Trent Affair Goes Hot

What if cooler heads didn't prevail during the Trent Affair Crisis and open war ensued? Lincoln famously said "one war at a time". Could the U.S. have called on Russia who promised to help in the event of war, even leaving ships in a NY port? Would the war be the U.S., Russia, possibly Prussia to go against France?, vs C.S., British Empire, and Second French Empire?

Could the U.S. conquer Canada? Could it avoid a humiliating and catastrophic defeat? What about the war in Europe? Would a second Crimean War break out? What would be the future ramifications of British intervention in the American Civil War? I think it makes the Great Rapprochement highly unlikely.
 
What if cooler heads didn't prevail during the Trent Affair Crisis and open war ensued? Lincoln famously said "one war at a time". Could the U.S. have called on Russia who promised to help in the event of war, even leaving ships in a NY port? Would the war be the U.S., Russia, possibly Prussia to go against France?, vs C.S., British Empire, and Second French Empire?

Could the U.S. conquer Canada? Could it avoid a humiliating and catastrophic defeat? What about the war in Europe? Would a second Crimean War break out? What would be the future ramifications of British intervention in the American Civil War? I think it makes the Great Rapprochement highly unlikely.
Man are you in for a treat. Check out @EnglishCanuck and his excellent Wrapped in Flames: The Great American War and Beyond.
 
Is this a British wank?
Wrapped In Flames: The Great American War and Beyond is not a Britwank. Instead it shows a fairly realistic assessment of an Anglo-American War with the British, the Canadians, the Americans and the Confederates having their ups and downs during the conflict. The author also gives us books about the Civil War and Canada's pre-Dominion years which gives the viewer a lot more insight into what might have been.
 
The thing about it is nearly any British vs US conflict in the 1860s is going to be a Britwank, even if the Confederacy immediately reunites with the North to fight against the hated English (which the sentiment in the South would hardly support).
The UK is at the absolute apogee of its power during this time. Their navy is supreme and their army has gotten WAY better since the war of 1812. To say 1000 British troops in this era are the equal of 3000 union troops is probably an underestimate. The US would suffer mightily in such a confrontation, and that assumes that everyone else sits out.
The US would not get to near-peer status in terms of warmaking potential until around 1900 with the UK, and doesn't get the supremacy in most poster's minds until well into WW2.
 
Wrapped In Flames: The Great American War and Beyond is not a Britwank. Instead it shows a fairly realistic assessment of an Anglo-American War with the British, the Canadians, the Americans and the Confederates having their ups and downs during the conflict.
As Gunslinger said, WiF leans pretty heavily on the US side of the scales. This is understandable, as the more one-sided a war gets, the more difficult it gets to write a good story about it. The bottom line, however, is that in 1860 the US armed forces were tiny, had a very small indigenous arms industry, and had to purchase most of the weapons and ammunition for its expansion from the UK. Said weapons and ammunition had not arrived by the time the Trent Affair kicked off. It's the equivalent of the UK declaring war on the US in June/July 1940.
 
What if cooler heads didn't prevail during the Trent Affair Crisis and open war ensued? Lincoln famously said "one war at a time". Could the U.S. have called on Russia who promised to help in the event of war, even leaving ships in a NY port? Would the war be the U.S., Russia, possibly Prussia to go against France?, vs C.S., British Empire, and Second French Empire?

Could the U.S. conquer Canada? Could it avoid a humiliating and catastrophic defeat? What about the war in Europe? Would a second Crimean War break out? What would be the future ramifications of British intervention in the American Civil War? I think it makes the Great Rapprochement highly unlikely.
As others have said, I don't think this will end well for the US. (Which is, of course, why cooler heads did prevail: Lincoln was no idiot, he knew the US couldn't successfully fight both Britain and the Confederacy at the same time.)

In terms of allies, I don't expect the US to find much support in a hypothetical Trent War. For one thing, the Union's actions in seizing the ship and the diplomats onboard were widely viewed as violating international law, so the US wouldn't get much moral sympathy if they decided to fight over it. For another, America's ability to project force overseas was very limited, so it's not likely that any European country would support them on a quid pro quo basis, because the US couldn't offer meaningful support for a European or colonial conflict And finally, this was the apogee of British naval dominance, so even if a country did want to gang up with the US to take Perfidious Albion down a peg or two, there's not much they could have done to actually harm the UK.

Britain would probably avoid getting involved in the American Civil War itself, because the Confederate cause wasn't very popular in London, and instead they'd fight a concurrent but separate war. Even then, however, such a conflict would be greatly to the Confederacy's advantage: the Union would have to divert troops to its northern frontier and east coast, and its ability to import weapons and gunpowder would be severely curtailed. Meanwhile -- assuming that Britain's first action after declaring war would be sweeping the seas free of Union vessels, which is probably a pretty safe assumption -- the Confederacy would be able to trade with the rest of the world, and also to divert the troops it had guarding its own coast (who were around 70,000 in number, IIRC) to reinforce their other fronts.

