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The Extremely Condensed Civil War (PG-13)

History-American Civil War Humor

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#21 SarvodayaLadaki

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 08:24 PM

Pure gold, John, especially for history geeks like me! :D
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#22 UoR11

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 05:59 AM

You, sir, are a genius. I showed this to a couple of friends, and they've either laughed insanly, or been totally confused by thier lack of Civil War knowledge. Either way's good.
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#23 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:46 AM

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Sinister Dexter: Does the phrase ‘War of 1812’ mean anything to you?
As noted by Tennyson the Union was a vastly more powerful military force than the United States during the War of 1812.  The United States even with vastly inferior military forces in the War of 1812 managed to fight the British to a stalemate.  At sea the small USN though not capable of directly beating the Royal Navy managed to beat the snot out of them in a series of ship to ship engagements due to superior crews, ships, and training.  By the time if the Civil War the Union had the most modern Army in the world, the most combat experienced Army, and it had a navy that could challenge and best the Royal Navy in regional conflict.  

In 1812 the US was a minor military power by this time the Union was a rapidly industrializing power that could challenge and hurt Britain badly if it decided to intervene.  

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Guldorak: Anyway we are 2-0  :p  :suspect:
Considering the Fenians with a ragtag military force presented a serious threat to Canada in 1866 presented a serious threat to Canada before the USS Michigan cut off their supplies Canada wasn’t that tough of a nut to crack.  

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John Burke: I just have my doubts about how well they would've fared with Britain and Canada fighting them from above and the South from below. If nothing else, I'm sure a certain Mr. Lee could have taken great advantage of that distraction...
If you look at the military capacity of the South other than a few major battles and forays into the North Lee never had the capacity to stage a major offensive at the North.  The North could have fought a holding action against South while quickly swatting Canada aside and then turning South again.
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#24 Ilphi

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:56 AM

CJ AEGIS, on Jul 25 2005, 04:46 PM, said:

By the time if the Civil War the Union had the most modern Army in the world, the most combat experienced Army, and it had a navy that could challenge and best the Royal Navy in regional conflict

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


(Bolding mine). Just a nitpick: not regional conflict, but conflict in a single region: that of North America. Either side in the American Civil War still had tiny power projection capabilities, simply because it wasn't seen as something that would need to be done. Heck, even by 1917 when America joined WW1 over 50% of the shipping used to get the AEF to the Western Front was British.

But aside from what we know with hindsight, deterrent was a real British friend during the later period of Pax Britannica. The British military had built up an aura of invincibility between Waterloo and the Last Summer which was only shaken twice, in the Crimea and in the Boer war. Whatever we now know could have happened, the fact is that the average man on the street from Prauge to Sydney Harbour saw Britain as the most powerful force in the world. It was a powerful deterrent. The situation is quite similar to Austria's position in the German confederacy leading up to the Austro-Prussian war. Everyone on-the-street expected Austria to thrash the young whippersnapper as the old Imperial power, but in fact the Austrians had been junior to the Prussian's industry and army reforms under Moltz for decades.
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#25 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 02:54 PM

Ilphi, on Jul 25 2005, 03:56 PM, said:

(Bolding mine). Just a nitpick: not regional conflict, but conflict in a single region: that of North America. Either side in the American Civil War still had tiny power projection capabilities, simply because it wasn't seen as something that would need to be done. Heck, even by 1917 when America joined WW1 over 50% of the shipping used to get the AEF to the Western Front was British.

But aside from what we know with hindsight, deterrent was a real British friend during the later period of Pax Britannica. The British military had built up an aura of invincibility between Waterloo and the Last Summer which was only shaken twice, in the Crimea and in the Boer war. Whatever we now know could have happened, the fact is that the average man on the street from Prauge to Sydney Harbour saw Britain as the most powerful force in the world.

In 1861 it was- or at least the Royal Navy was the world's most powerful navy. She even had two of those new fangled ironclad contraptions when the US had... well, none.

The Trent Affair leading to UK involvement in the ACW is a popular alternate history, but it is, in my opinion at least, pretty unlikely. Nationalistic chest beating aside, the US had its hands full with the Confederacy without adding to its problems, and involvment in the ACW was a whole other ball game compared to the limited wars that Britain was constantly getting involved in during this time period.
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#26 QueenTiye

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 03:28 PM

John Burke, on Jul 21 2005, 01:43 PM, said:

The Extremely Condensed Civil War
by Robert John Burke

*************************************

PROLOGUE: Pre- Spring 1861

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (Holding a copy of the Constitution): Good news!  It says right here that escaped slaves AREN'T EVEN PEOPLE, and you have to do everything we say about them, so nyah.

The North: What?!?!  That SUCKS!!!

Frederick Douglass: Also, you're holding that document upside-down.

Taney: Quiet, you!  Another word and it will also say we get to give you noogies...

***

John Brown (brandishing an axe): FREE THE SLAVES!

Douglass: Good idea, bad execution.

John Brown: Aw, what d'you know?  (*goes on a random murder spree*)

Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee: I think I'll arrest you and then disappear into obscurity for a year.

