British intervention force

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Archdukek
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Archdukek » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:37 pm

What about Canadian rebels being incited by US forces? Fenians or Riel come to mind.

John

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sjwalker51
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Re: British intervention force

Post by sjwalker51 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:41 pm

Fenians immediately springs to mind, or use your British as Canadian Militia during the Riel Rebellion of 1885 (reminds me, must get that article completed for the next Christmas Special).

More creatively, how about a Russian invasion of Canada via Alaska (not sold to the USA until 1867) or look at the Pig War of 1859 for another potential British-US conflict.

Archdukek
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Archdukek » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:01 pm

If you are prepared to consider alternate history the "Stars and Stripes" trilogy by Harry Harrison postulates a war between the US and Britain in 1861 after the Trent Affair takes a different turn.

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Re: British intervention force

Post by Archdukek » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:28 am

I confess I haven't read them, just came across the reference when looking for something else. They have been criticised for a lack of basic research and the implausibility of some of the actions depicted. One critic suggests that the British are armed as if they are refighting the War of 1812, while the Americans all get repeating rifles! 😊
However, the ideas might give you something to work with.

John

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Capt Fortier
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Capt Fortier » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:22 am

You could also look at conflict around the Southern Filibusters of the 1830s through 1860s. These were somewhat fanciful schemes by private adventurers for American expansion, usually into Latin America and the Caribbean, but often linked to the maintenance and expansion of slavery. The British could be acting to protect their colonies/colonial borders (eg. Caribbean islands or places like Belize or Mosquito Coast) or as part of an anti-slave trade expedition.
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BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: British intervention force

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:52 pm

EmanResu wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:32 pm
The historical absurdity of GB going to war with US at the time aside. I thought it might be a good scale to represent some border scuffles or misunderstandings.
Worth remembering that Great Britain has gone to war as often with the USA as it has with a unified Germany - and over a similar timeframe! Probably had more close calls with the former as well!

Be interesting to see which of your options you finally go for.

Munin
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Munin » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:13 pm

Are you talking about the UK going to war with the Union during the American Civil War? Because it's not as far-fetched as you think. In the summer of 1863, there were an estimated 600,000 British textile workers out of work because there was no raw cotton to feed the factories. Domestic pressure to end the Union blockade of southern ports and restore the flow of cotton was fairly intense in Britain. One of the reasons Lee led his army into Union territory in the run-up to Gettysburg (and similarly to Antietam the year prior) was to demonstrate to potential foreign allies that the Confederacy could win on Union soil and was therefore militarily viable as a nation-state. England and France both were courted by the Confederacy (the city of Slidell, Louisiana is named for John C. Slidell, the Confederate ambassador to France), and it is worth noting that the most successful Confederate commerce raider (the CSS Alabama) was actually constructed in England during the war. It never actually put in to a Confederate port, staging from foreign ports for the entirety of its operational life until sunk by the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Cherbourg, France.

Munin
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Munin » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:07 am

I'm in the US. And yes, it would have been a tough sell. But the fact that it was debated at all even with the Confederacy slowly losing a defensive war of attrition speaks to the political pressure to become involved. Had the Confederacy been able to secure enough of a military edge to even make a peace settlement with the Union look like fait accompli, I suspect European powers would likely have dog-piled on to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible.

FWIW, Stephen W. Sears' excellent books on the American Civil War give some really interesting insights into the wider international politics of the conflict. In history classes it's mostly taught that the ACW was a purely internal matter, but like everything else there's context and nuance that is often missing from cursory history lessons.

Groupe_Franc
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Groupe_Franc » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:08 am

Here's a solution to London's dilemma. On one hand the mills needed the cotton. On the other hand, aligning with a 'country" in which slavery was legal was anathema. So focus on the illegality of the blockade. Demand that the blockade be lifted and send the Royal Navy to enforce the demand. There would at least be a couple of troopships packed with guardsmen because it would have been necessary to secure a base and surely there would have been interest in amphibious operations up and down the coast. So the British army scuffles with the boys in blue along the coast of the Carolinas. Note that Britain is operating independently as a "co-belligerent" so no Confederates are involved.

Munin
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Re: British intervention force

Post by Munin » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:19 am

Here's another interesting tidbit - in late December of 1862, the (Republican) Governor of Indiana wrote to warn Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton that the anti-war Democrats (who then held the majority in the Indiana state house) were going to propose state legislation recognizing the sovereignty of the Confederacy at their next legislative session the coming spring. Some even wanted to take the radical step of suggesting the Northwest territories (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin) cut ties to New England states (which would essentially be a "second secession"). Further, he warned that the Illinois legislature was planning similar legislation.

Fortunately for the Union, news reports of General Willaim Rosecrans (an Ohioan) and his Army of the Cumberland's victory over Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Stones River (Murfreesboro) in early January 1863 rallied public sentiment in favor of the war, and the anti-war Democrats in the midwestern state houses decided not to press the issue.

This hopefully gives some further sense of how tenuous things were politically for the Union at times, and why foreign observers were watching the conflict so carefully.

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