Wrapped in Flames: The Great American War and Beyond

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by EnglishCanuck, Mar 29, 2016.

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  1. James Ricker Own your mistakes

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    England is going to have a lot more problems to deal with in Europe.
    The war with the United States could be eclipsed by far more serious problems closer to home.
     
  2. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    The British wouldn't mind the Confederacy winning, but the question is whether they are willing to expend the blood and treasure to guarantee their success. Palmerston is a decided no on that front, he simply wants to humiliate the North. There are powerful members of the War Cabinet (Russell, Gladstone, and Somerset) who are coming around to seeing that the South being independent might benefit Britain in the long term. Palmerston, like OTL, won't move on it for the moment as he's more concerned with the problem right in front of him.

    If the Confederacy were to lose, it wouldn't be a major set back for British policy. Their world wide interests would be secure, they would have enforced a peace on their North American rival, and Canada would be secure for the moment. The Confederacy is an ally of convenience, a co-belligerent. They have as yet no reason to come closer together since their war aims are still different. The Confederacy would very much like to believe Britain will ensure their independence, but for the right price Britain would happily step away from the conflict.

    And yes, Fillmore is indeed the Governor of NY, which will have some interesting connotations later on.

    The average Northerner feels very angry towards Britain and the South, however, that anger is directed along party lines. War Democrats are generally supportive of the war to keep the Union whole, and were quite supportive of the war against Britain at first. Now though, they broadly agree with the emerging Peace Democrats that stopping the war with Britain is a necessity and going on fighting is a waste of time. Peace Democrats obviously want peace with the South and Britain, though they will argue (depending on the crowd) that the war with the South must be stopped so they can fight against Britain, but largely they want the armies to disband and peace to be signed.

    Republicans are also split. Abolitionists think the fighting against Britain is pointless when the South needs to be fought, but are willing (through the Radicals) to support Lincoln for now as it serves their ends. Though whether they will stay the course with Lincoln depends very much on whether they continue to see success into 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation has them placated for now, but they will be wanting more. Republicans in general hate both Britain and the South and will support the war, but they are getting tired of it.

    So much for both parties will depend on what happens in 1863...
     
  3. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    Europe and the Empire will always be a priority. Some of Europe has effected the conflict (troops and ships otherwise meant for North America going to the Med, expanding existing regiments, ect) while also causing the British to work more directly with the Confederates now in 1863.
     
  4. Marse Lee Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't do them any immediate noticeable harm. But OTL the British government was quite sympathetic to the Southern cause simply to weaken the US which was a constant threat to Canada. They supplied the Confederacy with ammunition and even built them some military naval vessels. Now that they're in a war against the US? They definitely want the CS to survive since they're fighting the same enemy and can gain an ally against the US to help defend Canada in the future if need be. They have much to gain from an independent CSA that could be useful than a united Union that is even more angry at "Perfidious Albion" than they were OTL.
     
  5. Marse Lee Well-Known Member

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    I honestly doubt it. Russia is still too pummeled from their last war with Britain and France would likely aid them if anything went bad. And even if that did happen, the CSA is still much stronger than OTL. If need be, they can just wait till '64 where Lincoln could be blamed for starting a much bigger war than necessary and see him thrown out on his ass. A lot more destruction will have been done to Northern land than ever could have happened in OTL Civil War.
     
  6. Marse Lee Well-Known Member

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    I could see a potential serious split in the Republican Party between the Radicals and the Moderates if it gets to the '64 election. I still disagree with you personally. Like you said, there are powerful people in the British government who want to see an independent CSA. And now that Britain is literally at war you think Palmerston still doesn't see the merit in securing Southern independence? I honestly know nothing about Palmerston, but would he really be that stubborn? Also, what caused Fillmore to end up governor? Did he have any shot of being governor in OTL?
     
  7. GDIS Pathe Well-Known Member

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    You seem very set in your position which is fine but I don't see any point in debating with someone whose mind won't be changed. This the last I'll post on the subject
     
  8. Marse Lee Well-Known Member

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    Just because I have a set opinion doesn't mean we can't have a constructive discussion. But if you don't want to discuss any further, that's fine.
     
  9. jwgview Well-Known Member

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    I've heard on this site and from other sources that a basic goal of British foreign policy was to maintain a balance of power in Europe to keep any one nation growing into a threat. Would this not also be a goal in North America now that a war against the U.S. shows that future wars are a possibility? The CSA would always be "The Enemy Of My Enemy". Even if good relations with the U.S. can be re-established, having a power on the continent in your debt would be a good card to hold. Additionally the CSA could practically return to colonial status after a victory as a market for British finished goods and a reliable source of raw materials since the CSA would need to replace North-South trade.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 51: The Armies in Virginia Pt. 2

    EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    Chapter 51: The Armies in Virginia Pt. 2

    Army of Northern Virginia

    “The army which had wintered across northern Virginia was a different beast from that which had sallied forth in the spring of 1862. While it was slightly smaller at 123,000 men, it was one filled with confidence with the upcoming endeavors of 1863.

