How a bunch of fat guys falling off horses wrecked the British Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alt History Buff, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Kaiser Chris Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico

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    Welp, Prussia just cemented their reputation TTL as the dumbass of Europe. They had a perfectly good opportuniy to reclaim East Prussia and Silesia TTL with the Russians advancing yet what do they do instead? Try and overthrow neutral Sweden and drag Sweden Norway, AND Hanover into the war with the potential for British reinforcements in the future. If Austria wins again then I sure do hope that they dismantle the Prussian Kingdom as surely they would not be stupid enough to let it go wild. Hopefully at the very least Poland will come out alright. Also Buff I think you are forgetting about the Lithuanians and the Baltics as they too would be fighting hard for independence.

    Hopefully Napoleon will be able to march to the Rio Grande. I can also expect to see the Latin American Revolutions begin soon with the Portuguese War moving on, maybe the movement for an independent Brazil will be the spark. In that case wouldn't it make sense for John Jay to support Mexican independence in exchange for California?
     
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  2. SavoyTruffle Going For The One

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    So Prussia grabs an opportunity to redeem itself by taking on an overextended Habsburg realm but shoots itself in the foot by provoking Sweden AND Norway-Hanover?

    Oy vey.
     
  3. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 113

    February, 1808

    San Antonio de Bexar


    General Napoleon Bonaparte gritted his teeth as he continued to await orders to move south. For the past several months, the General had attempted to consolidate his supplies to move south. The extended supply line made this immensely difficult. Perhaps more importantly, the government in Philadelphia had refused to give the authorization to march into New Spain.

    "What would a move south accomplish?" the Secretary of War, Alexander Hamilton inquired. "The only city of any consequence within consequence was Monterrey, hundreds of miles to the south and even more impossible to supply and hold than San Antonio de Bexar."

    Hamilton believed that the vast wastes of northern New Spain would consume an army in its sands, thus the reason why the Spanish had not made a major attempt to eject Bonaparte from San Antonio and Caddo Territory. It was much easier for Spain to attack Caddo and New Orleans by sea, Hamilton reasoned.

    Finally, after nearly two years of waiting, the government approved Bonaparte's move south. He ordered three Neapolitans, the young Pepe brothers whom had been on the losing side of a Republican revolution in Naples (one was actually a cousin but they were remembered as brothers), to scout southward through the vast deserts towards Monterrey.

    New Spain and Brazil

    The various Spanish colonies of the New World rebelled for varying reasons and with various effects.

    New Spain (the northern portion from Guatemala to California) would face repeated Indian rebellions.

    New Granada and Rio Plata, on the other hand, resisted at the behest of their colonial gentry, irritated by their exclusion from power.

    Chile and Peru's resentment was economic, with the incapacity of the Spanish economic system's ability to provide modern trade goods.

    Brazil's resistance, of course, was based upon ethnic lines and the Portuguese colonists were unwilling to become a province of a Spanish-dominated Empire.


    Berlin

    The King of Prussia's ministers were in a near panic. Most had no idea of King Gustav IV's plans to overthrow the government of Sweden and had viewed the eccentric man as an annoyance, not a danger. Most would have been happy to see him exiled from Prussia.

    When Gustav was captured with dozens of Prussian officers after his inept attempt to regain his throne, the government of Sweden was unsurprisingly enraged.

    As the appointed heir to King Karl was also Elector of Hanover and King of Norway, these other nations also condemned "Prussia's provocative actions".

    Having been previously generally supportive of Prussia as the leader of Protestant Germany and equally fearful of Habsburg domination, the northern front of Prussia was suddenly very vulnerable as Hanoverian, Mecklenburger and Swedish armies rushed to the border. Denmark and Britain condemned this no less than the Swedes. Even Russia, Prussia's ally, would point out the stupidity of allowing this venture to depart Prussia.

    King Frederick William would be forced to move 20,000 troops north to his border. With the majority of his forces in Saxony, he was suddenly vulnerable to attack through Brandenburg. This would prove a fatal error as the Habsburg's belatedly realized the partisans of Saxony slowed any advance long enough to provide a good defense. However, the relative flat terrain of Brandenburg was ideal for an invasion from Silesia and Bohemia.

    In the spring of 1808, 80,000 Habsburg troops broke through the Prussian defenses and marched upon Berlin.
     
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  4. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 114

    April, 1808

    Stockholm


    With Gustav IV safely in a far off prison (literally not a single monarch in Europe protested his incarceration after causing chaos in Russia, Britain and Prussia over the years), the Swedish Parliament got back to business. The relative handful of conspirators were either imprisoned, exiled or already fleeing the nation.

    It was obvious that the Swedish Parliamentary system was dysfunctional. With no executive power whatsoever, the Parliament fell into divisive faction, often with little to no real political differences beyond a handful of issues. Often, old grudges served as the basis for rivalry.

    The Parliament knew that old King Karl was incapable of providing leadership and realized that they must make a change. They asked the King to step down voluntarily, which he did without demur (and the request for a guaranteed pension).

    Frederick, King of Norway, Elector of Hanover and Duke of York had been, for the past several years, the Heir Apparent. However, he was selected before ascending to the throne of Norway and Hanover. Many did not consider his ascension to be a sure thing. Now they must make a choice. There were other candidates - Frederick's wealth of younger brothers, various princes in Germany, particularly Mecklenburg - but they were gratified by Frederick leading the forces of Sweden against the haphazard plotters under Gustav IV.

    However, the King of Norway was not willing to simply become the Parliament's puppet like Karl. Frederick demanded changes to the Constitution to be made PRIOR to ascending to the throne, one in which he would be a Constitutional monarch but the system would not be so easily corrupted. He desired the ability to break stalemates and accomplish various policies. He also wanted a guarantee that Parliament shared his views on certain issues.

    The Swedes were a bit taken aback when he announced he would withdraw his name from consideration if they did not meet his terms. In the end, Frederick was the best option they had. Even the Swedes were tired of Parliament's infighting and divisiveness.

    Frederick also negotiated a sizable Royal Civil List akin to the one granted to the King of England, which strict policies on what he could and would be responsible for without Parliamentary oversight, namely his Court, etc. He was not able to get a guaranteed portion of the overall revenues of the nation as he did in Norway but he was able to get a 2% annual compound increase for the next ten years to his Civil List. That was better than nothing and important given the potential for inflation.

    Meanwhile Tax Collection, the military, civic improvements, education, etc would be at the expense (and control) of Parliament.

