A Different War of the Austrian Succession...or....Finis Austriae (STORY ONLY. Discussion thread link provided)

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Italy in 1766
  • At the start of 1766, the Italian peninsula remained in a state of unease. France and Sardinia-Piedmont's previous attempt to conquer Genoa, despite its failure, had cast a long shadow on the region, and led many of the individual city-states such as Florence, Modena, Lucca and Ferrara to form defensive leagues as a means of counterbalancing the Bourbon-Savoyard axis. The Republic of Venice, one of the few surviving maritime republics remaining in Italy, was desperately holding on to what remained of their once prosperous commercial empire in the face of the Ottoman threat. Over time, as the Ottomans began to decline, the threat to Venice receded, to be replaced by the threat of Hapsburg conquest. This too, receded as a result of the Hapsburg Partition which came as a result of Austria's loss in the recent Succession War, only to be replaced by the threat from Bavaria (Bahemia, which had annexed the Tyrol and Upper Austria in the Peace of Munich). As a result of this and the imposed vassalage of the Duchy of Milan to the Spanish Bourbons, Venice began to seek closer cooperation with its neighbors. On 16 February 1766, Venice and the Kingdom of Austria signed the Treaty of Istria which settled outstanding claims, reaffirmed the Venetian claim to the Dalmatian islands and mainland coastal outposts and even left the future disposition of Ragusa open to Venetian annexation in exchange for Venetian recognition of Austria's claims to mainland Dalmatia. Two weeks after the Istria Treaty, Venice agreed the Treaty of Verona with Bahemia which mutually recognized their respective boundaries and provided for mutually beneficial trade between the two states. Just months prior, on 28 December 1765, the Papal States began to reach out to the Florentines (hereafter to be known as Tuscans*), Modenans and Ferrarans to join their league out of fear of further French or Spanish aggrandizement. Pope Clement XIII, in a rare call for Italian unity, negotiated a Pan-Italian Defense League which would include as many Italian states as wished to join. Doge Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo joined the Papal emissary in building the League and gradually all the Italian states joined the League, with Naples (Two Sicilies**) being the last signatory on 9 April 1766 (despite also being allied to the Bourbons due to having a Bourbon on the throne).

    Despite their membership in the League, both the Republic of Genoa and the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont continued to watch each other warily. Genoa had begun building earthen fortifications along their northern frontier and on the Corsican shore in expectation of a Sardinian or French attack. Charles Emmanuel III was busy building his army for the future attack on the Republic while at the same time, using Nice aa a shipyard, began constructing a naval squadron with the assistance of French ship engineers and naval advisors. Because the kingdom's only border with a League member that could assist Genoa was the Republic of Lucca, earthworks were constructed in the southeast of the kingdom (Milan, vassalized to Spain was well-enough defended to not become a thruway for League forces). At the same time, Savoyard emissaries began working to try and break up the League-or at the very least, sow enough confusion among the members to render the League impotent in any future conflict with Genoa. A diplomatic competition thus began between the Sardinian king and the Pontiff, with French and Papal gold as their primary weapons. In the Spanish Italian vassal-states of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla the various dukes were raising money to begin training armies while at the same time convincing the League of their neutrality and adherence to the League itself. Two more months would pass, however, before Sardinia-Piedmont and France would make their second and final attempt to partition Genoa's commercial heartland between them, and it would start with another Corsican uprising (5 July).

    * The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was established in 1569 under Papal declaration by Cosimo de Medici both IOTL and ITTL
    ** IOTL, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies became official in 1816 following the Napoleonic Wars. ITTL, its the unofficial name for the united Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily

    The Seven Years War - Daniel Marston
    The Baltic, Livonia and Ukraine (late 1765-early 1766)
  • By 23 January 1765, Visby was on the point of collapse. 18 days had passed since the Polish victory against the Swedes and with little prospect of Swedish relief due to the dual invasions of Prussia (Swedish Pomerania) and Denmark-Norway (Scania and Jamtland), and the Commonwealth navy blocking Gotland, King Adolf Frederick I realized his situation was hopeless. He sent an army officer , his illegitimate son Adolf Fredriksson, to meet with General Kovats outside Visby (still under siege). They negotiated a ceasefire which allowed for the city to capitulate and admit the Polish army. Kovats instructed his troops to "respect these inhabitants who fought so nobly for their cause", and these instructions were obeyed. Both men traveled via Polish frigate to Kalmar, where they were joined by the Swedish king, who had arrived after his failed effort to keep Jamtland out of Danish control. Three weeks into February a treaty was finally agreed at Kalmar. Sweden recognized the Polish conquest of Gotland and offered reparations of $25,000 (which Poland-Lithuania refused), and in exchange, the Poles agreed to assist the Swedes to evacuate the surviving military plus any civilians who wished to leave. The date for implementation of the treaty was set at 10 February 1765 with the ceasefire agreed at Visby to remain in effect in the meantime. Kovats sent a letter to Michel Frydryk I reporting on the success of the campaign and the terms of the treaty (which the Polish king-grand duke agreed to because he was about to launch the Livonia campaign). The last of the Swedish military withdrew 7 days after the treaty went into effect*

    Michel Frydryk I organized the new conquest into a Grand Duchy united to the Polish crown, making himself grand duke. He drafted a document granting the Swedish and Danish population equality within the Commonwealth (as a gesture to his Danish ally) and began to fortify the island. Though he knew Sweden had accepted the loss of the island, he also knew that it was only because they were in distress elsewhere and that once they recovered enough ground on the mainland, they would refute the treaty and return in force. This was further supported by the sudden Swedish descent on Bornholm (news of which had only reached him due to the reports of the Prussian emissary in Lublin). But as there was now a treaty between the Baltic powers, he could do little to assist his Prussian and Danish allies. He had turned his attention to the east, where Russia had already suffered setbacks in their advance into the Crimea and the Caucasus. He ordered Kovats to transfer 6,500 of his cavalry to Lithuanian Memel to join the 2nd army. A Prussian cavalry force of 3,000 also arrived fresh from the Pomeranian campaign (the bulk, under Frederick II marched south to support the army in Silesia (May 1765), and these were joined to Kosciuszko's main army in central Lithuania. The final strategy meeting between the king-grand duke and his two main commanders took place on 17 June with the plan to form six armies for the campaign against Russia, divided into three groups with a fourth formed later to serve as a reserve force. Group Novgorod (Group 1) would advance into Livonia and as far north as Estonia, splitting along the way with 1st army advancing into Livonia and as far north as Estonia before turning east to link with 2nd army-which would march directly for St Petersburg to besiege. Group Moskowa (Group 2) would advance into Smolensk and as far as Minsk, then hold the line between there and Moscow, ready to make the push to the heartland. Group Kiev (Group 3) would advance into Ukraine where it was hoped a Tartar/Turkish brigade would join with them, and besiege Kiev. Group 4, held in reserve in Lithuania, could be sent anywhere reinforcements were needed, but they also served as additional screens in the event Hungary took advantage of Poland-Lithuania's distraction with Russia to begin a full-on offensive.

    Group Novgorod advanced into Livonia in full force, besieging Riga on 19 June, After three days in which the defenders attempted a sortie to break out but were crushed by Polish hussars, the city capitulated to the Polish armies. From here, the two armies of Group Novgorod split off with 5th army moving north toward Reval and 6th army marching for Novgorod. On 21 June, 5th army reached the outskirts of Reval before being stopped by a Russian army of 17,000 under the command of Pyotr Saltykov*. The Polish commander, Michal Kazimierz Radziwill drew up the Hussars and divided them into flanking forces, then ordered his troops to entrench and prepare for battle. On the morning of the 22nd, Polish cannons opened fire on the Russian positions, leading to a four-hour battle in which the Russians managed to temporarily gain the upper hand before the Polish hussars that had rode to flanking positions now charged into the Russian rear, scattering several dozen and sending the rest into panic flight, allowing the hussars to run down many of the survivors and causing such panic in Reval that they capitulated three days later, cut off from any relief armies and facing the prospects of a siege. After imposing a curfew on the citizens and leaving a garrison to fortify the city, 5th army turned east to link up with 6th army still 4 days from Novgorod.

    Group Moskowa under the overall command of Kosciuszko marched a day later into Byelorussia with the twin objectives of Minsk and Smolensk. His army of 30,000 each and under the respective commands of Jan Wielopolski and August Kazimierz Sulkowski** intended to apply pressure on Moscow and potentially draw any Russian forces away from Ukraine and Livonia. Kosciuszko sent Sulkowski with four wings of hussars numbering 400 to ravage the countryside around Minsk to slow the Russians and deprive them and their horses of sustenance, while he and Wielopolski marched on Smolensk. With the spires of the churches in the city within sight however, they came upon an army of 39,000 under the command of the redoubtable Grigory Potemkin, a former lover and favorite of Catherine II. Using the wooded terrain outside the city as cover for the hussars and artillery, Kosciuszko directed Wielopolski to detach a group of 3,000 troops to move forward, fire on the Russians, then fall back as if in retreat. Initially, the Russian commanders were unruffled by this tactic, maintaining discipline even as handfuls of soldiers dropped from bullets. After the 10th such hit-and-run, however, Potemkin grew impatient with the battle, concerned about the situation in Crimea, where the Tartars and Turks had achieved a breakout and were set to spread into the Dnieper and Volga valleys (Alexei Orlov had already ordered the Russian armies there to fall back to a defensive line running to the town of Tsaritsyn and west to Odessa), and ordered a bayonet charge against the 3,000. They were soon forced to fall back for real, but this had the desired effect of luring the Russians into the forests. Wielopolski sprung his trap and caught the Russians in a crossfire which killed 2,900 before the rest fled the forest and reformed. It was now that Kosciuszko ordered the hussars on the wings to press the Russians inward and make it harder for their infantry to fight. Potemkin, seeing the planned offensive order artillery to fire on the hussar wings using canister shot, which mowed down the horsemen, killing 230., while his own soldiers advanced on the Poles, killing 175. The loss of so many hussars and infantry caused many to falter as the Russian guns now began to bear down on them. Kosciuszko was prepared to order a withdrawal when Wielopolski reported to him that columns of smoke could be seen coming from the direction of the road leading to Minsk. Sulkowski had been successful in ravaging the lands around the city and rushed his hussars back to the battlefield in time to attack the Russian artillery implacememts, driving many of the gunners away and killing those too slow to keep pace with their comrades. Despite the hussar losses, it gave Kosciuszko time to place his own cannons, with two firing cannister shot and the other two firing lead balls. Panic spread across the Russian lines as their triumphal moment had been dashed by the loss of their own cannon. Potemkin, outraged that he had been outmanuevered and outflanked ordered a withdrawal which Kosciuszko, his own force now depleted with the loss of 400 total, had no strength to pursue. Instead Wielopolski returned to Lithuania to bring reinforcements numbering 10,000, returning a month later. The Battle of Smolensk (24 June) would not be the last time Kosciuszko and Potemkin would meet in battle.

    Group Kiev advanced into the Ukraine under the overall command of Pulaski, arrived atTarnapol on 25 June, a day after the victory over Potemkin at Smolensk. Pulaski's two armies stayed for three days outside the city, allowing the supply wagons to catch up before pressing on. On the 27th, a Turkish force of 8,000 from Moldavia arrived and linked up with the Polish armies, bringing the total to 68,000. Pulaski entered Tarnopol, which opened their gates to the Polish-Turkish force. Pulaski himself ordered that all property in the city should be respected and that any aggressions committed against the townsfolk would be severely punished, with the offender's wealth paid to the victims. Even the Janissaries among the Polish armies honored this directive, knowing that once actual battle began, they'd have their chance to loot from their defeeated enemy's possessions. They spent four days in Tarnopol without incident before resuming their march, but here they began to feel the sting of Cossack raids. Though less than 50 would be killed in the raids, morale began to suffer, leading Pulaski to halt the march and raise morale. In Kiev itself, General Stepan Fyodorovich Apraksin*** had laid down trenchworks, a field of stakes, and earthen mounds for the artillery in preparation for the coming Polish attack. On 2 July, as the summer rains began to fall, Pulaski ordered a resumption of the march which gradually slowed down as the dirt roads soon became quagmires, meaning it now took an extra two days to reach the plain before Kiev. Upon first getting a look through telescope at the defenses outside the city, Pulaski realized he would need to plan accordingly and also he would likely need additional artillery and hussars. He sent word via fast rider to Kosciuszko reporting on Kiev's defenses, then sent another fast rider to Istanbul asking the Sultan to send whatever cavalry and cannon he could spare.

    In St Petersburg's Winter Palace, Catherine II (the Great) grew anxious. The attempt to ally with Sweden had failed, the Ottomans were holding their own, and worst of all the Poles were advancing deep into the Russian heartland, having already taken Reval and begun the siege of Smolensk. The reports she received from Potemkin did little to reassure her. Publicly, she encouraged the masses to join the army to defend the Motherland. Privately, among her closest circle, she despaired of a solution to extricate Russia from the predicament she found herself in. Even their Hungarian allies were buckling under the combined weight of Turkish raids and the Austrian invasion and thus could do little. She directed Nikita Panin, her foreign minister, to seek out alliances that could be used against the Turks and buy her empire time to deal with the Commonwealth once and for all. Through his various ambassadors, he learned of the dispute over Mesopotamia between Persia and the Ottoman Empire which could be exploited to force the Turks to commit to more than one front (the Hungarians were so preoccupied with the Hapsburg advance through Dalmatia that they often allowed Turkish raids to go unchallenged) Panin himself traveled to Persia and met with Shahrohk Shah, descendant of Nader Shah founder of the Afsharid dynasty on 8 July to discuss an alliance which would partition the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East. Shahrohk demanded nothing less than Armenia, Kurdistan, Baghdad and Basra as conditions for the alliance. Panin agreed on condition that Persia recognize Georgia as exclusively within the Russian sphere. Shahrohk then informed him that it would be the spring before the Persians could launch an offensive due to the Fall harvest and the winter snowstorms. Panin returned to Russia four days later on 12 July to inform his mistress of the alliance with Persia.

    At Kiev, both the Polish/Turkish army and the Russian army of Apraksin watched each other warily, each awaiting the arrival of reinforcements before going on the attack. Finally on 25 July, Polish reinforcements from the Carpathia front commanded by Count Franciszek Branicki and numbering 25,000 troops arrived, giving the Polish/Turkish forces an almost 3-1 edge over the Russians, whose own armies remained trapped holding the Crimea from Ottoman/Tartar advances. On the morning of 28 July, Pulaski gave the order to form up their lines according to the plan discussed the night before, placing the Turkish Bashi-Bazouks at the front of the lines to take the full fury of the Russian fire while inflicting as many casualties as they could in turn. Janissaries formed five lines closer to the Polish entrenchments, ready to march as soon as holes were created by the initial attack (this was considered a gesture of respect from Pulaski, who knew as well as the Turkish Aghas did that should the battle end in defeat, the future of both nations would be at risk). Polish irregulars formed up behind the Janissaries and the Regulars formed battalions. Sipahis and hussars would form screens and flank the formations. At 8 am, Polish cannons began their bombardment of the Russian positions, forcing the cannoneers to keep their heads down for three hours. Apraksin ordered his cavalry to charge the Bashi-Bazouks in order to scatter them and open a way toward the main Polish forces, but even as the Turkish irregulars were felled they inflicted losses of 190 men and 76 horses upon the enemy. As was the plan, the rest broke up and fled, opening a path for the surviving cavalry to charge in pursuit, only to fall victim to the more steadfast Janissaries. From his high vantage-point close to the walls of Kiev, Apraksin could only watch through his telescop as his cavalry struggled to return to the frontlines amid a hail of bullets and musketballs from the Poles and Turks. At 11:30 am, when Polish cannons were silent due to the need to restock their amunition, Apraksin ordered a series of cannon barrages to soften up the Poles for a full charge of the Russian irregulars. Pulaski, having prepared in advance for such a possibility, ordered his men to clear the closest entrenchments, though 12 were still killed by the Russian fire. This counterbarrage went on for three hours. This description of the battle by an unnamed Polish soldier in a letter to his wife details the order of battle:

    After the initial bombardment, the Russians began to march forward. The turbanned Janissaries brought forth their curved bows, which came as a surprise to us as we had believed them equipped with only the muskets and scimitars that are such a traditional part of their weaponry. As the Russians advanced in full array, the Janissaries let loose the first of six volleys of arrows and each one found its mark whenever a Russian soldier dropped to the ground. Despite this, the Russians continued to advance on our position. Our commander ordered the Irregulars to advance at full array, bayonets fixed. You could hear the sounds of bayonets clanging, screams of the dying, and the gunshots. It was a terrible sound. I bayonetted seven Russians and watched several of my comrades go down....something I'll never soon forget. The Regulars marched into the fray and the gunshots could be heard echoing across the landscape. Our Turkish friends fought with a fever that I had never witnessed, but know of through my grandfather who had fought them years ago. For every one of them that went down, seven Russian soldiers went down with them.....

    ........by 4 in the afternoon, I could see that my comrades and I had clearly won the day. Those Russians who survived struggled back, but then the cannonade began again. I could only presume that the Russians could not bear to let us advance. I was given a horse and instructed to disable their guns, so I led a group of 300 others into the hailstorm of cannonfire and musket balls. I lost 42 in the first 10 minutes but we managed to reach the mound before the gunners could switch to canister shot, which would've reduced our numbers even more. Using our sabers, we broke up the carriages on which the cannon sat, then slaughtered as many of the enemy as had failed to escape. By this point, the second mound was firing at our position, so I gave the command to evade and charge the mound. Little did I know that they had already switched two of their four cannon to canister shot and as they fired, I could hear a whistling sound pass my ears. My horse took several rounds to the legs and chest and immediately collapsed, and I found myself on the ground. I picked myself up and continued rushing forward until I could hear the sound of hooves approaching behind the mound. I had forgotten that our supreme commander had sent a request for additional cavalry and was overjoyed when I saw the Russian gunners fleeing in my direction in a panic. I thought to raise my pistol but as they closed in, I could see that they were in such panic that they didnt even register my presence at all as they rushed past me....

    By 6 pm, Apraksin, with few functional cannons, little gunpowder and troops beginning to panic, had no choice but to call a retreat. Pulaski ordered the hussars and sipahis to follow and harry the retreating Russians, not wishing them to seek refuge in the city, which was now open to the Polish advance. Ten days later, on 6 August, Pulaski led his two armies and the Turkish contingents into the city. Apraksin, with the remnants of his army, retreated to eastern Ukraine to regroup and await the news from St Petersburg.

