Pont would be far too slow in the coming. Most Niter came from British India....and that was not likely to resume any time soon.

    Perhaps a year's supply remained in America despite efforts to find replacements.

    Fortunately, the Czar had been kind enough to dispatch a significant amount to America as a "gift". Lincoln was far too canny to know this was anything but Russia warring upon Britain by proxy but dared not refuse. This amount received would keep her armies in the field for months.

    Vancouver Island

    The Royal Navy made her belated return to Vancouver in August, 1863, when a flotilla arrived from India. The five vessels promptly blew the American ships in the local anchorage to hell. However, they brought with them no more than 200 Marines, not nearly a match for the 3000 men General Fremont had under his command plus the 600 sailors who had abandoned their ships. Fremont also created a makeshift militia from the local American population (nearly half of Vancouver and British Columbia) of 400.

    Seeing nothing more that they could accomplish, the naval vessels sailed south to San Francisco, burned much of the city while exchanging fire with local fortifications....and then sailed home to India.
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    Chapter 40
  • August, 1863

    10 miles west of Quebec

    General Hooker had little interest in repeating past battles on the Plains of Abraham. Fortunately, the British commander (by this point Lord Colin Campbell, a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, the War of 1812, the Crimean, the Opium Wars, the Mutiny....the list went on).

    However, at age 70, he was pulled from retirement and ordered to relieve the previous commander-in-chief, America and arrived in Quebec the first of August. This would cause a great deal of confusion among the remaining British and Canadian forces as the previous commander had determined to form a defensive line near the Plains of Abraham and the city of Quebec.

    This would have been Hooker's worst nightmare as his siege equipment had been painstakingly dragged along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence for nearly 150 miles throughout July and August as British vessels took the occasional potshot at the lumbering columns.

    Fortunately, there was plenty of food and forage for the army to sustain itself but Hooker was uncertain that he could take the city of Quebec without a better supply line. If he could not by the first snowfall (which could be any day), then he'd have to retreat to Montreal to garrison his army for the winter. That would give Britain adequate time to reinforce Quebec in force.

    The arrival of Campbell was a godsend for 2 reasons:

    1. Campbell, who was not known as someone interested in holing up in a city after too much of that occurred in India and China, would demand that his regulars march upon the Americans in open battle.

    2. Campbell was now 70 years old and in bad health. Having relieved several "disgraced" senior officers, the new Commander-in-Chief was short on experienced commanders for his 14,000 man army. Just as his army was put into the field, Campbell would fall ill with a heavy chest infection, limiting his ability to command.

    Though his supplies were limited, Hooker knew this was his best chance at crippling the British Army and allowing for a reasonable chance of taking the city of Quebec before winter.

    Lining up his own 16,000 infantry on hand (he had another 10,000 in garrisons protecting his supply line), Hooker poised Reynolds on the right wing of the plains west of Quebec and Lee on the right. He also kept his 3000 cavalry in reserve. The British and Canadians could muster only 13,000 infantry and 3000 cavalry.

    However, the initial exchange of artillery would go in the defender's favor as the rapid-firing of the Armstrong Guns would give an advantage. The Americans, though, seized some good high ground and the Napoleon's and Parrott's would soon give as good as they got. However, with his own supply of powder and shot dwindling, Hooker was about to order an advance when the British, shockingly, advanced once again in a broad column. These orders were written from the sick bed of General Campbell.

    His best Regiments, namely the British Regulars, carried the bulk of the burden as the Canadians were left to garrison Quebec and the Plains of Abraham.

    Having just arrived, Campbell didn't yet appreciate the rate of fire advantage of the American Winchesters and Dreyse Needle Guns, not to mention the Gatlings and Coffee Mills (the latter would especially run short on ammunition and most would be withdrawn after a half hour for lack of bullets). The frontal attack along a wide field had the same predicable results: only a handful of Britons made it to the American lines to engage in bayonets while the few Regiments which stopped to exchange fire would suffer terrible casualties.

    Seeing the British lines fall back, Hooker went for broke and ordered Lee to counter-attack along the entire left flank and ordered his Cavalry and infantry reserve forward to support.

    The effect was devastating. The entire British flank folded into the middle, causing panic. The Union cavalry would strike at the British camp and supply train, seizing vital powder. The Canadian cavalry regiment, supported by 400 British dragoons, failed to halt the superior numbers of the Americans, though the Dragoons, many armed with Lances, took a terrible toll before being withered by the American carbines.

    Smelling blood, the Hooker ordered his right flank and center to advance upon the British. By noon the British army was in disarray, having suffered nearly 2000 casualties and 2500 captured. Worse was the loss of most of the artillery and supplies.

    But Hooker's primary objected in the battle was to cut off the army from Quebec. He ordered Lee to occupy the road leading to the city and dispatch as many men as possible to the Plains of Abraham to ensure that the retreating British army did not find sanctuary behind the city walls. Instead, they were funneled along the shore under cover of the Royal Navy.

    By nightfall, the British were in retreat, well away from the city while the approaches were cut off one by one. As the remnant of the British command attempted to reorganize the Regulars (only 3 of Campbell's 5 senior officers survived the battle), Hooker visited Campbell in his quarters. The man was plainly dying, a great loss to Britain given his many services.

    The American General then travelled to the Plains of Abraham (taken without a shot fired) and inspected the cities fortifications with Lee. They agreed that, with proper modern siege artillery, the ancient bastion could certainly be taken. A hundred years ago, the walls of Quebec were considered among the most impregnable in the world. Now.....not so much. With limited heavy artillery and powder, the city would probably survive an assault long enough for winter to come in.

    As it so happened, the Americans would not have to resort to a siege. Instead, a delegation of Canadians (Mostly French but some English) would emerge and ask for terms. The city was held entirely by militia and two Canadian regiments. The handful of British officials and officers present attempted to arrest any men who proposed seeking terms but a riot broke out within the city walls and this was enough for the French Canadians to assume control.

    Hooker, delighted that the city may fall without a siege or battle, agreed to every one of the French demands regarding property rights, etc. He did not realize that the French were terrified that the city would be burned to the ground in retaliation of British naval assaults on American port cities.

    Three days later, the gates were thrown open and the city surrendered.

    The British army, shocked and outraged at the "French Betrayal", would retreat to the St. Lawrence where the Royal Navy was able to evacuate the 7000 British survivors of the British Army to Halifax and other ports in Canada.

    Washington DC

    Though it would be another five days before word arrived of the unexpected victory in Quebec, Lincoln was hard at work attempting to resolve his latest problems.

    A dozen American cities had been attacked via sea in the past months and trade ground to a halt. Efforts to resist on the high seas met with limited success as most engagements only resulted in the destruction or taking of an American ship.

    The burgeoning fleet of Ironclads were being consolidated in New York, the Chesapeake and New Orleans (the latter reserved only for "brown water ships").

    Some section of the nation's economy were booming like the textile mills of the north (now fed by large amounts of southern cotton which had been rotting in warehouses) and steel production. Others, like the farmers out west, were suffering for lack of export market (Lincoln wondered how the British and other customers of American and Canadian grains were doing). However, farmers could live with a bad year and the drop in the value of grain meant that the agricultural families wouldn't starve....at least that was something.

    The surplus of grain at low prices allowed the government to expedite its settlement plan out west for reasonable cost. The "Plantation of the Great Plains" had been initiated over a year earlier and intended to resettle the freedmen and the poor Irish and Germans of the cities. Granted, not all people were made to be farmers in Iowa, Kansas, Indian territory, Nebraska or points even more distant, but this would see the steady trickle of settlers into the west commence moving to something akin to a flood.

    In 1863, nearly 200,000 settlers would migrate west with "gifts" of free or cheap land, large quantities flour to help them through the first year and whatever tools and animals the government surplus could provide. Indeed, "100 acres and an ASS" became a slogan of the Freedmen's Bureau and the Great Plains soon became a second "Black Belt" as hundreds of thousands of former slaves exited the south for more mild climates. The Germans would move largely to the Midwest (where they would vote steadily Republican for several generations, thus offsetting the Copperhead sentiment of the region). Irish would heavily move into parts of Maine, Upper New York, Pennsylvania and throughout the nation.

    That neither the Irish nor the Freedmen liked the term "Plantation" was not pointed out until later.

    But the struggle for prosperity throughout the nation lingered. Congress continued to balk at the creation of a new Central Bank to replace the obviously inadequate system imposed by Jefferson and Jackson which had left America dealing with periodic mass banking failures and recessions. The war proved beyond any doubt that the American financial system was rickety beyond reason (even the Spanish and Russians possessed stronger banking systems) but still Congress debated endlessly. At the rate things were going, it would take the Government shutting down or the greenbacks devaluing to nothing before Congress would act.

    Still, Lincoln held out hopes that 1864 would see the first steps taken for the Central Bank.

    In an unexpected development, the assault on southern ports by the British would see a number of former Confederate officers in the army and navy offer their serviced to the nation. Some in Washington were aghast at the idea but Lincoln was intent on "letting them up easy" and if a man wanted to serve the Union, the President was willing to let them. General Lee had written an articulate letter just a few months ago on that subject, encouraging the President to welcome their countrymen back to the fold.

    Longstreet and Beauregard had been serving the country well in the past months by aiding in the reconstruction of the southern rail system. Lack of steel was hampering this but the Confederates had learned much of the years in scavenging from secondary railways to keep primary lines running. By summer of 1863, the major railways were functioning again, ensuring the flow of goods and manpower throughout the south to a reasonable extent.

    Though he would not allow former Confederates to serve in the south, Lincoln was willing to place them in positions of responsibility elsewhere. Longstreet and the Swiss-born Confederate Henry Wirz were assigned to the new "Black Belt" to aid in local resettlement. Beauregard was offered the position of Governor of Vancouver Island, which he accepted.

    Jeb Stuart, the brilliant Virginian cavalry commander was sent to Montana with about 100 former Confederate cavalry to merge with about 200 Union Cavalry into a new Regiment (the first of former Union and Confederates serving together again) .

    Of course, most Confederates would not only refuse to serve the Union but openly condemned those that did. Lincoln could do nothing about that but was happy to accept any aid he could get.

    When word of the fall of Quebec arrived (and impending winter ensured that the British could not launch another offensive until Spring), Lincoln determined to visit Canada, both Montreal and Ottowa to take inventory of local feeling. The President sympathized with the Canadians as they did not ask for this war yet suffered from Britain and America's dysfunction. Some in Washington already were referring to Canada as a defacto "New State" but Lincoln had communicated extensively with his Generals and was not so sure. But he wanted to speak with the Canadians face to face before making any such public pronouncements.
    Chapter 41
  • September, 1863


    For months, the British government had been effectively paralyzed with indecision. After the fall of Palmerston and Russel's government, the Queen sought another member of the Liberal Party to assume a Ministry (a shadow ministry remained to nominally run the government but few policies change or decisions were being made). However, this proved impossible as the leading men of the Liberal Party were fragmented without the key party decision makers.

    Then, the Queen sought her friend Benjamin Disraeli of the Conservatives. While Disraeli would have LIKED to assume power by this point, he knew that his inability to forge a strong alliance with the Radicals or enough Liberals would doom any government.

    Frustrated, the Queen would caustically inquire if SHE were expected to rule as an autocrat. The British monarchs had long ceded their political power to Parliament on the assumption that Parliament could actually AGREE on something. But now it just seemed a useless appendage.

    Finally, the Queen called for elections to be held in September. She addressed Parliament (naturally in the full mourning of black to remind them that SHE had her own problems) and none too gently told Parliament to get on with it after the election.

    Unfortunately, the ensuing election was not as straightforward as expected. Yes, the Liberals lost ground but still managed the highest number of votes in Parliament by a small majority over the Conservatives. A viable third part, the Radicals was gaining ground. There were a number of independents or tertiary parties like the Young Irishman groups pushing Irish Home Rule.

    Most, if not ALL of these parties had internal divisions as well between protectionism and free trade, allowing Irish Home Rule or not, increased suffrage or not, etc, etc, etc.

    After the election, the Queen was completely at a loss as to how to proceed. Thus she called up Disraeli again and asked if he could form a government. For his part, Disraeli had been negotiating for months with the Radicals and other Parties.

