The Dead Skunk

My guess : The US sort of wins, but in exactly the opposite way from what Berian wants. They fail to get Louisiana, Florida or Cuba... but do get Upper Canada and possibly New Brunswick, expanding the number of free territories...
Upper Canada, the Maritimes, the lost northernmost slivers of Missouri Territory, Rupert's Land, the North-Western Territory, and all Pacific Northwest claims of Britain... throw in what I said on at least British Florida and Louisiana annexing the entirety of the gulf coast and thus killing a huge chunk of export potential for the southern states...

Oh, gosh, I HOPE so just for the irony.
 
Here's a thought.

The US does well if costly invading Canada, but a disastrous invasion of Florida turns into an invasion of Berrien's home state. And further west new Spain invades Astoria in solidarity with Britain. And across the South the spectre of slave uprisings is prevalent.

For Berrien, the war has gone wrong; and he decides he needs to act to save the South sooner than later. So Berrien seeks to make peace, essentially a status quo anetbellum with the British Empire. The British leave the South and the end of the war frees up the army against any rebellions. In exchange the American army abandons Canada. New Spain is talked down by Britain to just take a slice of Southern Astoria as the British would have preferred no war in the first place.

For the Empire it is a victory, Florida celebrates its unofficial national birth coming together against invaders ad throwing them back. Canada is a mess between the technically victorious loyalists and the rebels betrayed and abandoned by their allies.

But the USA is full of livid people. For the North their victory was stolen, all the American blood spilled for liberty cast aside to preserve the South's tyranny and incompetence. Berrien is openly accused in the streets of throwing away northern exapnsion because he loves slavery more than America. And slavers and their allies treat the whole backlash as proof everyone is out to get them. And Berrien starts bringing the hammer down on the Cherokee as best he can hoping to unite the cuntry on the lines of bigotry and thus the troubles truly start with Americans hating Americans even more than their neighbors.
 


This, but the British letting all the poor unfortinate civikians, who just happen to look like former slaves, come with them....purely out of Christian charity ofc, as they pull back to the borders, whilst "losing" equipment, supplies, etc that somehow ends up in the slaves /rebels that stay hands. Completely not their fault ofc.
 
This, but the British letting all the poor unfortinate civikians, who just happen to look like former slaves, come with them....purely out of Christian charity ofc, as they pull back to the borders, whilst "losing" equipment, supplies, etc that somehow ends up in the slaves /rebels that stay hands. Completely not their fault ofc.

And lets not forget some of those unfortunate civilian may choose to stay after all but the British kindly gift them some helpful implement for hunting and tips for that fine passtime.

So, with war between the USA and Britain does Louisiana declare war in soldairity as a British semivassal; or does London tell them to play it cool?
 
Play it cool seems best for Louisiana Raise troops, put them on the border but do not declare war. That does draw troops. If the U.S. attacks then there you go.
 
Something I think is worth pointing out is that the Canadian rebels' loyalty to the United States seems tenuous enough that a sufficiently high-handed American response could probably lose them. Not that I think that going it alone without either American or British support would be viable, but, well, a pragmatic enough British government would probably take a formally-independent but practically-dependent Canada (or, conversely, one with more autonomy within the Empire) over one that's completely lost to them, and might make the necessary concessions if it looks like Canadian loyalties are up for grabs...
 
Play it cool seems best for Louisiana Raise troops, put them on the border but do not declare war. That does draw troops. If the U.S. attacks then there you go.

I wonder if Louisiana would go for it though? After all if the American Army seems to be winning in the north many will think: "Canada today, Louisiana tomorrow or a week at most." Fear of American revanchism has hung over the republic since day one; it has kept them thus closely tied to Britin because that deal is seen as better than living with the Sword Damocles.

Well any level of defeat by Britain in this war saws on the thread holding up that sword. Even f this war stays pointed North America's lust for New Orleans is seen as self evident. And if Britain is both weakened in North America and America is ascendant in expansion the clock will be tickng until the blue coats march south, their hunger piqued.