    Group Novgorod had reached the outskirts of Novgorod by the afternoon of the 7th of August. General Kovats could see the church spires of the city through his spyglass, surprised by the fact there was no Russian army or defensive works awaiting them. He ordered 5th army under Radziwill to send a force of 200 hussars to reconnoiter the countryside between Novgorod and St Petersburg looking for any sign of a Russian army, while the rest of 5th army was ordered to form its ranks. 6th army, under the command of Hetman Waclaw Rzewuski was ordered to begin placing artillery on the closest hills to the city and bring its battalion of hussars to their flanking positions ready to charge. Meanwhile the scouts from 5th army traversed the countryside for seven days looking for any Russian relief army, but found none. Still not fully convinced that the Russians weren't marching an army to defend the city, Kovats ordered earthen entrenchments to be built for 6th army and for the artillery to begin their bombardment of the city.

    * Saltykov lived from 1700-1772 and served as minister and military officer, even earning the rank of field marshal IOTL
    ** Wielopolski never served in the Polish military IOTL, though he was awarded the Order of the White Knight. He lived from 1700-1773 IOTL
    Sulkovski (1729-1786) was a general in the military and a commander of the House infantry IOTL
    *** Little is actually known about this individual, though his son would also serve with distinction in the Imperial Russian Army IOTL

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    Mesopotamia (1766)
  • Mesopotamia had been a warzone between the Ottoman and Persian empires since the time of Shah Abbas I, with the most recent war fought between 1743-1746*. Though this war was inconclusive, tensions remained high in the region, not least because of Ottoman control of Iraq and Basra and Persian control of Azerbaijan. European involvement in the region was sparse, even taking into account the occasional outbursts of conflict between the two Middle East superpowers and Portugal. As war broke out in Europe and the Ottomans found themselves facing both Russia and Hungary, ambassadors were sent to Isfahan to try to extend the treaty which ended the last war-or if that failed, to agree a truce while the Turks tackled the Russo-Hungarian alliance. The accession of Shahrohk Shah provided the Persians with an opportunity to consolidate their territories, reorganize their armies and prepare for a future war with the Ottomans, though the challenge from Russia-which had grown since the time of the Safavids was of increasing concern. It came as a surprise then when Nikita Panin arrived in July 1765 with a proposal for alliance with the northern giant to partition the Ottoman Empire. Meeting with him, Shahrohk Shah made it clear that while they were willing to join in the partition and even assist the Russians in taking Georgia and Armenia, he viewed Azerbaijan as exclusively Persian territory. This was a sticking point for Panin and he had to receive instructions from his mistress, Tsarina-Empress Catherine II, before he could proceed. There were many in her inner circle who opposed such an agreement on the grounds that Azerbaijan was also within the Russian sphere and as such would be needed to serve both as a jumping-off point to advance toward the Persian Gulf and as a way of blocking Turkish expansion into Central Asia. Three days after his initial meeting, Panin met Shahrohk Shah again to agree to the stipulation, departing on the 12th for Russia with the treaty document.

    The Treaty of Isfahan (12 July 1765) granted a season for Persian farmers in the valleys to gather their harvest before joining the army so as to provide their families with food through the coming winter. At the start of the winter campaign season, four Persian armies would march into Mesopotamia with the objectives of capturing Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Raqqa (n OTL Syria). To add additional pressure on the Turks, two of the four armies would march into eastern Anatolia with the objective of sieging Angora, while the Raqqa army would march southwest and seize Damascus and Jerusalem. The northernmost army, marching north in conjunction with a secondary army from Teheran, would advance into Azerbaijan before joining a Russian army advancing from Chechynia into Georgia and Armenia. Using the galleys captured with Basra, the Persians would sail into the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea to harry Turkish commerce and even risk sailing up the Red Sea to attack Aqaba. Russia's Caucasus Army would advance over the mountains and invade Georgia and Armenia, then turn westward and advance to Trabzon (Trebizond) where it was hoped that a breakout by the Russian navy from the Sea of Azov would allow them to simultaneously hit Trabzon and Sinop (Sinope) before joining the army advancing down the Black Sea coast and conquering Constantinople itself. Though Hungary was included in the partition plan, there had been no discussion of Hungary's strategy due to the fact that the Magyars were under pressure from Turk, Austrian-German and Pole alike and would have to defend its own territory before being able to go on the offensive. While this was not a problem as Hungarian and Persian spheres were likely never to come into conflict, this slight on the part of Panin would in due course come back to haunt him when the Hungarians learned of it.

    By Janurary of 1766, the situation had become complex. Russia was about to lose Novgorod, and had already lost Reval, Minsk, Smolensk and Kiev. Moscow was threatened and Crimea was increasingly slipping away from them. Hungary was barely holding on in the Balkans and Adriatic as Austrian armies advanced toward Ragusa and could very likely break out of Burgenland and advance on Budapest itself. Shahrohk Shah* had bidded his time shrewdly, raising troops, collecting grains in the provinces and laying the ground for his offensive. As February began four armies were ready to be deployed, with two concentrated on Iraq, one on Basra and a fourth on Azerbaijan. Shahrohk Shah himself would lead the offensive into Baghdad, while Turkic, Arab, and Uzbek commanders would lead the other armies. Shahrohk began his offensive on 17 February 1766 with simultaneous attacks into Mesopotamia, taking the Turkish garrisons in Baghdad and Basra by complete surprise. In only two days, both cities had been conquered and secured, opening the rest of the Fertile Crescent up to the Persian advance. He continued his advance into Syria and began to besiege Raqqa while the southernmost of his four armies (32,000 strong) advanced along the road to Damascus. It was only here that the first substantial Turkish resistance was encountered, in the form of an army of 29,000 commanded by Silahdar Mahir Hamza Pasha**, the Ottoman governor (Wali) of Egypt. Both sides dug in four miles to the east of Damascus to allow time for their supplies to catch up while the Arab commander of the Persian force, Abd-Al Walid*** sent word to Shahrohk Shah asking for reinforcements. Siladhar Hamza Pasha, eager to attack before Persian reinforcements could arrive to tilt the balance in their favor, ordered an immediate attack on the Persian center with the hope of either capturing or killing Al-Walid and demoralizing the Persians. His bashi-bazouk brigades charged into the incoming arrows and musketballs of the Persians, costing nearly 4,000 lives and forcing the survivors to scatter, depriving Silahdar Hamza Pasha of a substantlal number of troops. This reckless decision on his part would later cost him his position as beylerbey of Egypt. In an effort to try to correct his mistake, he ordered his sipahis to charge the Persians. Instead of a direct charge, they wheeled to the left as though breaking and retreating, which convinced the Persians that their enemy was losing control of his army and was ripe for defeat. Al-Walid, a veteran of the Uzbek wars, was not convinced of this and managed to hold his troops only by threatening execution should they survive battle with the enemy. He realized the Turkish strategy and ordered a group of Uzbek horsemen to pursue and scatter the Sipahis while they began their advance. Siladhar Hamza Pasha ordered the artillery to begin pounding the Persian advance in an effort to reduce their numbers and potentially open a hole in their center that he could then send the Janissaries, along with Syrian, Albanian, and Bulgarian auxiliaries, into. Chaos erupted when the sipahis, with the Uzbeks still in pursuit, charged into the Persian left, comprised of Azeri light troops, scattering them and in many cases, driving them into the center where the battle-hardened Persian elites were located. The confusion was just what Silahdar Hamza Pasha needed, but instead of capitalizing on the chance given, he hesitated, allowing the Persian elites to reform. They barely managed to do so under Turkish fire but they resumed their march and drove the remaining bashi-bazouks back, exposing the Syrian auxiliaries to a withering barrage of cannon and musket fire. 3,000 were killed in the first seven minutes but the remainder (2,500) joined by the ever-ready Albanians (3,000 strong) held the line and inflicted a loss of 7,000 on the Persians (the Azeris had lost 3,300 when the sipahis charged into their ranks, followed by the pursuing Uzbeks, who lost 220). Silahdar Hamza Pasha ordered the Janissaries into battle with fifes, flutes and drums playing a rousing battle song which inbued the men with courage and gave them the incentive to push against the Persian center until they finally broke through and encircled the divided Persian force. Four hours into the battle, and with the sun beginning to lower on the horizon, both commanders called a halt on further fighting and pulled their respective forces back to give the troops rest, tend the wounded, and bury the dead. The first Battle of Damascus, though in terms of manpower loss, was a Turkish victory, they paid a high price for that victory with the loss of 7,000 infantry and 235 sipahis (out of a total force of 2,000). Strategically, the battle was inconclusive as despite the fact that both sides suffered loss, the Persians could count on reinforcements (which arrived too late for the battle, but provided a significant manpower boost), while the Turks were only now beginning to draw upon their various regional regiments (especially from the Balkans) to replenish their manpower, not to mention the continuing Persian advances in the Caucasus and the occupation of Mesopotamia.

    The Batle of Danascus came at an unexpected time for the Ottoman Empire. On the one hand, the Bosnian and Wallachian regiments on the frontiers were barely able to contain the Hungarians even as they were losing Dalmatia to Hapsburg Austria. On the other hand, Russian armies were pressing on the Crimean Khanate despite suffering a major defeat in Kiev against the Poles. As a Sultan-Caliph, Mustafa III had a duty to defend the Crescent whenever and wherever it came into conflict with the Cross, but as a realist, he also knew that the Peraians posed a great danger to Levantine and Egyptian commerce and could eventually even pose a direct threat to the capital itself. He sent a letter to Arslan, newly proclaimed Khan of the Crimea informing him that he'd withdraw all but a small Turkish regiment of 2,500 Janissaries to Anatolia to hold off the Persians and that he would have to come to terms with the Circassians and Mingrelians or else face the Russians alone. This angered Arslan-being abandoned by his overlord-and he seriously considered slaughtering the Janissaries before they were withdrawn, to deprive the Sultan of his reinforcements, but then General Pulaski offered a solution. He had 150 Cossack POWs from the recent conquest of Kiev, among them Petro Kalnyshevsky. He had the Cossack ataman brought to him and here proposed a deal in which in exchange for his freedom and the freedom of his fellow Cossacks, they would be granted equal rights in the Commonwealth and even placed in Kiev's city council. Kalnyshevsky replied that only full equality in the Commonwealth would be acceptable, though he also stressed the need to persuade the Tartars to agree, as there had been animosity between the two peoples for years. Pulaski transmitted this to Arslan-who at first hesitated for the same reason. But after a skirmish with a Russian army in which 288 Tartar cavalry were killed, he could no longer afford to ponder the matter further and appeared in Pulaski's camp just outside Kiev in person to pledge his agreement with Kalnyshevsky. Pulaski also sent the terms of the agreement to the king-grand duke, who in light of Poland-Lithuania's current military situation, was only too obliging to accept. Kalnyshevsky and his comrades were freed and allowed to form a Cossack battalion to which three regiments of Tartar cavalry were attached on the Khan's orders and as a gesture of camaraderie. To Mustafa III, Pulaski pledged a group of Polish and Ruthenian engineers to help construct earthenworks to close off the passes of the Taurus Mountains and encircle the city of Sivas, while a second group of 50 Polish engineers were sent to Jerusalem to build rowers which could carry six cannon and command a view of the valley. The near-constant effort, which took nearly three months to complete, now offered the Turks two major chokepoints through which the Persians would have to pass in order to continue to their objectives.

    Shahrohk Shah, still in Baghdad, received reports of "Slavic engineers in Jerusalem". Shocked by the fact his Ottoman enemy would openly fight alongside infidels, he ordered his army in Mosul to join with his army and prepare to attack Sivas. He hoped to close in on the city before any defensive works could be completed and at the same time destroy the only Ottoman army between him and Istanbul. The May storms would hamper both the efforts of the Polish engineers to finish laying defensive works outside Sivas, and the Persian advance toward the city, but the Poles finished their defensive construction just six days ahead of the appearance of the advance-scouts from the Persian armies. Mustafa III, riding from Istanbul in the company of an army of 46,000 Janissaries as well as contingents from Bulgaria, Rumelia and Albania and a flanking wing of Polish hussars which brought the total to some 54,500 in all, arrived four hours before Shahrohk Shah's combined army of 38,000 comprising heavy Persian infantry, Uzbek cavalry, Arab camel archers and Azeri irregulars. At 11 am on 8 May 1766 Shahrohk Shah sent a message to the Sultan demanding the surrender of Sivas, the Polish engineers, and the Imperial headgear as new sultan, offering to keep Mustafa III as his vassal and returning Basra (though not mentioning Baghdad or Mosul). Mustafa III refused, countering with the demand to evacuate Baghdad, Basra and Mosul and terminating the alliance with Russia. To this brazen counteroffer, the only response was battle and Shahrohk Shah ordered the cannon to begin bombarding the Turkish positions. Thanks to the Polish engineers, the Turks had strong defensive battlements in which they could cover themselves, firing when the enemy fire was at its lowest frequency. This enabled them to suffer less casualties than their Persian enemy, who had little to no cover to which they could protect themselves. What the Persians lacked in defensive works, they made up for in surprise as the Uzbek cavalry charged into the Rumelian light infantry-left without any defensive work to shelter in-and killing 560 before being forced to fall back under Turkish rocket and cannon fire. Turkish and Albanian sipahis, attacking from the flanks, managed to drive a wedge between the Azeris and the Arab camel archers, killing 890 and losing only 202 to arrows. As the heavy infantry began to advance with bayonets affixed to their rifles, the Turks rose from behind their battlements and offered a withering fire, killing 14,000 in ten minutes. Shahrohk Shah attempted to send a messenger to call on the southern army in Raqqa to march north to attack the Turkish position from the south, but the messenger was intercepted by Polish hussars, depriving the Persian shah of a means of outflanking his enemy. By 6 pm that afternoon, after five more attempts to storm the redoubts were repulsed with heavy losses, and with no sign of his southern army approaching (he didnt know that his messenger had been captured), Shahrohk Shah reluctantly ordered a retreat, harassed by sipahis and hussars as his remnant army returned to Baghdad. Victory here, however, was short-lived for Mustafa III as word soo arrived that four Hungarian armies had broken through the defenses along the Bosnian borderlands and were advancing deep into the province, freed for this purpose by a truce signed with Austria at Zadar (signed on 7 May, the day before the Battle of Sivas). He traveled to Cairo long enough to supervise the appointment of the new Pasha of Egypt (Silahdar Hamza Pasha had been removed by the emirs for his error which nearly cost the Turks the Battle of Damascus despite the narrowest of victory achieved there), then sailed back to Istanbul.

    * Shahrohk Shah or Shahrohk Mirza was shah from 1750-1796 with a two month interruption IOTL. He would be in his second reign during the 10 Years War ITTL

    ** Silahdar Mahir Hamza Pasha was governor of Ottoman Egypt from 1765-67 IOTL

    *** Al-Walid is a fictional name as there is no factual equivalent of the Persian commander ITTL

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    The Balkans to 1767
  • By April 1766, the Siege of Ragusa had been ongoing for 13 months. Food had become scarce, forcing many of the inhabitants to resort to eating horses, dogs, cats, rats, squirrels, roaches, even in the most extreme cases, each other. Austrian general von Daun kept up the pressure with a series of cannonades which prevented the inhabitants from attempting to escape, while scores of Austrian and Polish cavalry searched the countryside for any who did scale the walls and try to flee into the countryside. In a few cases, such as when women and children were the escapees, the Austrians would provide escort as far as the Hungarian frontier. In other cases, Polish cavakry would force men who had deserted the defense of the city to run themselves into exhaustion, then slaughter them when they collapsed (this would be remembered in Hungarian history as ' a Lengyel Pofon'* or 'the Polish Slap') As the population slowly dropped due to starvation, cannabalism and disease, the mayor of the city*-Pietro Natali-sent urgent messages to King Anton I requesting relief. The king, with his eye on Bosnia and Serbia and hoping to take advantage of Russia's invasion of Crimea, hesitated on the matter of Ragusa-which was technically semi-autonomous and self-governing, which only served to prolong the suffering of the citizens within the trapped city. After another two months in which the city's population dropped another 27% from cannibalism and starvation, Natali sent a final letter to the king making ckear he would no longer act as mayor and placed the fate of the city in the king's hands. Anton I was furious and warned Natali that if he set foot in Hungarian territory, he would be arrested and executed. Natali promptly fled the city and made his way northward, then westward, returning to the city from which his ancestors had come: Venice. Two more months passed before Anton I finally agreed to meet General von Daun under a cease-fire to discuss terms for a truce. On 16 August, von Daun and Anton I met in Zadar and arranged the Truce of Zadar based on the latin principle of 'ita possideatis' (they may possess what they have possessed). This meant that for the time being, Austria would be recognized as having control over Dalmatia and western Croatia, but it also left Burgenland in Hungarian control. While this was an unsatisfactory solution for both sides, it would finally allow Hungary to turn its attention to the Ottomans.

    On 6 October, 6 months after the Persian declaration of war and the advance into Iraq, Andras Hadik was named Commander of the Western Armies by King Anton I and given supreme command of three armies. His main army, comprised of veterans and survivors of the Dalmatian War, were supplemented with an additional 5,500 troops and 1,200 cavalry and raising the total force to 29,500 (Pugachev and 200 Cossack horse were withdrawn and returned to the Crimean front). A second army under the command of Ferdinand Bonaventura II von Harrach** and comprising 14,000 troops, 220 artillery and 800 cavalry commanded by Count Pal Festetics de Tolna*** was organized close to Belgrade, while the third army under the command of Franz Leopold von Nadasdy**** and comprised of 13,500 troops, 190 artillery and 2,000 cavalry was organized at a point near the Wallachian city of Timisoara. As soon as the Truce of Zadar was signed, Anton I gave orders to begin the Balkan Offensive. Belgrade came under siege two days later on 8 October and capitulated seven days later on the 15 October. Hadik continued down through the Serbian countryside, looking to conquer the city of Skopje, and meantime ravaging the farms and villages along the way. Harrach's army advanced toward the cities of Nis and Sofia, choosing to split his force and take command of the army proceeding to Nis while de Tona took command of the Sofia army. Just three days apart, both armies began their siege of the cities. Nadasdy's army, still waiting near the Wallachian frontier, hoped to receive word of a Russian army descending along the coast of the Black Sea and the mouth of the Danube River before beginning his own advance. Part of the Russo-Hungarian plan called for such an event. Days went by without any indication of a Russian army advancing south, and it was finally decided to begin their offensive with the goal of conquering the port of Varna and potentially open a route for the Russians should they break free of the Sea of Azov. Mustafa III, fresh from his victory at Sivas, returned with 3,000 Janissaries, 3,500 Albanian and Cretan auxiliaries and a force of Polish hussar and gathered another 12,000 Janissaries and 4,000 sipahis from Macedonia, and called on Hadji Mustafa Pasha***** to call up Bulgarian, Rumelian and Greek regiments to form a second army. The two men met in Salomika to discuss their options based on the tactical situation. After pouring over maps of the region, both men determined that the loss of Skopje would be the more catastrophic of the inevitable losses due in large part to the experience of the Hungarian general despite his defeat by the Austrians. In agreement, both armies advanced on the road to Skopje only to find that the advance cavalry of the Hungarians were already before the walls of the city reconnoitering.. Using the Hussar, the scout cavalry were put to flight losing 100 riders and 77 horses. On the morning of 23 October, Hadik's main Hungarian army came over the hills steadily advancing toward the walls, unaware of the Sultan's army waiting on the other side of the city.

