Wrapped in Flames: The Great American War and Beyond

Chapter 34: A Nation’s Struggles
Chapter 34: A Nation’s Struggles

The White House, Washington, the District of Columbia, October 1862

The library of the Executive Mansion usually catered to the tastes of each incoming president. Presently almost every surface was overflowing with books on war and politics, and many had hasty bookmarks or were haphazardly strewn about the room, but that seemed to be mostly for the purposes of the present meeting. In as was usual the Cabinet was meeting on a Friday, but as was usual with the acrimonious nature of debates regarding the conduct of the war and the issue of slavery, many were ill tempered. The arguments had raged back and forth since July, firstly regarding Lincoln’s insistence reigning in the radical members of his own party, and then regarding how to counter the perceived rise of the Democratic partisans who were daily decrying Lincoln’s handling of the war.

However, Lincoln’s most recent announcement had made men thoughtful.

“I must say sir, I am in concert with your ideas here.” Stanton said. He seemed thoughtful from his seat and pondered the issue. “Reports come now daily from the lines where we can see the material advantage the Southern slaves give them. Every slave behind the lines means one more man who can hold a rifle to kill our boys.”

“That of course does not answer the question of whether they will fight.” The new Secretary of the Interior, John Usher said. Stanton snorted.

“Oh come John, we can’t have this argument again? We’ve all read the reports from Mount Pelion. If British negroes are willing to don a red coat and kill our boys for the Queen why then would a Southern negro not put on a blue jacket and kill his former masters for his freedom?”

“I believe that is the question many will be asking themselves.” Bates said. “Unless I miss my guess, the South, and not a few of the border states, will be up in arms over our encouraging slaves to their freedom. They may even fight harder for it.”

“If slaves kill their masters so much the better, it saves us the trouble.” Stanton said fiercely.

“I think,” Welles interrupted “that what John is trying to say, is that foreign nation’s may look upon our decision with some reservations as well.” The Secretary of the Navy looked over to the Attorney General who nodded.

“And what should we care that foreign nation’s protest our own internal affairs?” Montgomery Blair said scowling.

“Because my dear Monty,” Seward replied “whether we like it or not, all the eyes of the world are now settled on us. Britain has seen fit to ensure that. What we do shall be watched and judged by all civilized nations, and reflect upon our own republic forever more.”

“Waxing poetic tonight are we William?” Welle’s said with a grin. Seward chuckled and puffed from his cigar.

“It seems appropriate that I should, considering the potential import of our decision here.”

“You are right, about the import of this decision.” Lincoln said from his place by the window, looking out over the lengthening shadows near Washington as the sun set. “Slavery has existed since our republic took shape nearly a century ago, what shall become of it is now a question that cannot be laid aside lightly in this war.”

“The Lords of Europe will certainly be considering our position.” Seward said.

“I have been thinking about that.” Lincoln crossed the room to stand with the others. “I cannot imagine any European power would dare recognize the Southern Confederacy if it becomes clear that the Confederacy stands for slavery, and the Union for freedom. It is a message that must be sent.”

“But we too must consider how the people will see it.” Bates replied.

“I know you’ve assured me that any such measure I enacted with the powers given to me by this war would be legal.” Lincoln said “But we all know the border states will never go for a scheme of compensated emancipation, they said so themselves three months ago. The entire South is in arms over the issue, and so we require extraordinary measures to bring this goal to pass. Gentlemen we must act in some manner or another.”

“What concerns me, is what shall we do with them?” Bates looked thoughtful as he said it “My own people in Missouri would never consent to living next to some free negro fighting them for employment. Even now we have these camps of contrabands mucking around Washington and Maryland, and other than doing some light work for our armies we can have little use for them. I cannot imagine the nation as a whole accepting three million contrabands living here.”

“As I have said, those who might wish to depart for their homelands would be free to do so.” Lincoln said.