New Orleans may not see this as choice of war or peace, but a choice between war now with their ally; or abandon that ally and in a few years at most Berrien with the USA united behind him from victory will strike at them and war comes anyway even less in their favor.

So even if standing down nd drawing the enemy with inaction is smart, they may still take the plunge. "Keane vs the South 2: This Time Its Personal"

By the way speaking of blue coats, what color does Louisiana use for their troop uniforms?
 
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My guess : The US sort of wins, but in exactly the opposite way from what Berian wants. They fail to get Louisiana, Florida or Cuba... but do get Upper Canada and possibly New Brunswick, expanding the number of free territories...

Here's a thought.

The US does well if costly invading Canada, but a disastrous invasion of Florida turns into an invasion of Berrien's home state. And further west new Spain invades Astoria in solidarity with Britain. And across the South the spectre of slave uprisings is prevalent.

For Berrien, the war has gone wrong; and he decides he needs to act to save the South sooner than later. So Berrien seeks to make peace, essentially a status quo anetbellum with the British Empire. The British leave the South and the end of the war frees up the army against any rebellions. In exchange the American army abandons Canada. New Spain is talked down by Britain to just take a slice of Southern Astoria as the British would have preferred no war in the first place.

For the Empire it is a victory, Florida celebrates its unofficial national birth coming together against invaders ad throwing them back. Canada is a mess between the technically victorious loyalists and the rebels betrayed and abandoned by their allies.

But the USA is full of livid people. For the North their victory was stolen, all the American blood spilled for liberty cast aside to preserve the South's tyranny and incompetence. Berrien is openly accused in the streets of throwing away northern exapnsion because he loves slavery more than America. And slavers and their allies treat the whole backlash as proof everyone is out to get them. And Berrien starts bringing the hammer down on the Cherokee as best he can hoping to unite the cuntry on the lines of bigotry and thus the troubles truly start with Americans hating Americans even more than their neighbors.
I'm split on which one I prefer. On the one hand, It would be best for the US to lose this conflict to stop the spread of slavery in anyway or strengthen the role of slavers in general, but the first option would probably be one of the greatest 'You played yourself' moments in any timeline.
 
This is my first post in this thread. I returned to the site quite recently after several years' absence, found this thread yesterday, and have spent approximately the last 24 hours (without a break to sleep) reading it: The story was so interesting that I just couldn't stop until I'd caught up!

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Is the city-state of Hamburg also a member of the Hanover/Oldenburg/Bremen customs union?
 
I just noticed the 1837 piece refers to "Texas", not "Tejas". Does that imply the Americans do take a chunk out of New Spain?
 
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Is the city-state of Hamburg also a member of the Hanover/Oldenburg/Bremen customs union?
They're in the Nordzollverein, where they are by far the biggest and most important Atlantic port. So Prussia is slightly less arrogant and high-handed with them than with the rest of the small member states.
Do quick question on Canada. Have the Scots been settled in the Red River Valley yet? Where are the Owenites?
There has been some settlement by Scots in the Red River. The Owenites in Port Harmony are only nominally Owenites at this point, especially since Owen is back in the British Isles trying to apply what he's learned to factory management. (If you're looking for those overview chapters in the index, they're the Interludes for 1819, 1824, 1829 (1) and 1834 (2).)
 
A question, what's going on in the Ottoman Empire, Sweden-Norway and Portugal with all the differences here?
Portugal is still too preoccupied with the war against the rebels in Tangeria to pay much attention to either the Bosnia-Rumelia War or the war in America. They have the advantage of controlling the sea, and Tangeria is nothing but a strip of coastline—but all of that strip of coastline borders an interior which is unofficially rebel-friendly.

Sweden-Norway is even less involved. Their only involvement in the New World this year is Sven Ludwig Lovén’s expedition to what IOTL is called Ellesmere Island, a place the British are vaguely aware exists from some notes William Baffin made back in the 17th century but which they haven’t seriously explored yet because nothing about it seems all that promising.

