Reading the Room - an Alternate War of 1812 and beyond

Vice Admiral Sir Berkeley sacked
February 20, 1808

The British Parliament exacted its due, Vice Admiral Sir George Berkeley for issuing orders that damn near caused war and caused the United States to undertake a significant building program that would very well see them become equal to the North American Station of the Royal Navy and likely would necessitate the continuous deployment of a 1st Rate in order make sure that the Americans didn’t do anything silly in regards with Upper and Lower Canada or Nova Scotia, was found guilty and subsequently discharged from the Royal Navy, ending his career.
 
USS Leopard formally enters the United States Navy
February 24, 1808

It had taken much longer than originally planned, but finally, the former frigate HMS Leopard was commissioned into the United States Navy as USS Leopard. A large reason for her delay in being commissioned was that the United States Navy had learned considerable amounts from her, primarily from her block and tackle which was all mass-produced and the United States had scrambled to implement it. Furthermore, the biggest hassle had been getting the Carronades as the US Army had promptly bought the 12-pounder guns from the Navy as they found the gun to be of decent power.

But now, wearing a distinctive coat of black with a white stripe marking out her gun ports - command was formally given to Captain James Lawrence. His orders were to sail for the Caribbean and start interdicting the slave trade.




AN: Captain James Lawrence famously commanded USS Chesapeake during her final battle in the United States Navy before she was captured by the British. During the action, Lawrence was mortally wounded and subsequently died of his wounds, however before passing he said "Don't give up the ship."
 
USS Wasp returns to America with good news
February 26, 1808

USS Wasp returned to the United States, as she passed Gosport Naval Yard, visible on several slipways were the frames of warships going up - by the size of them these were mostly 3rd Class Frigates with a few 2nd Class Frigates. She proceeded up the Potomac River and pulled into Washington Naval Yard - where more ships were being built and the yard had visibly expanded. From there the papers were delivered and then sent to Baltimore and Annapolis where Éole and Patriote were laying at anchor respectively. Their captains were stunned that the ships had been sold but preparations were made to start work immediately as the French crews were taken off and after some debate on what to do, the officers uniformly decided to return to France along with about seventy-five percent of the enlisted with the remaining twenty-five percent of the enlisted electing to stay in the United States.

Patriote was almost immediately commissioned by the United States Navy as USS Patriot and as soon as facilities large enough could be completed, she would be taken in to receive a fetching black and white paint scheme - at least, after her sister Éole had her masts restored. The fate of Éole was that tugs towed her south across the Chesapeake Bay and towed her, flying the stars and stripes to Gosport Naval Yard as the drydocks and cranes capable of supporting her there were the closest to completion. It was decided by the Navy that the states would only be suitable for American-built ships of the line - thus Éole was renamed USS Excelsior.
 
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February 26, 1808

USS Wasp returned to the United States, as she passed Gosport Naval Yard, visible on several slipways were the frames of warships going up - by the size of them these were mostly 3rd Class Frigates with a few 2nd Class Frigates. She proceeded up the Potomac River and pulled into Washington Naval Yard - where more ships were being built and the yard had visibly expanded. From there the papers were delivered and then sent to Baltimore and Annapolis where Éole and Patriote were laying at anchor respectively. Their captains were stunned that the ships had been sold but preparations were made to start work immediately as the French crews were taken off and after some debate on what to do, the officers uniformly decided to return to France along with about seventy-five percent of the enlisted with the remaining twenty-five percent of the enlisted electing to stay in the United States.

Patriote was almost immediately commissioned by the United States Navy as USS Patriote and as soon as facilities large enough could be completed, she would be taken in to receive a fetching black and white paint scheme - at least, after her sister Éole had her masts restored. The fate of Éole was that tugs towed her south across the Chesapeake Bay and towed her, flying the stars and stripes to Gosport Naval Yard as the drydocks and cranes capable of supporting her there were the closest to completion. It was decided by the Navy that the states would only be suitable for American built ships of the line - thus Éole was renamed USS Éole.
Usual tradition in the navy was to rename capture ships as well as purchase ships. Overall love the timeline so far
 
Prior to that, IIRC, the Prussian Army was something of a mess. Regardless, what do you think of the PoD and how the story is progressing?
I suspect another bottleneck for the US might be powder supplies the US had to import significant quantities of powder and munitions from the UK until well past this date OTL.
 
I suspect another bottleneck for the US might be powder supplies the US had to import significant quantities of powder and munitions from the UK until well past this date OTL.

It is, that did get mentioned in the update about naval infrastructure expansion as a result of the War Scare of 1807 - even so, I wouldn't be surprised if the United States still needs to import significant amounts of powder until probably around 1820.
 