“Yes, but perhaps that should be a condition of freedom? What would the nation do with these down trodden millions, surely they would be happy in their own homelands?” Bates asked.

Only someone from the border states could think that way. Seward thought with a frown. Alas, but he has a point. God only knows how Kentucky will react if we go through with this proposal.

“Perhaps such a conversation can be had once we have well and truly won this war?” Lincoln said smiling.

“Of course, sir, I merely point out a problem we will have down the line.” Bates replied.

“We all know there will be some problems, if the people of the border states seek redress we can look for some form of compensation once the war is done.” Chase said. “The good Lord knows that we could pay the for the freedom of every man, woman, and child with less than a month’s expense than how much the war costs us.” Stanton rumbled an agreement, and Welles winced at the thought as well.

“Speaking for a moment, of the war gentlemen, I trust there is still no objection to our new direction?” Lincoln asked.

“By God no!” Stanton grumbled “Buell has to go no matter what some might think, Bardstown was a debacle through and through, thank God for Thomas.”

“Amen.” Seward murmured, thinking of the disaster which could have unfolded.

“Sending him off to crush those Dakota barbarians will soothe the people out west, and put him somewhere we he should be compelled to move swiftly for once. Bringing Smith back to command has merely left us with something of a problem in Canada. Halleck controls the Department of the Lakes, but with Smith gone to head the department in Tennessee we’ve put Prentiss in command of the X Corps.”

“I fail to see that problem, unless you believe Prentiss to be a poor general?” Lincoln replied.

“No, but he asks for more supplies to make another go at that Lord Melville on Mount Pelion. We simply can’t allow that, and he says he will have to withdraw without another attack.”

“Is he so eager to get whipped like Smith was?” Seward grumbled.

“Perhaps, but so far he simply doesn’t have the supplies to do so.” Stanton grumbled. “Our new directives are clear, we cannot force the issue in Canada for now.”

“Yes, I think that we should settle into winter quarters, and not expend our efforts meaningfully in Canada unless we must. In a few months the rivers will begin to freeze and the British shall be stuck in place and wanting for supplies as bad as we do now. In any event, winter will either see them come to the table, or we shall hopefully be in a position to drive them off once again.” Lincoln replied.

“In that vein though, General Grant has sent a proposal to us.” Stanton changed the debate now to a more contentious subject. Lincoln looked pained at the prospect. Seward could only sympathize. Sumner demanded more resources to chase the British away from the border, McClellan wanted one hundred thousand more men to crush Johnston, and Kentucky was on fire as the two armies faced each other across Salt River, meaning more troops had to be found to form garrisons across the increasingly confused lines. The Indians were restless from California to Colorado, and the navy needed more men and more ships at sea. Thousands had volunteered, but clothing them and arming them were straining every resource the Republic had at that moment.

“I trust he is not asking for more supplies?” Lincoln said cautiously.

“Somewhat yes,” Stanton said sheepishly “but only for the purposes of moving his men to help Pope.”

“Go on.” Lincoln replied, intrigued.

“Grant has said that if he moves, and strikes where the secesh are sensitive, Johnson will have no choice but to evacuate Kentucky, and I’m inclined to agree. Van Dorn may have forced our withdrawal from Nashville, but that leaves only Price’s men defending Memphis and the garrisons along the Mississippi. If we were to take those forts, we could again threaten Nashville from two directions, and Memphis besides. Richmond’s hold on Kentucky would be untenable, making all their gains this summer for naught.”

“It has merit.” Welles said. “If the fleet can crush the rebels on the river, we will be unobstructed in our ability to menace rebel installations along the shores, and we could even continue our successes in Arkansas, which have been paralysed due to our lack of supplies.”

“Does it seem feasible? With our current supply situation, such that it is?” Lincoln asked.

“Presently we might sustain one campaign before exhausting our stocks from this year, and Dahlgren assures me he cannot guarantee any product from his nitre beds until next year. Unless we come up with a windfall of foreign powder in the next six months we shall be resolutely on the defensive, this could be our last chance to make a difference before the year is out.” Stanton replied looking through his folio.