So, the Union would find itself having to defend from more directions, with less ability to equip new troops, and one of its enemies being able to reinforce their armies quite substantially. Moreover, the Union troops would be of a lower quality than their British opponents. The US' pre-war army was pretty tiny, too small to provide an adequate cadre for a force of the size raised during the USCW, meaning that the Union army was essentially raised from scratch, and inevitably, corners were cut with training. Some of this would be rectified as the soldiers served on campaign and gained more experience, but some skills couldn't really be picked up on a trial-and-error basis. Marksmanship, for example: if you're in a regiment of line infantry and you're all blasting away at the enemy, you've no way of telling whether a given enemy soldier was hit by you or someone else, or how much you might have missed by, and so you don't really have enough feedback to adjust and improve. And indeed, marksmanship in the USCW, on both sides, seems to have been much worse than in Europe: Union and Confederate troops didn't generally bother trying to shoot at ranges of greater than 200 or so yards, whereas their European equivalents might open fire at a range of 600 yards or even higher.

In short, then, it's difficult to see how a Trent War can end otherwise than really, really badly for the Union. I'd expect the Union to realise this pretty quickly, if they didn't realise it before the war actually started, and sue for peace to try and limit the damage. Britain didn't really want the war, so their terms would probably be pretty generous -- some reasonable reparations payments, the release of the ship with her crew and passengers, an official apology, and possibly some favourable trade deals as well. The real effect would be on Union morale. Even if the war ends quickly enough to cause little concrete damage to the Union war effort, going to war only to be forced into a humiliatingly quick peace is unlikely to make people feel good about their prospects against the Confederacy, and it's also likely to dent Lincoln's reputation quite a bit. Maybe it would even be enough for a peace candidate to be elected in 1864?
 
As others have said, I don't think this will end well for the US. (Which is, of course, why cooler heads did prevail: Lincoln was no idiot, he knew the US couldn't successfully fight both Britain and the Confederacy at the same time.)

In terms of allies, I don't expect the US to find much support in a hypothetical Trent War. For one thing, the Union's actions in seizing the ship and the diplomats onboard were widely viewed as violating international law, so the US wouldn't get much moral sympathy if they decided to fight over it. For another, America's ability to project force overseas was very limited, so it's not likely that any European country would support them on a quid pro quo basis, because the US couldn't offer meaningful support for a European or colonial conflict And finally, this was the apogee of British naval dominance, so even if a country did want to gang up with the US to take Perfidious Albion down a peg or two, there's not much they could have done to actually harm the UK.

Britain would probably avoid getting involved in the American Civil War itself, because the Confederate cause wasn't very popular in London, and instead they'd fight a concurrent but separate war. Even then, however, such a conflict would be greatly to the Confederacy's advantage: the Union would have to divert troops to its northern frontier and east coast, and its ability to import weapons and gunpowder would be severely curtailed. Meanwhile -- assuming that Britain's first action after declaring war would be sweeping the seas free of Union vessels, which is probably a pretty safe assumption -- the Confederacy would be able to trade with the rest of the world, and also to divert the troops it had guarding its own coast (who were around 70,000 in number, IIRC) to reinforce their other fronts.

So, the Union would find itself having to defend from more directions, with less ability to equip new troops, and one of its enemies being able to reinforce their armies quite substantially. Moreover, the Union troops would be of a lower quality than their British opponents. The US' pre-war army was pretty tiny, too small to provide an adequate cadre for a force of the size raised during the USCW, meaning that the Union army was essentially raised from scratch, and inevitably, corners were cut with training. Some of this would be rectified as the soldiers served on campaign and gained more experience, but some skills couldn't really be picked up on a trial-and-error basis. Marksmanship, for example: if you're in a regiment of line infantry and you're all blasting away at the enemy, you've no way of telling whether a given enemy soldier was hit by you or someone else, or how much you might have missed by, and so you don't really have enough feedback to adjust and improve. And indeed, marksmanship in the USCW, on both sides, seems to have been much worse than in Europe: Union and Confederate troops didn't generally bother trying to shoot at ranges of greater than 200 or so yards, whereas their European equivalents might open fire at a range of 600 yards or even higher.

In short, then, it's difficult to see how a Trent War can end otherwise than really, really badly for the Union. I'd expect the Union to realise this pretty quickly, if they didn't realise it before the war actually started, and sue for peace to try and limit the damage. Britain didn't really want the war, so their terms would probably be pretty generous -- some reasonable reparations payments, the release of the ship with her crew and passengers, an official apology, and possibly some favourable trade deals as well. The real effect would be on Union morale. Even if the war ends quickly enough to cause little concrete damage to the Union war effort, going to war only to be forced into a humiliatingly quick peace is unlikely to make people feel good about their prospects against the Confederacy, and it's also likely to dent Lincoln's reputation quite a bit. Maybe it would even be enough for a peace candidate to be elected in 1864?
The British were in the wrong too, supporting an unrecognizable and rogue nation in rebellion against another recognized nation, a slave holding nation on top of that. That would make the virtuous Brits hypocrites.
 
