New Balancing

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jim Smitty, Dec 26, 2018.

Loading...
  1. Threadmarks: The Spanish-American War of 1873-1875 Part One

    Jim Smitty Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    The Spanish-American War of 1873-1875 Part One

    As the Virginius Crisis was unfolding there was only one figure on either side of the Atlantic that was working calmly for a peaceful end to the crisis that the capture of the Virginius and executions of a number of the crew of that ship had caused. This was American Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. Across the Atlantic through in Madrid it was a much different story and it would lead to the war in the first place.

    These two figured that led to the Spanish American War of 1873-75 were Spanish Regent Francisco Serrano and American Minister to Spain Daniel Sickles. Serrano had only taken over as the Regent of Spain in the aftermath of his coup of April 1873 with former King Amadeo I abdicating and returning to Italy. At the time Serrano was fighting the Third Carlist War along with rebels in Cuba. Spain was in no position for a long war with the United States.

    Serrano however was a proud man and Sickles for lack of better words was a bull in a china shop. It further made matters worse that Serrano and Sickles did not have a good relationship prior to the start of the Virginius Crisis. The two men repeatly clashed as the crisis unfolded. Sickles showing, he had learned nothing from Gettysburg moved the United States into an untenable position. Not only did he move the United States into an unsustainable position, he did the same for Spain with his meetings with Serrano. Serrano didn’t help matters and help create unsustainable positions by December of 1873. Things came to a head when on December 18 1873 Serrano formally declared war on the United States of America.

    For both the United States and Spain neither nation was ready for war. The vast armies and navies the United States had raised not even a decade prior to fight the Civil War had either slipped into nothingness or were slipping into nothingness. The United States would take a lot of time to mobilize itself to even be ready to fight this war as it had a frontier army and a navy that was more designed for coastal defense and punitive expeditions than taking control of the seas from a hostile power. Spain itself was in the middle of its own civil war along with a rebellion in one of it’s prized colonies; that of Cuba.

    Serrano understood both of these facts. He believed that he could win a quick war against the United States and forced them to the peace table to accept Spanish terms. This would lead to the greatest disgrace to American Arms since the Battle of Bladensburg in the War of 1812. At Havana the Spanish rallied the ironclads Numancia, TetuanI, and Vitoria to lead a small squadron of warships along with a single infantry regiment supported by artillery. This forced sailed from Havana on January 29 1874 for their target, New Orleans.

    New Orleans was selected as it was major port at the Delta of Mississippi River. A port the United States would have to use for any invasion against Spanish Cuba. On February 1 the Battle of the Gulf happens. The United States Navy had a small squadron patrolling the Gulf of Mexico to defend the Gulf Coast from possible raids as the army was mobilized for war against Spain. This squadron was commanded by Rear Admiral William E. Le Roy and was made up of five sloops of war and two gunboats. It was a massacre as the three Spanish Ironclads easily defeated the seven ships commanded by Le Roy. Four of the ships were sunk with two being forced to strike their colors and only the USS Hartford escaping. She would later latter founder from damage taken in this battle.

    With the way now cleared the Spanish kept on their way to New Orleans. They reached the city four days later. There had only ever been two forts defending New Orleans. These were Forts Pike and Macomb. Yet Macomb had been abandoned in 1871 by the Army following a fire at the fort. Fort Pike had been built in the aftermath of the War of 1812 and had been passed by advances in technology. On February 5th Fort Pike was forced to surrender as the Spanish were destroying the fort outside the range of the guns within the fort. For Pike was latter abandon by the army after the war having never fired a shot in anger.

    Following the surrender of Fort Pike the Spanish landed their infantry regiment where they were met by three time their number in local militia. These militia units were largely made up by members of the White League which at the time of the war had been the unofficial paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party in the open going debate of Reconstruction. Some of the militiamen were veterans of the Civil War but the vast majority of the militia on the 6th were made up of men too young to had fought in the civil war. The Spanish had brought professional soldiers who destroyed the militia forces along with the limited Federal Troops which had escaped from Fort Pike before it surrendered.

    Having swept the militia away the Spanish started to loot the city along with destroying the docks. This when on till the 8th when the 25th Infantry Regiment (Colored) reached the city. They had been one of the regiments tapped to lead the war into Cuba and had been sent to New Orleans as the rally point for the planned invasion of Cuba. Only instead of New Orleans being a rally point it was a city under Spanish control and being destroyed by the Spanish.