As for the successor states to the Ottoman Empire, Bosnia-Rumelia of course is coping with an invasion. Things are getting even worse there—I’ll go into more details in a future post. The Cairene Empire is a participant in this war, which is giving them many opportunities to take notes on European warfare.
 
Winter Storm (3)
The same delay in transoceanic communication that had made such hash of the first attempt to end the War of 1812 existed in the War of 1837. For the first three weeks of the war, nobody in London—not Prime Minister Brougham, not Foreign Minister Palmerston, not Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Goderich—was aware that it was happening.

What were they missing? Surprisingly little. There had been some rather halfhearted skirmishes between militia units along the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Floridian borders. U.S. Army units had seized several Canadian border towns and Lake Erie ports—Greyborough[1], Windsor, Port Dover—but, undermanned and with insufficient logistical support, could not go further. An attempt by the Georgia militia to seize Amelia Island had been turned back by a single British vessel, HMS Swamp Cougar.

The largest campaign thus far was General Winfield Scott’s initial invasion of Lower Canada with 5,000 men, and the results were almost farcical. With Canadian military forces trying to surround Montreal and the city that had not yet renamed itself Toronto, Scott marched in unopposed, seized the town of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and reached the river, breaking the siege. But when Scott made contact with Papineau’s rebels, they unequivocally told him to take his army out of Lower Canadian territory and back to the United States on pain of war. “Whatever they might be playing at in York,” said Wolfred Nelson, “we here in Montreal are fighting to secure our rights as loyal subjects of Her Majesty.”

At this point, General Scott once again proved that personal courage need not be accompanied by belligerence. He had been sent north under orders to ally with Papineau and liberate the province. A war of conquest against a hostile population was a different thing. He retreated to St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, wrote a letter to Secretary Tyler informing him of the situation, and awaited further orders. Papineau, despite his bluster, was not foolish enough to attack such a large army while he was already in rebellion. Berrien would eventually order Scott to retreat to the American side of the border. To this day, Papineau remains one of the few leaders in history ever to turn back an invading army by simply telling it to go away.

Meanwhile, Canadian loyalists were already beginning to rally. Adam Thom, promoted to Acting Lieutenant-governor after the death of Sir Neil Campbell, was organizing a regiment of volunteers. John Molson Jr., in the tradition of rich men buying their own commissions, was likewise organizing a volunteer regiment. These regiments would eventually be given their own numbers in the British regimental system, but would be more commonly known by their nicknames—the “Doric Phalanx”[2] and the “Beer-swillers.”

By far the most consequential military engagement was the Battle of Fort Niagara…

Eric Wayne Ellison, Anglo-American Wars of the 19th Century

May 12, 1837
Fort Niagara

It was a warm, sunny day. 150 meters in the air over the shore of Lake Ontario, Corporal Alexander Stephens was very glad he wasn’t afraid of heights as he looked out to the northwest, the basket of the observation balloon swaying under his feet.

It was Stephens’ interest in meteorology that had inspired him to take up ballooning, which gave one eyes a little further over the horizon than normal. That was what had brought him here. He was hoping to a transfer to the Florida front when that opened up, even if it meant a long trip south by canal, rail, road, more rail, and more road.[3] But here he was, it was an almost cloudless day with a light breeze, and there, in the distance, was HMS St. Lawrence. Lieutenant Frémont had been very clear—Keep watching the St. Lawrence. Never let your gaze falter, not for a moment. No matter what you see, do not look away.

A little closer, and further east, was—taking a very loose interpretation of Frémont’s orders, Stephens raised his spyglass and squinted at the bow. He still couldn’t make out the letters, but by the length of the name it had to be USS Great Chazy River. Which meant that that was Natchez following less than a kilometer behind. Between them, the two U.S. warships had St. Lawrence outgunned—if and only if they both attacked at once. The British first-rate could theoretically defeat both ships by fighting them one on one, and they surely knew as much. The U.S. Navy was determined not to allow that to happen.