As others have said, I don't think this will end well for the US. (Which is, of course, why cooler heads did prevail: Lincoln was no idiot, he knew the US couldn't successfully fight both Britain and the Confederacy at the same time.)

In terms of allies, I don't expect the US to find much support in a hypothetical Trent War. For one thing, the Union's actions in seizing the ship and the diplomats onboard were widely viewed as violating international law, so the US wouldn't get much moral sympathy if they decided to fight over it. For another, America's ability to project force overseas was very limited, so it's not likely that any European country would support them on a quid pro quo basis, because the US couldn't offer meaningful support for a European or colonial conflict And finally, this was the apogee of British naval dominance, so even if a country did want to gang up with the US to take Perfidious Albion down a peg or two, there's not much they could have done to actually harm the UK.

Britain would probably avoid getting involved in the American Civil War itself, because the Confederate cause wasn't very popular in London, and instead they'd fight a concurrent but separate war. Even then, however, such a conflict would be greatly to the Confederacy's advantage: the Union would have to divert troops to its northern frontier and east coast, and its ability to import weapons and gunpowder would be severely curtailed. Meanwhile -- assuming that Britain's first action after declaring war would be sweeping the seas free of Union vessels, which is probably a pretty safe assumption -- the Confederacy would be able to trade with the rest of the world, and also to divert the troops it had guarding its own coast (who were around 70,000 in number, IIRC) to reinforce their other fronts.

So, the Union would find itself having to defend from more directions, with less ability to equip new troops, and one of its enemies being able to reinforce their armies quite substantially. Moreover, the Union troops would be of a lower quality than their British opponents. The US' pre-war army was pretty tiny, too small to provide an adequate cadre for a force of the size raised during the USCW, meaning that the Union army was essentially raised from scratch, and inevitably, corners were cut with training. Some of this would be rectified as the soldiers served on campaign and gained more experience, but some skills couldn't really be picked up on a trial-and-error basis. Marksmanship, for example: if you're in a regiment of line infantry and you're all blasting away at the enemy, you've no way of telling whether a given enemy soldier was hit by you or someone else, or how much you might have missed by, and so you don't really have enough feedback to adjust and improve. And indeed, marksmanship in the USCW, on both sides, seems to have been much worse than in Europe: Union and Confederate troops didn't generally bother trying to shoot at ranges of greater than 200 or so yards, whereas their European equivalents might open fire at a range of 600 yards or even higher.

In short, then, it's difficult to see how a Trent War can end otherwise than really, really badly for the Union. I'd expect the Union to realise this pretty quickly, if they didn't realise it before the war actually started, and sue for peace to try and limit the damage. Britain didn't really want the war, so their terms would probably be pretty generous -- some reasonable reparations payments, the release of the ship with her crew and passengers, an official apology, and possibly some favourable trade deals as well. The real effect would be on Union morale. Even if the war ends quickly enough to cause little concrete damage to the Union war effort, going to war only to be forced into a humiliatingly quick peace is unlikely to make people feel good about their prospects against the Confederacy, and it's also likely to dent Lincoln's reputation quite a bit. Maybe it would even be enough for a peace candidate to be elected in 1864?
Most of this is rather accurate but insofar as the Confederate cause is concerned, the British only really cared for recognition because of economic reasons specifically cotton and Northern tariffs and they generally didn't care about slavery in the conflict (though it wasn't the only factor that led to it). Also Prince Albert moderated what would have been a letter that vocally denounced America for seizing two ships into something that could allow them to peacefully negotiate and get out of the crisis. He had been involved in a carriage accident in Coburg on October 1860 that almost killed him and was in poor health. Had he died during the carriage incident the letter would have more extreme and thus the Americans would be backed against the wall with no chance of peacefully ending the Trent Affair thus the Civil War would evolve into an international conflict.
 
The British were in the wrong too, supporting an unrecognizable and rogue nation in rebellion against another recognized nation, a slave holding nation on top of that. That would make the virtuous Brits hypocrites.
At the time of intervention it would have been two slave-holding nations banging it out, so the Brits wouldn't have been very hypocritical.
 
The Trent affair happened when USA was still a slave nation. Rushing the emancipation would just provide the americans a deadpan face from London who would know exactly why America would rush it. It wouldn't change anything really.
 
To say 1000 British troops in this era are the equal of 3000 union troops is probably an underestimate
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USA Army

1860​

16,215​

1861​

186,845​

1862​

637,264​

1863​

918,354​

1864​

970,905​

1865​

1,000,692​

Problem is, even given the inflated worth of the British Fighting Man that you believe to be true, by 1862, numbers are 'equal' presuming that the British Übermensch can abandon the areas they were at to go fight in North America.
 
No need to fight.

Just make the British cut off the 700,000 rifles imported from Britain to America, then America would be shooting with empty air. Also cut off the gunpowder trade to which America was so reliant on. End of War. Without gunpowder and rifles, the Americans aren't going anywhere.
 
That said, even with Captain Wilkes keelhauling every man on the RMS Trent and having the bodies of Mason and Sidell dangling from the Yardarm,
You won't get War.
 
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