    The 25th Infantry then led an assault to retake the city. Even through on paper the numbers were close to even, the Spanish were spread out across the city as they were going about looting and destroying the city. This allowed them to bring all their forces against pockets of Spanish resistance as they fought to retake New Orleans from the Spanish. The Spanish commander known he couldn’t hold out forever gave the order to bring all of his forces back together by noon on the 8th as he started to make the withdraw of his forces still within the city.

    By noon on the 9th all New Orleans was back under American control. Yet for the first time since the War of 1812 the United States had been invaded with a major city being captured by a European power. The Battle of New Orleans (1874) was a watershed moment for the United States. The effects of this Battle of New Orleans and who retook the town and who lost it would be felt for decades if not centuries after the battle.
     
  2. Admiral Halsey Best damn Admiral in US history Banned

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    ITS BACK!!!
     
    Chumley1 likes this.
  3. Jim Smitty Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    Any other thoughts?
     
    Chumley1 likes this.
  4. xxmagex Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    You have my interest.

    That said, the phrase 'loot the city' makes me wonder if the Spanish understand that it might not be a good idea to enrage a sleeping giant.
     
  5. Admiral Halsey Best damn Admiral in US history Banned

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    The attack on New Orleans definitely is more detailed and in depth. That's gonna hurt the US economy for awhile for damn sure.
     
  6. MorningDew suburbia is big gay

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    It's back! Anything different happening in 2.0?
     
  7. Jim Smitty Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Yeah, Spain, you're about to learn what it's like to kick a sleeping giant. And that giant is pissed...

    On a side note, methinks many ex-Confederates are joining the Army, if only to prove their loyalty to the US...
     
    Admiral Halsey likes this.
  9. terv Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    I am assuming that this time we are looking at a more detailed look at the spainish American and the years before ttl first world war. a;sp can we get a more detailed look of the naval buildup after the war.
     
  10. Stonepile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2018
    [​IMG]
    Are you for real?
    How long have I waited for the return of this, hope this ends with MURICA, Godspeed Jim.
    EDIT: This can only help mend the U.S. rift between North and South as with the first battle being in New Orleans, it will drive the South into the North's Arms and god have mercy on spain, for the U.S. will not have none for this.
    The fact that African Americans saved the city from Spanish looting will help their cause in civil rights greatly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    Cryostorm and CtrlAltHistory like this.
  11. Threadmarks: Spanish American War Pt 2

    Jim Smitty Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    Before the Battle of New Orleans the nation had been divided on the war with Spain and it wasn’t a popular war. The United States was still going through reconstruction of trying to make the nation whole in the aftermath of the Civil War. In the south there was a battle between Redeemers who wanted to undue the Radical Republicans advances and break their coalition of Freedmen, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags. In short, the Redeemers wanted to remake the South as close to the antebellum south just without legal slavery as they could. Whereas the Radical Republicans for the most part wanted to industrializatied the south and make it like the north. The Redeemers didn’t want anything to do with this war with Spain as adding Cuba to the nation wouldn’t do anything for them unlike it would had before the Civil War.

    In the north the war wasn’t that populator either. War exhaustion was a real thing in the north as many wanted to get on with their lives. The rich wanted to make more money which the war upended as American merchant ships were subject to Spanish raiders. The lower class just wanted to make enough money so they could go west and homestead it for the most part. They didn’t want to go off and fight another war. Not with the chance of making a better life in the west being within reach for many.

    The Battle of New Orleans through changed this. As news of Spanish actions in New Orleans spread it enraged most Americans. To have an American city invaded and sacked was too much for most Americans to accept lying down. Past allegiance to the Confederacy or being tired of war in the north no longer matter. Men both veterans of the Civil War and those who were too young to fight in that war when to recruiting stations in groves. The common rallying cry was Remember New Orleans in both the north and south.

    In Cuba following New Orleans work was done on a follow up raid was started. Possible targets included Savannah, Georgia, Mobile, Alabama, or Charleston, South Carolina. Yet as news filleted out of the United States via Canada the Spanish learned they made a grave mistake by attacking New Orleans. Instead of being scared of the Spanish most Americans were well passed the point of being angry and in to the stage of being pissed off and wanting blood by the bucket.

    On March 19 1874 the Spanish withdrew their best naval and army units from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spain was still fighting its own civil war and Serrano wanted to make sure his side won even if he would have to go into exile for taking the blame for what was about to happen. He saw from the reports coming out of Canada he would not be able to win a quick war against the United States and elected to perform this withdraw and removed the best units that were loyal to him and his side from the Caribbean.