    Thus, Disraeli would approach a number of figures for office in a great coalition and eventually find enough high-level supporters to risk forming a government. Some of his colleagues would be surprising. Among them was the Liberal Gladstone, who would prove an enormous pain in the future but his support was necessary as the leaders of the Liberal Party, Palmerston and Russell, were persona non grata by this point.

    The big question on Disraeli's mind was Ireland. He could compromise on virtually anything except the continuance of the British Empire. THAT was primary. But Ireland was very divisive in all three major parties. If he supported Home Rule, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland (Protestant supported by taxes), etc, etc, he would lose key votes. If he DIDN'T, he was quite sure he'd lose almost as many.

    Seeing himself damned one way or another, he enticed those supporters of Ireland to his government. Oddly, Gladstone would be his strongest support on the floor of Parliament.

    With Queen's permission, he formed a government, uncertain if it would last until Christmas.

    Now in power, Disraeli had to clean up the Foreign policy mess left to him by Palmerston and Russell. To make matters worse, the news of the fall of Quebec would arrive DURING his forming of the government. Unknown to him, the officers of the Royal Navy continued Russell's agenda without any contrary orders from the Ministry.

    In Halifax, the British fleet was preparing to sail one last time before the winter.

    By the time, his Ministry came into power and Disraeli learned of the events in North America, he dispatched a ship at once to Halifax with orders cancelling the expedition.

    It would not arrive in time.

    Montreal , Canada

    Having spent the night in Montreal's southern suburb conquering in the Battle of the St. Lawrence, Lincoln would receive a string of visitors representing the diverse peoples of Canada. Many were politicians like Cartier and Brown, others were common folk. Many did not hesitate to disparage the United States. Given that the Union army had effectively conquered Canada, Lincoln could not blame them. However, the President sat patiently listening to all they had to say.

    In short order, he began to see how Canada was an amalgamation of the former Upper and Lower Canada. English and French, Protestant and Catholic. In order to maintain equality, the number of Parliamentarians had been set in stone. Thus when the English-speaking "Upper" Canada's population increased, the "French" side maintained a slight majority of seats. George Brown's "Clear Grit" Party had been railing against this for years under the slogan "Rep by Pop".

    The French side, which maintained many of the old Seigneurial Privileges and strong presence of the Catholic Church, refused to budge. For years, a stalemate had existed which threatened any pretense of effective government. John A. Macdonald, whose death had yet to be pinned on any suspect, might have been able to forge an alliance. But, without him, Brown's party and the French only diverged further and further and the nation stagnated. Proposals of a more Federal style government with both "Upper" and "Lower" Canada returning to having separate Parliaments were bandied about but, by 1863, neither side was willing to negotiate.

    This was one of two key things Lincoln learned on his trip: the "Two Canadas" seemed to always be at one another's throats.

    The second was that neither French or English-speaking Canadians had any desire to join the United States.

    The idea of a long occupation of Canada while simultaneously attempting to bring the former Confederacy back into the fold filled Lincoln with despair. Plus, he had no real desire to force a bunch of foreigners into his country. That seemed dishonorable.

    Though he knew Seward and Stanton would loath the idea, Lincoln pulled George Brown and Etienne Cartier into a series of private meetings and suggested an alternative to permanent occupation.

    Brown, who had lived in New York prior to moving to Toronto, had long admired the nation and was happy to lead a government of of his own. Though a Republican, he had no particular objection to a monarchy. But the circumstances what they were, he was entirely gratified to receive an offer of forming a government with 100% male suffrage and, of course, "Rep by Pop" in what was formerly called "Upper Canada".

    As one of the leading French loyalists, Etienne Tache, had opted to retreat with the British, that left Georges Cartier as the most powerful politician in "Quebec" or "Lower Canada".

    The French Canadians (or Canadiens) had been conquered just under a century ago by Wolfe and Amherst. While resentful of British overlordship, they did find a level of stability and Great Britain largely was willing to leave them to their own devices in order to keep the peace. The clergy was not messed with and the French political corps maintained its independence. The light hand of the prosperous Great Britain, while not ecstatically welcomed, certainly was preferred to the boorish Americans and their anti-Catholic agenda. Certainly, there was no way that French Canada would maintain the same rights under American rule.

    However, Lincoln was willing to offer the French Canadiens a similar deal. Barring ceding the small wedge of land south of Montreal to America, he would recognize "French Canada" or "Lower Canada" or "Quebec" or whatever the French wanted to call it. They could rename it "New France" if they wanted.

    Lincoln would "Guarantee the borders" of both nations from "aggressors" and leave the two be.

    Both Brown and Cartier knew that Lincoln didn't WANT to conquer Canada by this point and was willing to leave them as neutrals in the war with Britain and as harmless neighbors after that. Most of the Canadian opinion leaders were skeptical of Lincoln's word and had looked on in concern as America's power grew and the savagery of the Civil War commenced. Britain was their supposed protector but the failure of the Queen's forces brought home the proof that Canada's existence stemmed from the goodwill of the American behemoth to the south.

    Brown and Cartier both insisted that the matter be taken directly to the voters and Lincoln happily offered the services of his army as a "neutral" party to protect a fair and free outcome. Both were surprised to find they actually BELIEVED Lincoln meant it.

    Brown rode for Ottowa while Cartier remained in Montreal to arrange an election. The fears of both the Canadian peoples were brought up again as news spread that, once again, the Royal Navy had taken New York as a target.
    Chapter 42
  • October, 1863

    New Jersey

    General Robert E. Lee waited silently as Abraham Lincoln took in the destruction. Once again, the British Royal Navy had wreaked havoc upon the massive New York Harbor. That the British had paid mightily for the destruction in men and ships was precious little comfort.

    In late September, 23 British warships entered New York Harbor. Most of these were ironclads of some nature or another. They included three purpose-built ironclads and over a dozen others which had been converted over the past 5-10 years by adding layers of armor. Even the non-ironclads of the group were gained additional measures of protection where a bit of iron could be slapped on without affecting her speed overmuch.

    For the past year, America's shipyards had churned out everything that they could and had several new classes of river and ocean-going ironclads in varying stages of construction. However, that would not help now.

    The core of the American defenses lay in the broadside Ironclads New Ironsides and Galena. Four Passaic class monitors had also been added to the mix while another 18 warships of varying size, quality and armor had been assembled in New York.

    Beyond this, many of the old wooden sailing ships, mortar ships and the failed "Casco" class monitors had been dragooned into serving as floating batteries under coordination and protection of the assorted fortifications.

    General McClellan, in command of the region had assembled a might collection of 40 enormous "siege" weapons which he had placed throughout the harbor alongside hundreds of Dahlgrens, Parrotts and even smaller cannon like the old Bronze Napoleons. Doubting that infantry would be required as much in a future battle of New York, he had transferred over nearly 10,000 infantry to artillery and placed them under command of trained officers to drill them relentlessly.

    Unlike the previous battle, Manhattan had been armed to the teeth with these weapons, all built upon the highest ground possible. En route to Montreal, Lincoln had taken in the improvements and promoted McClellan on the spot to Major General.

    The fortifications of the Harbor were built up but it seemed almost impossible for every portion of the vast harbor to be thoroughly guarded. The Navy must go it alone sometimes.

    The battle was vicious. Unlike the previous engagement, the American Ironclads had time to train, not only within the ship but as a fleet. Admiral Dalhgren would lead the "slow fleet" of ironclads while Admiral Farragut would lead a "fast fleet" of quicker but less heavily armed ships.

    Both were somewhat shocked by the British strategy. They were expected to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in concentrating upon the American fleet and merchant ships in the harbor while largely avoiding the major fortifications. But the British fleet effectively divided into 4 squadrons in contravention to naval strategy and simply attacked whatever was before them.

    This bizarre strategy at first seemed to pay off as the American ships proved unable to maneuver with the larger, faster British vessels. However, the sheer firepower of the fortifications and their offshore batteries would soon take a toll on the British fleet and, without further orders, each squadron began to keep its distance. Instead, they began to focus on the American fleet and the merchants.

    Another nasty surprise for the British was the fact that the American fleet had figured out that the huge Dahlgren guns (invented by the Admiral himself) could see vastly improved velocities (stopping power) by increasing the powder charge. This had been reduced in the past for fear of bursting the guns. Soon, it became apparent that the Dahlgrens were the most powerful guns, pound for pound, in New York Harbor.

    On the other hand, the British conversion of their secondary guns to Armstrongs would not prove as fortunate. While the infantry loved the lightweight (and therefore easily transported), rapid firing and deadly accurate guns, they would prove deficient in velocity and nearly useless and modern armor plating. As far back as 1861, the Royal Navy was planning to remove the Armstrongs and replace them with old-fashioned muzzle loaders.

    Thus, the American Ironclads gave as good as they got, their Dahlgrens punching holes easily in even 6 inches of armor. The smaller, less armored American ships, though, would take terrible beatings.

    Soon the American fleet lost cohesion and settled into a free for all. A few of the British squadrons though managed to stay together to steam onto Manhattan, barely recovering from the first attack. The American Army, though, would be ready with dozens of heavy guns and a hundred lighter. The British would lose several ships to these weapons but had fired enough "hotshot" and explosives into the neighborhoods of Manhattan to set the place ablaze once more.

    From dawn to dusk, the battle ebbed and flowed until, finally, the British commander signaled a retreat. Only 13 of his 23 ships answered the call, the other twelve having sunk, burned to the waterline or been taken. Among these were six of the more powerful ironclads in the fleet.

    The Americans would, once again, see a quarter of Manhattan burn in a single day, with the fire spreading through the island over the following days. An estimated 52% of buildings on the island would be lost.

    Of her fleet, 15 warships, including three of the four heavy Passaic class and the USS Galena, would be lost or abandoned. Another 40 merchant ships would be burned, usually while they sat at anchor effectively unmanned, to the waterline.

    Most of the remaining British and American ships would suffer high levels of damage, several of the latter being beached.

    The British were not done suffering yet as an early winter storm would overtake their fleet on the way to Halifax. One ship was abandoned as she foundered, her crew being rescued by a nearby ship. Yet another just disappeared without a trace. This one held the commander.

    The British sailors (whose commander had been lost) would speak in awe of the American Monitors, their shallow profiles and the sheer power of their guns.

    But that did not hide the fact that Britain could afford such losses....America could not. Britain had hundreds of ships and dozens which equaled or exceeded the power of anything the Union could field in 1863 (1864's ships may be another matter). Even with the bizarre decision by the British to assault powerful fortifications, the Union lost more vessels. And the cost to Manhattan.....

    Lincoln considered this as he looked upon Manhattan across the Hudson from his perch in New Jersey. For a long moment, the darkness threatened to overcome him. Slowly, Lincoln rebuilt his will and turned back to Lee, who had accompanied him to New York.

    "Well, this is as bad as I feared. And I was in such a positive mood last week".

    The voyage back from Canada via rail and the Grand Trunk, then down through New England and New York, had been pleasant at first. Then it got rather worse as news of the attack had been telegraphed up the line.

    Lee remained solemn for a long time until offering, "This was going to be the Confederacy's fate."

    Understanding the non-sequiter, Lincoln nodded, "Yes. Once the Union was divided, Britain and France would be able to dictate terms to....well....BOTH Americas as neither would likely be strong enough to resist. I believe that this.....this....abomination had only been put off over the past 50 years due to America's inward-leaning politics."

    "They expect us to come to terms." It was a statement, not a question.

    Lincoln agreed. "That seems to be the case. However, you and I both know that a peace with Britain would entail. And I don't mean the cession of Canada back to Her Majesty." Lincoln looked across the Harbor again as if to burn the sight into his memory. "Any peace now would require a unilateral disarmament of our growing navy. Britain would want to be able to do.....this.....any time she liked."

    "Then you don't expect to come to terms?"

    "Not after this. No, we must build up our Navy to the point where such actions are simply too expensive for the Royal Navy."

    Lee waited a long moment before inquiring, "Why did you request that I escort you back, Mr. President?"

    Turning his back to the billowing pillars of smoke, Lincoln allowed a wry smile to cross his features, "Why? Why, to offer you a command, General!"

    Confused, Lee waited a moment and replied, "Given the British control over the waves and an almost impassible forest in Maine and New Brunswick, an invasion of the Maritimes seemed infeasible."

    "Not north, General," Lincoln's grin disappeared as he took another look at the devastation. "South."

    "Mexico," Lee realized.

    "I believe that you've been there before, General. 1846 or so?"