    That agreed, Frederick assumed the throne (his wife Louise remained in Olso) and turned his attention to the war in Europe. The King of Prussia had belatedly apologized for the "enthusiasm" of some of his subjects but assured him that Sweden was considered a friend. Still irritated, Sweden (in Sweden Pomerania) and Mecklenburg massed their armies along the Prussian border. So did Hanover though the Prussians had done nothing to threaten Hanover. Even Norway agreed to put some soldiers on alert.

    King Frederick William, seeing this, panicked. He did not realize that moving so soldiers to the border did not constitute a declaration of war nor support by the assorted Parliaments. Neither Hanover nor Norway were likely to approve a war against Prussia no matter what happened in Sweden. But the general chorus of vitriol pointed at Prussia disconcerted the King. As the Regent of Great Britain was Frederick's brother, the King of Denmark Frederick's brother-in-law and the Duke of Mecklenburg closely related to the Russian Royal family, the Prussians had really pissed a lot of people of for no benefit.

    Presuming that the stalemate in Saxony would endure again for another campaign, Frederick William moved some of his own forces to the northern borders. He hadn't expected the direct attack on Brandenburg.

    Silesia, Saxony, Brandenburg and East Prussia.

    The Habsburg-Wettins, fighting on two fronts, realized that Brandenburg was an easier target than Saxony. When one fell, the other would collapse soon enough so the full brunt of the Habsburg western campaign fell upon Prussia a parade to Berlin. Now up to 90,000 men in arms (10,000 in East Prussia cut off, 20,000 on the northern front, 40,000 in Saxony), only 20,000 were left to defend against the Habsburg invasion. In one of the best misinformation campaigns of the century, the Prussians had been caught flat-footed.

    Smashing through the weak Prussian defenses, the Habsburg reached Berlin by the end of May, cutting the Prussian forces in two.

    By June, two massive battles had been fought. The first was north of Berlin as the remnant of Berlin's defenders were reinforced with the northern garrisons. They were brushed off easily.

    Two weeks later, an even greater victory was won as the Prussian troops attempted to return from Saxony. They were trapped in the hill country and lost 15,000 dead and captured as the Habsburgs hit them with everything they had. The entirety of the Prussian baggage train was captured as well as the payroll. Thousands of men deserted, including over 7000 Saxons that had joined Prussian regular units. The main Prussian army had melted away.

    By happenstance, the Poles had defeated the small garrison in East Prussia during a foray were pushed back to their fortress, leaving the bulk of Prussia open to conquest. "Ducal Prussia", part of Poland, had large numbers of German protestants. The King had hoped these would rise up but the German, Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvians and other Lutheran citizens of the Commonwealth took stock in the situation and realized that the Commonwealth perhaps provided the best hope to avoid annexation to Russia. Even the hope of living under German King was less enticing that a Russian Czar was horrific to contemplate.

    Without Berlin (the treasury was taken as well), the King collapsed under the strain and reportedly sobbed in his tent.

    Monterrey, New Kingdom of Leon

    The northeastern provinces of New Spain were lightly populated, perhaps less than 250,000 Spaniards, Mestizos and Indians. Monterrey, at 6000 souls, was the most imposing city in the region.

    Bonaparte marched 250 miles through desert that made Caddo territory look lush in comparison in less than 6 weeks. The city, which had never faced an invasion, appeared shocked at the arrival of 1000 American troops, though they must have been warned days to weeks earlier. Beyond Indian raids, nothing had ever really happened in this particular backwater.

    The Spanish managed to put together a defense at the gates of the city. However, the impressed farmers and Indians were not well versed in the arms they were given and performed poorly. The Spanish were routed and Bonaparte moved into the city with his soldiers, horses and cattle (500 head herded along to provide provisions in the desert).

    Accomplishing his goal, his subordinates asked him what he was planning on doing now with 1000 men smack dab in the middle of 250,000 Spanish subjects.

    Bonaparte wasn't sure.
     
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  5. Knightmare Monthly Donor

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    Well, Prussia sure as hell ain't getting up to any more tricks any time soon.

    "Securing New Spain for the United States of America, as per my orders."
     
  6. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 115

    June 1808

    Poland


    Even as the Prussian front collapsed with utterly unexpected rapidity, the battle continued on the eastern front without a moment's respite. The Russian advance continued in the spring through the marches of eastern Poland. The Czar's forces had already overrun the eastern 1/4 of Poland and most of Wallachia and Moldavia.

    As the Habsburg-Wettins were pulled in numerous directions, the Russians had the advantage of a sole purpose. Empress Maria Theresa's advisors brought up the possibility of bringing in the Ottoman to the alliance, perhaps promising to aid them reconquer the Christian peoples of the Transcaucasus and Eastern Anatolia. Maria Theresa could not abide the idea and refused. The Ottomans were vermin and she would do nothing to resurrect that Empire no matter the consequences.

    With most of the German, Bohemian, Croat and Hungarians fighting in Saxony, Prussia and Venice, the Poles largely fought their own war against the Russians. Polish patriotism proved infectious as the common peoples volunteered for battle in numbers almost unheard of in modern warfare. Only the French Revolutionary forces compared and perhaps not even then. No one wanted to go back to the hideous old days of exploitation by foreign powers and internally by feudalism. The Russians represented everything the Poles hated and they fought with fanatical resolution.

    By the fall of 1808, the Russians fielded a massive army of 150,000 on the eastern front excluding another 75,000 or so Romanians, Ruthenians and Poles (mainly a few thousand dispossessed nobles and their minions) fighting on their side as well as about 30,000 Greeks and Bulgarians. This exceeded the 150,000 or so Polish-Ruthenian regulars and irregulars as well as some Romanians and about 40,000 others from the Habsburg domains, mainly Hungarians.

    It proved a relatively even fight. However, the haphazard and disjointed nature of the defenders would place them at a disadvantage. Poland's government was newly formed, her army largely amateurish and poorly armed and the nation utterly broke with no significant help from Austria's treasury.

    Still, both sides fought on through the summer of 1808 as the Russians pushed slowly forward.

    Philadelphia

    General Arthur Wesley was grateful to be back in Philadelphia for summer. Another season of that ghastly Florida heat may have killed him. He never particularly liked the Georgia backwoods where the Wesley's built their home but the Florida swamps were deathtraps and took humidity to a new level. When half of his men went nearly naked, he couldn't blame them. Though he was young when he left Ireland, the soothing breezes and crisp winters were fond memories.