Is this going to work? thought Stephens. Did the Army and the Navy even coordinate this battle? The whole plan depends on St. Lawrence coming in close enough to attack the gun emplacements. If the Navy scares them off

The American line (if you could call it a line when there were only two ships in it) and St. Lawrence weren’t quite running parallel to one another. They couldn’t, except by chance—they were all headed more or less west. As sailing vessels without a steam engine between them, they were under the ultimate command of Admiral Wind, whose orders in this case were “Tack.” They were following a zigzagging course on the water, and at the moment, Chazy and Natchez were zigging northwest while St. Lawrence was zagging southwest.

Or rather—the more Stephens watched, the more sure he was that that wasn’t what was happening at all. St. Lawrence was turning further south, heading straight for the American line. What in Heaven’s name are they up to? Do they want to get shot to pieces?

This was the first time Stephens had ever seen a naval battle. No one had told him how long they took, how much time you had to watch what was happening and try to figure out what it meant and try not to dwell on the fact that this was the battle that would decide once and for all who controlled the lake. Slowly, the truth emerged—the captain of St. Lawrence was aiming his ship between Chazy and Natchez in a very bold attempt to cross the T on both of them at once.

But fortune didn’t always favor the bold—if it did, Stephens supposed, it wouldn’t count as boldness. Both ships were turning themselves parallel to the St. Lawrence.

From this vantage point, the exchange of fire didn’t look like much. Puffs of smoke came from the fore starboard part of Natchez (Stephens’ knowledge of nautical terms was a bit haphazard) and the aft port part of St. Lawrence. The battle lasted only a few minutes—the ships weren’t well positioned to harm one another.

Although at greater range, St. Lawrence and Chazy could do considerably more to each other as they came within range. It was hard to watch—Stephens knew that men were dying, and it seemed terribly likely that the Navy could lose, frustrating all their hopes. At the last moment, St. Lawrence pulled away to prevent Natchez from positioning itself to empty a broadside into its stern.

It was hard for Stephens to tell, but it looked like St. Lawrence had given as good as it had gotten from both vessels. It was in position to use more of its guns than we were. On the other hand, it has now taken damage on both sides. But no one is out of the fight. Chazy seemed to have suffered the most, but it was turning its undamaged side and fresh guns towards the enemy. The water was like a chessboard—there was nowhere to hide, all the pieces were out in plain view, and the capabilities of each piece could at least be estimated. It was up to the captains to look at these things and figure out what the other side was up to.

St. Lawrence followed a long, curving course that Stephens could already see would ultimately bring it close to the shore—as close as it could get without risking running aground. This limited its freedom of movement, but also meant that if the U.S. Navy wanted to capture or destroy it, they would have to do it the hard way, bringing their ships alongside the larger ship one after the other.

And as Stephens tracked the path with his eyes—don’t look away, don’t look away—he could see that St. Lawrence would be in position to attack the fort. The fort could fight back, of course, but most of the guns outside the structure itself were facing southwest, across the river, where the ship could rake them with fire.

Minutes crawled by. Stephens desperately wanted to turn his spyglass below to the south, to see if anyone was repositioning guns or taking shelter. Don’t look away. Keep watching the ship.

Now that it was moving more eastward, St. Lawrence made better speed. When it crossed a certain line of buoys, Stephens reached down and unfurled a yellow banner from the side of the basket. There. Now they know the range. I’ve done the most important thing.

Inevitably, the ship sailed into position and opened fire. Out of the corner of his eye, Stephens could see that the northern shore was suddenly blanketed in whitish smoke, as if something important had just burst into flames… or as if someone had set off a great many smudge pots. Don’t look. Don’t look. Keep looking at the ship. And above the shore, some two dozen rockets were launched at the ship.

The rockets flew straight and true, wobbling a little in flight but never veering from their path. There must have been some miscalculation—the majority of them flew past St. Lawrence’s rigging before they exploded, briefly silhouetting the masts. (For some reason, one of them burned with an almost pure blue light which made it hard to see against the lake.)

The majority, but not all. At least six of them went off too soon, a mistake that compensated for the other mistake. Great midair blossoms of pale, blue-edged flame illuminated the deck and rigging before they concealed it in smoke. Incendiaries. The smoke didn’t seem to be clearing—or rather, it was clearing, but new smoke was replacing it. The upper sails and cordage on the two rear masts were on fire.