It is, that did get mentioned in the update about naval infrastructure expansion as a result of the War Scare of 1807 - even so, I wouldn't be surprised if the United States still needs to import significant amounts of powder until probably around 1820.
The difficulty here is the strong British grip on available supplies if one is looking to fight the UK
 
The difficulty here is the strong British grip on available supplies if one is looking to fight the UK

Due to the British successfully reading the room regarding the United States on the matter of just how seriously we're taking our neutrality and sovereignty which came out of the Chesapeake-Scourge-Wasp-Leopard Affair (in history its also called The Battle of Hampton Roads or The Leopard Incident) - the United States has now been set on a course for a war with France. Something that the Milan Decree and an incident involving the merchant ship Minion will provoke.

I must admit - some of the ideas that I've been toying with is that while the Peninsular War fires on time, Napoleon makes better decisions during his Invasion of Russia - but I am not sure if the butterflies will have spread that far.
 
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Since this is an obvious USA wank, you might as well go ahead and reform the ground forces, too, so they're ready to kick ass in a couple years (or months, as everything seems to be progressing at lightning speed).

It's a good read.
 
Since this is an obvious USA wank, you might as well go ahead and reform the ground forces, too, so they're ready to kick ass in a couple years (or months, as everything seems to be progressing at lightning speed).

It's a good read.
As mentioned in one of the previous threads, the standing army has been increased to 75,000 men, from an original size of 10,000.
 
Since this is an obvious USA wank, you might as well go ahead and reform the ground forces, too, so they're ready to kick ass in a couple years (or months, as everything seems to be progressing at lightning speed).

The way I see it, the Ships of the Line probably won't be ready until 1810 to 1812 depending on what rate they are.

The 1st Class Frigates likely wouldn't be completed until around late 1809 to early 1810 as they're quite big ships - and more likely the latter year.

The 2nd Class Frigates, the ones under construction again probably won't start completing until 1809 and you'll likely still have ships on the stocks in 1812.

The 3rd Class Frigates are going to be in a similar boat for construction as the 2nd Class Frigates.

The biggest problem is going to be the manufacture of guns and rigging, not so much finding timber as the United States is in a much better position for that compared to either France or Britain for finding trees suitable to be the keels of ships of the line and similarly sized vessels. However, on the flip side, at the moment, the largest producer of iron in the world is Britain and France is a close second with the other Great Powers in Europe filling out the Top 5 - with the United States then likely being closer to the bottom of the Top 10 Iron Producers. More than likely, this building program is completed around 1815, and even then its nothing compared to what the British and French would have either in service or on the stocks - assuming that my estimates are correct when it comes to guessing build times.

As mentioned in one of the previous threads, the standing army has been increased to 75,000 men, from an original size of 10,000.

Less actually, the US Army was tiny back then. At the start of the War of 1812, we only had about 8,000 men in the US Army (and that's if you round up - IIRC it was more like 7,700) - granted the reason for the discrepancy ITTL is because in the time it took for Congress to convene in response to the Chesapeake-Scourge-Wasp-Leopard Affair is that the Army saw a spike in recruiting.
 
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February 24, 1808

It had taken much longer than originally planned, but finally, the former frigate HMS Leopard was commissioned into the United States Navy as USS Leopard. A large reason for her delay in being commissioned was that the United States Navy had learned considerable amounts from her, primarily from her block and tackle which was all mass-produced and the United States had scrambled to implement it. Furthermore, the biggest hassle had been getting the Carronades as the US Army had promptly bought the 12-pounder guns from the Navy as they found the gun to be of decent power.

But now, wearing a distinctive coat of black with a white stripe marking out her gun ports - command was formally given to Captain James Lawrence. His orders were to sail for the Caribbean and start interdicting the slave trade.




AN: Captain James Lawrence famously commanded USS Chesapeake during her final battle in the United States Navy before she was captured by the British. During the action, Lawrence was mortally wounded and subsequently died of his wounds, however before passing he said "Don't give up the ship."
I'm particularly invested in this, how will the navy impact the ban on the traffick?

Otl American citzens were almost singlehandly responsible for keeping it alive, specially in Cuba.
Increasingly, international networks of traders came to rely heavily on their United States partners. The British estimated in 1816 that 60,000 slaves left Africa with 15,000 of those on American ships flying Spanish or Portuguese flags. The American involvement in the trade increasedafter that date, and the number of enslaved people taken from Africa roseto an estimated 80,000 annually between 1820 and 1830. An American officer reported in 1820 "that he had boarded 20 American vessels in one morning, lying in the port of Gallinas [the Galinhas River in Sierra Leone], and fitted for the reception of slaves ... most of the harbors ... were visited by anequal number of American vessels, and for the sole purpose of carrying away slaves." In the same period, one of those American cruisers stoppedten ships within a few days' time, all clearly slavers, and "although theyare evidently owned by Americans, they are so completely covered bySpanish papers that it is impossible to condemn them." Others involved inpolicing the trade suggested that half of the ships employed in the slavetrade and registered to either Spaniards or Portuguese were in fact American, whereas an 1839 article in the American press maintained that of 177 slave ships arriving in Cuba, five sixths were owned by Americansand fitted out in American ports including New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Boston. Profits were enormous; one New York firm had recently received $240,000 for its share in the traffic, the article maintained.
Meanwhile the Navy was unable to stop the smuggling that flowed through Cuba, Texas and Florida into the south. The unwillingness to cooperate with the UK made it even worse. Not sure how successiful it will be given thst the larger navy still doesn't fix the internal willingness of New England merchants and Southern planters to exploit loopholes. At least they might catch the Laffite brothers' activities in Barataria Bay and Galveston Island much earlier(OTL took untill 1822 to break their operations, and even then Gavelstone was still a hotspot for smuggling from Cuba).
 