John Brown: Okay, you got me.  But slavery still sucks.

The South: DIEEEE!  Also, has anyone ever told you you bear a striking resemblance to Moses?  But mostly DIE!

John Brown: I get that all the time.  (*dies*)

The North: Those nasty rednecks killed John Brown!  NOW what do we do?

Douglass: Well, you could free the slaves...

The North: We were thinking more in terms of composing some sort of memorial song with icky lyrics...

Julia Ward Howe: Ohh, I like that idea!  But we should change the icky lyrics...

Douglass: Maybe that axe thing wasn't such a bad idea...



Sir John Burke - I bow to your genious... :)  Frederick Douglass is my favorite character so far... more please! :)

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#27 Guldorak

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:14 PM

Talkie Toaster, on Jul 22 2005, 07:14 PM, said:

Excellent stuff, looking foward to the next installment.

Guldorak, on Jul 22 2005, 08:47 PM, said:

I guess you'll never know. 
Anyway we are 2-0  :p  :suspect:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Which explains why Canada is now part of the US, yes?  :ninjadeath:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Considering that the US was the agressor. Canada not being part of the US counts as a win. :ninjadeath:  :devil:

#28 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:44 PM

Guldorak, on Jul 25 2005, 09:14 PM, said:

Considering that the US was the agressor. Canada not being part of the US counts as a win. :ninjadeath:  :devil:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Ah, I thought you were a Yankee!

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 28 July 2005 - 11:23 AM.

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#29 Ilphi

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 05:00 PM

Talkie Toaster, on Jul 25 2005, 08:54 PM, said:

Ilphi, on Jul 25 2005, 03:56 PM, said:

(Bolding mine). Just a nitpick: not regional conflict, but conflict in a single region: that of North America. Either side in the American Civil War still had tiny power projection capabilities, simply because it wasn't seen as something that would need to be done. Heck, even by 1917 when America joined WW1 over 50% of the shipping used to get the AEF to the Western Front was British.

But aside from what we know with hindsight, deterrent was a real British friend during the later period of Pax Britannica. The British military had built up an aura of invincibility between Waterloo and the Last Summer which was only shaken twice, in the Crimea and in the Boer war. Whatever we now know could have happened, the fact is that the average man on the street from Prauge to Sydney Harbour saw Britain as the most powerful force in the world.

In 1861 it was- or at least the Royal Navy was the world's most powerful navy. She even had two of those new fangled ironclad contraptions when the US had... well, none.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


CJ and I have compared the British ironclads and the American moniters of the era at the bottom of
this thread.
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#30 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:26 PM

Guldorak, on Jul 25 2005, 04:14 PM, said:

Considering that the US was the agressor. Canada not being part of the US counts as a win. :ninjadeath:  :devil:
Britain was the agressor in 1812 by attacking US shipping.  

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Ilphi: Just a nitpick: not regional conflict, but conflict in a single region: that of North America. Either side in the American Civil War still had tiny power projection capabilities, simply because it wasn't seen as something that would need to be done.
The Union might not have been able to transport massive invasion fleet overseas to fight Britain but they could have caused the British major headaches in other ways.  The USN could have been turned loose as commerce raiders against British shipping.  Arms and military advisors could have been sent to Ireland, India, and other parts of the Empire to stir up local anti-British sentiment.  The Russians were still rather annoyed at the British and were friendly toward the Union.  Overall there was a lot of ways the Union could have tied down British assets around the globe and weakened the Empire.  

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TalkieToaster: In 1861 it was- or at least the Royal Navy was the world's most powerful navy. She even had two of those new fangled ironclad contraptions when the US had... well, none.
The Trent Affair occurred in November of 1861.  It would have taken several weeks for the thing to heat up to open warfare and then a few months for either side to mobilize much for it.  So we are looking at early 1862 before the actual full scale combat would have occurred.  The Monitor was ready for combat in late February of that year.  Then the Monitors Passaic, Montauk, and Nahant were ready by the end of the year.  New Ironsides would have been ready by August of 1862 and Galena in April of 1862.  In the case of the latter monitors their construction times could have probably been accelerated if the Union was under pressure to get them into service.  These ships were completed at a much slower pace than the monitor since there wasn’t the pressure that had been placed upon completing the ship.

On top of that Britain needed her ironclads to counter the French in the Channel.  Sending them across the Atlantic would have left the channel open to the French waltzing in with a ironclad.  

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Talkie Toaster:
The Trent Affair leading to UK involvement in the ACW is a popular alternate history, but it is, in my opinion at least, pretty unlikely.
The original British response to the Trent Affair prior to being tamed down by Prince Albert would have been so harsh to the Union that Lincoln would have only been able to tell them to shove it.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
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#31 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 12:12 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Jul 26 2005, 03:26 AM, said:

Britain was the agressor in 1812 by attacking US shipping. 

If it was such a clear and cut case, why then did the war not end when the relevant Orders in Council were rescinded in 1812?