“We can consult with Smith once he takes command of the department.” Lincoln said, looking uncertain. “It would not be amiss to add to our victories with a show of force to bring Kentucky back in to the fold, especially if they doubt our cause in light of these current discussions.” A clock chimed and he smiled.

“For now gentlemen, we have all had a rough week, and all I ask is that you meet with me here again next Tuesday, and we can have our minds made up for a certainty.”

Norfolk, Virginia, HMS Nile, October 1862

Rear Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, commander of the North American and West Indie’s squadron peered out his stern windows and watched the ironclads go by. Churning up water in their wake on the cool October morning they gushed clouds of black smoke as they maneuvered in the waters off Norfolk. His own vessels gave them a wide berth, not trusting them completely for all their officers’ braggadocio that they could be handled as well as a gunboat. They were, in Milne’s opinion, two of the most exceedingly ugly vessels he had ever laid eyes on.

The first vessel was quite apparent in her slapdash construction, sloppy joints, and one could still see the railroad track that had been used to armor her, and she looked so much like a peaked roof afloat on the waters. Her sister was of similar construction, but with far more polish and uniform design with iron plating imported from England, making her appear less rough than her consort. Still, the tars had taken to calling the CSS Virginia and the South Carolina the “comely sisters” and soon his officers had jokingly used the name as well. Milne found it was not wrong, but perhaps impolitic to use in front of their co-belligerents in this conflict.

The two vessels were principally engaged in defending the Confederate base at Norfolk and their fortifications at Fort Monroe, largely as the basis for the Confederacies first real naval squadron under their Admiral Franklin Buchanan. She had been joined by two fast cruisers built in Britain, the Alabama and the Texas, and a slew of smaller gunboats that assisted his own squadron in controlling the waters of the Chesapeake. Not that they knew very much of their trade in Milne’s estimation, since they bombarded himself and his officers with questions. He didn’t mind helping them learn, the more they could do to vex the Yankees the better.

He quirked a smile, only six months with them and he was already thinking of the two sides as separate peoples. What would London say? Indeed that was becoming a topic of conversation just as earnest as naval matters. For every one question regarding the handling of their ships, the officers of the Confederate navy asked two regarding London’s stance on the Confederacy and the war. Visitors from Richmond, including their own naval secretary, had come calling inquiring the same thing. Milne could only commit to the position of his government, which so far was nothing. He wondered how long that might last.

His reverie was interrupted as his aide, Lieutenant Hall entered with dispatches from his various squadrons.

“The dispatches from Halifax and Cochrane’s squadron sir.” Hall said handing him the papers.

“Thank you lieutenant.” Milne replied taking them and scanning the papers. Some was what he expected. Johnstone’s squadron was largely being broken up and sent to reinforce the others squadrons or relieve vessels on station for refit and repairs, while a small force was kept to aid the garrison and discomfort the Federal army still lurking around Portland, while supporting the garrisons along the coasts who kept Maine under occupation. The Bay of Fundy was now, barring the occasional American raider, a British lake.

His remaining squadrons were still engaged in stopping up American commerce, and maintaining the blockade of the coasts. The officers were basking in the aftermath of Massachusetts Bay, seeing it as having recovered their honor after the events at Little Gull Island, but Milne felt it was a small salve for the cost of their operations.

“And London expects me to do the service required of corvettes and sloops with liners.” Milne snorted as he read the dismaying reports of the poor state of most of those battleships on station. Those in the north could retire to Halifax, or now Portland, while those here had to retire to Bermuda to undergo repairs suffered from storms or gales. He feared for the fleet now that winter was approaching.

“At least sir,” Hall ventured “the weather might make us rid of them. Perhaps we will only keep on those serving as flags for the various squadrons.”