    Wesley was called into consultation with the President and Secretary of War. Only upon returning to the Capital did Wesley learn that Bonaparte had been given free reign to advance into New Spain. The whole thought process appeared faulty. Marching through enemy territory along an unsecured supply line seemed foolhardy. What was he going to accomplish with so few men?

    Even if he conquered Monterrey, what did that matter?

    Would it make the City of Mexico or Puebla or Veracruz or Sao Paulo or Lima or Buenos Aires surrender?

    No, it wouldn't any more than the Spanish conquering...say...New Orleans....would make Boston or Philadelphia surrender. It would just be an expensive distraction that would solve nothing. New Spain, if indeed that was the administration's intention to attack, would best be assaulted via the eastern seaboard, presumably with aid of the Royal Navy as the American Navy could not possibly expect to sustain any form of offensive against the larger and more powerful Spanish fleet.

    Bonaparte's march was a waste of resources. FINITE resources.

    Upon reaching the Presidential Mansion, the General was surprised to find the President and Secretary of War (and the Secretary of State) in consultation with an assortment of British officers. Though he'd spent most of his life in America, and most of the rest in Ireland, Wesley always felt himself culturally British, as were most of the exile Protestant gentry of Ireland. Therefore he thought of Britain as kindred spirits in a way few Americans did despite three decades of relative peace and good relations.

    President Jay introduced him to John Whitelocke, John Andre and Edward Pakenham.

    The three had arrived with a proposal for striking at the Spanish Empire. It wasn't the one that Wesley expected.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  7. SavoyTruffle Going For The One

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    The Hohenzollerns can't catch a break but the Habsburgs aren't on their A game either.
     
  8. ShortsBelfast Events, dear boy, events

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    What does Britain still hold in North America, just Ile Royale? Or did they reclaim Newfoundland from New France?
     
  9. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Just Ile Royale, Jamaica and Barbados. Newfoundland was taken back by France in the American Revolutionary War.
     
  10. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 116

    August, 1808

    Poland


    The Russian invasion proved almost inexorable as the juggernaut slowly proceeded west. The Polish patriots, with superior cavalry, would harass the flanks and supply line with near impunity but never managed to halt the Russian attack. The Czar's forces usually had the advantage in set-piece battles as the Russian artillery proved quite superior to the Polish and whatever the Habsburg domains managed to send (most of their best troops had been fighting in Saxony and Brandenburg). Little by little, the Russian forces under Kutuzov and the young boy-General Arkadi Suvorov pressed past the Orthodox-majority lands of the Commonwealth into the ethnic Polish sections where resistance immediately increased.

    Bucharest, Kingdom of Wallachia and Moldavia

    The Russian Czar kept his word. As the Habsburgs were pressed further west towards Transylvania, a new Romanian state was formed via a marriage between two prominent Wallachian and Moldavian houses. The Czar had offered any of the Pharonate Dynasties of the past but was bluntly rejected by his new neighbors. They had hated the Ottoman-installed puppet Kings from Greece in the past and would not have any others in the future. Indeed, the Czar even offered one of his sons. But Constantine was not married (at least that was the excuse given as none of the Romanians wanted a Russian King) and Michael was a child.

    Secretly, the Bulgarians pushed for this state of affairs. The Kingdom of Bulgaria did not have an particularly reason to partake as they didn't favor the Russians more than the Austrians. However, as the cost of their alliance, the Bulgars were able to extract a promise that the Romanians would not have an Austrian or Russian King. While the Romanians and Bulgarians may have the occasional territorial dispute, an independent Romanian people were vastly less dangerous a neighbor than the Austrians or Russians.

    Naturally, the citizens of the new Kingdom looked west towards Transylvania and (as the Czar hoped) agitated for the liberation of their people "in bondage" held under the yoke of the Kingdom of Hungary.

    This was the intent of Czar Paul's policy. Considering himself a knightly and selfless monarch, the Czar did not start the war for personal gain. He wanted to reestablish the balance of power that had suddenly skewed to the Habsburgs.

    Ironically, this caused another problem for him. The Hungarians had been restive over the past few years, always on the verge of revolt. However, the new demands from the Transylvanian province of the Kingdom of Hungary was enough to silence these insurrections for the moment. The largest portion of the Habsburg realm was suddenly and enthusiastically back in the war.

    Berlin

    The Prussian Generals had made a second attempt to regain their position but were defeated west of Berlin for the second time. The King of Prussia was starting to regain his spine and pronounced that his people would "fight until the end"...then Swedish (via Swedish Pomerania), Mecklenburger and Hanoverian troops crossed the suddenly open borders to the north and west. Having been denuded of troops to attempt to staunch the Austrian invasion from Silesia, the borders were an open invitation.

    King Frederick of Norway, newly ascended King of Sweden, and Elector of Hanover knew his legal justification for crossing the border was weak. He didn't even get a declaration of war from Norway. However, the war ended so quickly that it didn't matter. Sweden was still outraged and Hanover's Generals did what he told them (via his brother Edward, the Governor-General of Hanover). In truth, Frederick's actions were not based out of sheer opportunism or a need for revenge. Indeed, he doubted King Frederick William had any hand in the Swedish coup. This was more a matter of reading the writing on the wall and realizing that another chair must be added to the negotiating table else the Habsburg-Wettins would dismember Prussia. This didn't upset much of anyone as the Prussians were not terribly popular but the Habsburgs could not be augmented any further.

    Indeed, Frederick's presence at the peace talks add a Protestant and German voice that would have been absent.

    By September of 1808, the King of Prussia formally asked for armistice and ordered his army into quarters in the 1/4 of his domains (excluding East Prussia) that was not under occupation.
     
  11. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 117

    October, 1808

    Saltillo, New Spain


    General Napoleon Bonaparte, having received 1500 reinforcements from Caddo (and losing 250 to illness or desertion), could not wait any longer for the Spanish to march on his position in Monterrey. Believing being stationary to be a strategic error, the General decided to embark upon a strategy of unsettling the enemy by hitting various logistical sites throughout northeastern New Spain. As this part of New Spain didn't have a lot of choice targets, he moved 50 miles southwest to Saltillo.

    This battle was no more satisfying than the Battle of Monterrey. Having been reported as the primary rallying point of the Spanish resistance, he was shocked to find barely a few hundred farmers being drilled with modern weapons (they only had 1 musket per 10 volunteers). In irritation, Bonaparte scattered them.

    Frustrated with his lack of glorious battles, the General, for the first time, began seriously contemplating marching all the way to the City of Mexico, a thousand miles (more or less, he really didn't know how far it was) to the south. If the Spanish colonists were really this incompetent, then maybe America really could conquer the entire Spanish Empire.

