Wrapped in Flames: The Great American War and Beyond

Thank you!

Well like Sherman (RIP) said, war is cruelty, you cannot refine it. That's something I find many TLs forget about is, no matter who you're rooting for in any given war scenario, many innocents are being killed directly or indirectly and many people will lose their homes. It's a terrible state of affairs and this chapter is really meant to drive that home. Civil wars are the worst IMO because it pits communities against one another with devastating results.
I think you're doing well with this. The border states, outside of the major fighting, are having their own "civil wars," especially since neither side has enough men to truly occupy the area in depth. Maryland would probably be much the same except the size of the armies are so large that independent actors can't really exist without being caught or killed.

The whole upper south is going to take tremendous effort to rebuild because of the fighting. Not even monetarily, but politically too I suspect.
 
Getting a Horse Soldiers vibe with that little piece on Dennison’s raid - Anglo-Canadian equivalent of Grierson’s raid?

Very similar yes! More of a morale booster than a strategic raid, but functionally it has done much to really unsettle X Corps in Toronto and bother the American occupation of Canada West.

I think you're doing well with this. The border states, outside of the major fighting, are having their own "civil wars," especially since neither side has enough men to truly occupy the area in depth. Maryland would probably be much the same except the size of the armies are so large that independent actors can't really exist without being caught or killed.

The whole upper south is going to take tremendous effort to rebuild because of the fighting. Not even monetarily, but politically too I suspect.

Civil wars within civil wars are hardly uncommon sadly. The sheer breadth of the conflict does mean the Union can't be everywhere at once. Burbridge and Grant would love for everyone in Canada to be back to fighting in Kentucky. It's one of the reasons a treaty with the British is so pressing! Those fighting men could tip the balance between Lincoln's victory in the 1864 election and his defeat.

The Upper South is pretty decimated by this. Kentucky will have suffered worse than OTL's civil war, while East Tennessee and Nashville are probably a little better off. West Tennessee, and Memphis in particular, are starting to look like the burned over district at Kharkov from 1944, it's changed hands so many times and had so much violence inflicted upon it. Rebuilding it will be costly for whoever ends up with the task.

What would be weird to anyone from OTL is to travel the Deep South or Louisiana to see how much it looks as though it has been untouched by war. New Orleans has been acting in 1863 like there's no war at all, cotton flowing and business as usual undertaken. Other than the draft taking place the world is almost normal. South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, even Texas, all would feel pretty close to peace time. Sort of like someone from Indiana, or Massachusetts OTL. We shall see whether 1864 changes that however.
 
Chapter 84: By the Progress of Our Arms
Chapter 84: By the Progress of Our Arms

“I hold with respect to alliances, that England is a Power sufficiently strong, sufficiently powerful, to steer her own course, and not to tie herself as an unnecessary appendage to the policy of any other Government. I hold that the real policy of England—apart from questions which involve her own particular interests, political or commercial—is to be the champion of justice and right; pursuing that course with moderation and prudence, not becoming the Quixote of the world, but giving the weight of her moral sanction and support wherever she thinks that justice is, and wherever she thinks that wrong has been done...I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” - Lord Palmerston to the House of Commons, March 1st 1848

“News of the decision for an armistice in Rotterdam would arrive in North America on the 16th of April 1864. The news spread like wildfire amongst the armies in New York, Maine, and Canada. In excitement, Canadian politician Ralph Vansittart would write in his diary, somewhat prematurely “Peace, Blessed Peace!” The churches of all denominations in Canada held special sermons to speed the good news on its way to heaven, and many wives, widows and wounded men attended the services solemnly. They prayed for the return of husbands, sons, brothers and friends. All too many would find their prayers went unanswered.