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The Union might not have been able to transport massive invasion fleet overseas to fight Britain but they could have caused the British major headaches in other ways.  The USN could have been turned loose as commerce raiders against British shipping.  Arms and military advisors could have been sent to Ireland, India, and other parts of the Empire to stir up local anti-British sentiment.  The Russians were still rather annoyed at the British and were friendly toward the Union.  Overall there was a lot of ways the Union could have tied down British assets around the globe and weakened the Empire.

Indeed. Likewise, whether the viability of a UK land intervention force, a Confederate artillery park the size of the Union's with lots of ammo, plus food, shoes and uniforms for all troops would have made one hell of a difference.  

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The Trent Affair occurred in November of 1861.  It would have taken several weeks for the thing to heat up to open warfare and then a few months for either side to mobilize much for it.  So we are looking at early 1862 before the actual full scale combat would have occurred.

While it would have taken a signficiant amount of time for Britain to deploy serious land forces to the North American theatre, it would not have taken months for the Royal Navy to re-deploy ships. In the unlikely event of the Trent Affair actually leading to war, naval actions would have followed shortly thereafter.

In any case, the point remains that during the Trent crisis, the US had 0 ironclads ready for action, and a far smaller number of wooden ships than the Royal Navy, so decisions made should be viewed in this context.

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The Monitor was ready for combat in late February of that year.  Then the Monitors Passaic, Montauk, and Nahant were ready by the end of the year.  New Ironsides would have been ready by August of 1862 and Galena in April of 1862.  In the case of the latter monitors their construction times could have probably been accelerated if the Union was under pressure to get them into service.  These ships were completed at a much slower pace than the monitor since there wasn’t the pressure that had been placed upon completing the ship.

Historically, without being involved in a war, by the end of 1861 Britain had laid down ten ironclads and had ordered the armouring of another nine wooden-hulled vessels under construction. British construction times could have also been accelerated if under pressure- and remember that, at the time, no other nation in the world could compete with British shipbuilding.

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On top of that Britain needed her ironclads to counter the French in the Channel.  Sending them across the Atlantic would have left the channel open to the French waltzing in with a ironclad.

Producing coast defence monitors ala the US would not have taken Britain a considerable length of time. Its debatable who France would have sided with in any case, especially as a CSA victory would have allowed them a free hand in Mexico.
  

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The original British response to the Trent Affair prior to being tamed down by Prince Albert would have been so harsh to the Union that Lincoln would have only been able to tell them to shove it.

Both Lincoln and  Lord Palmerston were shrewd politicans with considerable control over their parties. Both new it was not in their best interests for total war between the two countries and would have done their best to make sure that the situation didn't escalate- any major involvement by Britain would have cost her dearly, and for what? The Confederacy? And why would the US want another major power arrayed against her when she was having enough problems as it was?

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 26 July 2005 - 12:15 PM.

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#32 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:24 PM

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Talkie Toaster: If it was such a clear and cut case, why then did the war not end when the relevant Orders in Council were rescinded in 1812?
That wasn’t the only grievance the United States held against the British.  Britain was supposed to withdraw from several territories in the west as spelled out in the treaty ending the Revolution.  Instead the British stayed there and on top of that they armed and stirred up the Native American population.  Then you have the issue that the rescinding of the Orders in Council had little to do with the issue of impressment.  

So the US had many other grievances than just the Orders in Council.  Britain was the clear aggressor when it came to the two powers.  Sure there was plenty of sentiment in the US that desired a war with Britain to assert US power, to take Canada, and to get revenge for British injustices.  Ultimately though Britain with her aggression gave them a justified reason to start a war to achieve those aims.

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Talkie Toaster: Indeed. Likewise, whether the viability of a UK land intervention force, a Confederate artillery park the size of the Union's with lots of ammo, plus food, shoes and uniforms for all troops would have made one hell of a difference.
It would have made a different.  That said this assumes the Royal Navy can break the blockade and then keep it broken.  On top of that even with massive amount of aid the Confederacy ultimately had limits.  They would have been able to give the Union more of a drubbing initially.  Ultimately though the Union had a manpower advantage that was going to crush the Confederacy.  The losses even for the big winners of battles in the Civil War were far too high for the Confederate population to deal with.  

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Talkie Toaster: In any case, the point remains that during the Trent crisis, the US had 0 ironclads ready for action, and a far smaller number of wooden ships than the Royal Navy, so decisions made should be viewed in this context.
I did a little checking.  HMS Black Prince suffered a dockyard accident that delayed her entry into service until September of 1862.  The French during this time had the ironclads La Glorie, Invincible in March of 1862, and Normandie in May of 1862.  The British would have been hard pressed to send their one and only ironclad across the Atlantic to take on the USN.  It would have left the French into total control of the channel with at least one and later several ships that could have swept out the defenses of Britain.  The Warrior was far too valuable of an asset to send gallivanting around halfway across the globe without having any ironclads available to cover the coast of England.  Warrior was the only of her kind she was needed to counter the French and any potential lost of her to the USN would have shifted the balance of naval power to the French for several months.   You don’t risk your one of a kind weapon that maintains your advantage with your long-term foe in a conflict far away from your coasts.  On top of that the Russians are friendly toward the Union, close enough to be a threat, and have the third largest fleet in the world.  HMS Warrior would be staying home until something could take that station.