Meanwhile the Navy was unable to stop the smuggling that flowed through Cuba, Texas and Florida into the south. The unwillingness to cooperate with the UK made it even worse. Not sure how successiful it will be given thst the larger navy still doesn't fix the internal willingness of New England merchants and Southern planters to exploit loopholes. At least they might catch the Laffite brothers' activities in Barataria Bay and Galveston Island much earlier(OTL took untill 1822 to break their operations, and even then Gavelstone was still a hotspot for smuggling from Cuba).

Honestly - with the entirety of the USN being worked up due to the War Scare and thus being available for anti-slavery patrols - barring the USS President as she's on a Barbary Coast Patrol - and the fact that the Royal Navy is beginning to enforce Britain's will on the fact that slavery is now banned. The chances of them catching the Laffite Brothers early are much more likely - even if it will piss off Spain as currently Texas is Spanish Territory same as Florida. Texas didn't become American until the 1830s and Florida didn't become American territory until 1819. Hmm, I reckon that Florida becoming American in 1819 is what more than likely actually clued in the Americans to the Laffite Brothers' activities and the problem of slave smuggling.

Here with an upcoming incident that I have planned, it's quite plausible that will get discovered much sooner.
 
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I would think that, with the military wound up and eager to do something I would not be surprised if the US uses that leverage to drive a hard bargain; giving a helping hand to Spain in exchange for Spanish Florida (which would still include West Florida at this time).
 
I reckon that Florida becoming American in 1819 is what more than likely actually clued in the Americans to the Laffite Brothers' activities and the problem of slave smuggling
Madison took action against them in Barataria Bay in 1810, when he occupied West Florida, which made the relocate to Gavelstone. IMO can happen earlier, yeah. But IIRC the Laffitte Bros helped Jackson in the Battle o New Orleans, pissing them off is one less ally in the region.

The important part in fighting the slave trade should be stopping them before they reach Florida and Cuba, becuse from there, American businessmen like Rhode Island senator James DeWolfe and South Carolinians Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and John Fraser, brought slaves from West Africa, and used their plantations in Florida and Cuba as staging grounds to send slaves to Georgia. Another example is Georgian governor David B. Mitchell, who became an Indian agent just so he could use the Creek nation to pass slaves through. That's also to say that it was more elaborate than just piratry.
 
The important part in fighting the slave trade should be stopping them before they reach Florida and Cuba, becuse from there, American businessmen like Rhode Island senator James DeWolfe and South Carolinians Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and John Fraser, brought slaves from West Africa, and used their plantations in Florida and Cuba and staging grounds to send slaves to Georgia. Another example is Georgian governor David B. Mitchell, who became an Indian agent just so he could use the Creek nation to pass slaves through. That's also to say that it was more elaborate than just piratry.

Now I am wondering what chaos would erupt if they actually got caught doing this - at the very least their political careers are dead.

I would think that, with the military wound up and eager to do something I would not be surprised if the US uses that leverage to drive a hard bargain; giving a helping hand to Spain in exchange for Spanish Florida (which would still include West Florida at this time).

Given when I have the upcoming Minion Incident/Affair happening (which has been foreshadowed already so no spoilers there) happening (that unfortunately is spoilers) - it's quite plausible that the Franco-Spanish Alliance will still be a thing.
 
I would think that, with the military wound up and eager to do something I would not be surprised if the US uses that leverage to drive a hard bargain; giving a helping hand to Spain in exchange for Spanish Florida (which would still include West Florida at this time).
What do you mean giving a helping hand to Spain? Spain still allowed the slave trade untill 1817. The US suppressing independence movements feels off, unless they are slave rebellions, like the attempt by Juan Barbier, in March 1812 Cuba, but getting that revolt to turn this bad seems like a POD in itself.

Edit: a better thing to wrestle from Spain is an early ban on the traffic, and to allow the USNavy to enforce it in Cuba, that would hurt the Wolfes and Frasers kf the world.
 
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Now I am wondering what chaos would erupt if they actually got caught doing this - at the very least their political careers are dead.
That was known. Money gives you a lot of power as it turns out. When DeWolfe was elected senator in 1821, a Pennsylvania newspaper wrote that "Wolf" was “certainly an appropriate name for a man-stealer.” On top of that, the first quote i posted mentioned the involvement of firms in Baltimore, New York, etc, were known. Well, at least in the case of David Mitchell, his affairs got him fired from his position.
 
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