    Even with this withdraw it still took time for the United States to mount an offensive. Yet instead of the Caribbean the first offensive to be launch was to the Central Pacific. This small force sailed from San Francisco on April 12th. Spain had a mess of Central Pacific Islands that were under their control but were lightly defended. Some of them such as Guam would be a good stopping point for trade with China and be a boom for the United States to control. Yet this really was an effort by the Navy to make up for their total failure in the Gulf of Mexico three months prior. Even through the Central Pacific invasion force was the first to be launch it would be the last one to be heard from given the distances of the Pacific.

    The first invasion force for Cuba left Mobile on June 4th. It was a force of 45,000 men and was under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan. Its target was Havana. A second invasion force left Savannah three days later. This force was of 50,000 men under the command of Major General Winfield S. Hancock. Hancock’s target was Santiago on the other side of the island of Cuba from Sheridan. The idea was to perform a press the Spanish on both sides of the islands then meet in the middle of the island.

    Sheridan’s force landed near Mariel on June 11th. Mariel was selected as it had a good enough port that would allow the unloading of artillery and Gatling Guns for support of the infantry in the campaign to take Havana. There were only a small number of Spanish soldiers defending Mariel who gave a ceremonial defense of the city before withdrawing to inform those still in Havana of the fact the Americans had arrived. Yet those in Havana decided not to attack instead they decided to hold up in Havana and force the Americans to take the city from them.

    Hancock’s force landed near Santiago on June 17th. Unlike Sheridan he didn’t have a easily taken port to unload artillery and Gatling Guns. He further had to deal with the remains of the Spanish Caribbean Squadron which had been based at Santiago. Yet to help in this the USN had five old civil war monitors and other iron clads to blockade the harbor and give fire support to Hancock’s force. Like the Spanish facing Sheridan force through the Spanish didn’t attack the Americans as they landed. Instead they elected to say on the defensive and force the Americans to take their positions.

    This set the stage for the two major battles of the war fought in Cuba. The Battle of Havana and San Juan Hill in late June and early July 1874.
     
  12. Admiral Halsey Best damn Admiral in US history Banned

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    So I'm guessing Grant has Sherman chained to his office and that's why he isn't on any of the front lines?
     
    Confederate Liberal likes this.
  13. Threadmarks: Spanish American War Pt 3

    Jim Smitty Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    Sheridan after spending a week at Mariel unloading equipment and organizing his army started his march to take Havana. Sheridan’s Army reached the first of the Spanish defensive lines that were defending Havana on the 20th of June which marked the start of the Battle for Havana. Sheridan’s army of 45,000 men was facing a Spanish Army of just under 20,000. Even through the on going rebellion in Cuba was mostly focused in the Eastern Part of the island the Spanish maintain a sizable garrison in the capital of their most important Caribbean colony.

    Fighting for control of Havana lasted for eight days before the Spanish flag at La Cabaña was brought down and the Stars and Strips when up. During that eight days Sheridan Army learned harsh lessons about urban combat. During the battle Sheridan suffered just over 5,000 casualties taking the city. The Spanish suffered just under 4,000 casualties with their force being in prisoner of war camps in Georgia after the end of the battle.

    Just as Sheridan was taking control of Havana and started to prep for the Overland Campaign Hancock started his task of taking Santiago. His force was facing 28,000 Spanish soldiers and sailors. The Spanish Navy being old wooden ships decided to deman their ships for the most part and use them as floating artillery to defend Santiago. Unlike at Havana where the Spanish forced Sheridan into the city to take it the Spanish took to defensible positions outside of Santiago.

    These positions were San Juan and Kettle Hills. The Battle fought between June 30th and August 1st would be named after the former hill the battle to take both were bloody. The entrenchments on the hill tops were well concealed and made use of plunging fire which made it hard for the Americans to return fire and hit their targets. After a fail charge to take either hill Hancock when to a different tactic to take the hills. Using trenches in a preview of what would happen on the Western Front of World War One in the first part of that war Hancock has his army dig and fight up the hill instead of just fight up the hill.

    It was a slow process. Yet it did not have the mass casualties that the charge of June 30th had. It wasn’t till July 23rd that Kettle Hill fell to the Americans. This was after a night assault after the trench lines on Kettle Hill had reached within 10 yards of the Spanish positions on the hill. Fighting for San Juan lasted for another week before it also fell. Hancock suffered just under 10,000 casualties in taking both hills whereas the Spanish suffered 6,000 casualties. The Spanish did withdraw into Santiago following their defeats on San Juan and Kettle Hills but those hills gave the Americans a direct view of the city and port of Santiago. With Hancock controlling the high ground the Spanish surrender to him five days after the fall of San Juan Hill after scuttling their naval ships there.