“I do sincerely hope Hall.” Milne said looking out his stern windows again as the profile HMS Diadem glided over the waters to take up her station. “This war has not been inexpensive in vessels or men, but we have accomplished much these last six months, and I hope Cochrane can accomplish more at Portsmouth once his squadron gets there. I do look forward to reading that report.”

“Ah yes, I should add sir, will we be entertaining Colonel Freemantle aboard or ashore this afternoon?”

“No, aboard Nile I think. Better that our friends here at Norfolk not gossip too much about our observer from Virginia, I don’t want tongues wagging in a manner that may disquiet minds in London.” Milne said, and Hall nodded. He would see to the preparations.

Freemantle had come from Gibraltar in May to observe the armies in Virginia, and report on the performance of their co-belligerents in this war. He had written glowingly of the successes at the Rappahannock, and praised many of the commanders, even writing that the reverse at Manassas Junction was only temporary. He seemed to be coming around to Milne’s view that the army in Virginia could suit British plans, and he hoped to add the man’s voice to his reports to the Admiralty.

Yes he and Freemantle had much to discuss, but no need to get his hosts hopes up just yet. Not just yet.
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the British are getting more and more drawn into the war and I wonder if events in Europe may tip their hand

Thankfully I'll be able to cover that soon since once I am done in Virginia and out West I will be doing a bit of shorts across the continent, then an overall update on the world in 1862 before starting on events in 1863.
What events? We aren't due for Moltke's little vacation in France for a few more years, unless Bismarck can get his pieces into a neat row earlier by virtue of Britain's distraction.
What events? We aren't due for Moltke's little vacation in France for a few more years, unless Bismarck can get his pieces into a neat row earlier by virtue of Britain's distraction.

There's more to Europe than the French and Germans! There's also Greeks, Poles, and Russians ;)
Chapter 35: Nations at War
Chapter 35: Nations at War
Cambridge House, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, October 1862

Night was falling in London. The illumination of thousands of lamps and windows across the city creating a sea of lights nearly enough to block out the stars. And it seemed to try, a fitting example of a great city of three million people at the heart of, to its inhabitants, the most powerful empire on Earth. And in one home, with its own fire crackling to keep out the autumn chill, the political head of that empire sat and pondered.

The Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and soon to turn 77, sat with a warm cup of tea in his hands conversing not all together pleasantly with his guests. It was only two guests tonight, he knew Emily would insist on a great show for his birthday so he hoped to limit unnecessary social interaction until then. Lord Russell, now the Earl Russell, his Foreign Minister, sat with him, alongside his Minister of War Sir George Cornwall Lewis. He hoped that Russell, or perhaps Lewis, would succeed him to the helm of the Liberal Party should be pass away before the end of this war. He had to suppress a shiver at the thought of Gladstone taking his place.

That however, was not the point of tonight’s conversation.

“Six months, six months and we were to have peace.” Palmerston said bitterly. “I ask you, does this look like peace? Six thousand men lost at Rouse Point, and the Americans chattering away in the papers about Saratoga and crowing about a great victory in all the capitals of Europe.”

“Saratoga is more a symbolic allusion I think.” Lewis said sipping his tea. “Burgoyne and his whole army were captured there, here Williams has simply turned tail and run. The army is, for now, intact.”

“And how long shall it remain intact if this miraculously huge army suddenly crosses the border? A month? Two? Will they be marching on Montreal as they did in their little revolution?”

“I imagine some hope they might. As I recall it did go poorly for the last American army which made it to Quebec.” Lewis replied.

“I would rather it not come to that.” Palmerston scowled and drummed his fingers on his seat.

“Then perhaps,” Lewis began slowly “we could consider making overtures of peace? An armistice would certainly put an end to our present worries over Canada. Our successes in Maine and on the seas are undeniable, and we can be sure the blockade is taking its toll if the reports we have had are correct.”