    "Yes, and I didn't enjoy the experience. The locals did not take kindly to Scott and Taylor."

    Lincoln laughed, "I believe there are ten million or so natives who will be happy to see you this time. Pope has finally cleaned up Texas. I am repeating Polk's strategy in Mexico by sending two armies, now you and Grant, to drive the French out of Mexico. I think we are all in agreement by now that Kings and Queens are best left in Europe."

    In truth, Lee was not eager for such a rigorous campaign. He was getting on in years but the honor Lincoln offered to him was great indeed. Virginians were not terribly popular in America these days and offering an independent command implied a great deal of trust that Lee did not want to let down.

    "I do have a request, Mr. President," he offered hesitantly. He did not like to make demands of the Commander in Chief.

    "Name it."

    "Several southern officers, well several dozen at least, probably hundreds," Lee began, "have offered to renew their loyalty to the Union. Perhaps such an engagement against a foreign foe may be a good time to bring them back into the fold."

    Lincoln laughed, "If you are speaking of Sherman and Longstreet, I'm afraid your old colleague Grant has beaten you to the punch. He gained my permission for them to rejoin the army as Brigadiers under his command. Even General Armistead will be serving under Grant. I felt it important to make this a North AND South endeavor. Beauregard, however, is finding rail executive life too profitable and he declined to rejoin the colors. His wounds made his participation unlikely anyway."

    Disappointed that Longstreet would not join him, Lee was surprised when Lincoln continued, "However, you may have a few of your countrymen from Virginia. General George Thomas, I believe, if an old acquaintance of yours and agreed to assume a division under your command. Generals Jackson, Pickett and Stuart have also volunteered and I have accepted pending your approval of their service."

    Thomas was indeed an old friend of Lee's and, honestly, Lee had assumed, should the two ever serve together, that Lee would serve under Thomas' command. But George Thomas was a naturally modest man who shunned the spotlight. Jackson, Pickett and Stuart he only knew in passing and by reputation. Jackson's brilliance could not be debated, Pickett (though the goat of his West Point Class) had performed well in the field and Stuart was among the best of the Confederate cavalry Generals.

    "Mr. President, I am overwhelmed. I shall do my utter best not to let you down."

    "Just put President Juarez back in Mexico City and the Frenchies back to France and we shall call it even, General."
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    Chapter 43
  • November, 1863


    If General John Pope was offended by having two Generals supercede his authority and assume command of many of the Union forces in Texas, he hid it well. In truth, the General had alienated most of his senior officers to the point that half had requested a transfer.

    Pope was also eager to return home after three years of war. He'd had his little adventure and fighting Frenchmen in Mexico did not appeal. Unlike 1846/7, the United States forces could not count on taking shortcuts along the coast as domination of the waters was hardly a given. Both French and British fleets may outgun any squadron the Union may send.

    Increasing the ambiguity was the minor fact that, while Juarez had been begging America to intervene for a year, he had not been expressly told that they were coming. Only as the armies approached the border would the Mexican leadership be consulted for fear of leaking the plans to the French.

    At least that was what Henry Hallock commanded Lee and Grant to do. Being on the ground, they realized that under that plan the Mexicans may just as likely fire upon THEM. Thus the two Generals summoned high-ranking officers and governmental figures to give them an overview of the invasion. Given the extended supply line without guaranteed access to the sea, the two commanders made it a priority to arrange for as much transport as possible, both in America and, later, in Mexico itself.

    It would be a very, very long walk to Mexico City and Veracruz.

    The invasion would take two prongs:

    1. Grant, with 16,000 troops, would depart via Laredo via the cities of Monterrey and Saltillo for the important gold-producing region of Zacatecas. This was the "inland" route. Monterrey and Saltillo were the front lines of the Mexican resistance to French rule. Immediately after crossing the border, Grant would formalize an alliance with the Mexican forces in the region.

    2. Lee, with 14,000 would depart America via Brownsville to Matamoros where he would meet with President Juarez and attempt to gather as many local forces as possible.

    Juarez promised that his volunteers had been practicing with the weapons shipped from America by probing French defenses in the hinterlands. However, most straight up battles would result in Mexican defeats, often due to the inferiority of artillery. Juarez could scarcely afford to pay soldiers but Mexicans were a proud and patriotic people. Thousands of volunteers remained in arms even three years after the foreign invasion.

    Lee would hug the coast, taking Tampico, then Veracruz.

    Eventually, as the plan went, the two armies would converge upon Mexico City.

    Given the hideous heat of Mexico, the Americans departed Texas in late November, hoping to avoid the worst of the tropical disease season.
    Chapter 44
  • December, 1863

    Why are your Union field armies so small? Union field armies started out around 30,000 men and rapidly doubled and then trebled in size while Grant took 120,000+ men south to capture Richmond in 1864.

    Logistics. There is no way that America could support huge armies in remote areas like Mexico, the St. Lawrence, etc without control over the waters and effective railroads.
    Chapter 44
  • December, 1863


    To his surprise, the Disraeli Administration, an alliance of Gladstone's Liberals, Radicals and his own Tory Conservatives had survived to Christmas. It was not a lack of votes for the coalition in Parliament but how long it would be before one of the leaders broke away from the coalition.

    John Bright, who was a great voice for Ireland's Catholics but opposed to Home Rule, would clash with Gladstone over major issues. Disraeli was always willing to compromise but eventually his two partners would tear the government apart.

    The Election of 1863 was intended to break the deadlock. Instead, it made the situation more nebulous. The strength of the British Parliamentary system was often its flexibility. Occasionally decades would go by without major changes of government. However, that usually revolved around one dominant party. Key issues of the age including expansion of suffrage, Ireland's status within the Empire, the now withdrawn Corn Laws....it left a great deal of hardened positions throughout Parliament which could not be budged.

    But, of course, the foreign policy of the Empire had been front and center for years.

    Disraeli was facing a war with America which was damaging Britain as badly as her enemy. Most of British North America had fallen and it seemed unlikely that Canada could be regained by force of arms. 25,000 British soldiers stationed in the Maritimes can be reinforced....but the massive numbers of American soldiers...and the apparent superiority of their firearms....would lead Disraeli to believe that that Quebec could not be breached by a modern day Wolfe.

    Unrest was already turning to riots in the streets. The price of bread had doubled...and would likely only get higher. The Corn Laws had been withdrawn to ensure such social unrest would be mitigated in the future. But the cost had been the destruction of Britain's agriculture. The island's farmers simply could not compete with the mass producers of Russia, Poland, America and Canada. Had it not been for Ireland's crop....the situation would be worse.

    The best Palmerston and Russell could do to press the Americans had been to attack American seabord cities. It apparently had not brought America closer to surrender.

    For all the problems with America, they paled in comparison to what was happening in Europe. Napoleon III's seemingly endless scheming had paid off. It was obvious that the Northwestern German Confederation and Italy were falling into his orbit while an alliance (it was supposed given the presence of French and Russian ships in Egypt and the Dardenelles) with Russia regarding their foreign policies left Britain dangerously isolated.

    Disreali was already had his ally, Foreign Secretary Lord Derby, to put feelers out to the Americans. Spain had long offered to act as mediator.

    To give up Canada would be a national humliation, no doubt.....but would it be a disaster?

    In truth, Canada was largely useful as a grain provider, something it was more than capable of doing as part of America or an independent (Disraeli was hardly believing reports that the Americans were going to allow Canada's independence. THAT just wasn't done). It was painfully obvious by now that Canada was not going to be used as an invasion threat to America. And, as Britain still held the Maritimes, the Royal Navy would not be seriously impacted nor the eternal implied threat it represented to America.


    As Galicia and Posen were absorbed into Russia as new provinces, the Poles, Jews and Ruthenians looked on in horror. The uprisings in these former Austrian and Prussian provinces were quickly crushed under Russian boots and they realized that there were worse fates than liviing under the Habsburgs and Hohenzollerns.


    After months of siege, the Turkish troops broke under the weight of the heavy siege artillery. A hundred years prior, the walls may have easily held up against the artillery of the time. Howver, the new rifled shells and shot made short work of the walls in multiple sections of the city and the Ottoman will to resist collapsed.

    The city fell and the Russian Army, with an unusual fit of discipline drilled into them by the Czar himself, ensured that it was not sacked. Alexander II had succeeded where centuries of Czars had failed.

    He had reclaimed Constantinople for the Orthodox Church.


    General Lee was pleased to find the diminuative President of Mexico had been truthful in attempting to reorganize his army. With American arms, Juarez and his General Ignacio Zaragoza had drilled 4500 Mexican patriots into something resembling disciplined, skilled soldiers. More importantly, the Mexicans had arranged a supply train of nearly 2000 men, 6000 animals and hundreds of wagons.

    Given the vast distance across hard terrain, Lee and Grant would have to navigate without benefit of naval support, this would prove vital.
    Chapter 45
  • January, 1864

    Washington DC

    Lincoln was pleased that the election was a full 10 months away as reelection was looking less and less guaranteed (though he had not officially stated he would run again, Lincoln could not conceive of abandoning the country as this time). Explaining to the American people that he was NOT going to force Canada into the Union as a state had not been easy. Even his own partisans in Congress exhibited varying levels of outrage.

    But the President felt that forcing Canada into the Union was both morally wrong and likely prove to be a drain to the country in the long term. Lincoln could already envision sullen southerners resentful for generations in being force BACK into the Union. Trying to force 2.5 million Canadians into the fold would be even worse.

    Of course, many segments of the population would not be exited at the idea of taking in 800,000 French-speaking Catholics and 300,000 more Irish Catholics either.

    Lincoln was certain he would get his way but his opponents would take their pound of flesh in the polls.

    There was another reason for Lincoln's decision. It was infeasible for America to keep hundreds of thousands of men in the field indefinitely even in good economic times. With the surrender of the south, the Union army was already shrinking as an army of 500,000 regulars plus another 500,000 militia at arms was simply impossible to maintain. Besides, after 3 and a half years of war, most of the men wanted to go home.

    The south would no doubt require a large occupying force for the foreseeable future (most of his Generals believed it could be reduced to 150,000 or so in the former Confederacy). Fortunately, the shortage of manpower would be held up by the large numbers of freed Negroes and impoverished Irish in the Army who found steady meals and pay a great incentive. Most native-born white men were less interested in serving in uniform for years at a time.

    Adding another 50,000 to the occupying forces of Canada and to defend against a potential British invasion would be both economically and politically impossible.

    Now, America's coasts were requiring large numbers of troops to defend (and not doing that terrible good a job of it) and another 30,000 were marching south into Mexico.

    Stretching the nation even further in Canada didn't make much sense.

    By the spring (March in Upper Canada and April in Lower Canada, or Quebec, as it seemed they preferred), the the two Canadas would take to the polls to form a new government. Per agreement with their colonial governments, the number of American forces had been reduced by 75% already by New Years in Canada and 25% in Quebec. The latter were necessary to protect against a British counterattack.

    Once they had more time to think about it, both Canadas' populations were coming to like the idea of independence. They liked it almost as much as the idea of getting the damned Yanks out of their country. Naturally, Lincoln had to ensure that any future peace treaty with Britain would respect their independence.

    The French, though acclimated to British rule, seemed the more enthusiastic. No doubt, over the past century, they doubted that they'd ever be free of the Englishmen. Instead, they'd just made the best of the situation.

    The English-speaking population to the west was more divided but geography no doubt played a role. Even if they wished to return the Queen as their Head of State, how would that be possible with Upper Canada effectively landlocked (the Hudson Bay did not count as a viable transport option)?

    George Brown apparently would be the first Prime Minister of an independent Canada. They were reportedly debating official names in Ottawa (like Ontario or Hudsonia or some such) but "Canada" was likely to remain especially as the Lower Canadians were already leaning towards the "Republic of Quebec" as their official moniker.

    Lincoln did have some good news. The British had been quietly inquiring through intermediaries if America was ready to negotiate. Lincoln would ALWAYS be ready to negotiate....provided that the damned British get the hell out of his hemisphere. That included Quebec and Canada....or whatever they were to be called.

    Lincoln also had no intention of allowing Rupurt's Land, British Columbia or Vancouver to fall back into British hands. It had been conclusively proven that Britain could not be trusted to have a long border with America.