    Mustafa III left command of his army to his vizier Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha ( a Thracian), who was experienced in military tactics. Unlike previous sultans who often took that chance to go on hunting or falconing expeditions, Mustafa III preferred to remain with the army to serve as a rallying figure. Kose and Hadji Pasha drew up their Jansissary troops into a crescent formation, placing the most expendable soldiers (bashi-bazouks and irregulars) in the front, the sipahis behind the crescent ready to sweep around and flank the enemy, and artillery at the ends of the crescent to focus cannon fire at the enemy. As Hadik marched closer to the city, Mustafa III ordered the garrisons along the walls to begin firing their bombards to both scatter and frighten the Hungarian infantry. For 45 minutes, the city walls seemed alive with a kind of thunder that even nature could never replicate, and as the scouts on the walls reported, it was having the desired effect of causing panic among the Hungarian footmen, who were not expecting that their target would already be aware of their approach. Hadik, in frustration, ordered a force-march to close the distance so he could then have the cannons deployed to start returning fire, but as they drew closer, he was shocked to see two Ottoman armies coming into view on opposite sides of the city as they marched in perfect lockstep onto the heights. He was further shocked when, on the highest tower along the walls the banner of the Prophet Muhammad, the banner of the Sultan himself, could be seen flying. He sent a fast messenger to Budapest to get instructions as to how he should proceed. Eight days later he received his reply. The king had instructed that under no circumstances was the Sultan to be allowed to escape. During the period in which he waited for the reply, he drew close enough to finally deploy his own cannon and promptly returned fire. The cannon fire exchange continued for five days, doing little except to frighten the people in nearby villages, who refused to tend their livestock for fear of being struck by cannonball and killed.

    At 4:30 am on 31 October, Hadik sent sappers to attempt to dig tunnels and lay mines beneath the walls. From within the city, convicts who were collected and promised amnesty for service also began diggind tunnels in an effort to counter the mines and drive the enemy from underground. In 2 and a half hours, two groups of sappers were underground on a collision course for each other. Hadik tried to focus cannon fire on a section of wall in an effort to divert the attention of the garrison, but their focus on the section of wall only served to indicate where their sappers were working, and more convict-soldiers were sent into the tunnels being dug by their comrades. Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha sent a battalion of Janissaries complemented by Albanian mountain troops to harass the Hungarian left flank, while Hadji Mustafa Pasha detached 5,000 Bulgarian and Greek battalions to press into the Hungarian right flank. Hadik ordered his Hungarian hussars to spread out and engage the advancing troops, and though 3,700 infantry were killed in the clash, 1,100 cavalry were also killed which rendered the fighting capabilities of the survivors inconsequential. As the flanking Turkish composite armies closed in on Hadik's heavy infantry at the center, the fighting became so intense that Hadik himself took a wound to the foot from a Bulgarian musketball. He rode back to his tent and successfully removed the musketball, but his withdrawal affected his men, who thought he had broken and was fleeing. Thousands began to flee as the Turks now advanced, and as Hadik emerged from his tent still limping and with a makeshift bandage around his foot and saw his troops running, he hefted his personal standard and raised it to the sky, calling on his men to stand their ground. All but 800 rallied to his standard (those 800 would later be tried for cowardice and executed as a warning to others), but as they tried to reform their lines, the sipahis were on top of them, pressing them into tight quarters and causing some to step on their own fallen comrades in an effort to escape the sipahi scimitars. Hadik ordered the army to fall back a mile from the city to restock their ammunition, tend their wounded, and wait for the sappers to bring the walls of Skopje down. From his own vantage point, in his golden tent on a rise, Mustafa III watched as the surviving Hungarian troops and cavalry began their withdrawal and after a fashion gave the command to stand down. He was unaware that beneath the ground two groups of opposing sappers were about to clash, with one determined to bring down the walls, and the other equally determined to stop them.

    By the third week of November as the cool morning air from the nearby Balkan Range descended as it rushed toward the Aegean shores, a loud rumble could be heard and felt at the Ottoman encampment. Mustafa III, roused from his sleep, rushed out in time to see a column of dust and pebbles rain down, exposing a hole in the walls. He knew the city was now wide open for Hadik's forces, but he was determined to fight for every city block. He ordered Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha to send the Albanian auxiliaries into the city and sent his own Janissaries to cut off the by-now advancing Hungarians. The Albanians, led by Kara Mahmud Pasha****** only just managed to enter the city before Hungarian cavalry could charge them and cut them down. Meanwhile 3,000 Bulgarians and 6,000 Janissaries led by a giant named Hassan******* made their way to the Thessalonika Gate and entered the city to join the inhabitants now trying to hold off the Hungarian troops as they broke through the walls and charged into the city. Street by street, house by house, the defenders made the Hungarian invaders pay dearly, taking 17,000. But as the Bulgarians and Rumelians rushed to bolster the defense, another explosion along the walls brought down another large section, allowing additional Hungarian troops to pour in almost contested. This second group of Hungarians rushed into the city and seized the town square, from which they began hastily fortifying their positions. Hadik himself rode in on his horse, bandaged foot in a special cradle, into the town square bearing his standard and the flag of Hungary, which he planted in the center of the square, When the inhabitants saw the Hungarian flag flying at the town square, they lost heart and began trying to escape, running right into the Turkish forces trying to stem the Hungarian flood. In their turn, the troops (with the exception of the courageous Albanians) panicked and now tried to join the townsfolk in escaping the city. As the Hungarians pushed their way toward the citadel, the Albanians raised the black flag showing their resolve to die fighting. They crowded into the citadel and fought with every weapon they had, and when those were no longer available, they fought with their hands. In eight hours of daytime and nighttime fighting, with fires breaking out in the empty residences, all 3,500 Albanians were killed. But they took 5,000 Hungarian infantry with them into the afterlife. As the residential areas burned through the night, Mustafa III could see that the battle had become lost. On 19 November, he ordered the surviving Janissaries of Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha's army and the army of Hadji Mustafa Pasha to retreat to Salonika.

    They arrived in Salonika on 23 November, where the Sultan admonished his two commanders, then had the governor of Skopje (who had fled with them) executed for cowardice by impalement. Of the two Turkish armies that had went to the defense of Skopje, Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha was left with 9,700 while Hadji Mustafa Pasha was left with only 2,000 (out of an army numbered at 20,000). Despite his victory at Skopje, Hadik had been left with 17,500 out of 29,500. Mustafa III had to concede the loss of Skopje, but in fighting hard to try to hold the city, he had also reduced the main Hungarian army and convinced Hadik that pursuit would not benefit him. While rebuilding his armies in Salonika, Mustafa III learned of the fall of Nis and Sofia (on 15th and 18th November, respectively) but also that like Skopje, Hungarian losses were substantial enough to prevent them following up with a descent on Edirne. Only Varna remained under siege and this was due to the appearance of an Austrian flotilla which had donned the Turkish naval ensigns and slipped into the Black Sea. The Sultan sent a force of 10,000 Janissaries and 8,000 sipahis cobbled together from the two armies, placing Hadji Mustafa Pasha in command and ordering him to break the siege of Varna. On 30 November, after a final assault by Nadasdy which killed 3,000 inhabitants and 7,500 Turkish troops, Hadji Mustafa Pasha arrived and forced Nadasdy to flee to Timisoara, losing 9,500 infantry, all the artillery and 1,750 cavalry. Thus Varna remained in Turkish hands, but at the cost of Skopje, Nis and Sofia (in addition to Belgrade and Sarajevo), giving the western Balkans to Hungary.

    * This is not an officially recognized translation, but a great approximation thereof (courtesy of Google Translate)
    ** Harrach (1708-1778) was governor of Milan under the Hapsburgs IOTL
    *** Pal Festetics de Tolna ( 1725-1782) son of Josef Festetics. Made a count by Maria Theresa IOTL
    **** Franz Leopold Nadasdy (1708-1783) Austrian Field Marshal and Ban of Croatia IOTL
    ***** Hadji Mustafa Pasha Ottoman commander and Governor of Rumelia IOTL
    ****** Kara Mahmud Pasha Albanian. Little is known of him IOTL
    ******* Hassan Figure based on the giant Janissary that supposedly aided in the conquest of Constantinople IOTL. Here a similar giant plays the same role in the conquest of Skopje

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    The Baltic Quagmire and Sweden's Predicament
  • The island of Bornholm had been under Swedish occupation since January 1765 when a massive Swedish amphibious landing took the Danish garrison by surprise. It had initially been hoped that Bornholm would serve as a stepping stone to regaining Swedish Pomerania and Gotland. But the Treaty of Kalmar had put an end-however temporary-to those hopes and the Prussians had left a strong garrison in Stralsund and the island of Rugen, which would make any landings there problematic. They soon discovered however that their control of the island did bring an unexpected benefit in that now Danish and Prussian attention was focused on the tiny island. As a result, Frederick II, still engaged against Austria, raised an army of 23,500 under the command of Ferdinand Duke of Brunswick. Using a flotilla of 200 transports, defended (despite their recent treaty) by the Commonwealth navy, they sailed for Bornholm on 7 February 1767 and landed on the southern shore of the island two days later. The Swedish commander, Gustav Olaf*, called up the garrisons and set out with 21,900 of them (20,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, 400 artillery and 500 armed citizens) to meet the Prussians. At 3 pm, the two sides clashed in a four-hour battle which crushed the Prussians' hopes of an easy conquest. Ferdinand lost 2,500 men and 50 cannon while Olaf lost 800 cavalry, 400 armed citizens and 7,500 infantry in the battle, but the Swedes retained control of the island while the Prussians began to fortify their camp and entrench themselves as Ferdinand sent a request for additional soldiers and artillery from Prussia.

    In Stockholm, the discovery of Poland-Lithuania's assistance to Prussia in their first attempt to take Bornholm triggered a debate within the Riksdag as to what-if anything-should be done. While Adolf Frederick I was content only to send a warning to the Poles and increase Swedish naval patrols in the Baltic, many others were calling for a renunciation of the Treaty of Kalmar and a drive to reconquer Gotland. But there was a growing number of nobles who saw the current distress of Russia as an opportunity not to be ignored. These nobles outlined the idea that St Petersburg was built on Swedish territory which had never been formally ceded in the Treaty of Nystadt and therefore could be reconquered. They even went so far as to suggest an alliance with Poland-Lithuania in order to foster such goals of reconquest. The king's son, Gustaf III, joined these nobles in calling for a war with Russia while his illegitimate son, Adolf Fredriksson sided with those calling for a renewal of war with the Commonwealth. The king himself was divided, given the fact that Poland-Lithuania had not initiated hostilities in violation of the Kalmar Treaty, yet they provided material assistance to the Prussians in trying to take Bornholm. Adolf Frederick tabled the debate as the Danes were only a few days march from the capital, while the Prussians, though defeated, remained on Bornholm, where it was likely they would receive additional help from the Danes.

    Pursuit of Glory - Tim Blanning
    Corsica and Portugal
  • On 5 July 1766, Pasquale Paoli* led the second Corsican Uprising against Genoese rule. Using militias from among the mercantile and agricultural communes on the island, they drove out the Genoese and declared an independent Republic of Corsica. This republic, much to their disgust, would not be recognized by any members of the League**, and Paoli made the decision to seek a Great Power's recognition. Naples-despite being in the League-was the nearest Great Power and thus offers to send diplomats to open talks were made. In Turin and Versailles, the announcement of the Corsican Republic was met with shock. But as long as Genoa remained in the League, little could be done. They would finally get their chance when, on 9July, the Doge of Genoa, Francesco Maria Della Rovere announced that Genoa would leave the League due to the "ineptness" in not offering to help him take back the island. For Charles Emannuel III, this was a heaven-sent opportunity. He tried to act in the name of the League by accusing Genoa of committing atrocities on Corsica which led to the uprising and the declaration of independence. None of the other League members addressed the accusation as Genoa was no longer a member and hence outside their jurisdiction-which was what the Sardinian king intended. Declaring his intention to bring the Genoese back into the League (and back into line) he ordered an army of 35,000 to assemble near Finale (disputed between Sardinia-Piedmont and Genoa). For his part, Louis XV also saw his chance to finally seize Corsica. His emissary in the League informed them that should Sardinia-Piedmont move against Genoa, France would move to secure Corsica until such time as a diplomatic resolution were reached. No one in the League was fooled by this double-talk from both powers, but as the Papacy was determined to resolve the matter diplomatically, Venice was determined to avoid being drawn in, and the other Italian states were uninterested, nothing could be done within the League to bring the upcoming war to an end before it started.

    On 11 July, France formally declared war on both Genoa and Corsica. Listing among the grievances the 'mistreatment' of French merchants and citizens in both the city and the island, France offers Genoa the choice between unconditional surrender and recognition of Corsica as a French possession, or a major siege of their city by a combined Franco-Sardinian army. To Corsica, no such offer was made, making clear the Corsicans would receive no such considerations. On the morning of 12 July, a French fleet escorting 30 transports bearing 27,400 troops, cavalry and artillery set sail for Corsica. At roughly the same time, Charles Emannuel III, leading his army outside Finale, invested the port besieging it for five hours before they finally capitulated. Marechal Gaspard Duc' de Clermont-Tonnere*** was placed in command of the French invasion force beginning their landings on Corsica while Jean de Cosse, Duc' de Brissac**** was named commander of the French army of 16,400 which had been sent to join the Sardinians. While the Genoese were forming a battalion on Corsica to attempt to suppress the Corsican Republic from their few ports along the coast, the French force under de Clermont-Tonnere landed on the western shores of the island, and a smaller Sardinian army of 11,800 landed in the south. Thus a fourway battle for the island soon began (though the Sardinian army did little to participate, mainly concerned with establishing another beachhead for the French) which would only be resolved when Genoa itself capitulated. On 14 July, Genoa came under bombardment from the Sardinian guns on the rises close to the city, while the French Marseilles sqaudron, fresh from escorting the transports returned to blockade the port. Doge Rovere led the defense of the city from the tower closest to the besieging army, even coming close to death on several occasions during the siege, but inspiring the militias and townsfolk as they fought desperately to hold out against the siege and blockade.

    As the siege continued, the League began to attempt to support the Genoese by providing funds, weapons, food shipments overland, and medical supplies. But dissention was already beginning to spread among the members as the Spanish vassal-states announced their support for the Franco-Sardinian campaign citing Genoa's refusal to recognize the Corsicans as independent. Pope Clement XIII decried the plight of the Corsicans but insisted that a solution needed to be found between Genoa and Corsica and that Sardinia and France were merely using the dispute to aggrandize themselves. But when he tried to form a military alliance with Modena, Ferrara and Mantua, he was blocked by the Duke of Mantua's adherence to the Franco-Spanish alliance as well as the stubborn determination of the Venetians to remain uncommitted, and the Neapolitans' refusal to break with their Bourbon kin. Not willing to continue to prop the League up on his own, the Pope announced the end of the Pan-Italian Defense League 3 years after its initial establishment. Though all the former members now viewed Sardinia-Piedmont as a pariah, with the League collapsed, none were willing or able to do more than protest in silence. As the siege now stretched from days into weeks, the inhabitants came to realize they would receive no help from the League (they wouldnt learn until later that the League had been disbanded) and steeled themselves to resist. A month into the siege, the inhabitants were soon throwing themselves into the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, or slaughtering and eating rats and snakes as their food supplies shrank. An attempt by the British Royal Navy of the Mediterranean to break the French blockade in a skirmish (14 August) ended with the loss of 9 ships-of-the-line and 17 frigates on the British side and only 2 ships-of-the-line and 8 frigates on the French side. From within the desolate city, the citizens could only despair as the British fleet limped away.

    The Genoese battalions found themselves caught between the advancing French army and the Corsican militias as they struggled toward Ajaccio, the Corsican capital. de Clermont-Tonnere marched his troops first into the mountains, where he crushed the Corsicans who were holding out in their strongholds in a series of encounters, then drove the remainder toward the coast. Here they encountered the Genoese battalions and a threeway battle erupted in which the Corsicans suffered the most losses. Paoli himself managed to escape into the mountain fastnesses, abandoning his countrymen to the French, who now attacked the Genoese battalions. After another three hours of fighting, the Genoese withdrew from Corsica, abandoning Ajaccio and a smaller Genoese garrison which fled to the city ahead of the advancing French. Ajaccio was placed under siege on 17 August, which lasted for three months. By then, Genoa itself was close to capitulating. Doge Rovere led the last attempt to break out and escape to the Duchy of Lucca, but with the population reduced by 40% and the survivors no longer willing to continue the defense for lack of food, he sent a messenger to Charles Emannuel III's camp requesting terms.

    Two days after the ceasefire agreement between Doge Rovere and Charles Emannuel III, representatives of the three powers (France, Genoa, and Sardinia-Piedmont) met at Finale. Corsica, still under French siege and with no recognized government now that Pasquale Paoli had abandoned the capital, was no represented. Doge Rovere represented himself as did Charles Emannuel III. France was represented by Charles Louis Auguste Fouquet, duc de Belle-Isle*****, a newcomer to the foreign ministry. In three days of tense negotiation, the final outcome was the Peace of Finale, whose terms were as follows:

    - Genoa would become a dependency of Sardinia-Piedmont, who would appoint a manager to oversee the civic administration
    - Genoa would recognize Charles Emannuel III as sovereign of the former republic and offer reparations of $40,000
    - Sardinia-Piedmont ceded Nizza (Nice) to France as well as half of Savoy (Savoie)
    - Corsica would be ceded to France. The independent republic was to be suppressed and the citizens forced to pay $60,000 in reparations
    - Those Corsican republicans who had managed to escape into the mountainside were to be located and handed over to French administrators for trial.

    The former Doge of Genoa was allowed to retire to an estate in Lyons, France where he lived out his remaining days. He would later write of his humiliation . News of the peace treaty arrived via French frigate on 19 November, two days after the peace treaty had been signed. De Clermont-Tonnere read the terms of the treaty to the stunned inhabitants of Ajaccio, then followed up with a guarantee of food and a 5-year tax exempt period in exchange for capitulation. A messenger sent back a reply in the affirmative, and by 6 pm that afternoon, the French army was marching peacefully into the city.