“And despite the Americans bellowing in the papers, other than the tsar in St. Petersburg, no other great power is interested in getting involved. Napoleon is digging himself deeper in Mexico, and the Spanish seem more interested in gallivanting about the Caribbean what with their occupation of Hispaniola.” Russell said.

“I think that soon, we may hear from the Americans themselves.” Lewis replied.

“That, so far has not been enough.” Palmerston snapped “With the debacle at Little Gull Island a few months back Somerset has much to answer for, and now Williams has made us look proper fools after our victories across the summer! We shall not go meekly crawling to the table to negotiate now!”

“Then what is to be done?” Lewis asked.

“When we went to war with Russia to curb their ambitions in ’53 we did not go far enough to tame the bear. We certainly did better in China, teaching them a lesson by burning the emperor’s palace. It is harsh terms we need gentlemen, harsh terms. I won’t have the Americans thinking they can spite us with impunity. No nation can tread on the flag of Britain without consequence. That is what the world must learn!”

“Then I suppose we must consider our options. Should we perhaps, organize a force for another descent along the coasts? Take some coastal city to tighten the blockade?” Russell asked. Palmerston shook his head.

“No, we need every man in Canada to hold the line. I’m sure we can get the navy to muster some suitable demonstration to remind them what happened to Portland can happen anywhere. Somerset will see to it. We must send the army out, not get a repeat of this Rouse Point incident.”

“Which means Williams will have to go.” Lewis said flatly. Palmerston grimaced.

“Replacing him will ruffle a few feathers I’m sure, but it must be done.”

“And who is to succeed him?” Russell inquired.

“It can be mooted at the next Cabinet meeting.” He was referring to the War Cabinet of course, the rest of the Ministry was taking almost a secondary concern with the events of the war. “In the meantime, perhaps we should move a division from Maine to Canada and strengthen the army there. We need little but to hold our gains there. Perhaps rummage something up in the Pacific, but we must keep the Americans in fear.”

“A strong word perhaps.” Lewis said.

“Bah, they must be taught a stiff lesson, and I mean to teach it to them. With an army marching down the Hudson perhaps they will see reason.”

“Or perhaps on Washington?” Lewis said speculatively. “The sharp lesson delivered there did put them in their place in 1814 after all.” Palmerston looked off in thought for a few moments and nodded.

“Yes perhaps there is something in that. We will need every man available for such an expedition.” Palmerston said.

“That will be difficult.” Lewis replied. Palmerston gave him a flat look and Lewis spread his hands. “Just getting some four divisions to Canada, and three to Maine has stripped almost every available battalion in the British Isles and the Mediterranean, we have only six battalions of infantry remaining, plus the Guards brigade here in London, alongside the cavalry establishments. Nearly every battery of artillery has been shipped to North America, and many of our coastal fortresses are now manned by militia and Volunteers.”

“I fail to see the problems, we are surely secure on our own shores?” Palmerston said scowling. It galled him to think the expensive fortifications he had built along the Channel might be dismissed.

“Perhaps, but the Royal Commission disagrees as they presented in their findings. They are all respected men in their fields, and we cannot, nor should not discount them. This is aside the issue of raising the men to replace our losses in the field. Our reports indicate many battalions are down to half strength and will need men to fill the ranks for any spring campaign. We can rely on volunteers, and the men from the depots, but soon we will have to raise more men.”

“Gladstone will see fit to howl. He’s made a point of reminding us of the cost of this war.” Russell said irritably.

“The cost of our sacred honor shall never be too high.” Palmerston said resolutely. Russell nodded.

“Of course sir.” Lewis replied. “We must though, consider how to sustain ourselves. If there is to be further struggle, we must find them men, and the Admiralty is already pushing for increased spending, not to mention our subsidies to the Province of Canada already.”

“It is true. Something must be done. We can hardly go about recalling men from the colonies, we would leave our frontiers dangerously exposed, what would the Russians think?” Russell said. Palmerston looked at each man in turn and gave a heavy sigh.