    The Americans did have SOME advantages in the potential peace:

    1. Rumors of discontent over high grain prices in Britain were verified in various papers delivered by intermediaries.

    2. The British unemployment rates among their million or so textile workers would remain high in the near future. Apparently, their second largest supplier of cotton was Egypt, now forming some sort of alliance with France and Russia.

    Lincoln was not well-versed in European internal politics but Seward and his minions had made abundantly clear the abject horror that the political classes in Britain felt at the events in the near east, on the Continent, etc. The President could read a map and, knowing the importance of India to Britain, saw how a French and/or Russian dominated canal through Egypt's Suez region may upset the British hegemony in the east. At the very least, it would make them dependent upon the French for easy transport between Asia and Europe. And, given the history of Anglo-French relations, this was unacceptable to Britain.

    Seward had opined that this may lead to war sooner or later between Britain and the Franco-Russian alliance.

    As it happened, the conflict may come faster than he thought.

    Eastern Anatolia

    In six of the eastern Eyelets of the Ottoman Empire (Sivas, Erzurum, Mamuret, Diyarbekir, Bitlis and Van), the Armenian people made up the plurality (and the majority in Van). In Trabezond in the north, the Turks barely made up a majority, with a large Greek minority.

    As "defender of the Orthodox churches", Alexander II would dispatch a huge army inland to "liberate" these peoples. Just as they had the Circassians and Tartars of previous generations, the Russians showed little mercy. They would push the Turks and, to a lesser extent, Kurds from the region by the hundreds of thousands.

    With the Sublime Porte now a prisoner in the newly renamed "Constantinople", assorted pretenders to the throne, Generals and provincial governors would commenced fighting among themselves for power. The Ottoman Army, already stretched to the limit, would prove unable to resist the Russian invasion.

    The Russian Army marched inexorably inland as the stunned Armenians wondered if they'd be exchanging one master for another.

    Western Anatolia

    The prosperous Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Western Anatolia would suffer terribly for this chaos. Tens of thousands of minorities would be killed.

    This would, as it always had in the past in similar situations, prove counterproductive as removing the leaders of the industrial and merchant classes would only add economic chaos to the military and political disruptions.

    The Levant

    Envisioning himself as the heir to his grandfather's military greatness, the Khedive (now calling himself "King" for westerners) would invade the southern Ottoman Damascus Eyelet.

    Basra and Baghdad Eyelets

    Almost without encouragement from Russia or Egypt, the Arabs of the Basra and Baghdad Eyelets rose up in revolt. Oddly, the only direct help they received was from the Persians.
    Chapter 46
  • February, 1864


    The unofficial peace talks would commence in Spain as representatives of America and Britain.

    Naturally, Britain's emissaries demanded the return of Canada, Rupurt's Land, British Columbia and Vancouver.

    America's representatives effectively told them that this was no longer possible as Canada (soon to be Canada and Quebec) would be independent countries while the western British North American lands would be only partial compensation for Britain's supporting (some would say propping up) of the Confederacy for 2 years and then the assault on various helpless American cities which caused tens of thousands of civilian fatalities and damage in the hundreds of millions.

    Had Britain only remained true to the laws of Neutrality and Blockade which large THEY had established, then not an inch of British territory would be at risk.

    By 1864, there was something of a stalemate as neither party seemed likely to advance further on land while the Royal Navy had discovered America would not surrender to Britain at sea.

    Eventually the parties would break up, having reached an impasse.

    Despite neither party having overly much to gain by continuing the conflict, the conference broke up without an serious steps towards a negotiated peace.

    The positive side was that Disraeli had called off the worst of the Royal Navy abuses on defenseless coastal cities and towns.


    The eastern coastal city of Tampico was the secondary Mexican port to the Caribbean.....by a wide margin. The vast majority of Mexican trade went through Veracruz to the south.

    But General Lee had been adamant that a suitable port be acquired for receiving supplies, even if the British and French domination of the seas would make getting those supplies through more difficult.

    As it was, the French had barely garrisoned the city and, the 2000 French and Mexican "Junta" defenders would deem discretion the better part of valor.

    The city fell easily enough though Lee was deeply concerned if any supplies may make it through.


    Unlike his counterpart General Lee, who was marching down the east coast of Mexico towards the port town of Tampico in the company of General Ignacio Zaragoza and President Juarez, General Grant's western force was make less progress due to logistical difficulties and lack of local support.

    Despite the presence of functionaries and "liaisons" and the like dispatched to the west by Juarez and his Liberal government in defacto exile, Grant was experiencing a great deal of difficulty gathering adequate numbers of wagons, teamsters, horses, etc to maintain his huge supply train.

    As this region was nominally under "allied" control, Grant was forbidden to requisition any goods as part of the spoils of a foreign power. Lacking adequate funds to "buy" goods, the Union armies were already running dry. Pleas sent to Juarez were only partially met.

    Grant was also expecting at least SOME help from the Mexicans in freeing their country. But the American reputation in Mexico had been shot for 18 years and didn't appear to be getting better. One day, 800 Mexican irregular cavalry from Chihuahua arrived to accompany the Americans south to Zacatecas. But then they disappeared a few days later.

    The most Grant could get out of the local resistance armies in Monterrey were about 650 dedicated Patriots plus another 300 from Saltillo. These were, of course, fed from the Union supplies. At least, these men had been properly armed by the American "donations" to Juarez over the past year or two.

    Grant would march stolidly towards Zacatecas, the center of the Mexican silver production.

    Mexico City

    The "Supreme Junta", basically the loose association of priests, aristocrats and soldiers which had summoned French aid, remained the defacto governing body of Mexico. Most desired a strong monarchy which would respect the traditional rights of the church, army and landowners.

    In 1863, representatives of this Junta had been dispatched to Europe to seek out a reliable Catholic monarch. Napoleon III had pushed Maximillian of the Habsburg clan for the Crown as a defacto puppet of France. However, the French perfidity during the "German War" would sour that relationship to the point that no Austrian Prince could enticed.

    Finally, tired of the matter, Napoleon III would announce that HE, via a Viceroy, would assume direct control over Mexico.

    This would cause a stir as many of the Supreme Junta had desired an "independent" ruler. But the presence of the French Army in Mexico City as well as adequate support among the Junta (whose privileges Napoleon III promised to uphold) would ensure that Napoleon III was crowned Emperor of Mexico by proxy in 1864.

    Beyond dismaying many members of the Supreme Junta, this would elicit powerful reactions among the Mexican Liberals, the Americans and Great Britain.


    Throughout the French "War" with America, there had been precious little warring. In truth, beyond an opportunistic bit of selling arms to the Confederacy and seizure of some American trading ships at sea, the two nations had barely interacted in years.

    The Emperor of France (and now Mexico) would learn of the plans of American invasion by least 1863 and dispatched a series of representatives to Washington offering a "just peace".

    He was surprised with Lincoln ordered the emissaries from American shore with barely a moment's hesitation.

    Apparently, the Americans were in no mood to negotiate.


    Disraeli knew that, from a technical standpoint, that Britain and France were allies against the United States as both remained at war with that nation. However, neither European power had cooperated in any meaningful way and it was generally accepted that France's declaration of War upon the United States had been nothing more than a cynical ploy to allow greater leeway in Mexico by the distracted British.

    With France effectively allying with Russia and Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean, the pretense of French and British amity was at an end.

    While Britain possessed few direct colonial possessions on the mainland of Latin America (British Honduras, British Guyana), the Latin Nations were avid trading partners with Britain and the region represented a profitable corner of British trade.

    The Emperor so brazenly claiming Mexico as his own put much of this at risk.

    As the British were unwilling to risk war with France (and possible Russia, Italy and Egypt) by directly intervening against the French in Mexico, the British were left in the absurd position of rooting for America to evict the French for them, even as America and Britain remained at war.

    As much as any other reason, this pushed Disraeli to halt most forms of attack on America's coasts.

    In the meantime, the price of grain remained high, the textile workers remained unemployed and Britain seemed to have fewer and fewer takers for her wares.

    Even the powerful British finance industry was shaking as American debts were naturally not paid.


    In March, 1864, the first formal elections were held for the Commonwealth of Canada. George Brown was shortly elected Prime Minister by the newly elected Parliament. Per agreements with the United States and Quebec, there would be no hindrance of shipped goods through their neighbors' lands except in times of war.

    As this WAS a time of war, much of the Canadian grain remained in warehouses.

    Per the Treaty, all American troops were withdrawn from Canada except a modest number guarding the Welland Canal (these would be removed after the war).

    This freed up another 30,000 troops to be transported to eastern Quebec, Mexico, the South, the eastern cities or just to be dismissed from the service.



    The first independent vote in Quebec would take place in April, 1864. While resentful of the large American garrison and suspicious that this would come back to haunt them, the Republic of Quebec would form its first Parliament. George Cartier was elected Prime Minister and promptly sought a reduction in America troops from Quebec's sovereign soil.

    This Lincoln was prepared to do as most America troops were withdrawn except those in the region of Quebec. As the British would likely have complete control over the waters of the St. Lawrence, that meant that Quebec had to allow a series of American supply depots along the northern shoreline of the mighty river to support her forces in the east.

    The Republic would also form her own army (armed and financially supported by the Americans) to defend her territory against the British. While still offended to have the situation IMPOSED upon them by the Americans, most of the Quebecois were happy to see the nearly forgotten dream of independence within reach. The America seizure of parts of Quebec south of the St. Lawrence would leave greater antipathy.

    By 1864, there were 20,000 American soldiers along the northern coast of the St. Lawrence in Quebec and another 15,000 posted along the newly acquired southern territory. The rail junctions had been reestablished and this ensured that rapid reinforcements could be dispatched. In addition to the 6000 regulars and 16,000 militia of their new Quebecois "allies", it seemed unlikely that the British would be regaining Quebec any time soon.
    Chapter 47
  • April, 1864

    Washington DC

    The reduced incidents of British attacks at sea would lead some Americans to believe that an invasion was imminent. Lincoln, with his chief advisor Henry Hallock on hand (fat old Winfield Scott had retired the previous year), doubted this greatly. Any army the British could field across an ocean could easily be countered by the shrinking Union Army (though the term "Union" was becoming less common as America had been reunited).

    Instead, it seemed more likely that the British government, still divided, was just out of ideas on how to proceed.

    That was something, Lincoln supposed. Halleck and the other American generals would agree that a land invasion of the Maritimes (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) would be almost impossible given the forested and rocky terrain through Northern Maine and into New Brunswick. The rail and road systems did not exist to support an army the size necessary to seize the region.

    Even marching up the Gaspe Peninsula, as some American and Quebecois volunteers were doing, put that expedition under great risk of British counterattacks given the Royal Navy domination of the St. Lawrence and ease of supply. To Hallock's mind, that expedition was as much a distraction as anything to the British.

    Reports from Mexico were slow, though it was apparent that Grant and Lee were MOVING, though how fast was uncertain. At least they hadn't been attacked by Juarez's people. That was something at least even if their support had been more modest than hoped.

    The only good news Lincoln had in April of 1864 was that the Secretary of the Treasury's proposal for a new National Bank had finally been approved by both houses of Congress. To Lincoln, this was only about 50 years too late.

    President Jefferson, true to his patrician planter class, had loathed the idea of banking entirely, deeming it ungentlemanly. President Jackson had made enemies of people who supported the bank.....and Jackson's enemies NEVER prospered. Just ask the British.

    Unfortunately, America had paid for Jackson's personal animosities with routine regional bank failures and ceding capital markets to nations like Britain and the Netherlands, where the central banks were stronger.

    Lincoln knew that approving a National Bank was not the same thing as it being effective. In truth, the Bank probably wouldn't be set up until AFTER this current war with Britain concluded. Attempting to create it now would likely lead to its failure and another half century before America would be willing to take another look.

    But, a good day was a good day, was it not?


    To the abject shock of Robert E. Lee, the French had made little to no effort to blockade Tampico's harbor. Taking a chance, he dispatched a ship to New Orleans for supplies. In a surprising amount of time, General Franklin had dispatched four blockade runners from New Orleans for Tampico.

    With the British apparently cutting back on their naval campaigns on American coastal cities, the Mississippi delta had been open for months.....though few desired to risk the high seas. Lee's need was so great, however, that Franklin and his Naval ally, Farragut, had dispatched a series of blockade runners to resupply the army with powder, shot, shell, medical supplies, etc.