    As the French and Sardinians were besieging both Genoa and Ajaccio, in the Iberian peninsula, the Portuguese were still fighting on despite the occupation of Beira and Oporto by the Spanish. With the British army defended the Torres Vedras line guarding Lisbon, the Spanish and French armies could not deliver a knockout strike, though their navies continued to blockade the Portuguese capital. General Dumouriez met with Charles III in Segovia to discuss a way to force Portugal to capitulate. General O'Reilly would be given a larger force of 15,700 troops and sent south to force the Anglo-Portuguese forces to concentrate on him. Sarria, commanding an army of 12,900 troops would march south and attack the Algarve. Dumouriez with an army of 24,600 troops would push for Lisbon once the Anglo-Portuguese forces marched away from the safety of the lines of Torres Vedras. British commander O'Hara had been prepared to reduce the number of British troops due to the increasing need for them in North America and Maracaibo, and already he was working to convince Portuguese king Joseph I to seek favorable terms with Spain that would award her the regions she currently occupied in exchange for a guarantee of Portuguese sovereignty. Thus when he began to receive reports of Spanish movement from Oporto south in the direction of Lisbon, he was taken by surprise, forcing him to raise a force of 900 comprised mainly of a number of British sailors whose ships were being refitted, and a Portuguese militia numbering only 1,000. This force marched from the Torres Vedras north to meet O'Reilly's army at Matosinhos (16 July). Though battle never took place as both armies were constantly manuevering and trying to gain tactical advantage, the raod to Lisbon was now opened by O'Hara's move north. Dumouriez saw his opportunity and marched his army to Lisbon, encountering little resistance from the few bands of Portuguese militias which tried to hamper his movements. At roughly the same time, Sarria's army advanced into the Algarve with no opposition. The Siege of Lisbon began on 19 July with a cannon bombardment which leveled the view buildings which had managed to survive the previous earthquake. Joseph I now considered escaping to Brazil to continue the war, but his advisors warned him that such an attempt would be ruined by the presence of the Franco-Spanish fleet which still blockaded the port and had also commenced their own bombardment. O'Hara, realizing the northern army movement was a feint to draw him from Lisbon, ordered a retreat back to the line of the Torres Vedras, but by then a Spanish force of considerable strength was in occupation and the best he could manage was a sortie which inflicted a loss of 670 Spanish troops but cost him 780 British sailors. He prudently withdrew south, avoiding the Spanish and French cavalry sorties across the countryside and quietly boarded a British sloop which had slipped through the blockade by flying the Spanish ensign. His last message to Joseph I was a final attempt to persuade him to negotiate terms with the Spanish (while ignoring the French altogether, as the original dispute had been between Spain and Portugal). News then arrived of the Spanish capture of Montevideo on 21 July by a Brazilian army. Buoyed by this news, Joseph I sent a message to Charles III requesting a cease-fire to discuss terms for peace. Agreement was reached and the two monarchs met in Cordoba on 26 July.

    The peace negotiations progressed smoothly, on account of the fact no French representative was invited. The terms which were finally agreed upon were surprisingly mild, which surpised the Portuguese king, though the one sticking point remained the fact of Portugal's alliance with Britain. Here, he tried circumventing the topic but was constantly forced back on subject by Charles III. After three days of tense arguments and counterarguments, Joseph I finally relented. On 30 July, the two sovereigns finally signed the Treaty of Cordoba with the following terms:

    - Portugal would cede the Algarve, Biera, Evora and Oporto to Spain
    - Portugal would terminate its alliance with Britain and sign a mutual assistance treaty with Spain
    - Boundary adjustments in South America would be reserved for arbitration.

    Spain's generosity in dealing with Portugal had one crucial factor: the need for the Spanish fleet. War in North America was heating up again, and Louis XV was anxious to draw Britain's attention away from their American colonies with a daring plan to invade the British Isles in support of the Jacobites who still plagued the kingdom. Charles III was eager to assist as Spain and Britain had been rivals going back to the time of Phillip II and Elizabeth.

    (NOTE: The withdrawal of the French and Spanish fleets from the blockade of Lisbon after the treaty was signed had no effect on any naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea as they were a separate theater.)

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    A Brief Overview and the Invasion of Britain
  • By the start of 1768, the war had been raging for three years. In Scandinavia and the Baltic, Sweden still struggled with the idea of either re-engaging Poland-Lithuania for Gotland and Livonia or joining them in dismembering the Russian Empire-which was the larger threat to both powers. Sweden also still struggled with Denmark-Norway over the interior of their country, having finally lost control of Lund on 14 December 1767. Their only significant victory against the Baltic Alliance (minus Poland-Lithuania, with whom they were at peace) was the conquest of Bornholm, which held off a first attempt by Prussia ( 7 February 1767) to conquer the island. Poland-Lithuania's war effort, initially hampered by their Baltic and Balkan commitments now gathered steam as they pushed into the heart of Russia. Having already conquered Livonia, Reval, Novgorod, Minsk, Smolensk and Kiev and with their largest army poised to make a strike on Moscow itself, Poland-Lithuania was close to fulfilling a dream: a more subservient Russia as its eastern neighbor. While Russia had to keep a wary eye on Sweden and barely managed to hold off the Poles, was somewhat more successful against the Ottoman Empire, finally breaching the defensive bastions close to the Crimea and sending their armies to ravage the peninsula itself. The damage had been done, however, as Tartar and Turkish sipahi raids had devastated the region around Volgagrad and Astrakhan. Their one achievement in an otherwise desultory two-front conflict was the adherence of Persia to the initial alliance with Hungary, which allowed for a third front to be opened against the Turks in the Middle East.

    For the Turks, now facing a rampant Russia, a vengeful Persia and an opportunistic Hungary, the situation could not be any more dire. The recent treaty between Austria and Hungary, though little more than a truce, had ended for the present any chance of Hapsburg assistance. Poland-Lithuania, already assisting the Turkis in Crimea and the Levant, may soon be forced to render aid against Hungary in the form of an invasion. With a truce in place with Austria, Hungary would be better positioned to push back any Polish invasion and with the victory at Skopje, coupled with the conquests of Belgrade, Sarajevo, Nis and Sofia, Hungary's dream of a west Balkan empire would be closer to realization. The Truce of Zadar may only be temporary, but for Austria it would allow the Hapsburgs to raise a new army, fortify their new Dalmatian territories and make accomodation with the Venetian trading outposts on the various islands and coastal outlets. They were no longer able to reclaim Silesia from Prussia, but the desire to seek revenge by both stripping them of the province and bringing them to heel once and for all still burned brightly. Maria Theresa and her son and co-ruler Joseph I would be forced to deal with Hungary once and for all at the end of the truce. Bahemia, having secured the election of another Wittelsbach as King of the Romans (Holy Roman Emperor-to-be) in the person of Charles Theodor, would remain in a precarious position commanding the largest military force in Central Europe but with many of the middling and tiny German states, archbishoprics, Hanseatic cities and Austria remaining uneasy as to the future of the Empire under Wittelsbach leadership as they remained faithful allies of France, and were now the second most powerful behind Prussia. The Hohenzollern Monarchy would remain determined to become the dominant northern German power and hold on to Silesia in the face of continuing Austrian and later Saxon attempts to deprive them, as well as French efforts to conquer their lands in Westphalia, but they would (with Denmark-Norway) also deplete their resources in an effort to dislodge the Swedes from Bornholm. 1769 would see the stalemate continue with only one major event occuring, the Saxon Betrayal*

    For France and Spain, the capitulation of Portugal and the vexing of the British Royal Navy offered new opportunities. Already a Spanish army was close to achieving their goal of conquering Carolina colony while French forces were successfully repelling British efforts to dislodge them from Nova Scotia-even at the cost of losing Maine. Both states' navies ruled the Caribbean and mid-Atlantic, while the fleets of the Mediterranean had played a role in deterring British intervention in the recent war with Genoa and Corsica. France's effort to bring an end-however temporary-to the Moghul/Maratha contest in India now offered new allies in their desire to contain British expansion on the subcontinent, while Spain's desire to reconquer Maracaibo kept the British distracted and unable to support both the American fronts.. For Britian, despite the setbacks, their navy was building in strength and their ability to support their army in Hannover was unchallenged. As paymaster for the various anti-French coalitions, Britain could keep France occupied in Europe. However this was a strategy fraught with danger and it would only be when it was too late that the British government would learn how close that danger could actually come.

    The Invasion of Britain

    In Cherbourg, France, the transport ships were being gathered. With the peace signed with Portugal, the French Brest fleet and Calais fleet could now sail north to Bordeaux. The Spanish La Corunna fleet also sailed north to Bordeaux. Louis XV had already discussed the proposal with his ministers, which would bring Britain to its knees and give France uncontested supremacy in Europe and in North America. The architect of this proposal was Marechal Emmanuel de Croy-Solre**. He proposed a three-pronged invasion of the British Isles with the triple objectives of liberating Wales and Ireland and assisting the Stuart Pretender in reclaiming the British throne. Discussing the proposal with Choiseul, de Croy-Solre proposed having two French armies invade mainland Britain while a Spanish army landed in Ireland as a feint. He further argued that with Britain's navy away in the North Sea defending Hannover and Holland, and the closest reinforcements days away, the time could hardly be better. What won the French king to the proposal was the reminder that Britain had played a similar role during the Orleanist Uprising and this would be a form of revanche. On 29 December 1768, Dumouriez returned from Spain and his victory over Portugal and was offered command of the first of the two armies being assembled for the invasion, but he rejected it as too bold and too likely to fail. He lost favor with the royal court as a result of this and though he would continue to serve the king nobly, his reputation had been bruised***. Two men stepped forward to assume the roles: Henri Joseph Bouchard d'Esparbes de Lussan d'Aubeterre and Charles Juste de Beauvau, Prince de Craon****, Dumouriez did offer the Spanish-Irish commander O'Reilly to lead the Spanish Army of Ireland. O'Reilly was summoned to Versailles and offered the command, which he accepted gratefully.

    The timetable for the crossing of the English Channel now became critical, for the Channel was known for having sudden storms wreck the plans of any who tried to cross from either direction. Late fall to early winter was the target period for the invasion and in the meantime, small flotillas were sent into the North Sea to keep the Royal Navy distracted. As the Royal Navy chased the ships around the North Sea and even into the Baltic Sea and the time drew closer, more transport ships were assembled either at the Bordeaux shipyard or brought from other shipyards. By November of 1768 over 200 transport ships were fully assembled. Meanwhile in that same period two armies of 32,400 were assembled in Brittany and Normandy, then marched down to Bordeaux. On 31 December the armada set sail northward, joined by a Spanish squadron escorting 150 transports. Encountering little oppostion***, the Franco-Spanish Armada reached the tip of Cornwall before splitting off, with the Spanish fleet sailing to the Leinster coast on the afternoon of 1 January 1769, and the French fleet making the first of two landings on the 2nd and 4rh respectively. D'Aubeterre led his army, the Army of Wales from their landing point in the south of the country, into the interior where they collected additional Welsh bands before reaching the site of Offa's Dikes. De Beauvau's army, the Army of Londres (French translation of London), after landing in Cornwall, began their march eastward, clashing and scattering those few bands of British infantry they encountered. It was planned for the two armies to meet somewhere in Wessex, then march to Oxford to await the Jacobite army before proceeding to London, but d'Aubeterre had veered from this plan when he began agitating the Welsh into rebelling against their English overlords. Though the tactic worked in that several dozen Welsh bands now flocked to the French banner to fight for their liberty from English taxation and oversight, the result was that d'Aubeterre would now be delayed four days. But as the Jacobite army of Scottish Highlanders and English Lowlander battalions descended on Northumberland, the overall result did not negatively affect the tactical situation.

    Alejandro O'Reilly made a successful landing 40 miles south of Dublin on 3 January (in between the two French landings on mainland Britain). Still concerned about the Royal Navy, he marched his army of 29,300 troops, comprised of a mix of English Catholic, Irish, Spanish and Italian infantry, Spanish conquistador cavalry and 800 pieces of artillery, into Dublin, which submitted without resistance. He sent word to the Spanish admiral to bring the fleet into port for safety and spent three additional days assuring the Irish of his intentions and driving out the English Anglican establishment, in effect, creating ripples powerful enough that the British would become too distracted by Ireland to offer much substantial resistance to the Jacobite/French armies. Even before the two allied armies progressed further, their respective ministers were already formulating a series of demands which would be presented to the British Parliament:

    - The cession of Carolina colony to Spain
    -The cession of Ceuta to Spain
    -The restoration of Maracaibo to Spanish rule
    -The evacuation of British forces from Nova Scotia and Maine, and the cession of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica to France
    -The evacuation of all British military forces from Central Europe
    -Recognition of French territorial and colonial rights in Louisiana colony

    No one was under any illusion that anything short of total victory would convince Britain to accept these terms. But by also agitating the independence aspirations of the Irish and Welsh, Louis XV hoped to create enough distraction in Britain to force them to pull back their armies in Germany and open the path to Prussia. In London, the first indication of trouble arrived with news of the Irish uprising in Dublin, which had drove out the Anglo-Irish gentry and the Anglican establishment. George III responded by hiring Hessian, Dutch and Scottish mercenaries amounting to a total of 17,000. This force arrived in Kent on 7 January and were joined by a hastily organized force of 4,500 Redcoats and 600 artillery. They embarked on 70 transports protected by a flotilla of 15 ships-of-the-line and 9 frigates, reaching the Irish coast on the morning of 10 January. Placed under the command of General Sir Ralph Abercromby, the multinational army marched north to meet O'Reilly's army. Constant guerilla attacks by Irish brigands hampered their movements and allowed O'Reilly to construct a series of redoubts and earthen pillboxes north of Dublin. It was only after the army had landed in Ireland that the British High Command learned of the French armies in Wales and Cornwall, as well as the Jacobite army descending on York. Faced with a three-pronged offensive with London as the ultimate target, George III now had no choice but to recall the Royal Navy from the North Sea and pull the forces in North America back to defensive positions for possible withdrawal. He also initiated a recruitment program to raise a Royal Army***** to defend the kingdom, but it would not be fully organized before the Jacobites or the French arrived.
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    Sweden's Russian Ambitions (1768-1769)
  • King Adolf Frederick was failing in health at the start of 1768. With his sons (one legitimate) debating the merits of a renewed war with Poland-Lithuania vs a new war with Russia, Denmark-Norway finally achieving victory with the conquest of Lund (17 February) and their army now days away from Stockholm itself, the old king found himself in a predicament. He loved both his sons, but it was only Gustav (Gustavus)III who could succeed him because his mother was queen. He was fully aware that his illegitimate son Adolf Fredriksson could easily bring either the Commonwealth or Russia as his sponsor and trigger a civil war at a time when the Danes were looking to humiliate Sweden. He formally announced the elevation of Gustav III as King of Sweden, but followed it up by making Fredriksson Duke of Finland. This did little to improve relations between the two half-brothers and it still seemed likely a civil war could break out. But as Kalmar fell after a brief siege by the Danes and Stockholm was coming under cannon fire from Danish positions in the outlands as well as a Danish naval squadron comprised of 12 frigates, the two sons of the old king put aside their differences. Fredriksson still harbored resentment toward the Polish Commonwealth over the loss of Gotland, he began to see a humbled and dismembered Russia as a means of achieving lasting security for Sweden's Finnish territories. Gradually he came to embrace Gustav III's Russian ambitions and even informed his half-brother of his willingness to negotiate an agreement with the Commonwealth over a division of the Russian Empire. Both men shared a loathing of Prussia for their seizure of Swedish Pomerania, and while the conquest of Bornholm was to serve long-term as a stepping stone to invading Brandenburg and restoring Pomerania as a Swedish client-state, in the short-term it was useful in draining Danish and Prussian manpower. Duke Frederick Adolf of Ostergotland, another son of Adolf Frederick and full brother to Gustav III was appointed major-general* with command of an army of 26,300 troops for the defense of Stockholm while a second army was raised and placed under the command of General Count Fredrik Axel von Fersen numbering 22,300 troops and stationed in Finland. Fredriksson's diplomatic mission to Warsaw departed on 26 February-while von Fersen and his army were completing combat training in Finland-and arrived on 28 February. He met with Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski, nephew of the King of Poland with his proposal to settle the Gotland Question and forge a military pact against Russia. Adam was hesitant to bring the proposal to the king-grand duke, but many of the nobles and General Kovats-still besieging Novgorod-persuaded the king-grand duke to accept the Swedish proposal as a means of securing Gotland, opening the Baltic Sea, and threatening Russia from a new direction.

    As the Polish Commonwealth army continued their siege of Novgorod, von Fersen and his army advanced into Russian Karelia to besiege Archangelsk for three months, finally taking the port city on 4 March before marching south to Murmansk-leaving a garrison behind (Murmansk promptly surrendered to the Swedes). von Fersen sent a cavalry detachment into Estonia, seizing Talinn on 8 March with little opposition. The next day, as the Swedes closed on St Petersburg, Kovats finally forced the capitulation of Novgorod, taking 9.500 Russians as POWs while losing 14,000 to extreme cold, Russian musket fire and bayonet, and disease. Though this would not end the Russo-Polish struggle for the East, it did speed the struggle toward its end. Sweden had gambled on a quick war with Russia and won it handily, but now had to face the full brunt of the Danish offensive as Stockholm was placed under siege. Frederick Adolf's army marched out to meet the Danish army three miles from the capital and in a 5-day engagement achieved a surorise victory, owing to the timely arrival of von Fersen's army fresh from the Russian campaign. The Danes were forced to retreat to Jamtland even as their second army, marching from Kalmar invested Stockholm yet again. This time, von Fersen drove the Danes back, then pursued them into Scania, liberating Kalmar. But the Danes dug in at Jamtland and held off Frederick Adolf's army, leading to a general stalemate along the Dano-Norwegian/Swedish frontline.

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    London Under Siege, Stirrings of Independence
  • King George III withdrew his court to Essex in the face of the approaching French and Jacobite armies. Four weeks later on 21 January, d'Aubeterre's army arrived, followed two days later by De Beauvau's army. London was immediately put under siege, as the militias and townsfolk made their stand. News of the siege spread across Europe causing panic in the German lands as Hannover and Prussia knew the withdrawal of the Redcoats would soon follow, leaving Prussia especially in a vulnerable position vis-a-vis both Sweden and Austria. George III gathered his multinational army in Essex, but before he could move against the French armies, he was forced to march his army to Oxford to face the Jacobite army. In a five-hour battle fought on 27 January, the Jacobites were routed and forced to flee to Northumberland. Not pursuing because of the French siege on his capital, George III marched to London, but after three attempts to break the siege, he was forced to retreat back to Essex. In Ireland, O'Reilly and Abercromby clashed near Belfast on 2 February, and Abercromby barely managed to escape with the survivors of his army to Derry. Irish brigades now flocked to O'Reilly's standard by the hundreds.

    The situation in Britain could not have come at a worse time in North America as the Redcoats were still besieging Halifax. The news of the siege forced the Colonial Office to begin pulling the Redcoats back and calling up the transport ships to ferry them to assist in the defense. For the colonial assemblies, this opened up an unexpected opportunity. Their numbers were few, but the various militias were immediately organized into small armies. Officials from the Carolina, Virginia and Maryland assemblies met in Baltimore and signed the Roanoke Pact for mutual assistance, allowing the colonial militias to organize into a formal army. In the north, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island also formed an alliance, the League of Boston, also allowing the colonies to pool their resources, manpower and materials. Both alliances now sought allies among the Native nations. Both the Iroqouis and Cherokee, feeling betrayed by the British and facing a significant French threat, were warm to the offers. This was the foundation of what would later be an amicable association which would, in time, allow the Native peoples to have an equal voice.