“We must then gentlemen, be prepared to commit further resources to this war. What nature that will take we can debate at the next cabinet meeting. However, let me be clear, the might of Britain shall not be underestimated, and we shall ensure that the Disunited States shall be taught a red lesson. I really should speak to that insufferable little envoy from Richmond again then. It may prove useful. Useful indeed.”

Headquarters, Army of Canada, St. Jean, Canada East, October 1862

St. Jean was a hive of activity. Officers and riders galloping along the now corduroyed roads, wagons vying for space with infantrymen marching here and there, shouted orders, and curses, from officers and men the whole way. It was military chaos at its finest.

In the distance the whistle of steamships on the Richelieu could be heard, and the cry of a train setting back for Montreal was even audible over the noise. John A. Macdonald, Premier of Canada, was almost sad to hear it go. He took a nip of gin from his flask and wiped his mouth in a manner the British officers and gentlemen would have found most uncouth, he was not overly concerned. Accompanying him was his own little tail of officers and men. His assistant and secretary, Bernard Hewitt, his military attaché, Col. Lysons, and his ever present partner in crime Cartier accompanied him this day. It was not a particularly good day, Macdonald reflected.

The mood amongst the soldiers he passed was angry, some looked scared. He was less concerned with the men in Imperial red, than he was with the Volunteers he had come to visit. He remembered well how setbacks and rumours could upset a nation, he had seen it himself in 1837. He and his companions rode north through the town, heading for the sprawling encampment which had grown up just beyond the town itself.

“And here I thought Ottawa smelled.” Cartier said jocularly looking at the sea of tents and cabins that had grown up before them. The main encampment of the Army of Canada was almost like a city to itself, with neat roads and even signs directing men where to go. Williams was clearly preparing his winter quarters.

“That sir,” Lysons said “is the army for you.” Macdonald chuckled.

“A damn prettier site than what is to be the erstwhile capital of our little colony, I must say. If you ever miss the army life here Lysons, go to Ottawa, you’ll find the reek, the drinking, the brawling, just perhaps not the order you’re used to.” The colonel smiled at that and Hewitt chuckled too.

The notables made their way down the wooden thoroughfares and arrived exactly where they desired to be. The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of Canada was under the command of Col. Fox-Pitt-Rivers, and it was comprised of, other than the good colonel himself, all Canadians. These were men, French and English from the Province of Canada who had turned out to fight wholeheartedly when the crisis began. They stood now formed up nicely for inspection when Macdonald arrived. Colonel Fox saluted and stepped forward smartly.

“Mr. Premier, I am pleased to present to you, the 3rd Brigade.”

“Thank you Colonel Fox.” Macdonald said nodding and taking in the Volunteers and their officers. They were crisp, looking splendid in their red tunics, their weapons held smartly at attention. He paced up and down the ranks, looking as though he knew what he was looking for. Here Colonel Abbot and his men of the 11th looked smart, Abbot being a considerable number of pounds lighter if the sag in his uniform was any measure, and grinned as he praised their soldierly bearing. He made the same for the 9th Volunteers under de Salaberry, and asked Cartier to translate his remarks for him. Finally he looked at the 1st under Colonel Devlin.

“Well Colonel Devlin, I must say, it’s a proud legacy you and yours bear as the first lads to take up arms for the Queen way back when. From all I hear you’ve performed quite well in the field, from Lacolle to giving good honors at Rouse Point.” Macdonald remarked.

“Rouse Point was only a temporary set back sir!” Devlin barked in a very military fashion. “Should we go at them again we’ll chase them all the way to Albany!”

“Then by God sir, I think I can proudly say if the Yankees come back you’ll give them a licking they won’t soon forget!” Macdonald proclaimed, clapping the colonel on the shoulder. He received a hearty cheer from the men, but something of a frown from Fox and Lysons. No accounting for the sensibilities of British officers.