    Never having been so grateful, Lee offered his thanks and marched south from Tampico, this time for Veracruz.

    While the French had apparently taken the loss of Tampico with aplomb, Lee knew that Veracruz would be an entirely different matter.


    Grant had finally managed to negotiate an alliance with a number of bands of Mexican irregulars. These men had been highly suspicious of American intentions upon Grant crossing the border. They'd been outraged to find out that Baja California had already exchanged hands and that Sonora was to be held as collateral for American assistance and mining rights after the war.

    But enough of the Mexicans had been incensed by the announcement that Emperor Napoleon III of France was now Emperor Napoleon I of Mexico that various Generals agreed to heed Juarez's call to join the Americans.

    Unlike Monterrey, Saltillo, Matamoros and Tampico, the French actually cared about the silver producing region centered around Zacatecas.

    Finally, the French would dispatch an army of 7000 European and African soldiers and 6000 Mexicans. General Francois Bazaine, a veteran of battles on multiple continents, commanded the French troops while General Tomas Mejia would command the Mexican. Oddly, Mejia was very much Indian blood and surprisingly had reached high rank in the more aristocratic European Mexican army of the new Emperor. Mejia was, however, a staunch Catholic, and had served the Conservatives well during the previous Mexican Civil War. Bazaine cared more about talent than race and happily accepted Mejia as his nominal second in command.

    Near Zacatecas, the French and Imperial Mexican forces would face the invaders in the open field. For the past years, Bazaine had sought an open battle to utilize the superior European/African tactical advantage against the Mexican Liberal insurgents. However, he was no longer facing farmers with shotguns and pitchforks.

    Here, he faced American veterans of four years of war who carried superior weapons to the old muskets the French continued to utilize. Grant's light artillery (his heavy artillery was virtually non-existent as he could not possibly haul the heavier guns so far south) was easily equal to the French Army which had not significantly updated beyond the old "Napoleon" bronze smoothbore cannon either.

    During the Mexican American War, the Yankee artillery had often been the difference maker in multiple battles. In THIS war, the repeating rifle would take the forefront.

    Forming a small but maneuverable formation, Bazaine would dispatch his best troops (the French, other Europeans and Africans) in a somewhat standard formation which would not have been out of place half a century prior.

    The repeating rifles - Winchesters, Sharpes, etc - would move the French down with an aplomb they had never experienced. As the dueling artillery exchanged volleys, it became apparent to Bazaine that massed bayonet charges would not work. Thus, he opted for a war of maneuver. He pulled his left flank out of line and ordered a quick march to the west around the American lines. This would prove counterproductive as Grant had already dispatched Sherman with 2000 men to block such a move.

    It was at this point that Grant ordered his own left flank to strike forward with reinforcements under Lew Armistead. Bazaine had underestimated the number of troops the Americans had on hand. In a desperate attempt to close the gap as his Austrian Division collapsed, he ordered his Mexican allies forward. They momentarily solidified the line though at great cost as the American superiority in arms as well as numbers withered their counterattack.

    Then, Grant ordered his Cavalry forward under General Buford, which included both Union and Mexican elements. This was enough to break the Mexican and Austrian infantry.

    Seeing the battle was lost, Bazaine skillfully withdrew his army south of Zacatecas (he had no intention of being trapped in the city) to call for reinforcements. The Mexican Imperial Cavalry would be dispatched to cover the retreat and they did wonders in blunting the enemy infantry. The long lances proved more useful than the French swords or even pistols. However, even this came with a cost. The Mexican Cavalry would lose 300 men and horses to preserve the rest of the army.

    In all, the French and Imperial Mexicans had suffered 1500 casualties and another 1000 captured and deserters.

    Seldom had Bazaine been defeated in battle. He swore that this would be the last time.
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    Chapter 48
  • May, 1864


    General Bazaine would grit his teeth as 3000 of his best troops would embark in Veracruz. The Egyptians, Africans and Austrians (which had been included when France and Austria were still allies) were departing. The Belgian Corps and an expansion of the Austrian Brigade expected to arrive in 1864 had already been cancelled after Maximilian of Austria and his Wife Carlota of Belgium would find taking up Napoleon III's offer of a throne politically unacceptable after France's apparent betrayal of Austria the year prior. Though Carlota longed for a crown of her own, she could not get her husband to betray his own brother in such a way.

    The initial Austrian Brigade had finally been summoned home representing the final split between France and Austria's alliance.


    After months of barely hanging on, the coalition government fell. It was not over the French, Russian, Mexican or American problems. It was over a modest bill to reorganize the Irish School system. The Radical Leader John Bright wanted to go too far in the bill (without going as far as home rule) while Gladstone would not.

    Bright would be outraged at the watering down of his bill and withdrew from the government. Many of the "Young Ireland" backbenchers would follow.

    It was enough for the rickety coalition to fall apart.

    The Queen, utterly disgusted at her government's inability to govern, would summon Palmerston, Disraeli, Derby, Russell.....anyone who could forge a coalition.

    In the end, Palmerston and Russell begged off, stating that they could not. Disraeli and Derby could not either.

    Finally, Her Majesty summoned......Gladstone.

    Never in her reign had Victoria loathed a minister as much as she had Gladstone. Pompous and self-righteous, the man had the temerity to lecture HER!

    Gladstone agreed to form a Ministry but would need some time. To do so, he would have to keep Disraeli and Derby in the government but exchange the Radicals for more of the Liberals. This would take some negotiations and he would need to get Palmerston and Russell to pull in as many Liberals as possible.

    Eastern Anatolia

    With the collapse in authority in the Ottoman Empire, the Russian invasion of the Armenian lands would proceed with almost contemptuous ease.

    With the same lack of humanity the Russians displayed in Circassia and the lands of the Tartars, the Czar's forces would prove utterly ruthless and evict hundreds of thousands of Turks and other Muslim groups they deemed a threat.

    Eyelets of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra

    With the Ottoman central authority gone, the Arabs of the east would revolt successfully, kicking out the remaining Ottoman administrators.

    Western Ireland

    Word of repeated British defeats had brought enormous joy to the hearts of millions of Irishmen. Though the economic times on the island had improved greatly since the Famine, resentment against British rule was reaching new heights.

    Off the coast of Galway in 1864, the USS Manhattan, one of the few commerce raiders still being dispatched by the American government, would exchange fire with a British frigate and burn it to the waterline in full view of thousands of Irishmen.

    A spontaneous revolt erupted in western Ireland as tens of thousands of America-made rifles emerged from seemingly nowhere.


    Napoleon III would look at the global chessboard with joy. The British appeared to be overwhelmed with problems and France appeared to be getting away with murder. He'd played the game well and Britain dare not directly intervene against France in the Eastern Mediterranean else they finding themselves at war with five nations.

    Now, the French Emperor found another way to tweak Britain's nose and raise French profile in Latin America.

    Over the past few years, Britain and Brazil had engaged in a diplomatic feud not unlike the one which had engulfed Britain and America. Pride and arrogance led to Brazil expelling the British delegation and the two nations barely communication, much less trading since 1861.

    Seeing an opportunity to expand his influence in Latin America, Napoleon III would would offer Brazil support in her own involvement in the Uruguayan Civil War. Brazil was supporting the "Blanco" Party while Argentine supported the "Colorado" Party. Eventually, the French Envoy in Montevideo would seek to form an alliance with Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay (Paraguay's President Lopez was only recently getting involved in the regional dispute).

    Brazil was not only the most populous nation in South America but her economy was rapidly becoming the most robust in the region as well. It seemed a good bet to gain influence in multiple countries while further isolating Britain. Best case scenario, Britain would throw in with Argentina, thus creating more ill-will with the trading power and allowing French traders to assume greater domination of the market.

    Intended to tweak his rival Empire's nose, the decision for European involvement in South America affairs would have wide-ranging impact worldwide.
    Chapter 49
  • May 1864


    As a bone thrown to the Austrians after having effectively stolen two more of Emperor's provinces (Galicia and Venetia), Austria had been granted rights to Bosnia. Though the Austrians would initially make moves to assume control, the Emperor in a rare bout of lucidity among European monarchs, swiftly realized that seizing Bosnia would present virtually no benefits to the Empire and likely no end of problems.

    Thus, Austria would withdraw the handful of forces which had crossed the border and returned them to their billets.

    Bosnia would be granted leave to form their own government.


    Great Britain would not be the only country concerned with France's omni-directional expansion of influence in the world. Spain, still reeling from the Carlist Wars, was already being dragged into their own quagmire.

    Queen Isabella had been invited by a leading General to reassume control over the Dominican after a 50 year absence. Having lost so much of their Empire in the early 19th century, the Queen leaped at the opportunity in 1860. Though America had long spouted the "Monroe Doctrine", in reality that nation had seldom possessed the military might to evict colonial powers from North America. When the War between the States commenced in 1861, this left the opportunity for European to ease back into the role of colonial masters. Spain assumed control over the Dominican while France attempted to conquer Mexico.

    In the 1850's, the Dominican portion of the Island of Hispaniola had overthrown the Empire of Haiti's Emperor Faustin Soulouque, the Emperor exiled in 1859. However, Haiti would remain under political and economic disorders under the new Republican President. In 1864, the aging (81) Faustin Soulouque returned to Haiti with is nephew and heir, Prince Mainville. Having maintained contact with various officials for years, the Soulouques would quietly arrange a coup in which they could return to power.

    To regain popularity among the people, the elder Soulouque and his nephew would arrange a new "liberation" of the Dominican. This took very much the appearance of a racial war as the Haitians were predominantly black while the Dominicans were largely white or gens de color (code for mixed race) as Spain had never been

    The Dominicans put up a resistance to the Spanish reconquest. But the Invasion of the Haitians largely united the Dominicans once more. Queen Isabella's other colonies of Puerto Rico and Cuba would provide tens of thousands of migrants per year (also from Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Italy) to the Dominican. Spain provided nearly 20,000 soldiers to support the Dominican army which promptly counterattacked.

    As the Haitians had largely (at the Soulouque's prompting) murdered large numbers of Dominican gentry, the Dominicans, Spaniards, Cubans and Puerto Ricans would repay this butchery a hundred fold.

    Hispaniola soon was reduced to a bloody graveyard.

    Eastern Mexico (coast)

    While there WAS a north-south road mirroring the Caribbean coast of Mexico, it was not easy going. Despite the moderately flat road (for long stretches at least), Lee would struggle to move his army 20 miles a day. Usually he wouldn't come close.

    For weeks, the Americans and Mexican Liberals would march further and further from their supply base in Tampico (one which was easily reachable by sea but the French navy had finally blockaded it in May) knowing they may be cut off at any time.

    Forage was hard to find in this remote and lightly populated region while the heat of the summer caused men and animals to sicken at alarming rates.

    With French and Mexican "Junta" cavalry keeping an eye on his advance, Lee was certain that the enemy would pick its time to challenge him entirely at THEIR advantage.

    He wondered how Grant was doing.


    Once again, Charleston was becoming the hub of the cotton trade in America. As the harbor had seldom been blockaded by the British, the massive supply of cotton stockpiled over two years of war had finally been shipped, largely to Union ports. However, neutral parties like the Dutch and Spanish frequently came calling.

    With the abolition of slavery, actual PRODUCTION of cotton had plummeted by 1863 to less than 40% of pre-war levels due to the outward migration of almost 25% of the southern freedmen (a process continuing in 1864). While many of those Negroes remaining in the south had found some vocations or been granted some land to farm on their own, the majority were left in similar conditions to bondage working as day-laborers or migrant cotton-pickers. This brought in some level of cotton production, enough to feed the burgeoning textile mills of the north but no enough to even remotely satiate Europe's appetite.

    By happenstance, three American cargo vessels arriving from New England with loads of grain to exchange for cotton would catch the attention of a passing British convoy of six naval vessels. Fortunately, the merchant ships were within easy range of Charleston and made for the port before the military vessels could catch them on the open seas.

    However, they did attempt to chase the civilians into the harbor and that proved an error.

    In one of history's great ironies, General Anderson, who had defended the great Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor against the rebels in the opening battle of the Civil War, had been reassigned to the fortification to upgrade her defenses and those of the coastal batteries. For the first time since the surrender of the Confederacy, local civilians in Charleston had been granted authorization to serve in the militia due to lack of Union soldiers along the coast. Rather than give them muskets, the militia (mostly black men) would mostly serve as artillery men.