    What Bonaparte did not realize was that a shocking coup had taken place in the City of Mexico in which many leading colonial families took part. They ejected the unpopular Viceroy from the city and assumed control of its immediate environs. It was a trend taking place throughout the entire Spanish Empire.

    As the northeast was among the least populated and less than economically/strategically vital portion of New Spain, neither the rebels nor the Spanish were immediately worried about the invasion of a couple thousand Americans. New Spain alone possessed almost as many souls as the United States. With an enormous and, in some places, impassible geography, Bonaparte's "incursion" did not appear likely to have lasting consequences.

    While they were correct that 2000 or so American regulars and militia volunteers would not conquer 6,000,000 citizens of the vice-royalty, they were incorrect that it would not have lasting consequences.

    Philadelphia

    General Arthur Wesley and General Benedict Arnold Jr led the negotiations with the British representatives as to how to organize an invasion of Cuba. The island was the most critical in the West Indies as it possessed the finest harbor, the strongest fortification and the largest fleet in the Americas. Naturally, the Spanish had led the colony itself languish, as Cuba was deemed the "Gateway to the Americas" and not a destination of itself. Of lush and fertile lands, Cuba may have been as productive a colony as the hyper-wealthy island of Hispaniola (well, the French side), Jamaica, Martinique, etc. However, the Spanish never populated it to any extent, even via slavery. This last was not due to any particular moral opposition but, to British eyes, simple indolence. Indeed, the majority of the slaves imported over the past two decades to Cuba did not come via Africa but the United States.

    Cuba's population of about 250,000 was barely more than Jamaica's. A mixture of white, black and mulatto, the expansive countryside of Cuba remained largely primordial. Had it been French, British, Dutch or even Portuguese, the island may have been developed to its full potential.

    The downside, as Wesley well knew from years in Georgia and Florida, was the pestilential season was more than capable of felling entire armies in months.

    Havana had never fallen though their had been a plan to invade in the 3 Years War. Eventually, the British and American forces (then colonial) elected to take on the softer target of Louisiana (successfully).

    Wesley's job would be difficult. With British resources already en route from Britain, Wesley spent the latter part of the summer of 1808 gathering up his forces. With 4000 regulars and 2000 volunteers, the Americans were gathered in the cities in September. Unlike most of America, one did not avoid campaign in the winter in the West Indies. Indeed, it was the best and perhaps ONLY time to campaign.

    5000 British troops arrived via fleet in Charleston and Savannah, just on time, from Britain. Another 2000 would be made available from Jamaica when and if the initial attack reached land. The American forces, by coincidence more than design, arrived within days of the British from their northern ports into the huge expanses of Charleston. Naturally, there was much confusion. The Americans somehow forgot which ships they'd lodged their heavy guns (they would not fund out until they reached Havana) and the British suffered multiple epidemics in the journey across the ocean. Nevertheless, in early October, the huge convoy of American and British ships launched from Savannah and Charleston bound for Cuba.

    It was the largest invasion force dispatched via sea since the American Revolutionary War.
     
  12. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 118

    November 1808

    Berlin


    The peace talks, really Austria dictating their terms, proved surprising in every respect. The Habsburg-Wettins would demand that Prussia effectively demobilize her army down to 25,000 total troops. This was hardly a surprising start. That would barely put down a modest rebellion.

    A moderate financial penalty was incurred upon the Prussians, not crippling but enough to dampen the Prussian ability to make war over the next decade even if it was so desired.

    Finally, the Habsburg-Wettins would demand not a square inch of territory from Prussia. This was for two reasons: first, the Habsburgs had learned in Saxony that Protestants did not want a Catholic ruler. Second, the fact that half the Holy Roman Empire looked ready to throw in with Prussia had they not made their colossal error of antagonizing Sweden and Mecklenburg proved that the German opinion was against them. Privately, the Emperor and Empress began to discuss alternative options for Saxony beyond folding it into a single Empire under their eldest son, Joseph.

    This did not mean that the Prussian King got off lightly or without loss. The Habsburg-Wettin diplomats cunningly played a game of divide and conquer with the Protestant states of Europe, particularly Germany. They approved the transfer of Prussia's Pomeranian province to Sweden and Mecklenburg, the "offended parties" which had suffered from a conspiracy by the exiled King of Sweden and the Prussian throne.

    This would serve two purposes: firstly, the Prussian Kingdom would be weakened, more for the economic losses of having easy trade with the sea than the demographic losses of the relatively poor province. Second, it would create a permanent dispute between Prussia (well, the Brandenburg portion anyway) and her northern neighbors of Sweden (and Swedish Pomerania), Mecklenburg and Hanover. Indeed, even Denmark and Britain had been appalled by the action. The western principalities and duchies of the Empire, on the verge of throwing in with Prussia (many of the Catholic, by the way), had backed away from that alliance at the last moment.

    This transfer of Pomerania to the northern nations would not make them secure. Prussia-Brandenburg would likely be able to retake it in a future war on even terms. Therefore, it may well prove logical that Sweden and Mecklenburg may seek an alliance to preserve their new territories. Perhaps an alliance with the Habsburg-Wettins. It was nice when things worked out.

    As it was, the Emperor-King-Elector and the Empress turned the bulk of their resources upon the eastern front. Though much, if not most of the resources utilized in the western front would remain there to put down the suddenly sponsor-less Saxon rebellion and provide a garrison in Brandenburg to ensure Frederick Williams' compliance to the terms of the Treaty of Berlin. However, 50,000 regulars would march east along with the lion's share of the new levies being recruited and trained over the winter of 1808. Totaling 100,000 new troops, this would reinvigorate the Habsburg-Wettin war effort which was faring poorly in the east. However, the Habsburg-Wettins were not the only ones ramping up their war effort. An additional 60,000 Russian troops would reach Poland by spring of 1809 as would another 20,000 Greeks and Bulgarians would be recruited to fight in the new Kingdom of Wallachia and Moldavia (though some insisted on the Kingdom of Moldavia and Wallachia. It was reaching the point that they considered just calling the place Romania). The Romanian patriots were also being trained in great numbers for an assault on the Kingdom of Hungary.

    The war would not settle down any time soon.