Offering nips from his flask to men noted for bravery, and a few more encouraging words, he was given the honor of dismissing the men before he turned back towards St. Jean. It wasn’t until he was safely on the train heading back towards Montreal that he began to discuss the truly unpleasant business ahead.

“Most of the militia companies are down to half strength.” He said quietly. “I think we all know what that means.”

“Unfortunately yes.” Cartier frowned. “A new call for volunteers to fill out the ranks.”

“I can only hope that with the ardor shown last year, we can get a similar showing this year.” Macdonald said taking a deep nip of gin and sighing happily.

“If we do not though,” Lysons said levelly “it will be the ballot.”

“By God I’m afraid of that.” Macdonald replied. “We’d be drawing largely on the population of Canada East, and they’re not like to be enthusiastic at the prospect. Volunteering is one thing, but being made to join against their will…”

“It simply will not do.” Cartier said nodding.

“You can’t seriously expect trouble from them?” Lysons said frowning. “The rebels were crushed decades ago, and this is a war with national survival at stake, for their church and traditions. Surely they wouldn’t contemplate spurning the Crown?”

“The French character is never easy to predict. Men who were loyal yesterday might take up arms against the Crown tomorrow if they find suitable reason to. I should know, I did once. And that misguided minority that caused so much misery in ’37 still draws breath at the Institut in Montreal.” Cartier said looking thoughtful. Lysons frowned at him.

“For now my dear colonel,” Macdonald said taking another swig of gin and feeling the pleasant tingling as it began to take effect “we must hope it doesn’t come to that. War has the problem of changing things faster than men can react, and I for one have no desire to see how fast things change if the war becomes intolerable here in Canada.”
Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, even Serbs and Bosians, but don't worry about them. They never do anything to disrupt the flow of history

I mean I ask you, when has a Serb ever done anything to upset the course of history?? :biggrin: Not the least those Austrian fellows who just might end up stumbling their way around to Mexico of all places!
A small-ish war that happened OTL in Europe blows up and Britain is pulled in? The second Danish-German war? An earlier war between Austria and Prussia for dominance in Germany? Nothing else fits the timescale. The former was a relatively small affair by most standards. The latter did include Hanover being annexed by Prussia, but Britain did not intervene OTL, so why now?

Something that was averted OTL due to British diplomacy and fleet assets swanning about?
Rosecrans himself was growing tired under McClellan’s command. Despite earning honors for himself and V Corps at the Rappahannock, he had again been held in reserve at Centreville. His corps was now the strongest in the army, and he would write McClellan reminding of this fact, to which McClellan would brusquely inform him “It does not go without saying sir, that a reserve is meant to be strong.” The simmering tension between the two officers would continue to increase…” To Arms!: The Great American War, Sheldon Foote, University of Boston 1999.

Are Rosecrans and McClellan imitating Johnson and Davis?:p
Can't Britain raise troops from Hannover? Ireland? Some African companies?

Britain is not short of resources. It has a large armaments industry and something over two hundred thousand men in the Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteers, it even (unlike the US) has a depot system for maintaining the strength of the regular Army in time of war. What it lacks though are any clear plans for how to either draw on its auxiliary forces or recruit from the general population for an increase in the strength of the regular Army in the event of a major ongoing war overseas. Once again it is not a lack of resources, the British Isles is home to some 29 million people at this time, it has the seat of the world's foremost banking system, the world's largest manufacturing base and of course the world's largest de jure empire to draw upon for resources and of course it has trading links across the globe.

It is just that there are no concrete plans on how to realise any of this.

The Royal Navy is in a better position than the Army in that the Admiralty unlike the War Office had some firm ideas on how to conduct an expansion but both are going to need to apply to Parliament for increases in funding.


From who in Ireland? A good chunk of the populace hates England. With a passion.

And the Ulsters aren't enough troops.

I'd imagine that the Irish could put their dislike of the English to one side if they were offered enough money or widespread social reforms.