So you are looking at the effective arrival of Royal Navy ironclads being delayed until September or later of 1862.  In general the RN would have been confident of the ability of their wooden ships and would have probably judged the monitors to be jokes until they faced them in combat.  If we assume the Royal Navy is really on their game they’d have their ironclads off the US coast by November of 1862.  The US will have the broadside ironclads New Ironsides and Galena.  Along with this they’ll have the Monitor and the Passaic the first of the new class of monitors.  Then Montauk and Nahant by December of 1862.  Then another 5 or so monitors would have joined the fleet in January and February.  

The problem for the Royal Navy is that by the time their ironclads are freed up for use against the Union the USN is flooding the ocean with monitors quicker than the RN can produce ironclads.  As I see it the initial battles would result in the Royal Navy pulling off a reenactment of 1812.  The Royal Navy would likely drive the Union Navy off the blockade if they struck full force with their Navy.  That said it would take them time to gather those ships from other stations, prepare them, and dispatch them to the blockade.  So I have my doubts if they could have had sufficient ships their to counter the blockade by the time Monitor was ready.  The big steam frigates of the Union though were superior to their counterparts in the Royal Navy so it would be a case of the frigate conflict of 1812 all over again.

One the Union gets the Monitor, Galena, and New Ironsides they can strike back at the wooden ships of the Royal Navy.  By the time the RN has a free ironclad to send the USN has the Passaic Class in numbers and they could be reestablishing the blockade.

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Talkie Toaster: Producing coast defence monitors ala the US would not have taken Britain a considerable length of time.

Britain lacked anyone with quite the innovative approach as John Ericsson so it would have likely taken them a bit longer then it took the Union to field the monitors.

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Talkie Toaster:
Both Lincoln and Lord Palmerston were shrewd politicans with considerable control over their parties.
Considering the initial wording of Britain’s letter to the US and the demands before Prince Albert took the time to change the message Lincoln would have been forced to reject that version.  The reworded version gave Seward sufficient room to wiggle his way out of the mess.  If the boarding of the Trent had caused any death or without the input of Prince Albert the situation could have easily escalated further.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
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"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#33 QueenTiye

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 09:54 AM

Yikes!  When did this thread turn into a history debate! :eek:  And.. when are we going to see 1862???

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#34 QuiGon John

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 10:52 AM

QueenTiye, on Jul 27 2005, 10:54 AM, said:

Yikes!  When did this thread turn into a history debate! :eek:  And.. when are we going to see 1862???

QT

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


^ I'm working on 1862, honest.  It's just coming more slowly, 'cause I had to do a bit more research there.  I know the beginning of the War off the top of my head, but after that... ;)

And I'm actually very pleased it's turned into a history debate.  Parody is most worthwhile when it makes you think about the real thing. :)

#35 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:25 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Jul 27 2005, 02:24 AM, said:

That wasn’t the only grievance the United States held against the British. Britain was supposed to withdraw from several territories in the west as spelled out in the treaty ending the Revolution. Instead the British stayed there and on top of that they armed

Everyone armed the Indians. Even the Americans. Ask Custer.

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and stirred up the Native American population.

US government policy stirred up the Native American population on its own quite enough.

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Then you have the issue that the rescinding of the Orders in Council had little to do with the issue of impressment.

Impressment was never going to end until the Napoleonic war ended, as demonstrated by the fact it was a non-issue at Ghent. Indeed, starting a naval conflict with Britain was a great way to make sure it was perpetuated. Ending  impressment during war would have meant an end to British naval power, something they would not have accepted outside of total national defeat.

In fact impressed American seamen, who could credibly establish their citizenship, (i.e. they were not infact RN deserters with a fake passport)  were released before the war started.  By 1812 the  British government had ordered several of the outstanding irritants,  such as seizure of vessels within American waters to stop, and the Royal Navy's treatment of Americans to improve.

The war was pressed by the US administration two years after the most substantive official grievances leading to the American declaration of war had been addressed.  This should indicate that, whatever shortcomings the British had in addressing the American agenda to American satisfaction, there were issues other than “British aggression” in the initiation of the war.

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So the US had many other grievances than just the Orders in Council.

None of which were addressed by the invasion of Canada. British strategy was driven by the need to defeat Napoleon. British insensitivity, complacency and lethargy over addressing American grievances can attract justifiable criticism but it is historical record that the conflict was not initiated by Britain.

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Britain was the clear aggressor when it came to the two powers.  Sure there was plenty of sentiment in the US that desired a war with Britain to assert US power, to take Canada, and to get revenge for British injustices.  Ultimately though Britain with her aggression gave them a justified reason to start a war to achieve those aims.

British policy was driven by the need to deal with Napoleon in Europe, and was not something that was being deliberately and solely fostered upon the US. This is not to excuse heavy handed British tactics, but I disagree with the zero sum analysis of Britain being the aggressor.