    Stockholm

    With the news of their shocking good fortune in acquiring most of Pomerania to add to their little sliver of Swedish Pomerania, the Parliament of Sweden feted the triumphant King Frederick upon his return to Berlin. Gaining a new province for so little effort was a good start to a reign. Frederick ordered his brother Octavius, still in his twenties, to govern the newly reorganized Province of Pomerania. German would be the new language at court, irritating the "Swedified" German nobility of the former flyspeck Swedish Pomerania, but no one in Sweden objected. It was easier to dictate a court language to 100,000 people than it was to the better part of a million. Far better to take Pomerania under their terms.

    What the Swedish Parliament did not realize at the time was the King Frederick was also planning on changes to the Grand Duchy of Finland. Largely viewed as an outpost of Sweden, held in contempt by the arrogant Swedish aristocracy, Finland's government was run by a Governor-General. They had their own Riksdag but it usually mimicked what the Swedish Parliament did.

    Frederick would dispatch his brother Alfred to Finland as governor-general with orders to "reinvigorate" the Finnish Riksdag. Among the most important reforms was the implementation of Finnish as the primary language of the Finnish Riksdag. Indeed, as the vast majority of the people only spoke Finnish, the "Four Estates" of the Riksday (nobles, peasants, Burghers and clergy) would soon make a sea change in policy, though it would not be apparent in the first few years of the radical changes in store. Largely run by Swedish-aristocracy in the past, the first decade under the House of Hanover would see the first newspapers printed in Finnish, the first Riksdag carried in Finnish, the expansion of schools with Finnish as the predominant language, Royal Commissions to would call for experts to formalize the language, create a comprehensive history of the Duchy and her people and establish a national Finnish formal attire.

    The King and his Governor-General brother would prove exceptionally popular among the people and songs of "the Good King" would be sung for centuries after his death had viewed Frederick as the true sponsor of Finnish cultural awakening. Just he did in Norway, the King supported local arts, commissioned a University, sponsored libraries, orphanages and funded from his Finnish Civil List (always negotiated hard to get the most funding) large numbers of cultural artifacts including commissioning a huge and ornate tapestry projecting the "Finnish Epic" which would become a national treasure in future years.

    Realizing that he had put Sweden-Finland-Norway-Pomerania-Hanover-Holstein-Schleswig-etc at odds with Prussia and not terribly interested in a long term alliance with the Habsburg-Wettins, the King returned to Sweden and discussed a dynastic succession featuring a marriage to a Russian princess. His eldest son was over ten years old now and would eventually need a wife. The Czar's youngest daughter was about twelve and he also had a pair of young granddaughters via his son Alexander. Alexander's wife was the youngest daughter of Duke Frederick Francis of Mecklenburg, a hopeless reactionary but by definition an ally of Sweden and Hanover. Perched between the two German states, Mecklenburg had allied with Sweden against the Prussians in the last war. Both had been augmented at Prussian expense and were likely bonded in the future. The two Duchies of Mecklenburg (Schwerin and Strelitz) also had the habit of marrying well. Frederick married a Strelitz princess as did his brother Sussex. His own mother was a Strelitz princess. The Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin's youngest daughter, Charlotte, was married to Prince Alexander, heir to Russia. Alexander and Charlotte's daughter may well kill two birds with one stone in bonding Russia and Mecklenburg to Frederick's domains.

    A marriage between Sweden and Russia may not be popular among his Protestant subjects but Frederick reasoned that it may be the best option for peace in the future. Prussia would not dare attack a nation allied with Russia by matrimony. With Frederick on good terms with his former Brother-in-Law in Denmark and with his brother, the Regent of Great Britain, Russia and Prussia seemed the most likely antagonists for all of his domains. Allying with one or the other seemed to make the most sense.

    Prussia seemed out as Frederick doubted that King Frederick William would halt his ambitions just because his daughter ruled Pomerania. Besides, the man still viewed Frederick as an enemy as he beat out the Prussian candidate for the hand of Queen Louise. It seemed that diplomacy and alliances were the best antidote to Prussian aggression in the future.

    Russia would have to do.

    Havana

    The American and British soldiers poured out of their launches upon the shores of Havana. Against the expectations, the Spanish did not contest the landing (though they were well advised that the invasion was coming). Instead, the Spanish garrison withdrew into the mighty fortress guarding the harbor and into the countryside. The large Spanish fleet remained in the harbor under the watchful gaze of the guns. Only later would the British admiral realize how poorly maintained and manned the fleet was. For the most part, the majority were to be used only as floating hulks, gunboats chained together with all hands manning the cannon.

    With foreboding, the allies prepared to besiege the city.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  13. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    Chapter 119

    December, 1808

    London


    Regent William, Duke of Clarence, was growing increasingly livid with his new sister-in-law. Edward and Victoria, having overseen the dismemberment of Prussia's forces over the past months, took the opportunity to visit his homeland after years in Hanover serving their brother, King Frederick of Norway, Elector of Hanover, etc, etc, etc, etc. (for a second son, Frederick did pretty well for himself).

    Unfortunately, Victoria proved to be a prude and patently refused to speak directly to Williams mistress and even left the room when Dorothea and the children entered. This was not a matter of precedence in a parade, this was petty rudeness and William was not inclined to take it. Unfortunately, Edward did not possess the stiffest spine in the family and could not press the matter with Victoria. Finally, William hinted the pair should return to Germany sooner rather than later.

    The Regent had other problems. Dorothea was demanding that William use his Regency to give their children, at least their sons, Peerages.

    Yes. That would go over REAL well in Parliament and with the people.

    William pointed out that adding his bastards to the House of Lords probably wasn't what Britain expected of the Regent. He allowed them the title "the Honorable" and that would have to do. If his children were to eventually reach the aristocracy, they'd have to do it the old-fashioned way: Marry it. Or kiss the ass of the young Queen and her sisters. The trio of Royals were well accustomed to seeing their uncle's illegitimate children and were frequent playmates. Maybe Queen Frederica in a decade or two may raise some of his sons to the Peerage. Unfortunately, his sons would eventually take up their mother's call for William to use his power towards their improvement of station, something he adamantly refused as the expense of their relationships with their father as they aged.

    In the meantime, the little matter of war retained his attention. The Portuguese War remained in stalemate, though the Infanta and her Spanish allies controlled most of the country. Portuguese "patriots" allied with Britain in defending the major cities. Demographically, it was not a war they could win.

    Lisbon

    General John Moore gazed on in anger at the lack of reinforcements from Britain. THREE THOUSAND MEN?

    What was he supposed to do with so paltry a force?

    In truth, the Infanta seemed to be winning the hearts of the people.

    Or maybe, since she controlled the countryside, she could recruit more.