In besieged Toronto the church bells rang out, and the American occupation authorities, unlike years prior, made no effort to interfere with the flight of Union Jacks and many proclamations of ‘God Save the Queen’ and in some few cases American soldiers desperate for home joined in. This, at least, was what the Toronto Globe reported, and the Bishop John Strachan repeated to his congregants…

In Quebec the Provincial Government heaved a sigh of relief. The war had been costly in blood and treasure, and by the spring over 24,000 people would have died in the Province of Canada[1], and even more across all the Canadian colonies. Tens of thousands had been displaced and many men wished earnestly for an agreement so they could continue home. John A. Macdonald would famously say “It is peace, of a sort, but now we see whether the Yankees can keep it.” He had no doubts that it was a pause for another attempt at invasion…” - Blood and Daring: The War of 1862 and how Canada forged a Nation, Raymond Green, University of Toronto Press, 2002

“It would most likely surprise the majority of Canadians to learn that, despite many confident proclamations of Canada’s ultimate absorption into the Union even leading into 1864, the politicians in Washington had no such desires by this point in the conflict. Lincoln and Seward had both come to the conclusion that the sooner Union armies were retreating from Canada, the sooner they could be advancing on Richmond and Nashville.

While in the early stages of 1862 there had been some discussion of the absorption of Canada into the Union, this had been, as Lincoln had said “incumbent upon the successes of our armies to carry a speedy conclusion to the present struggle.” While some, most notably Charles Sumner, had raised the issue of the recognition of new states in what was then Canada West and Canada East, with even a dream of incorporating Rupert’s Land into a new territory, it had only been discussed sparingly. Even the most ardent believers in Manifest Destiny had understood that such dreams depended on the victories on land and sea.

By 1864 the unfortunate reality was that the Union possessions in Canada were almost worthless, while the British Army might plunge a dagger into the heart of the Union war effort in the North. The material and economic damage done by the blockade, the British invasions in Maine and New York along with numerous raids along the coast, had hampered the efforts to fight the Confederacy in the South. Tens of thousands of men were held down garrisoning those parts of Canada the Union controlled, facing off against the British Army of Canada, or protecting the vital ports and harbors from what had happened to Portland, Portsmouth, and Annapolis.

These represented a potent threat to the Confederacy, and with the losses in men and material in the campaigns of 1863, the commanders in the field wanted them back. Once news of the armistice arrived, Lincoln made what many at the time considered a far too confident choice and began recalling units from Canada to the battle fronts with the Confederacy. This would have an enormous calculus on the coming campaigns of 1864…

In Richmond the politicians initially received the news of the armistice from a captured Union newspaper. Indeed the news had been transported so quickly by sea that it arrived a full three days before the London newspapers reporting it were delivered to North America. This had been intentional, as would be later learned, so that the Confederacy might not feel it had a place at the peace table. Initially it was thought of as mere “Yankee propaganda” but newspapers from Britain drove home the news like a knife.

Davis veered between disbelief and apoplectic anger. For most of April his cabinet would report “the President is irritable and quarrelsome, snapping like a mad dog at even his most trusted advisors,” which included Judah Benjamin. Much of that anger might have come from the refusal of British officers to comment on, and by May even meet with him. The de-facto liaison officer, Colonel Freemantle, had departed Richmond in March on orders from London, and now the Confederacy was only left with its informal network of contacts in Europe who were surprisingly slow to report on relations in Rotterdam[2]. “England has forsaken us,” Davis would say bitterly to his new Secretary of War in one cabinet meeting.

Until this point, the Confederacy had been able to rely on tens of thousands of soldiers stationed elsewhere. Now though, the threat of tens of thousands of Union soldiers returning to fight in Tennessee and Virginia was too real. “How will we survive such an onslaught?” one demoralized clerk in the War Department would write forlornly. Even General Lee was quick to catch the implications of this diplomatic outcome. “By this stroke the Union may turn its attention once again south and wage great destructive invasions like those which plagued us in 1862.

The only glimmer of hope in foreign relations remained with France where…

Even this small hope was, by and large, a meager one as no French soldiers or ships would be marching across the Rio Grande to aid the Confederacy. The diplomatic efforts of the Confederate nation had floundered on the rocks and been found wanting. “The world may have forsaken us,” wrote one Charleston diarist “but the God of battles decides all.