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It would have made a different.  That said this assumes the Royal Navy can break the blockade and then keep it broken.  On top of that even with massive amount of aid the Confederacy ultimately had limits.  They would have been able to give the Union more of a drubbing initially.  Ultimately though the Union had a manpower advantage that was going to crush the Confederacy.  The losses even for the big winners of battles in the Civil War were far too high for the Confederate population to deal with.

So if the Union manpower advantage meant ultimate victory for them regardless, then does this also mean that British industrial and shipbuilding superiority also guarantee them victory in a naval war?

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I did a little checking.  HMS Black Prince suffered a dockyard accident that delayed her entry into service until September of 1862.  The French during this time had the ironclads La Glorie, Invincible in March of 1862, and Normandie in May of 1862.  The British would have been hard pressed to send their one and only ironclad across the Atlantic to take on the USN.  It would have left the French into total control of the channel with at least one and later several ships that could have swept out the defenses of Britain.

Actually, the Royal Navy still had a number of armoured coast attack vessels dating from during and after the Crimean War. I have found details on these vessels very hard to find, but they included the Turret Battery Trusty and HMS Terror that was on station in Bermuda.

Defence had been completed by the end of 1861, and during 1862 HMS Black Prince was finished, Resistance was commissioned and Prince Hector, Caledonia, Royal Oak, Hector and Royal Sovereign all put to sea. If the need had been pressing enough I imagine that their commissioning dates would have been pushed forward significantly. At least one ironclad could have quickly been spared for duty in the American waters.

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The Warrior was far too valuable of an asset to send gallivanting around halfway across the globe without having any ironclads available to cover the coast of England.  Warrior was the only of her kind she was needed to counter the French and any potential lost of her to the USN would have shifted the balance of naval power to the French for several months.   You don’t risk your one of a kind weapon that maintains your advantage with your long-term foe in a conflict far away from your coasts.

If, as you have stated below, the Royal Navy was “confident of the ability of their wooden ships” and judged ironclads to be a joke, what stops them sending over their new toy for “trails,” especially when they have a large number of ironclads under construction?  

Its debatable who France would have sided with in any case, especially as a CSA victory would have allowed them a free hand in Mexico.

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On top of that the Russians are friendly toward the Union, close enough to be a threat, and have the third largest fleet in the world.  HMS Warrior would be staying home until something could take that station.

The Russians had a totally wooden sailing fleet (IIRC their first all iron ships were ordered from British shipyards…) so they do not require the presence of Warrior to counter.

This is, however, another good point as to why Britain was reluctant to get involved in the first place.

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So you are looking at the effective arrival of Royal Navy ironclads being delayed until September or later of 1862.  In general the RN would have been confident of the ability of their wooden ships and would have probably judged the monitors to be jokes until they faced them in combat. If we assume the Royal Navy is really on their game they’d have their ironclads off the US coast by November of 1862.  The US will have the broadside ironclads New Ironsides and Galena.  Along with this they’ll have the Monitor and the Passaic the first of the new class of monitors.  Then Montauk and Nahant by December of 1862.  Then another 5 or so monitors would have joined the fleet in January and February. The problem for the Royal Navy is that by the time their ironclads are freed up for use against the Union the USN is flooding the ocean with monitors quicker than the RN can produce ironclads.

Historically, without being involved in a war, by the end of 1861 Britain had laid down ten ironclads and had ordered the armouring of another nine wooden-hulled vessels under construction. British construction times could have also been accelerated if under pressure- and remember that, at the time, no other nation in the world could compete with British shipbuilding or iron output.

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As I see it the initial battles would result in the Royal Navy pulling off a reenactment of 1812.  The Royal Navy would likely drive the Union Navy off the blockade if they struck full force with their Navy.  That said it would take them time to gather those ships from other stations, prepare them, and dispatch them to the blockade.  So I have my doubts if they could have had sufficient ships their to counter the blockade by the time Monitor was ready.  The big steam frigates of the Union though were superior to their counterparts in the Royal Navy so it would be a case of the frigate conflict of 1812 all over again.

The 1812 analogy is apt. Britain had a massive superiority in numbers of wooden vessels over the USN at the time. She had more than 50 steam ships of the line and a similar number of screw driven cruisers. It would not have taken a major proportion of her strength to break the Union blockade before the arrival of ironclads becomes significant.

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One the Union gets the Monitor, Galena, and New Ironsides they can strike back at the wooden ships of the Royal Navy.  By the time the RN has a free ironclad to send the USN has the Passaic Class in numbers and they could be reestablishing the blockade.

If Britain is involved in a total war situation then using her historical build program for the availability of ironclads is folly. They would have rather more than one ironclad to send over by this time.

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Britain lacked anyone with quite the innovative approach as John Ericsson so it would have likely taken them a bit longer then it took the Union to field the monitors.

By costal monitors I refer to costal going, ironclad vessels that could have easily have been churned out by any modern ship yard.

