View single post by Texas Defender
 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 09:59 pm
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Texas Defender

Joined: Sat Jan 27th, 2007
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 920

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  First of all, we're dealing here with what ifs instead of facts. Having said that, in my view you are far too dismissive of British military power in the early 1860s.

  If there had been a war between the federal government and Great Britain in 1861 or 1862, the outcome of the Civil War I believe would have been very different. The British could have shipped as many troops to Canada unhindered as they wished to. They then could have launched large scale operations across any point of the US/Canadian border that they chose to.

  In 1861 and 1862, the US Army had plenty on its plate dealing with the Confederates. It wasn't anywhere near as effective then as it would be in 1865, either in the quality of its leadership or its soldiers. But it wasn't the British Army that would most threaten northern interests. The help most needed by the Confederates was the aid of the British Royal Navy, in order to break the blockade.

  In 1861 and 1862, Britannia still ruled the waves. The Royal Navy was superior in both quantity and quality. The US Navy was just embarking on a large scale building program that would by 1865 increase its size from less than 100 ships to almost 700. The British had an experienced professional navy and the latest equipment.

  As an example of this, the British Navy had built ocean going ironclad ships, namely the HMS WARRIOR and her sister.

HMS Warrior (1860)

  The US Navy had no blue water ships that could match her. It built no ocean going monitors until right at the end of the war. For the British, breaking the blockade at whatever point they chose would have easily been within their capabilities. This would have allowed the Confederates to obtain large numbers of weapons and other manufactured goods that were vitally needed to strengthen their military.

  My view is that the last thing the federals needed was a war with Great Britain. Mr. Lincoln wanted no part of it. When some hotheads suggested such a course of action, Mr. Lincoln wisely said: "One war at a time."

  The mistake that the southerners made was in believing that the British economy couldn't survive without southern cotton. They counted on economic necessity to force the British to come to their aid. But the British, although injured by the loss of most of the southern cotton, managed to compensate somewhat by securing some cotton from other places, such as India. The pain caused by losing southern cotton wasn't great enough to get the British to spend blood and treasure to obtain it.

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2011 10:05 pm by Texas Defender

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