    Never has the army been in better spirits.” Lee would write in March 1863 “Their morale is high, our ranks overflow with volunteers. Each man has a fine rifle, food to eat, good boots, and ammunition courtesy of our British benefactors.

    In truth no Confederate army yet assembled could match that which Lee had put together in April. The men, no longer care worn and finally with a full years harvest in their bellies and no anxiety over their munitions, were indeed in high spirits. Though their commander deeply regretted the events at Fairfax, the men saw it as a great victory, or at least a simple lost opportunity to “give the Yankee’s a whipping they won’t soon forget” by the Southern men at arms.

    Indeed Lee’s audacious plan for a spring campaign might deliver just that. “The Cabinet was enraptured with Lee’s vision of spring.” Seddon would later write. “A grand campaign directed against the Capitol itself, aided not only by the British fleet, but in concert with our own Navy.”

    The Confederate Navy had indeed been the poor cousin of the fighting over the past year. With Britain entering the war Richmond had, much to Secretary Mallory’s displeasure, spent far more on the army and river fleet than the great line of battle Mallory dreamed of for the fledgling Southern republic. However, despite early reservations on his part, he was soon swept up in Lee’s vision of a campaign to sweep away the Army of the Potomac and place Washington under Confederate guns…” – To Arms!: The Great American War, Sheldon Foote, University of Boston 1999

    “Lee’s campaign envisioned in 1863 was complex, a hallmark which the old General would become known for in time. He proposed, essentially, splitting his army three ways to “baffle and retard” the enemies reaction.

    He had reformed the army in the winter, doing away with the unwieldy ‘wing’ system he had inherited from Johnston. Instead he had divided the army into four corps as such:

    The First Corps under Jackson, with the divisions of Garnett, Ewell, D.H. Hill, and A.P. Hill, all told some 34,000 strong.

    Second Corps under Longstreet, with Anderson, Early, Pickett, and Huger’s divisions standing 25,000 strong.

    The theatrical Third Corps of Magruder with the divisions of McLaw’s, Jone’s and Griffith’s totaling some 24,000 men.

    Finally Fourth Corps under Whiting with Hood’s, Holme’s and Ransom’s divisions totaling 26,000 men

    Attached was the Cavalry Corps under Stuart, who though he had protested against the creation of a formal Cavalry Corps, Lee had been insistent in reorganizing the army, creating two divisions of cavalry under Wade Hampden and Fitzhugh Lee, with 8,000 men between them.

    With Pendleton’s artillery, attached engineers and other odds, the army was ready for movement…

    …Even at this stage though, Lee could not help but make a number of adjustments. Firstly he decided to detach Anderson’s division to Whiting’s Fourth Corps to create the strongest striking force he could. Magruder would lose Griffith’s division to further Lee’s plan, but as compensation receive Garnett’s division from Jackson’s Corps to keep each unit at near equal strength. This was paramount for Lee’s plans.

    An ad-hoc division under the command of Samuel G. French, composed of the ‘scrapings of Richmond’ as they would be derisively called, was brought to Fredericksburg. It was largely composed of militia, wounded men, and green units pulled in to garrison the capital. It was barely a division worth the name with barely 6,000 men. However, with Griffith’s 8,000 men it allowed for 14,000 men to act the part of the army in front of Fredericksburg, and hopefully fix Federal attention for a time.

    [​IMG]
    Samuel G. French

    In the meantime, Lee would lead the army north, through the Shenandoah Valley, cutting around McClellan’s impressive entrenchments just south of Washington, and forcing him to interpose himself between the Confederate Army and the Capitol. This would allow Lee to fight them on ground of his choosing, or so he hoped. In any event, he intended to give the Federal Army a hard knock and push them back on their heels, right into the arms of his ‘right hook’ in their rear.

    While Lee led McClellan on a merry chase, the British fleet under Milne would sail into the Chesapeake, with the intent of threatening Baltimore. This would further serve to draw off Federal forces from the actual goal, landing 35,000 troops in the Federal rear at Annapolis. Whiting, who knew the defences of Maryland and Annapolis well, was charged with moving inland and cutting off Washington from the rear by seizing Annapolis junction. In doing so he would threaten the city from the east, while Lee could either push McClellan into the city or away from it, seizing the Federal capital and thus allowing the Anglo-Confederate forces to dictate terms to the Lincoln government.

    Lee’s plan had met with some shock in London. Though there were many comments about the burning of Washington and the Battle of Bladensburg in 1814, the British thought sending a force up the Patuxent River to march a shorter distance to Washington was more advisable. Lee disagreed, and said that the rail lines needed to be severed so the Federal army could be placed in a disadvantageous position where they must endure a siege of the capital. When the British expressed skepticism, Lee pointed to Scott’s amphibious drive on Mexico City, or the French attempt to do so now.