    However, several senior officers were absent that day and the poorly drilled militia in the city and coastal defenses needed urgent leadership to support Sumter. Into this situation walked P.T. Beauregard, the same man who once fired the opening shot of the Civil War upon his old teacher and friend from West Point, Anderson. Beauregard had been leading an initiative to rebuild the southern railroads and was instrumental in getting wide swathes of the south connected again. He happened to be inspecting a nearby railroad tie when he heard the thunder of artillery.

    Beauregard immediately took to the ramparts were a half dozen huge Dahlgrens were haphazardly firing (usually to no effect) upon the British and promptly corrected the angle of trajectory, homing in on the British vessels. Between Sumpter and the coastal defenses, two British ships were battled shelled and limped out to sea where they sank within sight of the Fortification.

    Anderson would return to the mainland that night and discover, to his abject shock, who his deliverer had been. While there were no hard feelings between the two men over the events of four years prior, they took the time renew their friendship. The unlikely coincidence would be reported upon throughout the nation as an example of a genuine reapproachment between north and south.

    50 miles south of Zacatecas

    General Ulysses Grant was already getting tired of being in Mexico. He hated the ordeal the first time he had to fight here and loathed it more in 1864. While he had won his first major engagement in Mexico over the French General Bazaine himself, Grant would soon tire of the dismal heat and, worse, the sullen inhabitants.

    When his army stumbled into Zacatecas, his army was already at the end of its rope supply-wise. Even seizing some French and "Junta" supplies in the city did little to extend his range. However, the local Mexicans, even those supportive of Juarez' Liberals, would offer little to aid the Americans. The best he could do was seize a shipment of government silver from the nearby mines (a most fortuitous occurrence) which enabled him to purchased forage and food for his men. Even the aides dispatched by Juarez could do little to obtain supplies.

    He wondered if Mexico's freedom was worth fighting for.

    Thus, after weeks of rest and recuperation, Grant's army moved south once more.
    Chapter 50
  • June, 1864

    Northern Maine

    Though few considered the idea feasible, the Army would continue constructing a roadway northbound towards the New Brunswick border. If nothing else, it was another good warning to the British of the Maritimes. It was only 90 miles from the border to St. Johns.

    With continued British dominance on the waves, America had few opportunities to pressure the British on land. Though a trek through the Maritimes in the face of British regulars prepared for their arrival was not ideal, at least it reminded Great Britain that there was a lot MORE that they could lose in this conflict.


    In short order, the Brazilian and Paraguayan forces had aided the "Blancos" faction to regain the Capital of Uruguay.

    Here, the French Ambassador would prove instrumental in maintaining the alliance for Paraguay had significant border disputes with both Argentina and Brazil. Nearly 18% of Paraguay's population spoke Portuguese and considered themselves Brazilian.

    However, the French were able to buy off President Lopez's territorial claims against the Brazilians in exchange for large amounts of military stores. For the moment, the alliance held.

    This was necessary as the British was openly supporting the Argentinians and "Colorado" faction of the Uruguayans. The Rio Plata would quickly see a flotilla of British ships which would dominate the region's waters. However, the Argentines were on the wrong side of the Uruguay River.

    What President Mitre of Argentina would not realize was that the French would reignite long held dreams of freedom from the inland Argentine provinces. Over the 1850's and to the Battle of Pavon in 1861, Argentina had been at war with itself. President Mitre represented Buenos Aires Province which had long dominated Argentina, both before and after the war.

    With the war with Brazil, the French negotiated an alliance with former Argentine Confederation General Urquiza who had been defeated by Mitre and went into sullen retirement in Entre Rios state near the border of Uruguay. While Urquize had no love for Paraguay, Uruguay OR Brazil (or the French), he realized that Mitre was always going to dominate the rest of the Confederation from Buenos Aires.


    Queen Isabella would demand her Ministers to dispatch MORE and MORE troops to the Dominican to maintain the illusion in her own mind that Spain remained a global power.

    San Luis Potosi, Central Mexico

    After a long, terrible march, Grant managed to drag his army and most of his supplies to San Luis Potosi, yet another silver producing hub. Grant was uncertain why the French had not faced him in open battle again.

    He supposed that the French were drawing him ever further south.

    He did not know of the events out in the Caribbean.


    With the American Navy forces still clearly outgunned by the British, every source of shipbuilding would be utilized. This included several along the Mississippi River which was protected from the Royal Navy. Dozens of ships would be built, including several purpose built for the high seas.

    Slowly, the Mississippi squadron would make its way inexorably towards the Caribbean. The Mississippi delta was challenging for these vessels to navigate. The heaviest ships could not possible pass New Orleans and even relatively lighter ships had trouble and frequently got stuck on sandbars. But the medium-sized ships were just able to cross with the help of several local pilots when a sudden series of heavy rains raised the river enough to get them through.

    From New Orleans, the six American ships would gain the aid of four heavier American ships which had taken refuge in the Delta but had been too large to pass to New Orleans. The fleet would reach Tampico in June, 1864 and cut to pieces the French blockading squadron stationed off the harbor.

    The fastest America ship would then sail north to the Mississippi delta to summon small fleet of provisioning ships and transports.

    4000 more men would reach Tampico with adequate shot and powder to resupply the Grant and Lee expeditions still plodding south.

    After the successful dispatch of their cargo, the fleet would turn east towards the Atlantic and prepare to join the gathering fleets in New York and the Chesapeake.

    New York

    The USS Puritan would join here fellow heavy Ironclad, USS Dictator, in 1864. The Dictator had recurring engine problems prompting the ship to remain in New York Harbor over 1863-64.

    The first Kalamazoo-class monitors would join them in the fall. The first Miantonomah class ships, the Agementicus, had been launched in the summer.

    Of course, the actual seaworthiness of the ships was questionable. Would they simply slip below the waves in the first storm?

    The heavy ships of the Royal Navy, the Warrior and Black Prince, had been seaworthy. The newer ships being launched in Britain certainly would, including the powerful Defense, Resistance, Hector, Valiant and Achilles. The Minotaur class would commence launching in late 1864.
    Chapter 51
  • August, 1864


    As both Grant and Lee moved slowly southward (Lee had received another shipment of supplies which Grant was languishing), both were confused why there had been so few direct encounters with French forces.

    They did not realize that the French forces of 30,000 Europeans and Africans which had arrived years ago had been weakened greatly by combat (3000 casualties), disease (4500 casualties and many others weakened) and recalled to their respective masters in Europe (3000 Austrians and Africans). This didn't even count the British and Spanish which had abandoned the expedition as soon as they realized the scope of Napoleon III's ambitions.

    At any point, the French only had 15,000 healthy European/African men and another 5000 on the sick list at any given point.

    Worse, the huge numbers of arms supplied by the Americans to the Mexican partisans would vastly increase the effectiveness of the Mexican Patriot Partisans throughout the periphery of the country.

    The defeat to Grant in Zacatecas had been catastrophic. Prior to this point, Napoleon III had assumed that the European mercenaries of the French Foreign legion, the Austrian "Volunteers", the Algerians, the Egyptians, the Sudanese, etc....would be more than adequate to control the country, especially given the fact that half the Mexican people were on their side, including the all-important clergy, nobility and the like. The only additional forces Napoleon III intended to send were the Belgium Legion, whose departure had been cancelled when it became clear that that the King of Belgium's daughter, Carlotta, would NOT be made Empress of Mexico.

    Napoleon III had been loath to dispatch any more actual French Regiments. The tropics tended to eat European armies alive and the Emperor preferred to waste foreign lives than his own. Besides, he was already getting increasingly involved in South America and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Just as importantly, the on the document signing the current peace on the European continent had hardly dried and the Emperor knew that Austria and Britain were less than happy with him. Even Spain had been full of vitriol over Napoleon III's actions .

    But the Emperor knew that the current state of affairs, in which Britain's resources were tied up in North America while her attention was riveted upon the Mediterranean. At the moment friendless, Britain's diplomats were probably working hard to seek alliances throughout Europe.

    If France was to gain an advantage over the mighty British Empire, it had to move quickly in times like this.

    Napoleon III would agree to provide 5000 French veterans to replace the Belgians he'd expected to dispatch. If Bazaine, one of the best of French Generals, could not defeat some Americans and barefooted Mexican insurgents, maybe the damned country wasn't worse claiming.

    At least that is what Napoleon III thought quietly. In reality, he knew that the day he claimed the title of Emperor of Mexico for himself, he could not so easily withdraw without suffering international mockery. A defeat France could accept. Humiliation it could not.

    Thus, Napoleon III then abridged his earlier note to replace the 3000 Austrians and Africans Bazaine had lost as well with French troops.

    As it so happened, the matter might be made moot if Lee managed to seize Veracruz, the lifeline of all Mexican trade and communication. So vital was this that Bazaine elected NOT to defend San Luis Potosi with anything more than 6000 "Junta" troops with a few hundred French Legionaries.

    Instead, Bazaine sent the bulk of his immediately available troops - 7000 French and 4000 Mexicans - to join the garrison of Veracruz and march north to meet Lee on the coast. The last thing Bazaine could accept is Veracruz being cut off (though he was sure the city would not fall given her strong walls, a siege would cut him off just as efficiently as Lee taking the city).

    Bazaine was impressed by the feat accomplished by the Americans of simply getting their armies so deep into Mexico. In 1846, this had never been accomplished without control over Veracruz (American troops in the Mexican War had hopped from one port city to the next via the Caribbean). But surely, as Napoleon I learned in Russia, the supply line becomes untenable after a certain point.

    Having been appointed "Viceroy", Bazaine himself dared not leave the fractious "allies" he had in Mexico City but the French General was convinced that this Lee could not match a French Army in a battle of maneuver.


    The British Ambassador stormed out of his audience with the French Foreign Minister, outraged by the French Emperor's daring.

    In hindsight, Britain should have more actively opposed Napoleon III when he declared himself Emperor. But the silver-tongued devil had talked his way out of a war.

    It was now apparent that the French were attempting an omni-directional expansion of influence.

    Worse, the French ironclad production was ramping up so much that, by 1865, France would have MORE ironclads than Britain. The Admiralty was already up in arms about this though there was some debate as to whether or not the French ships were truly a match for the Royal Navy.

    But with Britain already at war with America (oddly in a form of co-belligerence with France) and Russia crushing the Ottoman under the Czar's booted heel without any semblance of European opposition, things were looking more dire by the moment.

    The Ambassador had hoped to stave off this latest outrage of direct French intervention in a Uruguayan Civil War with a carefully veiled threat. This tactic failed under the scornful gaze of the French Foreign Minister.

    Humiliated, the Ambassador was forced to write home and confess his failure.

    Eastern Thrace

    The Czar would announce that Eastern Thrace would become a Russian province. A mixture of Turks, Bulgarians, Greeks and Jews, the Czar announced the settlement of hundreds of thousands of Russian, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Polish and Jewish "settlers" over the next few years.

    The Turks of Eastern Thrace and, well, most of the Balkans would be ejected back into Asia from whence they came. In the meantime, the Armenians and Russians were evicting the Turks from Eastern Anatolia as well. The death toll was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands would later historians would estimate 1-2,000,000 Turkish dead.

    In response, the fractious Turkish government(s) would turn upon the Greek, Armenian, Georgian and Assyrian (as well as other minorities like Alevis, Kurds, Arabs or Shi'a) communities in Western Anatolia, killing tens of thousands. Later historians would estimate 250,000 dead at least. These minorities would be ejected to Greece, Greater Armenia, Trabizond and the Near East.

    Russia would either make colonies of many of these Near Eastern possession or pronounce their independence (Assyria, Kurdistan, Mesopotamia).

    Egypt was already seizing south Damascus and the Ottoman tribute states along the Red Sea.

    In stunning fashion, the Ottoman had disintegrated within two years.


    The Generals were unanimous: Lincoln had waited too long to invade the Maritimes. If the President had truly expected to march through 90 miles of forest from Maine to seize St. Johns, (much less Halifax), the expedition should have marched at least two months prior.

    But winter came quickly this far north and marching in late August into the teeth of British defenses built into the dense forests of New Brunswick was folly.

    Lincoln took responsibility for the potential mistake but he'd hoped to avoid further conflict. Plainly, the British were NOT going to launch another invasion of Quebec.

    So why the was enemy still at war?