However, it is patently untrue to assert that innovation was a particularly American trait. For a start, an idea for the turret mounting had already been put forward by a Swedish engineer, John Ericsson, and a British naval officer, Captain Henry Coles, in 1854. Coles designed an armoured raft after his experience with a wooden gun-raft in the Crimean War. In 1861 the first turret was mounted in the floating battery Trusty for trails- although hit 33 times by heavy shells the turret was still in working order, and the Navy began to take Coles seriously. This all happened before the Monitor was commissioned.

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Considering the initial wording of Britain’s letter to the US and the demands before Prince Albert took the time to change the message Lincoln would have been forced to reject that version.  The reworded version gave Seward sufficient room to wiggle his way out of the mess.  If the boarding of the Trent had caused any death or without the input of Prince Albert the situation could have easily escalated further.

Yes it could have escalated further, but this still does not = war. Palmerston did not want to get Britain involved in a bloody war in America, which doesn’t give it anything it doesn’t already have, and runs the risk of losing part or all of Canada. Likewise, with the involvement of Britain, losing the Southern states becomes a real possibility for Lincoln.

I think you give both politicians too little credit.

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 27 July 2005 - 06:26 PM.

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#36 Ilphi

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 10:08 AM

Talkie Toaster, on Jul 28 2005, 12:25 AM, said:

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Britain lacked anyone with quite the innovative approach as John Ericsson so it would have likely taken them a bit longer then it took the Union to field the monitors.

By costal monitors I refer to costal going, ironclad vessels that could have easily have been churned out by any modern ship yard.

However, it is patently untrue to assert that innovation was a particularly American trait. For a start, an idea for the turret mounting had already been put forward by a Swedish engineer, John Ericsson, and a British naval officer, Captain Henry Coles, in 1854. Coles designed an armoured raft after his experience with a wooden gun-raft in the Crimean War. In 1861 the first turret was mounted in the floating battery Trusty for trails- although hit 33 times by heavy shells the turret was still in working order, and the Navy began to take Coles seriously. This all happened before the Monitor was commissioned.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Britain caught up fast with America in building Monitor class ships for colonial defensive purposes. In 1868 our time we have the HMVS Cerberus in Australia, which if we're using our rather loose wartime sped-up equation can put her on duty around 1865 in our combat situation. This puts her in comparison with the Miantonomoh and Onondaga US designs. The former has an edge on her in some areas and the latter falls behind her slightly. Her armament was 4 x 10 inch which is less than the 2x15 and 2x20 Dahlgren smoothbore on her American counterparts and her turret armour less, but her decks and sides were more heavily armoured compared to the American designs -  6 to 8 inches on the sides compared to 5 inch sides. Cerberus was also quicker, 12.4kts compared to 6.5 and 11.
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#37 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:54 PM

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Talkie Toaster: US government policy stirred up the Native American population on its own quite enough.
That does not change the fact that the British were illegally sitting on territory that they agreed to withdraw from following the Revolution.  It doesn’t change that on top of that illegal occupation of US soil that they were inciting and arming the Native American population.

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Talkie Toaster: In fact impressed American seamen, who could credibly establish their citizenship, (i.e. they were not infact RN deserters with a fake passport) were released before the war started.
This doesn’t fit with the situations that were discovered when USN vessels started defeating and taking the crews of British warships captive.  In the case of the frigate USS United States against HMS Macedonia that British frigate had several Americans impressed into her crew.  On top of that the Captain of the Macedonia the charming gentleman that he was made these Americans fight their countrymen.  At least one of these Americans requested that the Americans be exempt from combat against their own people.  Instead the captain threatened them into fighting.  The Royal Navy was using impressed Americans who were clearly citizens and documented after the fact even to be citizens to fight their own.

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Talkie Toaster: None of which were addressed by the invasion of Canada. British strategy was driven by the need to defeat Napoleon.
Driving Britain out of Canada cuts off her ability to occupy the west illegally and drives her off the continent.  

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Talkie Toaster: So if the Union manpower advantage meant ultimate victory for them regardless, then does this also mean that British industrial and shipbuilding superiority also guarantee them victory in a naval war?
This would be fine and dandy except that the Union monitors were superior to the ironclads that Britain put out in the period from about 1860 to 1864 when used in the format of defending the coastline of the Union, maintaining the blockade, and covering the conquest of Canada.  

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Talkie Toaster: Actually, the Royal Navy still had a number of armoured coast attack vessels dating from during and after the Crimean War. I have found details on these vessels very hard to find, but they included the Turret Battery Trusty and HMS Terror that was on station in Bermuda.
I looked up details on these ships and they make USS Galena look like the height of naval innovation.  These are the original floating batteries that the Royal Navy used to attack the Russian forts. They were barely mobile and required tugs to tow them to the scene of combat where they then had to motor slowly up to the shoreline.  They then anchored and duked it out with a stationary fort at fairly long range where the hits of shells from the fort were diminished.  On top of that these early ironclad experiments had poor quality armor that was far too thin.  Any USN wooden warship carrying 11” Dahlgren cannons firing full charges could have made short work of the rather poor quality armor on these vessels.  Considering the reported poor quality of the armor even a Dahlgren 9” cannon might have messed it up rather badly.  