It was this ultimate sense that the war would be decided on the battlefield which began to prevail in the conflict in 1864. Though the North was facing an election year, it was a well known sentiment that the ballot box would be decided by the events on the ground. In Richmond the government hoped that they could inflict enough damage that Lincoln would be turned out of office and then a candidate more amiable to peace installed. In Washington Lincoln was desperate for victories, military or political, that would reinforce to the nation that his Administration could win the war.

By the progress of our arms, all now chiefly depends,” he would write to a friend. It was with this dour proclamation that he would go into the pivotal year of 1864. However, this was not just an American concern, as the decade would bear out, but one which would reverberate from Mexico to Canada as the President and the Emperor and the Prime Minister and the Premiers debated policies that would change the face of the North American continent.” - Staking Claims to a Continent: The North American Revolutions of the 1860s, James Latimer, Anansi Press, 2017

---


1] This number is, for all intents and purposes, pretty catastrophic, meaning almost 1 in every 100 people who lived in the United Province of Canada in 1861 died. Not all of these are soldiers, as many have died of disease and this also includes civilians and partisans who have been killed or died in prison. Roughly 21,000 men in uniform died to violence, wounds or disease, while roughly 3,000 civilians or suspected partisans died or were executed by Union forces.

2] The Confederacy still has no formal ambassadors anywhere in Europe. They have a loose series of agents and merchants who correspond with the State Department in Richmond, but very few actual informal ministers, only men in France, Britain, Spain and the Low Countries. Slidell in Paris comes the closest to being an actual minister, but he’s largely managed to integrate himself into French society and gain the ear of Napoleon III by telling him what he wants to hear.
 
So this rounds out the beginning of 1864, and otherwise I'm getting ready for the big campaigns in the east and west, the negotiations at Rotterdam and the US election of 1864. Before I churn through those, is there anything people are hoping to see/get expanded on before my focus is locked in?
 
I hope Maximillian I would keep his throne. As much as a puppet he was, he actually liked Mexico and tried to improve it, with varying degrees of success. At least he wasn’t a late era PRI party boss.
(So, a report about Mexico could be good)
 
1] This number is, for all intents and purposes, pretty catastrophic, meaning almost 1 in every 100 people who lived in the United Province of Canada in 1861 died. Not all of these are soldiers, as many have died of disease and this also includes civilians and partisans who have been killed or died in prison. Roughly 21,000 men in uniform died to violence, wounds or disease, while roughly 3,000 civilians or suspected partisans died or were executed by Union forces.
Wow that's actually devastating in the short-run, though it could lead to a baby boom in the post-war period.
 
I hope Maximillian I would keep his throne. As much as a puppet he was, he actually liked Mexico and tried to improve it, with varying degrees of success. At least he wasn’t a late era PRI party boss.
(So, a report about Mexico could be good)

Mexico is not too much changed at the start of 1864. Chapter 80 with the "Year in Review" section showed off how Mexico is doing. In brief, the French have been as successful as they were OTL, Puebla and Mexico City captured and Juarez fled. The biggest change is that of the professional Mexican officer corps captured at Puebla, very few escaped this time around. That will undoubtedly have an effect on how Mexican resistance pans out in the next few years, but otherwise not too much has changed in the war.

Maximillian has accepted the Mexican crown, and while he has not yet set foot in Mexico he will be surveying his new "empire" shortly. There's some butterflies that will flap but the fate of Mexico is very much in the balance.

The fictional "Staking Claims to a Continent" book will be dealing with Mexico as well I assure you!
 
The primary question about a cease fire is whether or not the British would accept a status-quo ante-bellum in terms of land, my *guess* is that they will, arguably the Union controls a greater percentage of the population of what is OTL 20th century Canada than the British control of OTL 20th century USA. The British *may* have more land square mileage and more control on the pacific, but compared to Canada west, it isn't that much. I'd say that their starting position at the peace table is the the Pre-Webster/Ashburton claims to Maine, the land north of the Columbia river and *maybe* an adjustment of the 49th east of the Rockies but ultimately being willing to accept the Status Quo.