    What was to be gained?

    What Lincoln did NOT know was the chaos of the British government was making the war itself a side show in London.
    Chapter 52
  • September, 1864

    30 miles north of Veracruz.

    While technically, there was a "road" upon which Lee's army had travelled, it had been slow going from Tampico. Finally, almost within sight of the fortified city of Veracruz, the French forces manifested upon a gentle rise of hills.

    Though not exactly Gibraltar, Lee was not inclined to accept battle upon the French terms.

    Instead, he pulled back 500 yards and set up his own artillery. He dispatched cavalry under Jeb Stuart to scout out the enemy. Unsurprisingly, the French and Mexicans had put most of their artillery and heavy infantry on the hills while leaving the cavalry and several light infantry Regiments to the rear as a reserve.

    It was a standard defense in which the enemy plainly hoped Lee would oblige by charging the hills.

    Instead, Lee opted to wait to see if the French would get impatient first. By September, Lee had 12,000 Americans in his advance columns (most of the rest garrisoning Tampico) and 4000 Mexicans. President Juarez was conspicuous in encouraging the Mexicans until General Zaragoza demanding that the diminutive politician removed himself from the front before some enterprising French sniper ended his pretensions of authority.

    Lee settled in to wait.

    San Luis Potosi

    Grant had, unsurprisingly, route the Mexican forces he outnumbered 2 to 1. Again, as in Zacatecas, the enemy opted against pulling into the city and potentially trapping themselves.

    By this point, Grant would have preferred it.

    HIs caissons virtually empty, Grant had fought two battles and received nary a bullet of resupply. Only the happenstance of discovering a catch of powder and bullets with a Patriot partisan band allowed Grant to even occupy the city with confidence that he could fight at least one battle to defend it.

    Grant had reached the end of his logistical tether. He considered just abandoning San Louis Potosi (and therefore Zacatecas to the north) but knew that marching east to Tampico would effectively take him out of the equation for months and allow the French to concentrate upon Lee. As long as Grant remained in San Luis Potosi, Lee could continue to advance.

    Beyond writing scathing letters to whoever the hell was in charge of the Army of Texas, Grant would dispatch a Corps under his old friend Longstreet with several troops of Custer's cavalry directly east to Tampico. If supplies could be found, then Longstreet was to march south to assist Lee.

    No reason for Grant's ENTIRE ARMY to be sitting around doing nothing.


    The "Gladstone" Ministry of 1864 was not short-lived enough for the Queen. A string of captured caches of weapons in Ireland had led to fears of a general rebellion on that Isle, an impossible outcome given how desperately Britain required the grain and other agricultural bounty of the Emerald Isle. Several Regiments of regulars expected to be sent to reinforce the Maritimes against the threatened rebellion were diverted.

    Hundreds of Fenians would be arrested, tried quickly and largely dispatched to Austria on the next prison ship.

    Still, the threat brought to the fore the many problems of the British military situation which were barely being addressed by the government.

    Gladstone made the monumental error of formally proposing that Parliament investigate and debate THE CONCEPT of granting Ireland Home Rule.

    Within days, the government collapsed. The Liberal Party was split down the middle and Disraeli's Tories no less so. Disraeli had to withdraw his support to the government, which effectively doomed it.

    Queen Victory, elated with the self-destruction of the loathed Gladstone, would call for new elections for the 2nd time in just over a year. This was rare but not unheard of. Few would question the Queen's opinion that the Parliament had not failed to organize Her Government over the past years.

    This was the advantage that Disraeli needed. He reached out to a number of Liberals and convinced them to switch allegiance over the next year.

    He platformed on "reform" in Ireland....but was vague on what that meant, extending the franchise (a popular topic) and calling upon public scorn of the French and Russians (though he tended to leave out the Americans).

    By the time of the election, the Tories were looking at a moderate majority in the House of Commons and a better one by inviting the Radicals to the table.

    In one act, Gladstone had immolated his once-dominant Liberal Party.
    Chapter 53
  • September, 1864


    Throughout the past year, Lincoln had first been forced to keep the British Ambassador's (still technically the "Deputy" as the Queen had not seen fit to formally replace good Lord Lyons) mansion under armed guard of an entire squad of experienced soldiers for his own protection.

    After the first (and second) burning of New York, not to mention the other cities, Lincoln had the gentleman and his family moved to a local fortification, again for his own safety.

    To the President's surprise, the (Deputy) Ambassador arrived at his door asking for an immediate audience with His Excellency. Given that the man hadn't darkened Lincoln's door since the breakdown of the last peace talks in Madrid, the President offered him a short meeting.

    To Lincoln's surprise, the man fell over himself in sputtering out that Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, had been pleased to invite His Excellency, President Lincoln, to partake in peace negotiations once again sponsored by the Queen of Spain. As a sign of good faith, Her Majesty's government under First Lord of the Treasury Disraeli would unilaterally offer an armistice of all offensive operations on the part of her subjects effective immediately in hopes that President Lincoln would do the same. If he were to agree, the armistice would last until the following Spring, expiring April 1st.

    Lincoln did not see any reason to even request to speak before Congress. It was the President's authority to commit to such actions and he immediately prepared a document with a formal reply in the affirmative to Her Majesty.

    Until that moment, Lincoln had not known that Disraeli was officially the new First Lord of the Treasury though he knew of the coming election, of course, via various sources and that the Tories were expected to win in a landslide.

    He had already finished the response when his cabinet and inner advisors arrived to answer his summons.

    "It seems that we have another peace, gentlemen," Lincoln informed them without preamble, "at least for six months." He then shared the document with Seward, Halleck and the others. An uproar of conversation had to be brought under control of the President.

    "I don't know if this will lead to a real peace, nor if the Queen's government is yet willing to accept that Quebec Canada and the lands west are gone from them forever. This had been determined by force of arms and by treaty with our new neighbors to the north whom we've enticed to accept Independence on the promise we would not allow a peace in which they were threatened by British retribution," Lincoln concluded.

    "But, even if this IS a ruse or a false-hope of peace, it is an opportunity we must take," He went on. "The economy is barely holding, our niter stores are shrinking despite turning over every dung-pile and raking guano from every cave. We need a moment to catch our breath as a nation and resume trade."

    "Preferably BEFORE the election," Seward commented.

    Lincoln cocked his head, "That too, Seward. And this time, I'd like YOU to sail to Madrid and lead the negotiation personally. You know what is acceptable as well as I, god knows we've discussed it enough. I have trust in you entirely."

    The President then turned to eye Halleck and the Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. "It is also an opportunity to deal with our OTHER problem without fear of the Royal Navy interfering. I want a plan by tomorrow morning laying out how we are going to get additional soldiers and ships down to Veracruz and put an end to the Emperor's little colonial adventure.....preferably wrapping it up by April 1st just in case our next round of talks in Madrid bears no greater fruit than before. Just remember, a hundred men in Mexico today is worth a thousand tomorrow. A creaky old rowboat challenging the French in Veracruz Harbor today is better than a fleet tomorrow."

    "We must move FAST, gentlemen, else we let this rare chance to get away."


    In the end, it was the French that broke first. Rather wait any longer, the French Commander would order four regiments to charge downhill at the American position. This was, in fact, a distraction as he sent most of is reserves and cavalry in a flanking maneuver inland with the intention of crushing his enemy in a pincer.

    Unfortunately for him, Lee was far too canny to see past the obvious ploy.

    Instead, he arranged one heavy Brigade of Americans (2 Marylander Regiments and the 2nd Colored Regiment) under his friend and second in command George Thomas and most of his Mexican allies along the line where he finally pulled out the six Gatling guns his army had painstakingly hauled all the way from Texas. Over the months of the trek, Lee would periodically order the guns inspected and tested and was horrified as to how often the guns jammed in the humidity and dust of eastern Mexico. He ordered the guns cleaned every single day since the army halted before Veracruz and was gratified to see all six in working condition as the French made their frontal assault on Lee's position. The American artillery had ceased attempting to bombard the French heights and instead had been pulled back and interspersed with the infantry. The cannon would fire heavy balls until the enemy reached 300 yards, then switched to shell and, if they made it far enough, would switch to canister.

    Backed by American repeating rifles (Winchesters, Sharpes and Spencers), Lee proved once again that the old broad infantry charge and volley system had gone the way of the Dodo. The French again retreated with heavy casualties.

    To counter the expected flanking movement, Lee had dispatched the able former Confederate Thomas Jackson, whose rapid maneuvers led to his force crashing to the French flanking force in THEIR flank. Within moments, the maneuver had collapsed and the French and Junta troops retreating in confusion.

    Now, it was Lee who charged forward. Suspecting that the enemy had expended his own reserves, Lee ordered a general counterattack all along the line. While over half of the Americans possessed rifles without bayonets, it turned out that being able to fire repeatedly at the enemy while marching was effective too.

    As several Regiments broke the enemy line, it became apparent that the Americans would take the field. The French and "Junta" Mexicans withdrew as best they could, leaving 1500 casualties, 2000 prisoners and much of their artillery and supply train. Even the General's personal baggage fell to the Americans as the senior officers were delighted as the remarkable selection of French wines it possessed.

    The French stumbled back through the gates of Veracruz, harassed by Jeb Stuart's and Mexican patriot cavalry all the way.

    Within three days, the city of Veracruz had been surrounded and besieged from the landward side. Lee lack siege artillery to level the city but knew that cutting off the rest of Mexico from its only port was almost as good.

    The following week, Lee was delighted to find the advance cavalry dispatched from Grant arriving with the news that James Longstreet and his reinforced Brigade would be arriving a few days later. The Americans had halted momentarily in Tampico to resupply before marching south to join Lee.
    Chapter 55
  • October, 1864

    New Orleans, Tampico, Veracruz

    Having once sortied out to challenge and destroy the modest French blockading squadron of Tampico, the American Naval forces of New Orleans again ventured onto the waves and repeated their journey. Once again, they found an understrength French squadron and mauled the five ships the Emperor left exposed to the Americans.

    Napoleon III was somewhat late in learning of Disraeli's overture to the Americans and had assumed that the fear of Britain's Royal Navy would keep the bulk of the American Navy near the coastal defenses. But the armistice gave the Americans at least the chance of temporary regional naval supremacy.

    The assault was timed perfectly. Unlike the prior battle of Tampico Bay, the Americans did not retreat after dropping off their supplies. Instead, the lighter vessels of the New Orleans squadron would wait for the heavier ships of the American Navy to arrive.

    In the second week of October, a fleet lead by the USS Dictator, USS Puritan and USS Agamenticus along with a dozen other vessels of various makes and armor. Most had been upgraded to some degree in iron and artillery.

    It was a calculated risk the Americans took given that many doubted the British Armistice would truly last until spring. There was also grave doubt that some of the American ships would prove seaworthy for long voyages.

    But the American fleet sailing from New York and the Chesapeake nevertheless raised anchor in late September and arrived in Tampico to join their own. In their wake came a small convoy bearing 2000 more regulars (mostly the 2nd Coloured and 15th Pennsylvania) as well as some heavy siege equipment and a large number of supplies (at the same time another large supply train completed the march from Matamoros to Tampico).

    Now augmented to 21 ships of war, the fleet sailed south to the harbor of Veracruz where they fell upon the stronger French squadron. The question of if the American ships could compete with the French was soon answered as the Dictator, Puritan and Agamenticus fell upon the two heaviest armored French ships. The American "turret" system and low profile would prove superior to the French "broadside" ships. Also, the Dahlgren guns of the Americans would prove more reliable to their counterparts as well as the shells penetrating deeper through the enemy vessels.

    Within three hours, it was apparent that the enemy had had enough. Both battered, the two strongest French ships withdrew away from Veracruz, leaving her dozen sister ships to their fates. Now, the heavier American ships joined the melee against the lighter French vessels and the victory turned to a route. Four of the twelve were sunk and four more struck their colors. Two fled for the open sea and two more for the suddenly hemmed in harbor of Veracruz where the main armaments had not truly been upgraded since the French conquest.

    The victorious Admiral Dahlgren and Vice-Admiral Porter would wait until the following day to make repairs and then force the harbor. The remaining French warships and large number of merchant ships surrendered with nary a shot fired (many had dispatched their crews overnight leaving only skeleton crews). The only real resistance came from several batteries from the fortification. The heavy guns of the American fleet silenced these soon enough.