    As the Redcoats began to be withdrawn from North America, the colonial armies and their Native allies filled the vacuum quickly, putting Halifax back under siege. At the same time, at Fort Tallulah, Cherokee Braves attacked the supply wagons of the Spanish army besieging Augusta. This forced the Spanish to pull more troops from the siege to fend off the Cherokee, but more importantly, it bought time for the two alliance blocs to formulate strategy and find suitable commanders to lead their new armies. For the League of Boston, the choice fell on Ethan Allen and his guerilla fighters, known as the Green Mountain Boys. For the Roanoke Pact, the choice was more challenging, but in the end two people became the choices. Daniel Morgan and George Washington. Morgan was given the task of raising an army of Iroqouis, Colonial Regulars, dragoons and artillery for a march into Augusta. Arriving on 15 February, Morgan began his attack while the Spanish army was depleted of its best cavalry hunting down the Braves. A four-day battle ensued in which the Spanish, trapped by the river and cut off by the Morgan's army and the Cherokee, put up a valiant but ultimately futile struggle. Despite Spain's efforts at the second siege attempt, Native raids had again proven to be their downfall. As the remnants of the Spanish army retreated back to Savannah, the Cherokee pursued and harried them. By the time they reached the safety of Savannah, only 780 of the original 31,400* had survived, with the rest either dying from the combination of battle, disease, starvation, exhaustion, and Cherokee attacks. Morgan reorganized his army, adding several divisions of Cherokee under their own banner (The Ani-yun-wiya brigade) and began his march to Savannah. In the north, Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, instead of aiding in the siege at Halifax, marched on the fortress of Ticonderoga in upstate New York. Catching the French garrison by surprise, the Boys stormed the fortress on 17 February, capturing nearly the entire garrison. This allowed for frontiersmen and Iroqouis to launch raids into Quebec of increasing severity.

    The British commander in North America, Sir Thomas Gage**, retained command of 12,000 Redcoats in order to continue the war in the Colonies, but he was forced to rely more and more on the Colonial militias and Native allies to continue the siege of Halifax. Mariot Arbuthnot, the lieutenant-general who had been placed in charge of the siege now received word that a Colonial/Native force of 6,000 under the command of Brigadier General John Morin Scott, was on its way to link with the Redcoats. On 22 February, Scott and his troops joined with Lt. General Arbuthnot and after three more days of siege, launched an all-out assault. The 10-hour fighting, which spread into the town and resulted in slow and bloody street-by-street fighting, finally ended with Halifax back in British hands and 3,000 French Marine POWs. With Nova Scotia liberated, Scott took his troops-reduced now to 4,900 to Philadelphia to await further instructions. Meanwhile, General Washington had secured the friendship of the Iroqouis who promised a contingent of 8,000 to be trained in European weapons and in turn train the multiple militias in hit-and run strikes. This would give the future Continental armies a major advantage in that they would be well-versed not only in the latest European military formations, battle-tactics and weapons, but equally adept at the style of warfare utilized by the Native peoples. Washington then traveled to Philadelphia, where the delegates of the two regional blocs were meeting. Among the delegates attending were such prominent statesmen as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. It was agreed that the two blocs (League of Boston and Roanoke Pact) would combine their efforts, drafting Articles of Federation to unite militarily and diplomatically, form a committee among the delegates to decide on a political structure, and address the British Parliament at a later date to seek self-government or failing that, full independence. Washington's youngest brother Charles traveled to Maracaibo (which had also broken out in revolt) to try and mediate between the British governmental authorities, the Spanish commander in the region, and the local Hispano-British residents***

    * The First Siege of Augusta had ended with the depletion due to starvation, extremes in temperature and Cherokee attacks. A second army was sent, larger than the first due to the incorporation of the few survivors of the first sieging army, hence the higher number.

    ** IOTL Gage would be replaced by Sir William Howe in 1776 after the Battle of Bunker Hill. ITTL, he would have a falling out with Washington which will lead to a brief war between Britain and the American Federation (more on that later)

    *** Here, Hispano-British is used in the same manner as Anglo-Spanish and Spanglish to refer to the citizens of the British province of Maracaibo

    Seven Years War - Daniel Marston
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    The Economics of War
  • From the end of the Hapsburg Succession War, many of the combatant countries found themselves in various degrees of economic distress. France, which had gained her main objective of the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium) was still forced to begin economic reforms and inevitably this led to the agreement with the Dutch Republic which divided the territory and created the Grand Duchy of Flanders while allowing the retention of Antwerp and Brussels by France. This proved to be beneficial to the French Monarchy and allowed bread prices to begin coming back down to sustainable levels (which saved the monarchy itself from a potential revolution for the time being). Once the war had been concluded, subsidy treaties with Spain, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony were allowed to expire-though this caused some distress in Bavaria as the Wittelsbachs now found themselves not only with responsibilities in Upper Austria, Bohemia and the Tyrol, but as new Holy Roman Emperors. They briefly considered dipping into the Imperial Treasury in order to pay the soldiers which were now returning to their civilian lives and train a new generation of soldiers, but when gold was discovered in the Tyrol, this idea was abandoned. Instead, Bahemia (Union of the Crowns of Bavaria and Bohemia) used the gold to bribe many of the electors into supporting a second Wittelsbach candidacy-backed by French diplomacy, and even offering a generous gift to the Hapsburgs which helped to normalize relations between the former rivals. Saxony became increasingly drawn to the Hapsburgs financially as the French subsidies dried up, but found that the Hapsburgs were in dire financial straits due to the losses imposed on them and the independence of Hungary, leading to a series of recessions in Saxony which forced the Elector to draw down his electorate's military forces in order to support the population-though this made his small state a more tempting future target of Prussian ambitions.

    For Hungary, independence had not been planned thoroughly, and the sudden break with their Hapsburg masters left the nascent kingdom on the verge of bankruptcy. Despite the best efforts of King Anton I, the first several months of independence led to food shortages, famines and local revolts against taxation. It was only when Hungary formed its alliance with Russia that subsidies sent by the Russians enabled the kingdom to reestablish some independent footing and reform its commerce. Agreements with Flanders, Bahemia and Naples further assisted in stabilizing the economy and allowed Anton I to begin building his military force for the eventual descent on the Ottoman Balkans in league with Russia. The Ottoman Empire, having came out of a previous war with Russia still mostly intact but financially strapped, found itself now facing a militant Hungary and expansionist Russia with a limited fiscal military budget and growing unrest in the Balkan provinces. This would be further exascerbated by the entry of Persia into the war and the conquest of Mesopotamia. Only the subsidies both Austria and Poland-Lithuania provided would keep the Turks afloat and even then only barely as they struggled to contain the Hungarians, hold off the Russians and drive back the Persians.

    Commerce raiding in the Mediterranean Sea was practically nonexistent at the start of the war, as France, Spain, Naples and the Ottomans remained the dominant naval powers. But the entry of Hungary into the Adriatic and thence the Mediterranean opened up opportunities for small-scale commerce raiding. As temporary allies of the Republic of Genoa, Spain seized or sunk 20,000 ducats in spices, silks and perishable goods such as fruits and nuts. In their turn, the Ottomans and their Barbary corsair vassals often sailed into the Atlantic and attacked Spanish treasure fleets coming from the Americas, costing the Spanish economy over $50 million in gold and silver. Turkish corsairs also sailed into the Adriatic and devastated the Hungarian ports prior to their eventual conquest by a resurgent Austrian Kingdom. The only Hungarian attempt at a naval strike came during Hungary's western Balkan campaign, when a flotilla of 20 frigates and 8 brigs sailed around the Peloponese and attempted to bombard Athens before being either captured or sunk by a Turkish squadron of 16 galleys and 4 frigates, leaving the few ships that remained to limp back to their ports (only to later be scuttled by the Austrians when they returned, their crews not knowing that the Dalmatian ports had fallen to the Austrians while they were in the Aegean). For France and Spain, their opportunity for commerce raiding came with the declaration of war against Portugal and Britain. Portuguese shipping suffered greatly not only from the privateers, but the Franco-Spanish blockade of Lisbon implemented following the declaration. Though Britain made many attempts to break the blockade, Portugal faced economic distress which led the king to reluctantly agree to peace even at the cost of reparations and the forced adjustment of the Spanish-Portuguese border in Spain's favor.

    The Baltic and North Seas were another area where commerce came under threat. The kingdoms of Denmark-Norway and Sweden had been rivals for control of the Sound (Skagerrak and Kattegat) since Sweden left the Union of Kalmar in 1525. Renewal of that rivalry allowed both sides to begin attacking the other's commerce, and in fact Denmark-Norway's attack on Scania was in part due to the kingdom's need to control all naval and commercial traffic through the Sound. Sweden's surprise conquest of Bornholm threatened Denmark's efforts to secure the Sound and left Copenhagen open to a seaborne invasion. Further into the Baltic, Sweden had finally come to terms with Poland-Lithuania's conquest of the island of Gotland, yielding to the Commonwealth's control, though as time passed, it became apparent that both Sweden and the Commonwealth could coexist as both now feared an increase in Russian naval power more than they despised each other's commercial success. By the start of 1769, all the major European powers were starting to feel the strain on their economies and their merchants were beginning to press their governments to find any way to end the war.

    No sources were used and therefore none are cited.
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    The Saxon Betrayal
  • By the end of 1768, the balance of power within the Holy Roman Empire had become static. While Hannover enjoyed its status as partner in personal union with the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria enjoyed the multiple roles of kings of Bohemia and Bavaria, margraves of Upper Austria and dukes of Tyrol in addition to the Imperial title of Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation, the Hapsburgs upgrading their titles in favor of royal crowns, and even the Hohenzollerns finnaly achieving their title as Kings OF Prussia (as opposed to simply Kings IN Prussia), the Saxon Wettins could only count themselves as Electors of the Empire and Margraves of Sundgau and Breisgau. Frederick Augustus III had ambitions to acquire a royal title like his nominal Wittelsbach allies and originally hoped to assist the Hapsburgs in reconquering Silesia in exchange for the royal title. Joseph II, who had become sole King of Austria after the death of his mother Maria Theresa, had become disillusioned with the idea of restoring Silesia to Hapsburg rule, wanting instead to reclaim Burgenland and reestablish the dynastic link with Hungary. Despite his many efforts to sway the Austrian king, Frederick Augustus III could not convince him to join in an offensive against Prussia. On April 5, as he was building his armies, he sent one final proposal to Joseph II to join in the campaign. His proposal was nothing less than the partition of Prussia between Austria and Saxony, with Austria receiving Silesia. Saxony's share would be Magdeburg and Anhalt as well as Brandenburg and Berlin, leaving the Hohenzollerns with only their coastal territories stretching from Neumark to Konigsberg. Joseph II, already beginning preliminary talks with Frederick II of Prussia for a general settlement, refused on the grounds that Silesia was no longer a tenable goal.

    On April 9, having received the negative reply from the Hapsburg king, Frederick Augustus III, without a declaration of war, launched his offensive. He personally led an army of 17,500 troops into Silesia. His kinsman, Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld*, led a second army of 14,400 from Leignitz. Their first objective was the Silesian capital Breslau, which was garrisoned by 9,000 Prussian troops. A third army was formed, numbering 8,700 and commanded by Ernest II** with the objectives of Magdeburg and Anhalt. On 11 April, his main army arrived outside the walls of Breslau, joined 2 days later by Ernest Frederick's army. The Prussian garrisons were caught by surprise by the sudden assault of the two Saxon armies. They put up a stiff resistance, but a lucky cannon shot which destroyed the gates allowed Saxon hussars to rush in. By 5 pm on 14 April, the garrison survivors, 7,800 in total, were forced to surrender with the loss of 1,200 to the Saxons' 1,100 killed. Leaving a garrison of 1,000 to hold the city, Frederick Augustus III advanced into Brandenburg proper while Ernest Frederick invaded Bohemia with the intention of cutting off the Prussian army still campaigning in Moravia. He took Prague without a struggle on 19 April and leaving an additional garrison of 700 behind, continued into Moravia. At roughly the same time, Ernest II besieged Magdeburg with his 8,700, complemented by an additional 2,500 sent by the Saxon Elector. After four days, the city fell to Ernest II on the morning of 23 April. The Elector himself laid siege to Brandenburg and his cavalry force of 7,000 even seized and occupied Berlin itself for 14 days before being driven out by a hastily raised force of 9,000 (1,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry) which was the advance force of Ferdinand of Brunswick's army which had been pulled back from Stralsund (where they were set to reinforce the army already on Bornholm)

    News of the Saxon invasions of Silesia, Bohemia, Brandenburg and Moravia sent shockwaves across the Holy Roman Empire. Joseph II became alarmed at the Saxon advance through Moravia, which threatened to undermine the Austrian defense of the province after the recent Prussian offensive. Charles III of Bahemia and Holy Roman Emperor was outraged at the callous disregard for the previous agreement which had made Bohemia neutral territory and to which Saxony had signed. Louis XV became alarmed at the prospect of Prussian retaliation which would bring Prussian armies into the Saxon Rhineland and directly threaten French territory on the opposite bank. Two French armies were sent into the Breisgau to secure the exclaves before the Prussians could arrive in force. It was Frederick II (the Great) who reacted, marching his army from Moravia (where he had concluded a truce with Joseph II at Olomouc) into Silesia. Linking with von Dohna's army, Frederick II advance on Breslau and put it to siege on 26 April. In two days in which an assault was finally made, the city fell to the Prussians once again, capturing 800 Saxon POWs who were then incorporated into the Prussian army. Joseph II recalled von Daun from the Adriatic and placed him in command of an army of 14,700 troops to drive the Saxons from Moravia. At Olomouc, Saxon and Austrian met in a 5-hour battle which saw the loss of 7,400 Saxons to the Austrians' 3,200. Von Daun pursued the Saxons into Bohemia, where a Bavarian army of 16,000 awaited. In the Battle of Braunau (2 May) the Bavarian and Austrian armies shattered Ernest Frederick's army, taking 2,000 POWs and killing 4,000 at the cost of a combined 2,900 killed. Three days later on 5 May, the Bavarians and Austrians liberated Prague. In the north, Ferdinand of Brunswick, temporarily transferred from Bornholm and placed in command of a force of 18,000, advanced from Berlin to face Frederick Augustus III at Brandenburg. The Battle of Brandenburg*** began at 6 am on 7 May with a charge of the Saxon cavalry which momentarily gave advantage to Frederick Augustus III when it drove the Prussian hussars into their own infantry lines. But the Prussians recovered quickly and sent the Saxon horse retreating, thus exposing their artillery to a cavalry charge. The infantry reformed their lines and advanced on the Saxon regiments. By 3 pm, the Saxons were broken and Frederick Augustus III was ordering a retreat in the direction of Anhalt. Frederick II marched into Saxony with his troops, threatening Leipzig. This had the effect of drawing Ernest II away from his planned advance on Anhalt and left Frederick Augustus III with no place to fall back on. Ferdinand caught up with the Elector again near Anhalt and inflicted a second defeat, taking 9,000 POWs and incorporating them into his own army, leaving behind 3,000 dead and losing 2,200. The Saxon Elector linked up with Ernest II's army (raising the total to 12,400) as he approached Anhalt. On seeing the massive Prussian army waiting on them, however, they turned south and reentered Saxon territory only to come up against Frederick II's army near Dresden (von Dohna's army had in the meantime marched north to Anhalt and arrived three days after the Saxons turned south, thus missing the battle there). Dresden came under siege as Frederick Augustus, Ernest II and their unified army entered the city and held their ground against the Prussian king-elector. In 19 days of siege in which no less than 12 sorties were attempted (and repulsed with heavy losses to the Saxons) the Prussians battered the walls with their mortar until at midday on 3 June, the Saxons made one last sortie. By then, von Dohna's army had already marched into Saxony and had begun besieging Leipzig (which is the reason the Saxons made their final attempt to break out of the Prussian siege). In 4 hours of hard fighting, the starved, fatigued Saxons were gradually broken and forced to surrender. Dresden surrender the next day, 4 June. Six days after the Fall of Dresden, Leipzig, seeing little hope of relief from the Prussian siege, capitulated.

    The iminent collapse of Saxony now forced France to come to their ally's relief. Once the Saxon exclaves were secured, both French armies advanced across Germany with the goal of forcing the Prussians to quit Saxony while at the same time impressing upon the Saxons the need to come to terms with their neighbors. A third French army under the command of Soubise marched into Cleves, taking the duchy easily. Alarmed by the French conquest, Frederick II marched from Saxony with the intention of shattering the French army in Cleves, but he came up against the main French army commanded by Guy Andre Pierre de Montmorency in Hesse-Kassel. Here Frederick received the only defeat at the hands of the French in the entirety of the war and was forced to fall back to Magdeburg. It was with the French armies on the fringes of Prussian territory and poised to adavnce into Saxony that the other Germanic powers now put pressure on both Saxony and Prussia as they were increasingly coming under financial strain and exhaustion. The Dutch Republic, alarmed by the proximity of a French army to their frontiers began to protest to the French king, even moving a force of 11,000 to the border with French Wallonia, which was met by a force of 14,000 French and Walloon troops. Both armies watched each other across the borders and engaged in a series of menacing manuevers which alarmed the Flandrines to the point the Grand Duke declared a policy of armed neutrality, ready to repel either Dutch or French incursion. Britain, still dealing with the aftershock of the Franco-Spanish invasion of the British Isles and facing independence movements in both America and Maracaibo, was powerless to intervene in support of their Dutch ally. Poland-Lithuania and Sweden, deeply committed to the neutralization of Russia, were also not in a position to intervene. Finally, on 13 June, Frederick Augustus III sent a message to the Prussian king requesting terms.

    A ceasefire was reached on 16 June, which called for evacuations by all the participant powers. Prussia would withdraw from Dresden (but not Leipzig). France would withdraw their army from Cleves (which they chose not to do and would later be expelled by a Prussian-Dutch force under Brunswick's command), and restore the Saxon exclaves to the Elector, though with the allowance of maintaining their garrisons pending a final treaty. Saxony would evacuate Bohemia and Moravia, which would be restored to their respective rulers. Two days later, however, Frederick II gave his terms for a lasting peace which demanded Leipzig and the northeast corridor of Saxon territory, as well as Leignitz and the four towns in Saxon Silesia. Frederick Augustus III, with Austrian and French support, rejected the Prussian demand. Tension remained high despite the cease-fire and it was expected that once the cease-fire ended, the Prussians, Austrians, French and Saxons would make one final effort to change the boundaries to their advantage. The Saxon Betrayal, as depicted in later Prussian and Austrian history would forever leave a lasting stain on Saxony, but it offered the sole benefit that now the Wittelsbachs were seen as the dynasty of order in the Empire, a sharp change from the beginning of the war, where they were merely seen as French puppets.

    * Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (reigned 16 September 1764 - 8 September 1800 OTL). ITTL he participated in the Saxon conquest of Silesia from 14-26 April 1769

    ** Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (reigned 1772-1804 OTL). ITTL He participated in the Saxon Conquest of Magdeburg, but was beaten by Frederick II of Prussia and forced to flee to the Saxon Breisgau which was under French military occupation

    *** The Battle of Brandenburg would be considered the zenith of Saxon aspirations regarding Prussia and the hoped-for partition of the Hohenzollern dominion. With defeat, the Saxon Wettins' hopes of acquiring the Crown of Poland-Lithuania and ruling a vast dynastic empire were shattered.

    The Seven Years War - Daniel Marston
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    Scandinavia 1768-1769
  • Throughout the Spring of 1768, stalemate reigned along the Dano-Norwegian/Swedish fronts as both sides jockeyed for advantage. Adolf Fredriksson, as Duke of Finland, had made several sorties into Norwegian Lapland, only to be repelled by the native Lapps. In Jamtland, King Adolf Frederick I fought a battle of manuever with the Danes in an effort to find a weak point. His only conquest, Bornholm, now had a Prussian army on its shores. The king's health continued to falter, forcing him to return to Stockholm. Gustav III was recalled to the capital on 26 May and proclaimed king*. He took over command of the Royal Army and began an offensive to drive the Danes from Jamtland. Despite the soggy ground due to the spring thaw, on 30 May he opened the offensive with a push into Jamtland, clashing with the Danes on 2 June. In the bloodiest battle in the Dano-Swedish struggle for Scandinavia to date, the Danes suffered 5,300 casualties and 3,000 POWs and the Swedes lost 6,000 casualties. With this victory, Gustav III was able to liberate Jamtland in just a few days time, driving the Danes across the frontier back into Norway. In the south, Lund-which had been occupied by the Danes since 1766-was put under siege by Duke Frederick Adolf and his army of 30,000. King Frederick V of Denmark-Norway, putting together the suriving elements of the army driven from Jamtland and smaller battalions from Zealand to relieve the siege. A brief battle did little to end the siege and both sides now proceeded to entrench themselves in the hope of starving the other out. This standoff would last for four months.

    A third Danish army, the army of Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel, set sail from Zealand in 20 transport ships escorted by 20 frigates, bound for Bornholm to join the Prussian army already on the island. They landed on the western shore on 18 July and marched toward the fortress where the Swedes were located. A fast rider sent a message to Ferdinand of Brunswick (back on the island after his success against Saxony) proposing a joint siege. Eager to engage the Swedes, Brunswick agreed to the proposal and gathered his army of 23,500 to the south of the fortress. On the morning of 20 July, the Danes and Prussians began their joint siege of the fortress. The 19,000 Swedes under Gustav Olaf marched out to meet the Danes, whom he saw as the weaker of the two armies, but was not counting on the Prussian cavalry riding into the fortress and raising the Prussian colors after capturing 700 of the garrison left behind. With the fortress now in Prussian hands, a substantial Prussian army approaching from the southeast and a Danish army holding ground, Olaf had no choice but to commit to an all-or-nothing attack. At 3 pm that afternoon, the Swedes marched in the face of the fire from the Danes intent on pushing them far enough back to wear down their Prussian allies and lower Danish morale. The Danes held their ground, inflicting casualties on the Swedes even as many of them were also killed. Swedish cavalry managed to turn the Danish left flank, then drove into the gap before circling around to attack the center from behind as the infantry closed with their bayonets fixed. The confusion among the Danish regiments was such that the Swedes nanaged to scatter four regiments of Danish infantry before the right flank infantry closed on the Swedish cavalry, trapping them within a box of withering musket fire. The center group of Danish infantry also formed a box formation and were thus able to fire from all directions and between the two groups, the Swedish cavalry was cut down to something around 600. Unfortunately, the left flank group was too disoriented to reform in the face of the Swedish infantry advance and fled for the coast with the remnants of the cavalry, hoping to redeem themselves for their major losses, chasing and killing as many as they could reach, resulting in total rout. The battle still seemed likely to go Sweden's way until the Prussian army arrived and began attacking their flank, while the Prussian hussars scattered the artillerymen manning the cannons, disabling Swedish artillery support and allowing the Danes to begin pushing back against the Swedish advance. As night fell, the flashes of cannon fire and the sparks from the muskets mixed with the groans of the wounded and dying. By 3 am on 21 July, the Swedes were either in full retreat, Danish or Prussian POWs (4,000 combined) or dead (7,000). Ferdinand of Brunswick, Prussian commander at Bornholm, now began to negotiate with the Danish king to purchase the island and in the meantime agreed with the Danish commander on a joint occupation of the island pending final agreement.

    At the other end of the Baltic, Count von Fersen's 22,300-reunited with their commander after his performance in Scania against the Danes-marched from the newly conquered St Petersburg in the direction of Moscow to link with the 60,000 troops of Kosciuzsko. With news arriving from Pulaski in Kiev that he had managed to undermine the Cossack host in the Russian armies, causing confusion even as Grigory Orlov's army finally penetrated into the Crimean peninsula itself to ravage the Tartar lands (Alexei Orlov took his army to Odessa, en route for the Danube delta, forcing Pulaski to detach Count Branicki and his army to pursue Orlov into the Balkans. This nove by the Russians coincided with a Hungarian offensive which resulted in the capture of the port of Varna. Despite his best effort, Branicki could only manage a series of skirmishes with Orlov that did little to slow down his march. Branicki sent a message back to Pulaski to report his failure at preventing Orlov from reaching the Danube delta. Pulaski ordered his army to march for Astrakhan and at the same time sent a messenger to Kosciuzsko proposing to march on Moscow. On the day the messenger arrived, 4 August, von Fersen's army arrived at the Polish camp near Borodino. Kosciuzsko and von Fersen received the message and began to plan the Moscow campaign, making clear that the city itself was the objective and that its capture would so demoralize the Russian people that they would force the Tsarina-Empress to seek terms. More importantly, it would force the Russian armies in Crimea and the Balkans to pull back in an effort to liberate the Holy City. Kosciuzsko waited for 10 days for additional munitions, food and fall/winter clothing as he wanted to be prepared for a possible long winter campaign, then on 14 August, the Commonwealth and Swedish armies began their march toward Moscow.

    * Gustav III had already been designated successor to Adolf Frederick, but here and because of the king's failing health, it became imperative for Gustav III to make his way to Stockholm as there was still the threat of Adolf Frederiksson attempting to usurp the crown.

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    America Ascendant
  • On 21 February 1769, Daniel Morgan and his army of mixed Colonials and Cherokee laid siege to Savannah. Governor Vicente Manuel de Cespedes was ill-prepared for the sudden appearance of an Anglo-Cherokee army and rushed to Savannah with 14,800 troops to try to stop Morgan, but was slowed by the spring rains and did not arrive until 27 February, only two days ahead of Morgan. Instead of entering the city and using the earthen walls as a defensive redoubt, de Cespedes entrenched, hoping to use the cannon emplacements for additional tactical suppoort. On the morning of 3 March, Morgan's Cherokee scouts came into contact with de Cespedes' forward position. Using stealth and hiding in the tall grasses, they managed to avoid being seen and reported back to Morgan on the disposition of the troops and gun emplacements. He sent the Ani-yun-wiya brigade to slip in behind the lines and take out the cannons, thus depriving de Cespedes of his support. As a mid-morning fog began to roll in from the coast, the Braves made their way armed with knives and tomahawks and ambushed the soldiers, though one raised the alarm before he was struck by a tomahawk in the back, alerting de Cespedes. They returned to Morgan's lines, losing only 4 Braves (the Spaniards, by contrast, lost 40, all at the emplacements). de Cespedes formed two lines of pikemen and a line of Spanish tercios, seeing movement from Morgan's positions as mounted Cherokee Braves rode toward them. Arrows and spears struck their targets, and several horses were impaled on the pikes, but as the Braves separated and began their withdrawal, Morgan opened up with 3- and 6- pound cannon and 4 mortars. De Cespedes marched his troops into the storm of cannon and mortar, bayonets afixed as Morgan formed his regiments into a flying volley. The Colonials opened up as the tercios came within 400 paces and began cutting them down. Meanwhile, the Ani-yun-wiya Brigade slipped into the city, bringing in rifles they had taken from several guards they slaughtered. With these weapons, several of the townsmen began attacking the Spanish garrison, initiating a full-scale rebellion. Among the men who infiltrated the city was a woodsman named Francis Marion*, who stayed when the Braves withdrew to attack the Spanish flank and led the rebellion, in the end capturing 1,000 Spanish marines. At 1:30 pm, the tercios and Colonials clashed in simultaneous bayonet charges which degenerated into a bloodbath. By 4:30 in the afternoon Morgan could claim the victory despite losing 13,000 men. De Cespedes lost 13,600 men on the field and was forced to retreat to St Augustine, a more heavily fortified bastion. This would. for the time being prevent Morgan from pursuing, but he need hardly worry as the remnants of de Cespedes' army was fit only for garrison duty. Morgan appointed Marion to the rank of Lieutenant-General and authorized him to raise an army of "as many frontiersmen, woodsmen, Cherokee and Florida Natives...even slaves". By the end of the first week of March, Marion had raised an army of 17,900 of mixed racial composition.

    The reason behind the success of Marion's recruitment can be traced to an edict which had been passed by the Roanoke Pact (7 February) which offered emancipation to any willing slaves (and their families) who would take up arms for the Pact. By the time of the second meeting of the Pact in Clayton, Georgia Colony, a movement for the gradual abolition of slavery had taken form. A proposal for the complete abolition of slavery by 1790 was passed, with only the small but influential plantation owners opposed (though they were ultimately outnumbered by the merchant and urban classes). The meeting also provided a shipbuilding program which, at the time, made Charlestown and Norfolk the centers of the industry. With the liberation of Savannah after 4 years of Spanish occupation, a new center for shipbuilding was available. The Pact committee also agreed to fund a third army comprised of 3,000 Cherokee, 3,000 Creek and 12,000 militias from Georgia, Carolina and Virginia to be commanded by Nathanael Greene. With Morgan's 27,600 troops, Marion's 17,900 and Greene's 18,000 troops, the American colonies had an autonomous military capable of carrying the war into the French and Spanish colonies with little or no British assistance or even oversight. At a time when the British Royal Navy in the Caribbean was spread thin attacking Spanish treasure fleets and defending their own mercantile interests from French privateers, the fledgling American Navy (by the end of 1770, 200 ships in total) could now take on the task of patrolling the coastal waters. This would free Britain to make more decisive strikes on the French and Spanish sugar-islands, but would also prove to be a point of contention when it came time to make a return in force to America.

    In Pennsylvania, General Washington and his army of 25,300 troops was joined by a British army of 19,300 primarily Hannoverian, Hessian, and British troops commanded by General John Burgoyne 'Gentleman Johnny'**. The two men had formulated a plan to push into Ohio Country with the main objective being Fort Detroit. Ethan Allen, from Ticonderoga would march his men up the Hudson River and cross into Quebec before then turning southwest to follow the St Lawrence River. All three armies would then take the three largest cities in French Canada: Ottowa, Toronto and Montreal. In a correspondence with Marion, Washington suggested that a similar thrust toward Biloxi and New Orleans would be enough to cut off the flow of goods into the interior of French Louisiana. Marion expressed agreement with the idea and offered to command the attack, to which Washington agreed. On 18 March, Marion took his army deep into Spanish territory, capturing Mobile, Pensacola (21 March), and Biloxi (25 March) after brief engagements. On the day Pensacola was taken, Washington and Burgoyne led their troops into Ohio Country, receiving the support of a force of 1,200 Iroqouis warriors. The two armies laid siege to Fort Detroit on 27 March, surrounding the fort with a series of wooden walls, earthen enbankments and trenches, leaving only a narrow corridor which a French marine battalion attempted to take in a sortie. They were driven back into the fort by British dragoons and Iroqouis mounted warriors. Five more sorties were made from the fort, and each one was repulsed with French losses whch reached 400 by the time of the fourth sortie attempt. With the garrison practically nonexistent and the townspeople beginning to starve, a citizen emerged from the fort carrying a white flag to speak to Burgoyne, who directed him to Washington instead. Washington graciously accepted the Frenchman's offer of surrender and even promised to provide food and medical care for the sick and hungry (which impressed Burgoyne). With Fort Detroit under control, Washington positioned his army to cross into French Canada while Burgoyne marched his army across Ohio Country and to the Mississippi River before following it south to St Louis, which he put under siege. Meanwhile, Marion's army reached the banks of Lake Ponchartrain on 29 March, where he could see the chimneys of New Orleans. Placing the three mortars for maximum coverage, he directed his men to begin constructing flat-bottom boats that could hold 3-pound cannon and a small gunnery crew, as well as draft boats to transport the troops. The process took three weeks, but by the end of the second week of April, he had 100 gunboats and 500 seacraft capable of carrying 11 people (including the rower). On 13 April, under the cover of the mortar bombardment, the gunboats were set afloat and began to row toward the far shore while the draft-boats loaded the troops. After three hours, the first of the soldiers began disembarking and immediately set to work building earthen barricades and laying down covering fire as the rest of their fellows continued to arrive. A small division of Cherokee and Creek warriors protected the mortars as they were hauled by oxen overland around the edge of the lake and positioned once more. By the morning of 15 April, the mortar was once more firing, bombarding the port and shipyards. The bombardment ceased at 12:30 pm and the troops emerged from behind the barricades to form into their lines when they were met by a force of 20,000 French Marines and French Colonial militias commanded by Guy d'Aubusson****. D'Aubusson had marched from New Orleans intent on driving Marion into the lake, but as his soldiers advanced the American Colonials opened fire with a thundering volley, sending several of the militias into a panic. D'Aubusson tried to keep the men in line but as the 3-pounders began firing and many more of their number were killed, they threw down their rifles and fled. At a stroke nearly a third of his army had been eliminated through desertion. Determined to take the field, d'Aubusson ordered a charge at the American Colonial lines hoping to inflict enough casualties to balance the loss he suffered. Marion, who would from this battle earn the nickname 'the Swamp Fox' ordered his men into the swamps. Despite the danger from poisonous snakes, leeches and alligators, they held their ground while the cannons tore holes into the soggy ground, catching the French by surprise as they tried to march closer. D'Aubusson, seeing that his men were close to total exhaustion and seeing the determined American defense, ordered a retreat only to find that because of the constant cannon barrages the ground was now so soggy that the men found it hard to find their footing. At 7:30 as the sun began to sink on the western horizon, d'Aubusson walked into Marion's camp HQ under a flag of truce and requested to know the terms. Marion said simply, "Surrender New Orleans", which the French lieutenant agreed to. D'Aubusson ordered those of his troops who were still capable of movement to lay down their arms, and in turn Marion offered medical attention to the wounded. At 9 pm, New Orleans declared itself a free city.

    Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys marched along the Hudson River, crossing into French Canada before turning west to follow the St Lawrence River. He arrived at a point 30 miles from Montreal, where he set up a fortified camp. Washington had already taken Toronto after a brief battle (18 April) which resulted in only 900 casualties among the French and Algonquin Natives and 230 among Washington's own men. News of the easy conquest reached Ottowa and rather than put up any resistance, they simply offered unconditional surrender. A fast rider was sent to locate Allen, who replied that he was in position to cut off river traffic from north of Montreal. Satisfied that Montreal could no longer be supplied or relieved via the river, Washington marched his army northeast and set up positions on both sides of the St Lawrence facing the city. Facing him was an army of Quebecois, Algonquin Natives, and French Marines commanded by Marechal (Marshal) Augustin-Joseph de Mailly numbering 23,700 troops. De Mailly had no knowledge of the movements of Allen and his troops, having to devote his Algonquin allies to screen his artillery emplacements to protect them from Washington's Iroqouis allies. But in so doing, in addtion to failing to see the trap Allen was setting, he had exposed his best Marines to Washington's own well-protected artillery embankment. De Mailly unleashed a cannon barrage against Washington's positions which in the opening minutes of the battle killed 1,000 mostly ill-trained young boys who had (illegally) joined the army*****. The Minutemen divisions of Washington's army spread out and began utilizing the hit-and-run tactics they had honed thanks to their association with the Iroqouis and Cherokee, pinning down the Quebecois militias. As de Mailly's casualties began to rise, he was forced to pull several garrisons from the city to bolster his forces. Without realizing it, he had opened the door to Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, who had been quietly watching the battle and gathering wood to build rafts that could be tied together into a pontoon. With the rafts constructed and lashed together, Allen direct the artillery across first, followed by the troops and supply wagons. Establishing a beachhead southeast of the city, Allen now ordered artillery to open fire, catching the town by surprise. De Mailly, still concerned with holding off Washington now realized too late that Washington was just the bait to distract him from Allen (it was only now that he was alerted to the presence of a second army in close proximity to the city). He ordered the Quebecois militias to return to the city and prepare its defense even as the distant sounds of Allen's artillery booming could be heard. This gave the Iroqouis their chance and 2 dozen warriors jumped into the water and swam across (12 would fatigue themselves and be swept away to drown) to attack their old Algonquin rivals. This unexpected move by the Iroqouis, while disheartening to Washington, also provided him with an opportunity that he immediately seized. Softening up his enemy with a 45-minute cannon barrage and with his infantry ready to charge, Washington pushed forward. As the sun fell below the western horizon on 22 April, Montreal island was alight with the boom of cannon and the flash of musket fire mixed with the clanging of bayonets and sabers and the cries of the dying. The battle continued into the morning of 23 April with Washington pushing de Mailly closer to the city and into range of Allen's artillery. The French marechal attempted to rally his Marines and the few Quebecois militiamen who were starting to waver as they came under attack from Allen as well as Washington, but a bullet struck the Frenchman in the knee, shattered the bone in the cap and causing him to fall off his horse. As two Algonquin struggled to help him to his feet, Iroqouis spears impaled them and they dropped de Mailly, who struggled using a spear to regain his footing. He limped behind his lines, but the sight of their leader falling from his horse, then falling to the ground a second time was more than the Quebecois could handle and they broke and fled hoping to find shelter within the city. The surviving Algonquin offered their surrender only to be savagely cut down by the Iroqouis, and with the rest of the French force beginning to break, Washington could focus on the city itself. At 5 pm, the city came under a dual bombardment from the cannons and when a page arrived in the medical tent to inform de Mailly of the iminent collapse of resistance, he sighed and requested that the page go to Washington's camp to seek terms. The page arrived at Washington's camp to find the general anxiously pacing the ground. When he gave Washington the message seeking terms, the general immediately ordered the cannons silenced. He then asked if the Marechal would appear in the camp only to be told that he was laid up with a damaged knee, but would accept any terms Washington laid down. Washington drafted a list of the terms and had the page deliver them back to de Mailly protected by a pair of Iroqouis. De Mailly accepted Washington's terms and signed the list, even offering his marechal's baton and saber as proof (Washington accepted the baton but returned the saber to de Mailly, recognizing in him a noble general. de Mailly would die three days later). Washington would spend the next two months in Montreal insuring full compliance with the terms of surrender by both the townsfolk and his own men, and restocking their supplies. He even offered a place in the Colonial (soon to be Continental) army for those Quebecois who wished to join after certain criteria were met. This act of leniency by Washington would prove beneficial later.