    Or maybe the countryside was simply more apt to accept the Monarchy as is and the cities more intent on forcing the matter. Maybe if a moderately legitimate contender had cropped up, that may have made the difference. Instead, the alternatives were a half dozen Portuguese nobles whom all placed themselves forward as the "rightful" heir. No wonder so many people accepted the monarchy. Avoiding this political infighting by the gentry was worth putting up with a lot.

    Either way, the Portuguese and Spanish forces badly outnumbered his own. Only Lisbon and Porto remained under rebel/British control and the stranglehold was increasing.

    To the south, Spanish forces were reportedly besieging Gibraltar as well though Moore didn't know why. Gibraltar could not be taken by land, only by extended blockade by sea. And Spain lacked the resources to do so. Moore didn't complain. If the Spanish wanted to waste 10,000 soldiers sitting around Gibraltar doing nothing, more power to them. He didn't want them showing up in the trenches of Lisbon where they may do some damage.

    New Spain, Veracruz

    General Juan O'Donaju was uncertain of just what his orders may be in New Spain. His King had ordered the soldier to sail to New Spain to "put an end to the disturbances". Just what that meant was up for interpretation.

    O'Donaju was the scion of an old Irish family that, like many others, had fled Ireland under British rule to serve in the armies of France, Spain and Austria. Unlike many, his did not return when the House of Stuart re-ascended to power in Ireland and cast out the English. Indeed, many of his contemporaries, seasoned soldiers, were given high commands in the Irish Army and titles in the Irish aristocracy. Names like Lacy, Dillon, von Browne, O'Reilly, etc were now situated at the height of the Irish society.

    But O'Donaju remained in the service of Spain, reaching the rank of General. Ordered to New Spain to assume control of the colony, he was to replace a Viceroy whom had fled in terror before a rebellion. Ordered to "restore order", he interpreted as having some level of leeway in accomplishing this. He determined to negotiate first and attempt to rectify some perceived wrongs.

    Reportedly, the Americans had invaded some remote and unpopulated corner of the Viceroyalty but he would deal with that later, once the larger cities in the south were returned to obedience.

    Cuba

    Admiral Horatio Nelson witnessed from afar as the British and American forces besieged the great El Morro Castle dominating the city along the north end of the harbor. Much of Havana was walled but not was well fortified as it was situated along the south end of the harbor atop a jutting Peninsula. That would be far easier to take than El Morro. Unfortunately, El Morro commanded the heights and could not be assaulted by sea. It would be a long siege to reduce that bastion.

    As the soldiers took to the trenches before each strongpoint, Nelson's task would be to break the Spanish fleet in the harbor itself by sailing past the guns and assaulting the Spanish ships at anchor. At least six ships-of-the-line and five smaller vessels had been armed, their cannon pointed northwest towards the narrow channel. Other, less useful, ships were scuttled behind the mighty boom chain stretched across the Harbor entrance to further block the channel.

    If the British Fleet (and a handful of American armed ships adding a token presence) were to breakthrough, it would open a huge portion of the city to shelling and hasten Havana's fall. Intelligence implied that the Spanish Naval vessels were poorly manned and rotting in the harbor.

    Nelson felt lucky.


    [​IMG]
     
  14. ShortsBelfast Events, dear boy, events

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Just a thought spurred by a historical novel I was reading, but TTL the ethnographic composition of Jamaica and Barbados will be very different-light brown rather than black. They are the only colonies left that Britain could have sent transportees to in the period 1773-1808
     
  15. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    I would imagine that Jamaican and Barbadoan society would evolve closer to French and Spanish Hispaniola, where a middle tier of mulattos would become increasingly important. British social status was more stratified than in the Spanish or French colonies. By the end of slavery, something like 1/4 the land and 1/3 the slaves in Haiti were owned by blacks or mulattos. They dominated the coffee trade. In British colonies, this sort of thing rarely happened. With the presumed demographic change, I would expect the British colonies to evolve closer to the Spanish-French model.
     
  16. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    Chapter 120

    February, 1809

    Madrid


    King Ferdinand VII was irate at his ministers. He'd been assured that the Portuguese disputes would be over by the time Britain could get involved, if they ever actually attempted to do so at all.

    Well, British soldiers were in Portugal, British and American ships were invaded Cuba, British naval vessels were supporting independent-minded Brazilian governors, British funds and supplies were going to rebellious colonies and the Americans had overrun Florida and parts of northern New Spain.

    The latter didn't matter much but the principle of the matter was plain. Ferdinand had been assured that American could be brought to submission with a few well-aimed naval bombardments of their shorelines. As the Spanish Navy was somewhat busy...well, everywhere....they hadn't had time to do much of any thing. With Britain's Royal Navy now between Spain and America, it seemed even less likely that Spain's military power could be brought to bear. Indeed, American privateers had raided more Spanish shipping that Spain's navy had harmed America's!!!!

    How did this happen?

    Ferdinand could now see his advisors had led him astray on everything: America's willingness to fight, Britain's insistence on an independent Portugal, the Portuguese willingness to accept a united crown, the colonial unrest....everything.

    He just didn't know what to do about the matter. He asked what action would be most likely to end the problems...or at least lead to their successful conclusion.

    He received a dozen responses. However, the most common was the conquest of Portugual. Should Portugal fall, huge amounts of Spanish resources would be opened up. Some believed this would end the resistance in Brazil as well. With that issue settled, Britain would back out, then Spain would be free to deal with their own colonies (Ferdinand was willing to extend a certain level of reform to end the troubles, including resurrection Maria Carolina's plan to install his younger sons on the various Vice-Royalty thrones) and, of course, America.

    Hell, he was willing to give America Florida right now. It was never worth a damn thing.

    But, prior to negotiation, he must have a victory. Taking the advice of some of his councilors, Ferdinand ordered his reserves towards Lisbon and Porto, including the 10,000 sitting around Gibraltar doing nothing. As his Admirals didn't even have a plan to reduce the mighty fortress, having so many men camped around southern Spain was a waste.

    He ordered all resources to march upon the last bastions of Portuguese resistance.
     
  17. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    Chapter 121

    February, 1809

    Cuba


    The siege had been brutally hard on the American and British soldiers. 10,000 soldiers had arrived in Cuba. Only a couple hundred has actually been killed or wounded by the enemy. However, the tropical heat and disease had withered the force considerably.

    General Arthur Wesley, the commander of the American forces, couldn't even comprehend what the damned place was like in summer. The invasion had been specifically timed to coincide with winter due to the plague season in which men would succumb at a rate 10x higher than in winter.