The primary question is how many of these troops can safely be moved out for a Cease-fire as opposed to an actual peace treaty.
 
Chapter 84: By the Progress of Our Arms

“I hold with respect to alliances, that England is a Power sufficiently strong, sufficiently powerful, to steer her own course, and not to tie herself as an unnecessary appendage to the policy of any other Government. I hold that the real policy of England—apart from questions which involve her own particular interests, political or commercial—is to be the champion of justice and right; pursuing that course with moderation and prudence, not becoming the Quixote of the world, but giving the weight of her moral sanction and support wherever she thinks that justice is, and wherever she thinks that wrong has been done...I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” - Lord Palmerston to the House of Commons, March 1st 1848

“News of the decision for an armistice in Rotterdam would arrive in North America on the 16th of April 1864. The news spread like wildfire amongst the armies in New York, Maine, and Canada. In excitement, Canadian politician Ralph Vansittart would write in his diary, somewhat prematurely “Peace, Blessed Peace!” The churches of all denominations in Canada held special sermons to speed the good news on its way to heaven, and many wives, widows and wounded men attended the services solemnly. They prayed for the return of husbands, sons, brothers and friends. All too many would find their prayers went unanswered.

In besieged Toronto the church bells rang out, and the American occupation authorities, unlike years prior, made no effort to interfere with the flight of Union Jacks and many proclamations of ‘God Save the Queen’ and in some few cases American soldiers desperate for home joined in. This, at least, was what the Toronto Globe reported, and the Bishop John Strachan repeated to his congregants…

In Quebec the Provincial Government heaved a sigh of relief. The war had been costly in blood and treasure, and by the spring over 24,000 people would have died in the Province of Canada[1], and even more across all the Canadian colonies. Tens of thousands had been displaced and many men wished earnestly for an agreement so they could continue home. John A. Macdonald would famously say “It is peace, of a sort, but now we see whether the Yankees can keep it.” He had no doubts that it was a pause for another attempt at invasion…” - Blood and Daring: The War of 1862 and how Canada forged a Nation, Raymond Green, University of Toronto Press, 2002

“It would most likely surprise the majority of Canadians to learn that, despite many confident proclamations of Canada’s ultimate absorption into the Union even leading into 1864, the politicians in Washington had no such desires by this point in the conflict. Lincoln and Seward had both come to the conclusion that the sooner Union armies were retreating from Canada, the sooner they could be advancing on Richmond and Nashville.

While in the early stages of 1862 there had been some discussion of the absorption of Canada into the Union, this had been, as Lincoln had said “incumbent upon the successes of our armies to carry a speedy conclusion to the present struggle.” While some, most notably Charles Sumner, had raised the issue of the recognition of new states in what was then Canada West and Canada East, with even a dream of incorporating Rupert’s Land into a new territory, it had only been discussed sparingly. Even the most ardent believers in Manifest Destiny had understood that such dreams depended on the victories on land and sea.

By 1864 the unfortunate reality was that the Union possessions in Canada were almost worthless, while the British Army might plunge a dagger into the heart of the Union war effort in the North. The material and economic damage done by the blockade, the British invasions in Maine and New York along with numerous raids along the coast, had hampered the efforts to fight the Confederacy in the South. Tens of thousands of men were held down garrisoning those parts of Canada the Union controlled, facing off against the British Army of Canada, or protecting the vital ports and harbors from what had happened to Portland, Portsmouth, and Annapolis.

These represented a potent threat to the Confederacy, and with the losses in men and material in the campaigns of 1863, the commanders in the field wanted them back. Once news of the armistice arrived, Lincoln made what many at the time considered a far too confident choice and began recalling units from Canada to the battle fronts with the Confederacy. This would have an enormous calculus on the coming campaigns of 1864…

In Richmond the politicians initially received the news of the armistice from a captured Union newspaper. Indeed the news had been transported so quickly by sea that it arrived a full three days before the London newspapers reporting it were delivered to North America. This had been intentional, as would be later learned, so that the Confederacy might not feel it had a place at the peace table. Initially it was thought of as mere “Yankee propaganda” but newspapers from Britain drove home the news like a knife.