    The Seven Years War - Daniel Marston
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    Finis Britannia?
  • As America as asserting its autonomy in conducting what had been an Imperial war between Britain, France and Spain, Britain itself remained under siege. One French army was besieging London, while the second one blocked all efforts by George III with his army to relieve the siege. In Ireland, the Spanish army of Alejandro O'Reilly continued to stir the Irish into revolt, and gather more Irish volunteers with the hope of freedom from English taxation and religious persecution. D'Aubeterre's army harried the British army in Essex, never giving battle but always staying between them and London, while de Beauvau's army continued to bombard the city day and night. News began to arrive that the fleets bringing the Redcoats from the American theater were on their way, which did raise the morale both of the men under the king's command and the citizens of London. Brigadier General James Agnew was put in command of the Redcoats returning and tasked with crushing once and for all the Jacobites. Raising an army of 20,600 troops, he marched into the Scottish Highlands and crushed the Clans so thoroughly that the Young Pretender fled again, this time to the Grand Duchy of Flanders (here he was treated as an honored guest, but was essentially a prisoner in the country). After spending four more days insuring that the Jacobites would never rise again, on 26 March 1770 he took his army across the Irish Sea, where he found Abercromby barely holding on to Belfast. Agnew met with both Abercromby and a delegation of Irish MPs who protested the British taxes but who also despised the Spanish for their exploitation of Anglo-Irish disagreements for the sole purpose of a military victory. The MPs collectively made a radical proposal: Catholic emancipation and Irish self-rule. Agnew, uncertain as to how the King would react to such a proposal, nevertheless transmitted it to His Royal Highness through a letter which outlined the current situation on the island. From his temporary residence in Essex, George III at first rejected such a proposal as a direct violation of the divine right over Ireland. But being a pragmatic king, he also knew that this was the only way to force the Spanish to admit what the Irish (and the King, for once in agreement with them) already knew: that Spain would treat Ireland as a stepping-stone to the Catholic reevangelization of Britain. With some reluctance, he drafted the first of what would come to be known as Gentlemen's Agreements which conceded the things the Irish sought the most. Hoping to utilize the Agreement of 30 March to effect, he sent word back to Agnew and Abercromby to publish the Agreement. It had the desired (and welcome) effect of bringing many of the Irish militias and even the Irish Brigade to switch sides-thus depriving O'Reilly of 10,000 Irish and 3,000 English Catholics at a stroke (he was left with only 10,900 mostly Spanish and Italian troops) Thus weakened, Abercromby struck from Belfast on 4 April northwest of Dublin, forcing O'Reilly back toward the coast. Hoping to escape by sea, he found himself facing the Royal Navy's Channel Fleet instead of the Spanish fleet-which had been driven off after a brief skirmish. Rather than fighting, O'Reilly surrendered his saber to Abercromby and was sent to Dublin where he would remain until the end of the war. Agnew joined the Irish Brigade to his Redcoat army before departing for mainland Britain. After a sea crossing and a march through western England, his army finally arrived at London, where de Beavau's army continued the siege. Knowing de Beauvau was not prepared for a second British army, Agnew closed the distance, then deployed his troops and artillery accordingly. At 5 am on 9 April, Agnew's batteries opened up on the French positions mear West London. De Beauvau was caught unprepared as he never reconnoitered the coubtryside, under the obviously mistaken belief that only the Royal Army was nearby and that was being held in check by d'Aubeterre. De Beauvau was forced to break the siege and turn his army to face Agnew (which would prove equally risky as it would give the citizens a chance to form militias and launch hit-and-run attacks on the French supply caches). De Beauvau would be surprised again when elements of cavalry from the Royal Army, which managed to avoid encounters with the scouts from dAubeterre's army, slipped south of the city, picking up a group of 800 militiamen, and appearing behind de Beauvau's army. Pinned between a city which was starting to stir in its defense, buoyed by the proximity of a British army, Agnew's army of Anglo-Irish troops fresh from their victory in Ireland, and the smaller Hannoverian cavalry and militiamen from the city, de Beauvau sent a fast rider to d'Aubeterre requesting immediate assistance. D'Aubeterre's position was precarious. If he withdrew from his positions, the road to London would be open and the King would reclaim his palace, which would embolden the people further and lead to a crushing defeat. If on the other hand he remained where he was, de Beauvau's army would be forced to retreat in disorder and he would be left to face the two British armies alone. Deciding on a dual strategy, d'Aubeterre sent 15,000 of his troops to bolster de Beauvau's army while digging in with the rest of his troops, keeping the road to London closed off to the King. Despite now having a nearly 3 to 1 advantage over d'Aubeterre, George III knew his opponent still held the tactical ground advantage and that any forward clash would cost him almost as dearly as it was certain to cause the French. For the time being, the King remained cut off both from his capital and the army of Agnew. At 4:30 in the afternoon, as de Beauvau's lines were starting to falter under the British cannon bombardment, d'Aubeterre's 15,000 arrived. Agnew, seeing a new opportunity open up with the arrival of the French reinforcements now sent a message to Abercromby in Ireland to take command of an army of Lowland Scots and English Regulars in Lothian and march south. At the same time, he sent a letter to an obscure commander, Cornwallis*, to take command of the militia/cavalry force and turn back to engage d'Aubeterre. The group waited til nightfall, then using the fog and darkness of night as cover, headed back toward d'Aubeterre's positions. By daybreak on 13 April, d'Aubeterre's scouts returned from their reconnoiter to report a mass of campfires 4 miles southeast of London. He was alarmed by the possibility that a third army had materialized from the darkness and now threatened his supply lines and his link to de Beauvau. Hurriedly, he sent a letter to his comrade urging him to advance on Agnew and crush him quickly, then join him to smash the Royal Army and take the King prisoner. Only this move would insure victory and would no longer require the city itself. By the time the letter arrived at de Beauvau's camp on the 16th, he was already engaged with Agnew's army. De Beauvau had already surmised that the sudden disappearance of the battalion from its previous position could only mean that the Royal Army was about to make its move and he would need to join his comrade for any chance of victory, but by abandoning his position, he would allow Agnew to relieve the city and grant Britain tactical advantage (he was unaware, moreover, that Agnew had already requested Abercromby take command of the third army formed in Scotland and come south).

    De Beauvau formed his irregulars and wings of cavalry, holding his marines and his regulars in reserve. In response, Agnew placed his regulars on the wings and the Irish brigade in reserve. A regiment of citizens' militia was placed at the center, which provided a suitably tempting target for de Beauvau. Agnew also took the risky decision to hold the cannon in reserve, loaded with canister shot. As the battle began, Agnew drew his regulars into boxed formations in expectation of the cavalry charge from the French. De Beauvau, instead of committing his cavalry, sent the irregulars forward to unleash a volley of musket fire with devastated the militia in the first 15 minutes. They broke and ran, but this was part of Agnew's strategy as it would expose the irregulars in the French army to the more experienced Irish brigade, who in turn inflicted shocking losses on the irregulars. Before they could break and flee however, the marines advanced and opened fire. The French cavalry, coming off the wings of the formation, charged into the mass of Irish soldiers but suddenly came under heavy fire from the Redcoats on the wings. The Irish regiments fell back, providing a clear field for the cannons to then mow down the French cavalry with hails of canister shot. 450 cavalry were killed or seriously injured in this way and the rest panicked and fled. With his cavalry broken, de Beauvau ordered his regulars to fix bayonets and charge into the redcoats. In three hours of fierce fighting-which even devolved at times into hand-to-hand, the Redcoats managed to prevail against the French. As the French began to retreat, the cannons fired their lethal canister shot, mowing down dozens and crippling several others. De Beauvau himself took a shot to the thigh as he tried to rally his broken men and was forced to flee, bleeding from the open wound. Those few French soldiers who managed to get out of range of the canister shot turned to make a last stand against the Redcoats, who were now advancing at the double, their own bayonets fixed to their rifles. After a second round, the French lost another dozen and were finally broken, fleeing the battlefield. The Battle of West London cost Agnew 2,400 men (out of 33,600) and de Beauvau lost 14,000 (out of 16,200). News of de Beauvau's defeat reached d'Aubeterre 3 hours after the battle when the 50 survivors of the 15,000 he had sent to bolster de Beauvau returned extremely tired and near starvation. Believing that he would find safety among the Jacobites in Scotland (and unaware of the Clearances which had taken place last month), he began withdrawing north. South of York, however, he came up against Abercromby's army and in a five-hour battle that ended only after midnight, d'Aubeterre was taken prisoner, along with 7,000 of his surviving troops*. The Franco-Spanish invasion of Britain failed in the short-term. But as George III returned to London to rapturous crowds, with Agnew and Abercromby by his side, the long-term effects of the invasion were only starting to be felt as the Gentleman's Agreements with the Irish and Welsh now changed the political makeup of Great Britain at a time when their colony in America was about to set its own course.

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    The Final Years of the War (1770-1775)
  • READER'S NOTE: The next several posts will bring the Ten Years War to its conclusion. The peace congress will be covered in a separate and headed post. While I may list a particular battle in each of the main theaters, I will generally summarize the last 5 years in each theater while focusing a little more on the American separatist movas ement. I'm calling it a separatist movement and not a revolution because unlike IOTL, Britain will not have the number of Regular troops, nor be able to rely so much on any Loyalist support as they actually had, due to the Bourbon (French and Spanish) invasion of the home islands and the repercussions which arose as a result. This would, in turn, lead to fewer battles between the separatists or Continentals and the Redcoats and leave open the possibility of a less bloody separation. For each year, a subheader with that year will be used, and I will do my utmost to compile the main European theaters into each post so as not to create a very large page. And as I've done in the past, if I should have to pause because of job or life, I will demarcate it.

    1770 - Eastern European theater

    On 17 August, the armies of Kosciuzsko (Poland-Lithuania) and von Fersen (Sweden) reached the outskirts of Moscow. From his spyglass, von Fersen could make out the familiar onion domes of St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin. With only a Home Guard of 22,000 mostly peasant-soldiers conscripted from their fields to serve as a defensive barrier, and a series of redoubts between the two armies and the city, the two respective commanders met to discuss their strategy. It was planned that the Swedes would act as a screen in the event a regular Russian army arrived from Crimea and also cut off access to the city in the event the Tsarina-Empress attempted to flee. Koscuizsko would launch his attack on four of the six redoubts in order to open a corridor to the city itself, brushing aside the peasant-soldiers. Both men agreed that the main objective would be to force Russia to the table to discuss peace. They would wait seven days to insure their supply and allow the Poles to observe a national holiday* before launching their offensive. On the 24th, at 4 am, the people of Moscow were awakened by the distant sounds of cannon fire as the Poles opened fire on the defenders and two redoubts in an effort to soften them up for the main assault. This assault was launched at 7 am with a charge of the Polish hussars which broke the resistance of the peasant-soldiers, who were not professional military and resented being rounded up by the Moscovite authorities and drafted into the military. With 8,000 of their fellow peasants either captured or killed, many either fled to the supposed safety of the redoubts or simply fled. This opened the way for the Polish regulars, with the Lithuanian lancers, to proceed against the redoubts. Von Fersen moved his army to the south, acting on a report that a Russian army led by Potemkin was moving up from the Crimea in force. The two armies met at the historic battlefield of Poltava-where in 1708 Charles XII of Sweden met defeat at the hands of a Russian army led by Peter I three times smaller than his own. In this second Battle of Poltava (28th), which lasted almost as long as the first, it was the Russians who were defeated in a stunning reversal, losing 11,000 men to the Swedes' 5,000. It was this defeat of the Russians which forced Catherine II to recall the Russian army from the Balkans, only 6 days march from Constantinople. Day by day, the Polish army bombarded, then captured the redoubts near Moscow, until they were soon close enough to the city to launch rocket attacks. While primitive and loosely based on Turkish designs, they nevertheless proved devastating and demoralizing. When the last of the redoubts directly between the Poles and Moscow was finally taken on the afternoon of the 31st, the Polish army had effectively severed Moscow from the west, north and southwest. From her estate within the city, Catherine II could already see the Polish cannons when she received word of Potemkin's defeat in Ukraine. Realizing that Apraksin would still not reach the southern frontier before the Poles stormed the capital, and that Orlov was still devastating the Crimea, she withdrew with the Imperial court, traveling in disguised carriages to Tsaritsyn, leaving the city mayor** to try an effect a resistance. Von Fersen, instead of returning to Moscow, remained in Ukraine and constantly sent scouts further south to keep track of both Orlov and Apraksin (though he did break off a force of 1,900 to assist Koscuizsko). On the morning of 5 September, a rocket attack ignited a woodpile at the edge of the city, which soon spread the fire across the village, where the mostly wooden structures soon caught fire. As the fire spread, the mayor sent an urgent letter to both the Tsarina-Empress and to Orlov requesting relief. None of the messages reached their destinations because the Cossacks now fighting under the Polish banner captured and killed the riders as they preyed on those civilians trying to escape the city. For several days, the Moscow mayor held out, both against the Polish assault and the pleas of those citizens who remained within the city to seek terms as they were facing-in addition to the firestorm-food shortages and disease. Protected from the fires by the Moskva River, he held fast but soon faced with the threat of an uprising by the surviving townspeople, he finally yielded. On 11 September at 2 pm, he sent a messenger carrying a white flag to the Polish camp with an offer of surrender in exchange for guaranteed safety for those wishing to leave, and assistance in fighting the raging fires. Koscuizsko sent back the reply that while he would graciously grant freedom of passage to the townspeople, he could not render any aid until a general cease-fire endorsed by Catherine II was agreed.

    Crimea and Middle East

    Victory for the Swedes in the Second Battle of Poltava came at an inopportune time for the Russians, who had reached Adrianople (Edirne) on 14 August and was at that moment making final preparations for the attack on Constantinople. Two Hungarian armies, still in the field after the Battle of Skopje now advanced deeper into Turkish Thrace, with one army taking position to the west of Edirne and the second joining the Russians. Just before the offensive could be launched, Alexei Orlov was ordered by the Tsarina-Empress to return with his army to Russia as the capital was about to come under Polish attack. Meeting with Apraksin (his junior commander) and Hadik (Hungarian commander) in Edirne, Orlov agreed to leave a force of 1,200 Russians under Apraksin's command while he withdrew with the rest back to Russia. This reduced the forces that could attack the capital. Further setbacks occured when the Truce of Zadar expired on 15 August, and reports arrived in Edirne that Austria was planning an offensive into Burgenland-which had been under Hungarian occupation since the end of the Hapsburg Succession War and which placed the Hungarians only a few days march from Vienna. This forced Hadik to send the second army north to counter any Austrian movements into the region. While there was still a significantly strong force to besiege and take Constantinople, the reduction of that force due to trouble elsewhere meant that a concerted Turkish advance would lead to potential defeat. For Mustafa III in Salonika, a golden opportunity had opened up. Coming on the heels of the ending of the Truce of Zadar and the Polish offensive against Moscow, the Ottomans could go on the offensive. Recalling Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha and raising an army of 24,000, he prepared a strategy to finally regain the lands Hungary now held. He himself brought over 34,000 from the Levant to form his own army, then began a conscription drive among the Greek and Macedonian populace to further raise his army, bringing the total to 75,000 (with another 26,000 sent to the Grand Vizier, raising his total troops to 60,000).

    It was not until 13 September, three days after the Siege of Moscow had begun and Alexei Orlov withdrew with the bulk of the Russian army for their homeland and Hadik sent his second army under de Tolna to the Austrian frontier that the Sultan began his offensive. The plan would be for the Sultan to advance on Edirne and shatter the Russo-Hungarian army while the Grand Vizier marched into Macedonia and Serbia with the objective of reconquering Skopje, Nis, and Sofya. On the 15th, after crossing the countryside to within 8 miles of the walls, the Russo-Hungarian army laid siege to Constantinople. When a scout part returned to the Sultan with news of the siege, he seized his chance. In a stunning and brazen imitation of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, who had left the capital under a combined Avar-Persian siege to ravage Persian territory, Mustafa III left Constantinople under siege and advanced on Skopje, sending Kose Bahir Mustafa Pasha to attack Sofya. Kose Pasha reached Sofya only four days after de Tolna had departed for the Austrian frontier. Catching the garrison by surprise by flying Hungarian battle flags and standards and donning captured Hungarian armor, Kose managed to enter the city with his troops and on a signal (a salute to the Mayor of the city), the troops broke and spread out, slaughtering thousands of men, women, and even a few hundred children (roughly 220,000 people) and taking the Mayor prisoner. The fanaticism with which the civilians were being murdered shocked Kose Pasha and he ordered the remaining population to be spared, promising them freedom from taxation for a 5-year period and feedom to practice their religion without persecution. He also released the Mayor, who swore an oath on the Koran (and then on the Bible) eternal fealty. News of the massacre at Sofya reached Skopje three days later, just as the Sultan's army was approaching. Fearing the same fate, the city opened their gates and forcibly expelled the Hungarian garrisons, which thereafter fell into Turkish captivity. The losses of Sofya and Skopje effectively cut off the supply lines between Hungary and Hadik's army, which along with the reduced Russian contribution, reduced the effectiveness of the siege. 6 days later, on 21 September, as Kose Pasha's army was closing on Nis, the city capitulated without a siege; the bloodbath at Sofya had already spread throughout the Serbian countryside. For the Sultan, the primary objectives had been achieved and he could now turn his attention back to his capital. On 28 September, after a march of eight days in the Fall rains, Mustafa III came into contact with Hadik's army. Sending the sipahis into the Hungarian lines in a flanking sweep, they caused so much disorder that Hadik was forced to break the siege in order to reform his lines, but by then the Janissaries were marching into the lowlands close to the walls. The battle lasted for seven hours by which time Mustafa III had lost 35,000 and Hadik around 12,000 including nearly all the remaining Russian contingents. Such a significant loss meant that Hadik could no longer maintain the siege and was forced to retreat back to Sarajevo, but Mustafa III could not rest on his laurels, for the Persians were once more threatening the Levant.

    Shahrohk Shah had only been defeated, not vanquished. Building a new army in Iraq from among the Shi'ite and Kurdish regions, he soon raised an army of 24,900, then marched into the Levant to besiege Damascus. Mustafa III, crossing the Bosporus on 30 September with his army, marched across Anatolia and down into Syria. On 6 October, the Sultan and the Shah met near Megiddo, where the Turks claimed the high ground and with their artillery easily rained cannon fire and canister shot on the Persians. Shahrohk Shah made several attempts to storm the high ground and capture several of the Turkish cannon, but each attempt was repulsed with bloody intensity. By the afternoon, the Janissaries were sent into the valley, and broken the morale of the Persians, driving them from the valley. Sipahis and akinjis (irregular cavalry) followed up and turned the retreat into a complete rout. Shahrohk Shah himself was captured and taken to Angora. News of the capture of the shah demoralized the Persians to such a degree that they abandoned Mesopotamia. It would be the end of 1770 before Shahrohk Shah would be released, pending the opening of peace terms between Turkey and Persia.