Any crew worth its grog was trained to fight fire. Already there were men on the yards, furling the lower sails to limit their exposure and pouring buckets of lake water onto them. By the time the burning sails and ropes began falling to the deck, that deck was already swarming with men armed with buckets of water and boots suitable for stamping out flames.

That was when the second round of rockets hit. There was no point to using further incendiaries—all the remaining sails were furled and soaked. These rockets exploded exactly where they were supposed to, right over the heads of the toiling sailors, and they were full of regular gunpowder… and, as it turned out, canister.

Stephens kept watching St. Lawrence, but for the rest of his life he would wish he’d put his spyglass down. Some men were killed instantly. Others were still alive… piteously so, with injuries that he could only hope would prove mortal.

Two rockets struck the side of the ship at the aft end, below the rail. They were clearly incendiaries of a different sort, splashing the hull with something that clung and burned. The crew—so many of them were still unharmed—drew up buckets of water and put out the flames.

A third rocket hit near the waterline at the prow end. Someone poured a bucket of water on it, but that seemed to make it burn even hotter. A different formula. Chemistry wasn’t Stephens’ field, but he knew that not all fires could be put out by water.[4]

Stephens tried to think of the fight the way the British would see it. Fortifications couldn’t be moved, and given time and effort would ultimately be demolished—but a man could fire a rocket from anywhere. From their point of view, every inch of coastline was now a possibly enemy battery. And because St. Lawrence had furled its sails, it was now effectively dead in the water, and at this point the men with the rockets knew exactly where to aim and from how far away.

And then the boats came out of the smoke.

Of course. That was why they had set those fires at the fore and aft ends of the ship—as a distraction. And that was why they had instructed him not to look away, no matter what. The trouble with being up here was that the enemy could see you as easily as you could see them. The whole plan would have been ruined if St. Lawrence’s lookout had caught him glancing to the shore at the wrong moment, revealing the spar torpedo boats using the smoke as cover until they could be launched.

And now there were ten boats in the water, prows pointed at St. Lawrence, a spar jutting from each prow, a bomb on the end of each spar. Only one needed to succeed.

Some of the crew on deck drew guns, trying to shoot at the rowers. Another canister rocket wreaked gruesome havoc among them.

Hoping someone on that ship was watching him, Stephens pulled out his semaphore flags and signaled SURRENDER. Strike your colors, you fools. Please. Do you think I want to watch you die? Of course, not all of them would die. Not even most of them. Even if a torpedo holed St. Lawrence at the waterline, as close as they were to shore most of the crew could get out and swim.

But St. Lawrence had only one purpose—to deny the Americans control of the lake. If it could no longer fulfill that purpose, forcing the Americans to expend a little more powder was not a cause worth anyone’s life.

The flag was being lowered.

As far away as Stephens was, he must have been imagining hearing the cheers from the fort. Certainly he felt a deep sense of relief.

That was one ship. The British have many. They control the sea and can attack wherever they choose.

But none of those ships are here.
Lake Ontario was now mare nostrum… or at least lacum nostrum. The British had other naval vessels on the lake, but none with a prayer of standing up to Natchez and Chazy. Men could enter the harbor of York by the boatload, supporting Morgan and Mackenzie. They could land to east or west, flanking the besiegers.

Whatever else happens in this war, we have won this day.


[1] OTL Sarnia, Ontario.
[2] IOTL Thom ran a loyalist organization called the Doric Club.
[3] The U.S. railroad grid as of the beginning of the War of 1837 (once again based on SuperZtar64's excellent work):
railroad growth US at start of war.png

(Note the gap in northern Georgia. One of Berrien’s ambitions is a railroad junction there connecting to Chattanooga, Alpheus, Milledgeville, Augusta, Asheville, Columbia, and the North Carolina wine country. A lot of Cherokee are in the way of that.)
[4] The seemingly random effects of these incendiaries will be explained in an eventual future post.
 
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