Davis veered between disbelief and apoplectic anger. For most of April his cabinet would report “the President is irritable and quarrelsome, snapping like a mad dog at even his most trusted advisors,” which included Judah Benjamin. Much of that anger might have come from the refusal of British officers to comment on, and by May even meet with him. The de-facto liaison officer, Colonel Freemantle, had departed Richmond in March on orders from London, and now the Confederacy was only left with its informal network of contacts in Europe who were surprisingly slow to report on relations in Rotterdam[2]. “England has forsaken us,” Davis would say bitterly to his new Secretary of War in one cabinet meeting.

Until this point, the Confederacy had been able to rely on tens of thousands of soldiers stationed elsewhere. Now though, the threat of tens of thousands of Union soldiers returning to fight in Tennessee and Virginia was too real. “How will we survive such an onslaught?” one demoralized clerk in the War Department would write forlornly. Even General Lee was quick to catch the implications of this diplomatic outcome. “By this stroke the Union may turn its attention once again south and wage great destructive invasions like those which plagued us in 1862.

The only glimmer of hope in foreign relations remained with France where…

Even this small hope was, by and large, a meager one as no French soldiers or ships would be marching across the Rio Grande to aid the Confederacy. The diplomatic efforts of the Confederate nation had floundered on the rocks and been found wanting. “The world may have forsaken us,” wrote one Charleston diarist “but the God of battles decides all.

It was this ultimate sense that the war would be decided on the battlefield which began to prevail in the conflict in 1864. Though the North was facing an election year, it was a well known sentiment that the ballot box would be decided by the events on the ground. In Richmond the government hoped that they could inflict enough damage that Lincoln would be turned out of office and then a candidate more amiable to peace installed. In Washington Lincoln was desperate for victories, military or political, that would reinforce to the nation that his Administration could win the war.

By the progress of our arms, all now chiefly depends,” he would write to a friend. It was with this dour proclamation that he would go into the pivotal year of 1864. However, this was not just an American concern, as the decade would bear out, but one which would reverberate from Mexico to Canada as the President and the Emperor and the Prime Minister and the Premiers debated policies that would change the face of the North American continent.” - Staking Claims to a Continent: The North American Revolutions of the 1860s, James Latimer, Anansi Press, 2017

---


1] This number is, for all intents and purposes, pretty catastrophic, meaning almost 1 in every 100 people who lived in the United Province of Canada in 1861 died. Not all of these are soldiers, as many have died of disease and this also includes civilians and partisans who have been killed or died in prison. Roughly 21,000 men in uniform died to violence, wounds or disease, while roughly 3,000 civilians or suspected partisans died or were executed by Union forces.

2] The Confederacy still has no formal ambassadors anywhere in Europe. They have a loose series of agents and merchants who correspond with the State Department in Richmond, but very few actual informal ministers, only men in France, Britain, Spain and the Low Countries. Slidell in Paris comes the closest to being an actual minister, but he’s largely managed to integrate himself into French society and gain the ear of Napoleon III by telling him what he wants to hear.

Hmm. This says " as the President and the Emperor and the Prime Minister and the Premiers debated policies" However, right now in North America there are two Presidents, Abe Lincoln and Jeff Davis. Sort of interesting they used the singular.
 
if wikipedia was a thing back then Canadians and brits would be rushing to edit "british victory " onto the war no?


well seems like the great american war is on the closing.

I wonder what the coda will be like?
 
if wikipedia was a thing back then Canadians and brits would be rushing to edit "british victory " onto the war no?


well seems like the great american war is on the closing.

I wonder what the coda will be like?
Not without getting a good chunk of land at the peace table...
 
Not without getting a good chunk of land at the peace table...
I think answers can be in this chapter.
 
I think answers can be in this chapter.
True. (Taking Rouse point messes up a nice straight line, so I'm rooting against it. )

What's the advantage to the USA of a Peace treaty over a cease-fire that goes on forever?
 