    If the city did not fall by spring (which was in a few weeks) at this climate, then the force may as well retreat from Cuba. For Havana to fall, first El Morro must fall. The trenches and mines were dug as quickly as possible, all soldiers required to partake. Exhaustion, heat and disease withered their numbers. They dug on until an enormous mine was placed under the walls. In late February it was set off and a moderate piece of El Morro's walls had fallen. With the guns of the fortress (facing land) had largely been silenced by allied artillery, the British and Americans thrust into the fortress. By dawn the next morning, the bastion had fallen.

    Within a week, the harbor-facing guns had been turned upon the smaller fortress in Havana. It, too, quickly was silenced. Then the guns were turned upon the city. At El Morro's elevation, nothing could stop them.

    Admiral Nelson's fleet had broken through the line weeks ago and now controlled the harbor. Havana was placed in a brutal cross-fire and the commander of the garrison surrendered the city. The Spanish fleet had been burned weeks ago.

    The city had fallen. But the colony had not.

    Weakened by disease, the American and British force could not venture too far from Havana. Fortunately, the long awaited reinforcements from Jamaica arrived, 2000 men in all, plus another 400 from Britain. The United States summoned another 1500 brave volunteers (this had been a struggle). This was enough to push forward from the city. The Cuban countryside remained resistant even if the quantity of Spanish regulars had been decimated (and not exactly the flower of the army in the first place as Cuba was considered a punishment destination). Spain had long assumed that any requirement for manpower in Cuba could be made good from local colonies. As most were under one form of rebellion or another, that was not happening. However, Cuba was a large place and 10,000 or so soldiers, half of which must remain in Cuba, would have a tough time putting down partisans.

    However, the British and Americans would soon find their were not without potential allies. The slave population, historically lower than the rest of the West Indies (where slaves often accounted for 90% of the population but only 30% in Cuba despite a large recent wave of imports) had a vested interest in a new regime. Britain and America were both in the process of phasing out the institution of slavery and had already banned the African trade. Ironically, many of the Cuban slaves were, in fact, sold from America's rapidly emancipating states.

    Still, any hope was better than the Spanish. Thousands of slaves and local rebels seeking greater political representation approached the British and Americans with an eye for improving their situation under a new regime. They provided vital intelligence upon the Cuban countryside and information on how to procure provisions. By spring, the Americans and British were approaching the second city of Cuba, Santiago, and had spread out to large portions of the island.

    Bermuda

    The island of Bermuda had been controlled by Britain for over a century when it had been taken by American forces in the War for Independence. Eventually, Spain bullied America off the island (still a sore spot with the Americans) in exchange for the cancellation of some debts.

    Naturally, Spain did little with the strategic outpost and Britain longed for it back. With astounding ease, a British squadron and a few hundred marines seized the isolated island with nary a fight.

    Nassau, Grand Bahama, Grand Turk

    The American Navy hadn't been doing much since the start of the war beyond raiding Spanish shipping. They'd actually seized some pretty valuable vessels, including one, which, shocking, bore over $500,000 in gold from Peru. The Spanish, fearing that the Royal Navy might intercept a large convoy, split up their annual gold shipment (it would be the last for a couple of years due to the Peru rebellion), into 12 individual ships to take their chances on the high seas.

    Most of the ships made it but one was sunk in a storm and one by an American warship. The crew received a huge prize bonus, enough for most to retire from active sailing. Unfortunately, they would only receive the gold after the war and would forfeit their claim if they deserted. Sadly, the ship foundered in a storm and all but four of the sailors were lost at sea, never to see their share of the money from the Prize Court.

    In the meantime, the Navy opted to venture out and attack soft targets. The Bahama Islands were nominally governed by the Colony of Florida (having been transferred back and forth between Florida and Cuba for years) and the Americans claimed them as their own. In truth, only a few thousand souls populated the vast strings of islands. Nassau, Grand Turk and Grand Bahama fell, then Pig Island and a few others.

    Really, no one even noticed their fall. The islands lacked adequate water for agriculture and were best known for salt production, wrecking and piracy than anything else. Still, America's conquest was trumpeted in the papers. Firs the pestilential hell of Florida, then the barrens island of the Bahama chain.

    What was next? One opposition Congressman of the Federation party sneered. Antarctica?

    Still, a win was a win.


    New Spain

    General Napoleon Bonaparte's wanderings had yet to be noticed in the chaos of New Spain. He marched from one increasingly dilapidated town to the next. The locals stared at him as if he were made when he pronounced their "liberation" or "conquest" depending upon his mood.

    Ironically, his army continued to grow. He received another 600 volunteers, 200 regulars and even managed to round up a few hundred disaffected (or just bored) Spanish colonials and Indians to join his odyssey. Lacking any real idea what to do or authorization to do it, Bonaparte decided to march south.

    Maybe he could conquer New Spain. The colony didn't appear inclined to oppose him.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
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  18. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    Chapter 122

    March, 1809

    London


    "No, Mother! I will NOT withdraw my consent!"

    "William, I demand..."

    "YOU do not demand anything, Mother," Regent William, Duke of Clarence retorted, his ire reaching a boiling point. "Your days of controlling your children are behind you! If Mary wishes to wed the Prince, then they shall. It should have happened a damn decade ago. If you didn't insist on keeping your own daughters as Ladies-in-Waiting upon their mother for their entire lives, maybe they wouldn't hate you so mercilessly!"

    Dowager Queen Charlotte recoiled as if slapped. Tears welling in her eyes, the old woman fled the room.

    Instantly, the Regent regretted his words, though they were entirely truthful. The King and Queen had kept their six daughters from pursuing their own lives, intent on keeping them home. The late George III feared the unhappiness marriage brought to his siblings. Queen Charlotte just liked having her adult daughters waiting on her hand and foot. Neither seemed to consider the girls may like marriages or families of their own.

    Mary and Prince Frederick (yet another Frederick) of Orange, the younger son of the exiled ruling Prince, had grown up in Britain and sued for Mary's hand in 1798. The prettiest and most obedient of the daughters, Mary was a prize but the King and Queen refused permission on the flimsy pretext that her elders sisters hadn't married and it would "look wrong" as if that mattered. Thus, Mary remained under mother's thumb and, like her sisters, largely condemned to spinsterhood in the "nunnery" that was the Queen's House at Buckingham. Their brothers attempted to intervene but George III never overruled his wife on matters of her purview and their daughters qualified as such.