Either way you are looking at things that are effectively floating batteries rather than viable warships.  They’d have no practical use really

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Talkie Toaster: If the need had been pressing enough I imagine that their commissioning dates would have been pushed forward significantly.
The same thing could be said for the Passaic Class Monitors since they were built at a far slower rather than the original monitor.  The Union was in no great hurry to crash build these vessels considering the Confederacy could only build a handful of ironclads at a much slower rate.  Overall the monitors could be built far quicker and requires fewer resources than full size broadside ironclads.  Yet they were still capable of fighting and beating the broadside ironclads in the Royal Navy.  

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Talkie Toaster: Its debatable who France would have sided with in any case, especially as a CSA victory would have allowed them a free hand in Mexico.
That doesn’t change the fact that the Warrior was constructed to counter the French ironclads and the departure of the Warrior from guarding the channel would have left the French in effective control and domination of the English Channel.  

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Talkie Toaster: British construction times could have also been accelerated if under pressure- and remember that, at the time, no other nation in the world could compete with British shipbuilding or iron output.
The Union doesn’t need to compete with British shipbuilding and iron output on a blow by blow basis.  The monitors can be built more quickly with less raw material and time being used up in their construction.    

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Talkie Toaster: By costal monitors I refer to costal going, ironclad vessels that could have easily have been churned out by any modern ship yard.
Coastal going ironclads are going to be little use against the Union other than to cover the Channel and free up broadside ironclads.  While US Monitors could operate in open water they still had to keep somewhat near their supply lines.  Coastal Defense ironclads operating fairly far out on their supply lines and from friendly ports would have been a poor choice to take on the Union with.  

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Talkie Toaster: Palmerston did not want to get Britain involved in a bloody war in America, which doesn’t give it anything it doesn’t already have, and runs the risk of losing part or all of Canada.
If he was so politically savvy why did he allow the drafting of a demand in the wake of the Trent Affair that Prince Albert had to tone down because he felt there was no way Lincoln could have accepted it?  I’ll give Seward, Lincoln and Lord Lyons in Washington the credit for being the diplomats in this case.  Palmerston on the other hand was a hothead over something that the British did to the United States prior to the War of 1812.

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Ilphi:
Britain caught up fast with America in building Monitor class ships for colonial defensive purposes.
Dictator would have also been her superior in most regards.  The Kalamazoo and Puritan class would have had a clear edge too but both were  never finished due to the end of the Civil War.  So they were still running a few years behind the USN on monitor class vessels.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 29 July 2005 - 04:40 AM.

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#38 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 02:58 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Jul 29 2005, 02:54 AM, said:

That does not change the fact that the British were illegally sitting on territory that they agreed to withdraw from following the Revolution.

The US wasn’t faultless in following her treaty obligations either, especially as regards compensation for loyalist property seized after the revolution.  

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It doesn’t change that on top of that illegal occupation of US soil that they were inciting

I’d like to see some serious evidence to back up claims of the British government ‘inciting’ Indians to rebel against the US

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and arming the Native American population.

The British were well within their rights to trade with the Native Americans. If the US is trading with the Indians and supplying them guns, why is it so dastardly if the British do it?  

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This doesn’t fit with the situations that were discovered when USN vessels started defeating and taking the crews of British warships captive.  In the case of the frigate USS United States against HMS Macedonia that British frigate had several Americans impressed into her crew.  On top of that the Captain of the Macedonia the charming gentleman that he was made these Americans fight their countrymen.  At least one of these Americans requested that the Americans be exempt from combat against their own people.  Instead the captain threatened them into fighting.  The Royal Navy was using impressed Americans who were clearly citizens and documented after the fact even to be citizens to fight their own.

I didn’t say that the system was perfect nor that Britain wasn’t without fault. However, the experience of one ship does not disprove that Royal Navy did make efforts to return wrongfully impressed Americans. The situation might have been sped up if the Americans hadn’t decided to sell false ‘passports’, or indeed didn’t make extensive use of British citizens in the first place.

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Driving Britain out of Canada cuts off her ability to occupy the west illegally and drives her off the continent.

Annexing Canada would not have stopped impressments. Annexing Canada did not prevent Native Americans from being armed, because Americans were trading guns with them. Annexing Canada would not stop Native Americans from engaging in hostilities against the US, because it was largely US policy that was leading to confrontations with the Native Americans.

Britain displayed what I can only describe as galling arrogance in dealing with the US at the time, but this has to be viewed in context in a world wide war against Napoleon. Nonetheless, they did make efforts, however, slowly, to correct US grievences. War was not inevitable and it would have been quite possible for the US to receprocate - but then, this ignores the unappeasable land hunger of the westerning American frontier that existed at the time. British actions were used as an excuse by those in America who had been looking to have another shot at annexing Canada since the failure to do so during the Revolution.