That's a bold move by Lincoln to start pulling troops out of theater before the war has officially ended. It's not all surprising to Strachan still stoking anti-American sentiment of even behind enemy lines.
 
True. (Taking Rouse point messes up a nice straight line, so I'm rooting against it. )

What's the advantage to the USA of a Peace treaty over a cease-fire that goes on forever?
A peace treaty will delineate the conditions for stopping. Not to mention that there's usually a return of prisoners.
 
Wow that's actually devastating in the short-run, though it could lead to a baby boom in the post-war period.

Yeah, it's going to have ripple effects as (with at least another 4,000 deaths from the Maritimes) roughly 30,000 Canadians who didn't die OTL are dead in the hospitals or the fields of Canada West or the forests of northern New York and Maine. That does though, leave a lot of land open to exploitation, room for immigrants and opportunities for post-war expansion. If Canada gets some of that money Britain is demanding it may take the sting out of the deaths...
 
The primary question about a cease fire is whether or not the British would accept a status-quo ante-bellum in terms of land, my *guess* is that they will, arguably the Union controls a greater percentage of the population of what is OTL 20th century Canada than the British control of OTL 20th century USA. The British *may* have more land square mileage and more control on the pacific, but compared to Canada west, it isn't that much. I'd say that their starting position at the peace table is the the Pre-Webster/Ashburton claims to Maine, the land north of the Columbia river and *maybe* an adjustment of the 49th east of the Rockies but ultimately being willing to accept the Status Quo.

The primary question is how many of these troops can safely be moved out for a Cease-fire as opposed to an actual peace treaty.

Ehhh, in purely geographic terms the Union does control less British land than vice versa. They nominally control everything west of Toronto (though Denison's Raid gives lie to that somewhat) while in strategic terms the territory Britain controls matters far more to the United States than it does to Britain. With the current territory in their control, the British have made it all but impossible for the Union to attack Montreal and cut Canada in two, they control the Atlantic terminus of the Grand Trunk railroad, and in an afternoon wiped out the American naval presence in the Pacific, while controlling the only port/city of note.

In principal Lincoln has already ceded 6,600 miles of United States territory for peace with Britain, how much more he will/can is up in the air.

Hmm. This says " as the President and the Emperor and the Prime Minister and the Premiers debated policies" However, right now in North America there are two Presidents, Abe Lincoln and Jeff Davis. Sort of interesting they used the singular.

There's more than one president in North America! One is in fact south of the Rio Grand and running for his life...

True. (Taking Rouse point messes up a nice straight line, so I'm rooting against it. )

What's the advantage to the USA of a Peace treaty over a cease-fire that goes on forever?

Well, in the current cease-fire agreement the British have stipulated it is to last three months and three months only, just in case this is an attempt to "stall for time" by the United States, Importantly however, it only specifies on land, the blockade is in full swing and British and American ships can blow the crap out of each other to their hearts content.
 
That's a bold move by Lincoln to start pulling troops out of theater before the war has officially ended. It's not all surprising to Strachan still stoking anti-American sentiment of even behind enemy lines.

He's making a gamble that Britain wants to continue the war as much as he does, it's one that's probably right, but it's also dependent on getting a treaty signed within the imposed time limit of the ceasefire. July 1864 will either see a general peace or the resumption of hostilities on land!

The bullish Bishop is unlikely to ever stop disliking Americans. Having to surrender to them twice in one lifetime has very much colored his ideas on what a Canada going forwards needs. He might just find some unlikely allies in the Denison family...

A peace treaty will delineate the conditions for stopping. Not to mention that there's usually a return of prisoners.

There's plenty of sailors/soldiers in British hands that the Union wants back. Roughly 5,000 sailors are languishing in British prisons, and while there's an exchange of prisoners ongoing, many really want to get out and go home!
 
So some 30k Canadians died and an unknown number of Brits (probably more?) compared to the British 12k dead lost in the War of 1812 and 40k lost in the Crimean War. While that’s a lot note that the Battle of Gettysburg saw 50k casualties between the sides.
My question is how will this change British doctrine for the Boer Wars and who gets Oregon/Columbia?
 
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