    When George III died and William assumed the regency, several of his sisters rushed into matrimony in hopes of founding families before they became barren. Most were already too late.

    Mary was thirtyish and still had a shot. She tracked down Frederick, then master of Ile Royal after seeking a position in the British Army (he spoke better English than Dutch) and inquired if he was still interested. Frederick rushed back to England and demanded her hand. William could not imagine a good reason to refuse.

    Of course his mother, having only Princess Sophia now left to keep her company in her old age, demanded that Mary remain a maid. Though no marriage was certain to ensure happiness, Mary deserved her chance and William bluntly refused in the harshest terms, tired of his mother's power games. She was already exerting her will over the George's widow, Princess of Wales, the weak and eccentric Frederica of Prussia, and Charlotte's three grandchildren: Queen Frederica, Princess Charlotte and Princess Elizabeth, barely six years old.

    William would have the regency for another twelve years at least, assuming he lived that long (at 42, he was still healthy), maybe longer if Frederica was not up to the task at 18. He was not going to put up with his mother's games even if poor Princess Frederica of Wales let her mother-in-law dictate terms to her. Indeed, William was quietly putting himself as a barrier between the Dowager Princess and the Dowager Queen. This argument over Mary was just part of a larger feud.

    William did not want to hurt his mother but would not let his widowed mother carry on as if she were still Queen. Let the family grow up. With most of his brothers abroad, he wanted his sisters to know freedom as well.

    In the meantime, he quietly gave his brother Augustus, Duke of Sussex, the Bishopric of Durham. His wife, Princess Frederica of Mecklenburg, had quietly campaigned for greater power for her husband. The stronger personality, Frederica was perhaps disappointed that her husband was the only son of George III not to have acquired power in any particular manner.

    Philadelphia

    President John Jay as irritated by the British Ambassador's smug assumptions of American gratitude but managed to stifle it and reply with courtesy.

    "I'm afraid, your Excellency, that you have your dates mixed up. Our agreement, Britain's and America's, refers to an equitable division of any lands overtaken in our joint effort. You may look back to see that Florida was conquered before our alliance was signed, indeed before Great Britain had even commenced hostilities with Spain. Therefore, we do not consider Cuba to be allocated to Britain in her entirety, if at all."

    Britain was obviously aiming to assume all of Cuba, not to mention Bermuda, as part of a peace settlement and Jay was not going to stand for it. The last time he checked, American troops made up half the army currently conquering Cuba and he was not just going to hand it over to the toddler Queen of Great Britain.

    "Further, Your Excellency, I would not consider the Bahama Islands under dispute either as they are part of Florida."

    This was a weaker argument. The Bahama Islands were nominally under Spanish Florida's jurisdiction but they were not conquered until after the alliance was signed. Jay was willing to concede on this issue as a matter of justice, perhaps including them among America's "take" in exchange for Britain acquiring Bermuda.

    However, Jay would not allow America's sole gains in this alliance to be Florida, which they'd conquered earlier, and the unpopulated Bahama islands while Britain consumed Bermuda, Cuba and God knows what else. This was utterly unacceptable. He suspected the British Envoy knew this and was just jockeying for bargaining position later. Well, two could play that game.

    The Ambassador bowed and departed, leaving Jay wondering what type of alliance he'd signed. Britain had taken a terrible loss in 1774, having waved adieu to America and Ireland. However, the long economic malaise appeared over for Britain and her trade Empire remained strong. Jay had long sought good relations as a counterpoint to Spain's bloated Empire. However, old habits die hard and Jay was concerned that the British were starting to think of America as country yokels again.

    The President shrugged. If push ever came to shove, America was a hell of a lot closer to the West Indies that Great Britain. Powerful navy or not, the British would have a rough time winning that one.

    Still, the argument lent a sense of foreboding. Britain was certainly more dynamic than Spain and may prove a more dangerous neighbor.
     
  19. traveller76 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    Irving, Tx
    Sounds like the Americans would keep a well trained and equipped Army and Navy ready at any notice. Not a large professional army but one that can deploy quickly. They may also have a common equipment and training standards for the state militias.
     
  20. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    Chapter 121

    May, 1809


    Copenhagen

    King Christian VIII of Denmark was quite certain by now that he had contracted consumption. When that occurred, it was but a matter of time. It could be years, it could be months. With his beloved wife dead, the King was uncertain who to turn to.

    In the end, his two brothers-in-law, Ernst, Duke of Cumberland and Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, were foreigners and would be viewed as unacceptable as Regents by some on the council. Besides, Ernst had irritated half of Denmark anyway with his unseemly obsession with politics. However, they were not going to play the role of "evil uncle", being foreigners, and try to seize the throne. They could be counted upon to govern in the name of Christian and Amelia's son during his minority. Christian had no expectation that his distant cousins, a junior branch of the House of Oldenburg, would attempt to place themselves on the throne by over-throwing his son but didn't want to take the chance.

    He ordered a five person regency to be set up with both his brothers-in-law and three other high-ranking Danes. Christian hoped he'd live long enough to see his son's 18th birthday but highly doubted he'd see his 8th.

    Poland

    After the spring rains, the two combatants plunged their massive armies forward. Nearly 500,000 men battled over the killing fields of Poland and Moldavia.

    Vienna

    Empress Maria Theresa realized the sheer depth of the economic crisis. While the war had been won in Prussia, the costs were escalating in the east, Saxony had yet to be pacified and the unrest in Venice, Hungary, Bosnia, etc did not seem likely to evaporate soon.

    She determined that, unless the matter can be satisfactorily settled on the battlefield in 1809, then she must agree to negotiate. For the first time, she considered conceding Saxony and Poland to her younger sons in order to save the rest of the Habsburg realms from dissolution.

    New Spain

    General Napoleon Bonaparte was happy with the change of scenery. Marching 250 miles southeast, he could see the Caribbean. It didn't make much of a difference in his campaign but having water in such abundance restored his mood.

    With no Spanish army apparently intending to march north to face him, he marched south, towards the mouth of the Panuco River where the river meets the sea. There Bonaparte stopped and built a fortification he called Fort Hamilton, after the Secretary of War. Leaving three hundred me to complete the task, he marched west again, along the northern face of the Panuco and built a second fortification at a bend in the River. He called this Fort Laurens.

    With still no opposition beyond nominal raids by Mestizos and Indians, Bonaparte shrugged his shoulders and ordered his men south of the Panuco towards the heavily populated realms of New Spain.

    Honestly, it more boredom than anything else.