    With Hancock regroup in Santiago, Sheridan who had been reinforced was marching overland in Cuba to link up with Hancock. Once Hancock had regrouped, he did the same. The two armies met at Camaguey on September 11th 1874. With this meeting Cuba was under effective American control. Yet with New Orleans still being on the mind of many Americans just taking Cuba wouldn’t be enough. The last remaining outpost of the Spanish in the Caribbean would had to be taken.

    The Puerto Rican Campaign started in October of 1874 when the USN moved to blockade San Juan. Ground forces were landed on the 15th of October under the command of General Sheridan. Hancock had been left in Cuba as the acting governor of the island. Some viewed this as a political move as Hancock was a Democratic with President Grant being a Republican to keep Hancock from getting further glory on the battlefield. This still wouldn’t stop Hancock from going on to becoming president in 1881.

    On Puerto Rico through the Spanish weren’t in a good position to fight back against the army being led by Sheridan. There were only a total of 8,000 Spanish troops in all of Puerto Rico with 5,000 being in San Juan. With the 35,000 thousand Sheridan had they couldn’t hold out for long. Indeed the Spanish surrender three days after Sheridan’s Army landed in Puerto Rico on October 18th. Soon after this victory word had reached the west coast of the United States that campaign by the USN to take the Spanish Central Pacific Islands was victorious.

    In early November German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck offered to broker a peace agreement between Madrid and Washington. There was some fears but unfounded ones this war would spread to Africa and possibly Europe. President Grant was ready to come to terms with the Spanish and agreed to Bismarck broker peace talks on the 11th of November. The Spanish under Serrano didn’t agree to peace talks till the 20th of November.

    Peace talks started in Berlin on December 12th and lasted till January 15th of 1875. It was on that day that the Treaty of Berlin was signed. Under the terms of this treaty the United States formally annexed Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. In the Pacific the US formally annexed the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, and the Marshall Islands. There were other parts of the treaty that dealt with economic issues along with paying the family members of the crew of the Virginius reparations.

    This short war would however have lasting connections both in the United States and around the world that fully wouldn’t be felt till World War II.
     
  14. xxmagex Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Hmmm, no attempt to take the Philippines from the Spanish?
     
  15. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut Donor

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    Newtown, CT
    Putting that much force across the Pacific is beyond the US of the time
     
    Driftless and FillyofDelphi like this.
  16. FillyofDelphi Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    True, though I question why Spain diden't at least try to peddle the islands away for some cash. Given the costs of the war and fragility of the new government at home, particularly the damage to the navy, they'll need all the funds and to withdraw all the forces home they can if they hope to supress the resurgence of dissent that's no doubt going to emerge in the aftermath of the lose. The US and Germany don't really want them yet and France is still paying off the Franco-Prussian War debt, but Britain probably woulden't mind the region as a way to project more influence into Japan. King Leopold is also still looking for his personal colony, and DID actually try to buy the Phillipenes IOTL (And later, when the US aquired it, tried to get Belgian church administration there), so that's also an option.
     
  17. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut Donor

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    Newtown, CT
    Spain is in a civil war right now, I doubt anyone is going to want to commit to such a deal until things become more settled. Yeah the US got a peace treaty, but that's on Uti Possedis basis, the US actually controls what they got, if a change in government means Spain reneges, war just restarts with the US already in control of the territory. If someone tries to buy the Philippines, well a new government could come to power ad renege in the time between purchase and taking possession, or the garrison in the Philippines could declare for the rebels, either way the buyer could have to fight a war to get them. It's logical to wait until the civil war is over and the Spanish government is stable-ish before making a large deal like this
     
  18. Jim Smitty Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Florida
    Ok a little heads up. The time I was planning to alot to this TL was taken up at the dealership today to get my car fixed. Blame the o2 sensor for the lack of an update today.
     
  19. Confederate Liberal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    That sucks feel your pain
     
    Jim Smitty likes this.
  20. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2017
    Im interested in how this earlier Spanish-American war affects american arms development. At this time the army is still using the trapdoor Springfield, i wonder if the conditions in cuba and (namely the urban and trench combat) might push the army towards adipting something a bit more modern.

    If they do, there's a couple options out there, though the Remington-Keene rifle is just around the corner, and is my personal favorite.
     
Loading...