    Eventually, the Americans would anchor just out of shooting distance of the fortification and send officers ashore to make contact with General Lee, whose army remained committed to besieging the fortification.

    It turned out that the battle had cost the Americans much as well. Beyond the three vessels lost during the battle, two more were so battered that they were escorted back to Mobile for repairs. Worse, the rickety engines of the Dictator would nearly burst and require a full teardown in drydock. At length the American Admirals would order the Dictator towed back to Mobile as well.

    This brought Dahlgren's fleet down to 14 vessels though two more would arrive in the next week from Tampico. Intelligence reports had hinted at a major French reinforcement of Mexico. A worried Lee assured them that this had not yet occurred. He was elated, though to learn that siege artillery had been delivered to Tampico and the Navy sent a fast frigate north to escort the cargo south as quickly as possible.

    Making matters better for the General was the arrival of General Longstreet and his Brigade. The victorious Americans also attracted another 3000 local Mexican patriots who had been less than enthused about showing their allegiance until it was obvious who won the (land) battle of Veracruz. The presence of President Juarez and General Zaragoza would also encourage the rebels to unite under one banner. By October, Lee's army had swollen to over 20,000 men.

    Lee, Thomas, Dahlgren and Porter would determine to reduce the fortification as quickly as possible lest they be interrupted by a French convoy.

    November, 1864


    The arrival of Dahlgren's wounded ships in Mobile coincided with the distribution of news of the French naval defeats in Tampico and Veracruz. As the southern telegraph network had largely been repaired, this news reached Lincoln within hours of the American vessels dropping anchor in Veracruz Harbor.

    The elections were only weeks away and Lincoln's republicans did not waste their cue. They spread the news far and wide, ensuring an even greater margin of victory than expected.

    General Hancock had opposed the President on the Democratic ticket but few expected him to win more than a few states. Even Hancock, whose party historically drew much of its support from the south, dared not speak of returning the Southern States to full citizenship as so early a date. He'd probably have been strung up.

    By October, Hancock knew he would lose badly but, upon reflection, was content to leave Lincoln in command of the immense problems likely to be encountered by the wounded and bitter nation as it attempted to emerge into a new age.

    The rebellion of the South had to be reconciled.
    The status of the Negro must also be ascertained.
    The peace with Britain and France must be made on good terms.
    The economy must be buffeted and huge war debts paid off (probably the work of a generation of tax payers).
    And, most of all, the nation must never again be put into a position in which it may be so easily threatened.

    Yes, let Lincoln deal with that.

    Hancock suspected that the mid-term elections of 1866 would go rather differently for the Republicans.
    Chapter 56
  • December, 1864


    William Seward found his opposite number, Lord Derby, a preening aristocratic jackass, but an intelligent one. He was not be surprised that Derby considered him a pompous windbag.

    In truth, neither man found the other offensive and, after the usual rounds of pleasantries came the usual rounds of recriminations and demands.

    Once that was out of the way, the two got down to business.

    Seward informed Derby, whom must have known very well the American position, that Britain had declared war, Britain had ravaged helpless cities from the sea and Britain had aided the Confederate cause directly by arming them with powder, weapons, etc which was the only way that the rebellion had lasted two years.

    Seward demanded restitution for hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

    Derby demanded that Canada (now two sovereign countries) and the western lands (Ruport's Land, British Columbia and Vancouver) be returned to Britain.

    Both knew damned well that none of these things were going to happen. Thus, after two weeks, the Secretary of State and Foreign Secretary would hammer out the same agreement which both knew was inevitable the moment they set foot upon Spanish soil.

    America kept her conquests in British North America, Britain would recognize Quebec and Canada as independent nations (if they could be assured that the people WANTED independence) and America would drop her absurd claims.

    Derby knew damned well that the French and Russians must soon take precedence over America. Besides, through neutral traders, the impending arrival of American grain and cotton had already lifted spirits in the lower classes, especially the Midlands.

    The closest either side would receive in compensation was an American promise that loans from prior to the war by British Banks, private individuals, etc. would be paid. Even Derby didn't dare voice the opinion that debts owed by the Confederate government be paid by the Americans.

    Neither side voiced anything remotely like an apology amid the standard well-wishing and good tidings for future relationships (eternal friendship and the like).

    The peace treaty would find no shortage of detractors in both countries but the respective leaders, knowing the folly of extending hostilities, would press ahead anyway hopeful that future voters would just be glad the entire incident was over.

    The Hijaz

    It turned out that the europhile Khedive Isma'il Pasha would not possess his grandfather's military skill. With forces already committed to seizing Ottoman Syria, the Khedive also dispatched units to seize the Hijaz and Yemen. While the war in Syria proved generally successful, the Egyptian forces in Arabia would effectively be massacred by the local polities.

    With the reverses, Isma'il Pasha withdrew his forces from the Red Sea and reconsidered encroaching on the border of Ethiopian as planned (He was uncertain what his French or Russian friends would think of that anyway).

    Debts were already beginning to rack up despite French and Russian subsidies. The projected revenues of the Suez Canal, if they panned out at all, were still four or five years away. The Khedive determined to keep his expectations more level. Already the French bankers were closing in.


    Edward de Stoeckl would quietly approach Lincoln regarding the status of Russian America. The vast land had been largely furred out over the years and no longer possessed any utility for the Czar. Prior to the American war, de Stoeckl would encourage the Czar and Americans to purchase the northern lands but the War between the States ended the conversation. He was certain that Great Britain was likely to grasp it sooner or later and, if peace between Britain and America was nigh, that the latter would soon form a threat. Rather than risk a breech in relations between Russia and America, the Ambassador sought to prevent such an event from happening.

    President Lincoln, despite the hardships his people were suffering economically, responded with enthusiasm and assured de Stoeckl that he would press for Congressional approval the moment the wars with Britain and France ended, no matter the economic situation.

    This worked for de Stoeckl as well as France, being Russia's pseudo-ally, was still at war with America and Russia selling land to the Emperor's enemies may prove quite offensive in some quarters of Paris.

    However, the seasoned diplomat in de Stoeckl wondered how long such an alliance was set to last.

    Over the past half-decade, Napoleon III of France had betrayed Britain, Spain, Mexico, Austria, Denmark and the Vatican without any apparent remorse. How long would it take before Russia joined THAT list?

    Eastern Anatolia

    Having seen her armies crushed in the field without a single ally arriving with promised aid (Britain, France, Italy, Austria), the Ottoman government (of the moment) in Ankara would seek peace with Russia. Mass numbers of refugees were spilling across Anatolia's borders. Europe was being emptied of Turks (and most Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek Muslims, for that matter) while the Russians had crushed the Ottoman armies in Eastern Anatolia.

    Even the Turkish populations in the Levant were being summarily thrown out by that Jackal, the Khedive of Egypt.

    Her government and economy in tattered, what was left of central authority ceded the Armenian, Greek, Wallachian, Moldavian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Kurdish, Alevi, Assyrian, Albanian, Arab, etc, etc, etc, lands to whoever the Czar's agents stated.

    The Ottoman Empire had come to an end with a speed no one within or without could possibly have imagined.


    Though offended that Russia deemed proper to keep Eastern Thrace and Constantinople to herself, the King of Greece was happy to seize those lands north of her borders in Macedonia and Albania.

    The latter country, Albania, would be broken into three units: Greek Albania (mostly Orthodox), Muslim Albania and North Albania (Catholic).

    To the north, another new nation, Bosnia, would bear her own struggles attempting to mix her Muslim Majority to the Serbian Orthodox Minority....when Bosnia no longer had a strong Muslim sponsor to protect her interests.
    Chapter 57
  • December, 1864


    Expecting the French reinforcements any moment, the American Army and Navy moved rapidly with their allies to seize Veracruz. Finally receiving his siege artillery and a decent supply of shot, shell and powder, Lee pounded the outer fortifications of Veracruz while the Navy entered the harbor and eliminated any significant resistance among the French defensive positions.

    Still fearful that reinforcements may also arrive from Mexico City, Lee dispatched Jackson with 4000 Americans and 2000 Mexicans to cut off any such descent.

    He needed have bothered as Bazaine had more than his hands full in Mexico City. The "Patriots" had launched an omni-directional assault on French positions, ensuring that the lion's share of non-deployed French and "Junta" troops were occupied. A large-scale relief by land was not likely.

    To Lee's delight, Grant arrived just days into the bombardment of Veracruz. Grant had determined that staying in San Luis Potosi was a waste of time and made for Tampico which provided him with much needed supply. He marched south just in time to see the walls of Veracruz fall and Longstreet lead the Americans into the city.

    The French and Mexicans inside would fight bitterly for a full day, falling back a street at a time. However, they soon ran low on ammunition and the French commander forced to seek terms.

    A week later, the French relief force arrived and witnesses the American and Mexican flags waving above Veracruz. A quick consultation with his subordinates led the French Admiral, stunned at the speed of the American advance, to seek retribution by wiping out the American fleet present.

    However, Dahlgren would have his own ace up his sleeve.

    The USS Dictator and a smaller Frigate had just returned from Mobile, her engines finally repaired, and led the American fleet into battle one more time. And one more time, the USS Dictator's engines would burst, leaving her largely defenseless. However, by this point, the French flagship Gloire, had been shelled into submission as were two smaller vessels. Seeing the futility, the French fleet withdrew, taking their cargo ships and transports with them.

    January, 1865


    Already in a good mood from the early reports of Veracruz' fall (he would not know about the naval battle with the French for another two weeks), Lincoln was flat out elated when he received Seward's communique from Madrid. Though he knew that there would be resistance among the public and backlash by opposition politicians stating THEY could have done better, Lincoln took the peace that was handed to him.

    Even the Armistice had allowed America to regain some semblance of economic normality. Grain and cotton went out, vital goods like niter brought in. In the latter's case, the quantities would allow America to wage another six month of battle. Much of this niter was supplied by Russia but also procured by various third party sources.

    Lincoln already had the war department working on a long-term solution to producing a local niter supply or some adequate substitute. That Sword of Damacles must not hang over America's head again.

    February, 1865

    Seeing no reason to wait, Grant took leave of Lee and marched westward with his 15,000 Americans and 6000 Mexicans led by Zaragoza. Puebla awaited. After that, Mexico City.


    Crowds would form by the tens of thousands in Quebec and Montreal, elated to learn that Great Britain had given them their freedom. For the first time in a hundred years, Englishmen would not dominate their future. And even before that, there had been a King.

    Quebec's future seemed........bright?

    There were some who doubted that the American soldiers stationed along the St. Lawrence would, in fact, depart as they promised. Some claimed that, once the Queen formally ceded Independence, America would claim her as a new State or Territory.

    But Lincoln was adamant that Quebec was to see the last of foreigners on her soil and dispatched a letter to Prime Minister Cartier to work out the timing of the American withdrawal.

    Ottawa, Canada

    Perhaps less enthusiastic were the English-speaking Canadians. Had they been given a truly free choice, no one could honestly say if Canada would have opted for independence. It had been required given that they had 50,000 Americans occupying their cities. And now, with Quebec also liberated, the effectively landlocked Canada could hardly expect to receive any protection from Great Britain. More likely, they would suffer from the tie to the Mother Country in some future feud between America and Britain.

    Like their French counter-parts, the Canadians shared a sliver of doubt that America would not just march back into their lands once that country's soldiers were no longer needed against the British or French.

    Like Quebec, though, Lincoln would dispatch messages of good tidings, promising to remove the last of the Americans from the Welland Canal region by summer and Canada left entirely to the natives.

    By Fall, the Canadians would deem it a good idea to move their Capital from Ottawa to Toronto in order to keep the seat of government too close to the American border. This level of suspicion would be maintained for a full generation.

    In the meantime, the 10% of Quebec and Canada that was Irish Catholic would disproportionately migrate south into America where free land was to be had. No longer bound to Queen Victoria or her "other" subjects in Ireland, both Quebec and Canada could monitor her immigration and become more "pure" according to what they desired their nations to be.

    The Rio Plata

    Though it took a few months, President Lopez of Paraguay would soon enough turn upon his "allies" in France, Brazil, Uruguay and the Argentina (minus the State of Buenos Aires). From Buenos Aires, the British and their ally Mitre would look on in amusement as the French alliance fell apart.

    Both looked for some advantage to wrestle control of the region north of the Rio Plata from the French.