    Finally the British, who were lightly committed outside the naval distraction, acceded to the plan, merely happy not to be moving another army across the continent…

    It would come down to Lee and his commanders to see whether the Army of Northern Virginia could create a decisive victory from the most audacious campaign of the war…” – The Maryland Campaign, Tom Hutchins, University of Pennsylvania, 1981
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  11. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    And here we come to where I take a hiatus till January to finish off the first big campaign of 1863!
     
  12. naraht Well-Known Member

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    Threatening Boston, should be Threatening Baltimore, I think.
     
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  13. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

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    No, that's why the plan is so audacious!
     
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  14. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    It is when the first Confederate troops land in Boston, Lincolnshire that the British start to get suspicious
     
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  15. Big Smoke Banned

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    Does Stonewall Jackson still die?

    How is the Confederate currency and economy in general doing?
     
  16. Marse Lee Well-Known Member

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    Very excited to see how Lee's audacious plan goes! A siege of Washington would be very interesting :D
     
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  17. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    D'oh! I really knocked Lee's ambitions up a notch there :coldsweat:

    Jackson's death or not death, has yet to be revealed. Though there's been lots of other dead generals.

    The Confederate economy is far better here than OTL. They have been selling cotton, and using cotton bonds to keep their currency afloat while also buying arms and supplies from Europe and Britain. They haven't suffered near the disruption of OTL, outside of Tennessee and Virginia, and in some places its like the war isn't even happening! Primarily in spots like Louisiana, the Carolinas and Georgia. The internal trade hasn't been nearly as disrupted and food riots are unheard of. However, the Confederate economy is still not as powerful as that of the other two nations at war here.

    Well with 123,000 troops, it will be very interesting to see what Lee manages to pull off...

    It's certainly an audacious plan, and one that without the Royal Navy Lee would never have been able to pull off IOTL. I think a combined thrust with the RN up the Chesapeake is a logical move that even in hindsight and foresight we can see the strategic advantages of. Though that means that certainly those who were around at the time would not have been completely blind to the possibility. With the 1814 campaign in mind (or even the British landing at New York which led to the Battle of Long Island) there's a huge advantage to a naval campaign to outmaneuver McClellan's army in the field. However, Lee splitting his forces (once so far) may not have the desired effect as it is always a risky move.

    But there's more men here for Lee to work with, and he's got a relative talented team of subordinates. Jackson, Longstreet, Magruder, and Whiting all had their moments OTL.
     
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  18. Big Smoke Banned

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    Thanks for the reply. Since I am studying in the economics field, this is something I am really interested in, love seeing in a timeline and speculating how that develops in relation to alternate political developments. On the flipside (you may have included this in some of the earlier updates, so I could have missed or forgotten about it) is the Union experiencing same or similair monetary and general economic effects the Confederacy had experienced during the civil war? One of the things thats interesting is that the 'business community' and banks in places like New York and Boston are a lot more powerful in the North than in the South at the time, and while that is definetely helping to prop up the government during the war through credits or bonds, it also wields a lot more influence over the government and would be significantly more opposed to the war than it was during the OTL Civil War. Has the Union begun approaching high levels of inflation? It went off the gold standard OTL in 1862. Just generally I am very interesred in the Norths economy in a Trent Affair timeline.
     
  19. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    Speculating on Confederate economics is interesting, especially when looking at the absolute disaster which was the Confederate economy from 1862-64 before Trenholm took over in July of 64 and managed to stop up some of the holes. Trenholm was probably some kind of economic wizard, but he arrived on the scene far too late to save the Confederate economy. Here the Confederacy, while having the somewhat mediocre Memminger, is booming because they are relying on both taxation and the pre-war cotton trade at slightly inflated prices, which brings in lots of money for the government.

    The Union is experiencing some of the economic effects suffered by the Confederacy OTL. In Chapter 29 I laid some of that out, most pertinent perhaps:

    So inflation is creeping up, but with the Union having more to fall back on it isn't yet a disaster, but inflation will be steadily climbing throughout the year. Were the price of gold to exceed 300$ in greenbacks there would be bedlam in the markets!

    The business elite in the North is largely unhappy with the war. Shipping magnets are becoming ruined, and Cornelius Vanderbilt stands to lose his fortune if the war doesn't pan out as he is neck deep in helping with it as a small example.
     
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  20. Icedaemon Well-Known Member

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    If, hypothetically, the Confederacy wins, would they be more of a unified nation or a collection of closely-allied states? The idea that they are fighting for "states' rights" rather than simply slavery is probably already around, so I can't see the end result being too centralized without pissing off a lot of their own veterans and commanders.
     
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