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This would be fine and dandy except that the Union monitors were superior to the ironclads that Britain put out in the period from about 1860 to 1864 when used in the format of defending the coastline of the Union, maintaining the blockade, and covering the conquest of Canada.

British ironclad construction would have been altered massively by a war with the Union, so saying that they would having inferior Ironclads (which is pretty debatable in itself) for the entire war is a bit far fetched. It does not negate Britain’s superiority in shipbuilding. Just as Lee’s generalship did not historically negate the Union’s advantage in manpower.

As for maintaining the blockade, it cuts both ways- the historical ironclads were not ideal for breaking a coastal blockade of the Confederacy, but would have been ideal for a distant blockade of the North- something the Union could have done precious little about, given a lack of ocean going ironclads.
  

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I looked up details on these ships and they make USS Galena look like the height of naval innovation.  These are the original floating batteries that the Royal Navy used to attack the Russian forts. They were barely mobile and required tugs to tow them to the scene of combat where they then had to motor slowly up to the shoreline.  They then anchored and duked it out with a stationary fort at fairly long range where the hits of shells from the fort were diminished.  On top of that these early ironclad experiments had poor quality armor that was far too thin.  Any USN wooden warship carrying 11” Dahlgren cannons firing full charges could have made short work of the rather poor quality armor on these vessels.  Considering the reported poor quality of the armor even a Dahlgren 9” cannon might have messed it up rather badly.

I’m not sure we talking about the same vessels. None of the ironclad batteries that I’m speaking of were completed before the end of the Crimean war, so obviously it wouldn’t have been possible for them to engage any Russian forts.

As designed, they had 4in wrought iron plate bolted to the hull and were armed with sixteen 68 pounder guns. They were not good sea vessels, being slow and difficult to steer (as they were, essentially, iron boxes with a few cannon and an engine added) but they were quite capable of moving under their own power and I doubt they would have been much less effective than Virginnia, were the Confederates had to cut some corners with that design… Of course they are no substitute for proper vessels, but in an emergency are available.

Given their age I wouldn’t imagine that their armour was of partially great quality (except for Trusty’s). Then again, CSS Virginia didn’t do too badly with low grade iron armour.

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That doesn’t change the fact that the Warrior was constructed to counter the French ironclads and the departure of the Warrior from guarding the channel would have left the French in effective control and domination of the English Channel.

The only way France could gain control of the English channel is if went to war against Britain. This is not a problem if she is supporting the Confederacy.

AFAIK HMS Warrior was actually being readied to go to North American waters in the wake of the Trent Affair, but in any case Defence would have been ready for deployment before any Union ironclads were available.
  

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The Union doesn’t need to compete with British shipbuilding and iron output on a blow by blow basis.  The monitors can be built more quickly with less raw material and time being used up in their construction.

As long as Britain has superiority in ocean going ironclads (and she had quite a number by 1865 even without engaging in any war) then I see no reason why they wouldn’t concentrate on smaller ironclads meant for operations in American waters- in which case the Union is competing blow by blow with British shipbuilding.
    
Iron output is also important. AFAIK, availability of iron plate was actually a major bottleneck for Union ironclad production. This is why the original Monitor, and most other Union ironclads, had to make do with laminated armour made up of 1” sheets- something much inferior to an equivalent thickness of solid plate. There were very few mills actually capable of rolling anything thicker at the start of the war.

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Coastal going ironclads are going to be little use against the Union other than to cover the Channel and free up broadside ironclads.  While US Monitors could operate in open water they still had to keep somewhat near their supply lines.  Coastal Defense ironclads operating fairly far out on their supply lines and from friendly ports would have been a poor choice to take on the Union with.

My original point was that Britain could have easily churned out costal defence ships to free up her premier ironclads, although now that you mention it churning out monitor like vessels and towing them across the Atlantic would also have been doable. As for supply lines, I’m sure the CSA would have happily allowed RN ships to operate from her ports.
  

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If he was so politically savvy why did he allow the drafting of a demand in the wake of the Trent Affair that Prince Albert had to tone down because he felt there was no way Lincoln could have accepted it?  I’ll give Seward, Lincoln and Lord Lyons in Washington the credit for being the diplomats in this case.  Palmerston on the other hand was a hothead over something that the British did to the United States prior to the War of 1812.

Any reading of Palmerston’s career will indicate he was an able politician and leader. Prince Albert might well have felt the need to tone the letter down, but the actual demands as far as I know were still the same. While it might well have helped defuse the situation, I am by no means convinced that it would mean war, especially after the initial ‘excitement’ of the Trent affair had calmed down.

As to why Palmerston was such a hothead, well, perhaps as what the British had done to the United States prior in the War of 1812 meant they were the “clear aggressors” which resulted in a declaration of war from the US, perhaps a strongly worded letter is pretty calm by contrast! :)

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 30 July 2005 - 11:34 AM.

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#39 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 02:59 PM

John,

whatever happened to part 2?  :(
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#40 Kosh

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 02:47 PM

View PostChaddee, on Jul 22 2005, 03:04 AM, said:

I guess its probably funny i f you know civil war history..which unfortunately, I don't.

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