    The failure of the Hungarians to capitalize with the conquest of Constantinople, and the losses of Nis, Skopje and Sofya provided Austria with a chance opportunity. De Tolna's army was still not yet across the Danube River and the force guarding Burgenland had been reduced in order to provide additional troops for Hungary's Balkan campaigns. Joseph II, taking the initiative for the first time as a military commander, raised an army of 110,000. The primary aim was the recovery of Burgenland from the Hungarians, but Joseph II also aimed at nothing less than the complete elimination of Hungary's military power with the future aim of restoring the dynastic link between the two kingdoms. With the news of the fall of Sofya to the Turks-with all the horrors that came with it-Joseph II judged the time right. On 18 September Joseph II declared war on Hungary and at the same time began his offensive. In two days, his army overran Burgenland and routed the 17,000 troops which had been garrisoned. Cheered by the crowds of Austrians who had been under Magyar rule since the Hapsburg Succession War, Joseph II fortified his newly conquered positions and awaited the Hungarian reaction. Meanwhile, Atchduke Charles, another Hapsburg, moved his army into Moravia as a precaution in the event Frederick II of Prussia tried to use the Hungarian campaign to blitzkrieg through the province and present a threat to Vienna from the north. He operated under the misguided belief that Frederick II was working with Anton I to overwhelm Austria from two directions, but after eight days on the frontier with no indication of Prussian troop movements, he was finally convinced no such partnership existed. In actuality, preliminary discussions-originally over the fate of Saxony-had already opened between the two rivals (Hapsburg and Hohenzollern) and a cease-fire was in place. He therefore sent a letter to Joseph II inquiring as to where he could best be useful. The two most obvious targets were Belgrade and Sarajevo, and it would allow for a joint Austro-Turkish offensive. As Joseph II secured Burgenland and replenished his supplies, he sent a letter to the Turkish sultan proposing joint operations in the western Balkans.


    Little fighting had taken place through most of the war, with both the Moghuls and Marathas still watching each other warily. But as France began their offensive in America, they also began attacking British shipping in the Indian Ocean. In retaliation, the Royal Navy Indian Ocean struck back against French shipping, and it was in one of the retaliatory attacks that the British learned of the weapon shipments to the Moghuls and Marathas. Warren Hastings, Governor-General of British India, sent messages warning both governments of reprisals should they continue to receive French arms and supplies. When both powers rebutted the messages, claiming that they were within their sovereign rights to arm themselves and ally themselves to whomever they wished, the British responded with dual ultimata. On 19 August a British army of 76,000 marched from Bengal on a campaign of attrition against the Marathas, taking 20 days to reach their capital Raigad. At the same time a Royal Navy squadron of 8 ships-of-the-line drove a French squadron of 3 ships-of-the-line away and captured or sunk 10 transport ships bringing munitions. The French responded to this by marching an army of French Marines, Rajputs, and Moghul archers (numbering 88,000 total) into Bengal, laying waste to the cotton and tea plantations in a scorched earth campaign that avoided fortified settlements. Both armies devastated the countryside but could never bring their numbers to bear on fortresses for lack of sufficient artillery to beseige. With the Maratha capital nonetheless under threat from the British, the French and their Moghul allies divided the Rajput regiments and took them in two different directions, with the French marching on Raigad to relieve the siege and the Moghuls attacked the British coastal settlements. After three weeks in which the Maratha capital was relieved in a battle which cost the British 12,000 and the French 18,000, the British were forced to the defensive. But the French and Moghuls too were feeling the financial and military strains and India would settle back down into a state of constant wariness, occasional skirmishing between the British and the French with their Moghul and Maratha allies, and uncertainly as to how India would be managed in the future.

    Pursuit of Glory - Tim Blanning
    The Seven Years War - Daniel Marston
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    The Transformation of the United Kingdom
  • Reader's Note: This post will generally summarize the changes that would occur in the United Kingdom as a result of the Franco-Spanish Invasion of 1768-70. This will span the period from 1770-1773 and will only use specific dates for those changes which are deemed important enough to be noted. Aside from the king and prominent real-life ministers and military commanders, all individuals named will be fictional individuals and marked with a (*) and where possible, real-life approximations will be attached as was done in my previous post. The main purpose here is to illustrate how the American and Maracaiban situations are resolved in different ways as well as provide a springboard for the later European peace congress.

    Ever since the Norman Conquest of 1066-1068, the British Isles have been under various forms of union dominated to a greater or lesser degree by London. Wales was the first Celtic state to come under Anglo-Norman rule, followed to a somewhat lesser degree by Ireland. Scotland, under the House of Stuart (1371-1652 &1660-1707) held out the longest, mainly due to their historic diplomatic ties to France and successful repulse of both English and Norwegian efforts at conquest. The Act of Union of 1707 brought the kingdoms of England (with an integrated Wales) and Scotland together in a common legislative, economic, military and even dynastic unification. The brief periods in which the Jacobites launched their attempts to reclain the Crown of England were not enough to break the union. But in November of 1768 a combined French and Spanish invasion (thru Ireland) and a Jacobite uprising in Scotland (inspired and funded by France) came the closest to breaking the Union of the Crowns which was the bedrock on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain was built. The rebellions in Ireland and Wales, when combined with the Jacobite uprising in Scotland and the march of the French and Spanish armies placed George III in a difficult position-one reason why he was forced to recall troops from other areas such as America, Maracaibo and Central Europe to drive out the French and Spanish as well as contain the rebellions. It was only with the greatest difficulty that the first issue of the British, removing the French and Spanish from their territory, was finally achieved. But even as the surviving French and Spanish troops (those not either in POW camps or dead on the battlefield) reembarked on their ships for the long voyage home, the Welsh rebellion continued to burn while Ireland remained inflamed by Spanish propaganda which called for a fully independent Catholic Ireland (with, it need hardly be said though the Irish themselves never knew it, the possibility of a union with the Spanish Crown). George III knew that he could not crush the Welsh by force, with an exhausted Home Army, mercenaries from the German states eager to return home, and a treasury which was lacking in substantial funds-while at the same time still committed to the war against the Bourbon kingdoms raging in Europe, North America, the Caribbean and India. He was also all too aware that the withdrawal of British forces from North America and the stunning success of the American colonists had awakened a desire for some form of self-government either attached to or free of British tutelage (Maracaibo would soon prove to be a more explosive problem as they were united in their desire for independence whereas America was open to a dominion status and self-rule within the British Empire).

    Before he could address the situations in America and Maracaibo, George III first had to reestablish his rule, returning to London four days after the defeat of the French. Here, he convened a Privy Council tasked with the triple tasks of funding the war effort in Europe so that "never again would Albion be subjugated by Hispania and Gallia", reaching some form of accomodation with the Irish and especially the Welsh, and opening talks with the Americans on their future status. The first task was difficult, for much of the countryside outside the major cites like London were devastated either by the French marching through or by the battles which resulted. Farmers and landed gentry had to be reimbursed for the damages they suffered, which called for an increase in taxation. Sir William Pitt (the Elder) First Lord of Chatham proposed the Tax Act (July 1771) which among other things placed a deadline on its existence so as to satisfy concerns among the nobility and merchant class that the high taxation could bring about a new upheval at a time when the Island Kingdom was still at risk of a renewed French or Spamish invasion. The act called for a tax increase to gradually take place, reaching its peak in 1774 before coming back down, coming to a final end in 1776. This would allow both the landed estates to rebuild and recover from the ravages of the invasion and would continue to fund the British military effort in Europe and India (but not America). As the taxes began to come in, the countryside began to recover their former productivity and soon were in a position to even replenish the treasury from the excess crops they harvested and sold on both the domestic and international markets. George III extended this beneficial policy toward Scotland, which had been devastated when the British and Lowland Scots ravaged the Highlands following the defeat and destruction of the Jacobites, as a way to reconcile Scotland to the Union with England. In this way Scotland was not only rescued from famine and recession but also convinced of the benefits of continued union.

    For Wales, the solution was somewhat more complicated. Part of the motivation behind the Welsh uprising lay in the fact that after its forced integration with England, Welsh culture became subsumed under the dominant culture of the Anglo-Norman (English) ruling elites to such a degree that the speaking of Welsh had been banned on pain of imprisonment or execution. Here, the champion of Welsh equality within the United Kingdom was an individual named Roderick Glendower (he claimed descent from Owen Glendower, last independent ruler of Wales)*. He favored continued union with England but with the condition that the Welsh language could be spoken again as a recognized language and Welsh culture could be celebrated again. He was invited to attend a sitting of the Privy Council on 9 May 1772, where he presented his plan to provide Wales with a greater voice in the parliament which would need to be rebuilt. His terms were simple: recognition of Welsh as an official language alongside English and Scottish, the revival of Welsh culture protected by parliamentary law and given the Royal Seal, and the admission of Welsh MPs to the British Parliament on equal footing with their English and Scottish countrymen. He was supported by Pitt, who made the argument that a failure to address the wishes-modest as they were-of the Welsh would leave a back door open for future French or Spanish intervention. He concluded his address by stating that British security required "working with the nations we have taken into our bosom, rather than locking them away and hoping someone from outside the prison doesn't forge a key". George III was so impressed with both Glendower and Pitt's addresses that before even awaiting the decision of the Council, he proclaimed a second Act of Union between Wales and England (it went into effect on 1 January 1773 following a transitional period in which financial assistance was also given to Welsh landowners who saw devastation following the Franco-Spanish invasions) which while tying them in the same manner as Scotland, also recognized the importance of Welsh culture and language in the Greater British identity and lifted the ban on Welsh-speaking and writing. While the title Prince of Wales would continue to be used by future heirs to the Crown, George III created the secondary title Viscount of Cardiff** for Glendower and his descendants as well as calling for the Welsh to select their MPs for the upcoming meeting of the British Parliament in Westminster.

    Over two years later, with cease-fires and armistices across Europe, the Moghuls and Marathas contained i India and the fighting in the Caribbean winding down with the capture of both Guantanamo and Havana in Cuba, George III could finally call a meeting of the Parliament, reconstructed with the addition of the Welsh MPs and Glendower as their main representative (15 May 1773). The Tax Act of Pitt was reaffirmed while Parliament passed the Military Reconstruction Act which helped to build the Home Army back to its pre-invasion strength and also allowed many of the regiments to be freed for duty elsewhere (particularly to Maracaibo, which had just declared independence). Additionally, new sunsidy treaties were agreed with Prussia and first-time subsidy treaties were signed with Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, and the Grand Republic of Novgorod (though Britain had not yet offered full diplomatic recognition as they were still on good terms with Russia). The finalization of the Clearances which removed the Jacobite threat from Scotland was also completed when Parliament, with endorsement from Edinburgh, pardoned 20,000 Scots who, aside from supporting the Stuart Pretender, had committed no further unlawful acts against the Crown (another gesture toward Scotland by the British king). It was to this first parliamentary session since the start of the Ten Years War that the American delegates Jay, Franklin and Jefferson attended before meeting with the Privy Council and the King to present their proposal for dominion status. Many on the Council wanted to more tightly integrate America into the Empire due to the abundance of timber, furs, tobacco, indigo, cotton and rice which the colonies were still providing. Others were open to the idea of American separatism as they had shown unique ability in doing more to defend British interests on their own than they had while under British guidance. George III was opposed to American separatism on the grounds that the Thirteen Colonies provided Britain with a means to further expand their territory at the expense of Spain and especially France, though he did consider the idea of self-government as part of the Empire. Much to their disappointment, the American delegation found the Council and King divided on the American Question and soon after left to return to America to deliver their report. Before they embarked on their ship, they learned of the Maracaiban attack on a British squadron and the simultaneous declaration of independence by the Maracaibans as well as their recognition by the Philadelphia Convention. Alarmed now by the prospects of Britain retaliating against Maracaibo, then using the pretext of recognition as a casus belli, returning to America in force, they set sail for Philadelphia to report and learn more about the decision.

    Hpurs after the American delegation learned of the action at Maracaibo, the Privy Council also learned the news. Consternation was universal and several on the Council now pushed the King to issue a Royal Decree outlawing the Maracaibo rebels and calling up troops to crush the rebellion. He also passed a decree which threatened economic and if necessary military retaliation toward any nation, friend or foe, that recognized Maracaibo. It wouldn't be until after British ambassadors in Berlin, Moscow, Novgorod, Constantinople and even Vienna began reporting on the outrage being expressed by the respective rulers that the King would be forced to reconsider his edict. In a letter drafted to the British ambassadors resident in the European capitals, George III agreed not to press his edict until the peace congress could meet and his representative could better explain the circumstances behind it. He also withheld any retribution against the American Federation as they were still considered vital to the war effort. Nonetheless, the Maracaibo independence movement would fundamentally change the relationship between the American Federation and the British Empire at a time when Britain was still rebuilding from the Bourbon Invasion.

    * Roderick Glendower's real-life approximation in terms of his desire for a voice for his people in the British Parliament was Wolfe Tone, who will also appear ITTL

    ** Viscount of Cardiff is entirely an alternate timeline title as none actually existed IOTL. Here it is a title which is a step on the path to Welsh integration in a united Kingdom, with its own MPs in Parliament, its own culture as a composite of 'British' culture and the recognition of its language as one of four official languages.

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    The Boston Incident and American Independence 1773-1776
  • By September 1773, with the return of American delegates John Jay, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and the culmination of the war against France and Spain, the American Federation found itself in a precarious position. Britain had begun to return to the Caribbean in force, seizing Guantanamo (27 April) and Havana (4 May). With potential bases close to the mainland and still no decision regarding the future status of the American Federation in the British Empire, Franklin and Paine began agitating for separation. Jefferson, disillusioned by his meeting in London, soon came over to the idea of independence. Washington and Clinton still hoped for a solution which would allow self-governance while remaining part of the British Empire, but their voices were increasingly drowned out by the other delegates who soon began joining the calls for independence. Meanwhile, the Continental armies were already on the march into New Spain (the Tejas region) and the Wyoming Country (part of French Louisiana). Pressure was mounting to force the French and Spanish into a separate peace, regardless of Britain, and ultimately, the Convention agreed to send a list of terms for a peace settlement. While a copy reached Mexico City four days after it was drafted by Jefferson, the same copy took almost a month to reach Versailles, back in Europe. The initial terms proposed called for the cession of Lower Canada, the Ohio Valley, Most of Louisiana Colony including New Orleans, as well as the restoration of Georgia Colony to American administration and the cession of Spanish Florida. The Spanish rejected the terms which called for the cession of Florida and they continued to argue against the loss of Georgia. They attempted to delay discussion while mustering an army to drive the Continentals out of Tejas, but as the Mayan Rebellion was raging in Yucatan and the British Royal Navy's Caribbean fleet was blockading the major ports. They could only raise an army of 9,000 which was defeated when they attempted to push the Continentals from the Rio Grand Valley losing 7,800 to the Americans' 2,200. This loss, combined with the losses suffered by the Mayan rebels forced the Viceroy of New Spain, Jose de Galvez y Gallardo to finally agree to preliminary terms (though he sent a copy of the American proposal to Madrid with a request for additional instructions). Meantime, American munitions supplies were sent to the Mayan rebels in order to keep the pressure on the Viceroyalty and balance British influence.

    Growing tensions between the Americans and British led to small incidents which generally were resolved mutually and for a time tamped down the unease. But on 4 July 1774, the most horrendous incident in both American and British history happened. It began the day before, when pro-indepenedence protestors attacked the Tax Office in Boston, declaring that no further taxes would be sent to line the pockets of London. A group of 200 Redcoats arrived and arrested the protestors. It had been decided that, in order to prevent further acts of violence from breaking out, the protestors would be released the next day (they had vandalized the interior of the building and gave the British managers a scare, but no one was injured or killed). At 6 am the day of the incident, the 90 protestors were released by the British authorities. Two hours later, and unknown to Commander-and-Chief of the British Army North America Thomas Gage, a party of 2,000 Redcoats began rounding up several of the merchants in Boston Harbor, harassing them over the actions of the protestors the day before. A Massachusetts milita battalion of 2,000 under the command of John Campbell arrived to try to defuse the situation, and while both sides were evenly matched in terms of troops, the Americans had more experience thanks to the fighting in the wilderness under the commands of Burgoyne and Washington. The stand-off lasted through the midday with both sides afraid to yield ground to the other. Then at 3:50 pm a soldier on the British side, reacting to a sneeze from a fellow soldier, accidentally fired on the Americans, which triggered a bloodbath as both sides-already on edge-opened fire. In the two hours of fighting which followed 15 of the merchants who had been rough-housed were killed (3 survived and would recount the incident to Gage three days later) 760 Americans were killed and 18 injured and the British lost 385 dead and 19 injured. Additionally around 25 civilians who had been caught in the killing zone also lost their lives. One of the lucky survivors would report the 'Boston Incident' to the city press, causing outrage in Boston (it would be overblown initially and lead to two more confrontations with the Redcoats before the true account as given to Gage was made public.)

    New England had been the most solidly in favor of retaining some form of union with the British Empire before the Boston Incident. When news of the bloodshed spread all across the region however, support for continued union rapidly declined and hundreds of former supporters-turned-patriots of American separatism now began to arm themselves. Four months after the Boston Incident these bands of militias and 'minutemen' had coalesced into two groups of 4,000 and though lacking artillery made up for this in zeal and determination to punish the British for the acts in Boston. Both armies were under the command of Brigadier General Samuel McClellan and they were determined to march on Boston from Concord to force the commander of the British troops stationed there, Major John Pitcairn, to acknowledge his inability to control his men. Pitcairn, warned ahead of time by an informant in McClellan's army, marched out from the city to meet him and the two sides met at Lexington on 6 July at 11 am. Neither side had cannon as it was hoped that a show of force would be enough to bring the other side to terms without great bloodshed (epsecially given that Boston was up in arms over the Incident by this time). But as in Boston, one shot fired triggered a bloodbath. In this case however, it was a sharpshooter hiding in a tree close to the British lines. Though he had taken aim at Pitcairn, he instead hit his adjunt in the forehead, knocking him from his horse in front of a startled Pitcairn (he was dead before he hit the ground). Both sides were startled by the random gunshot and immediately began firing on each other. Pitcairn, in a panic and still trying to calm the situation before more blood was spilled, shouted at his men to hold their fire. But with their comrades dropping under the barrage of American musket fire, none dared to cease firing. On their side, McClellan also attempted to calm his men down. He wanted to face down Pitcairn and force him to acknowledge his guilt in the Incident and accept arrest under British Law. But by 4 pm, the fighting had gotten so out of control that Pitcairn had lost 700 of his 1,800 troops while McClellan lost 90 of his 4,000. Growing despondant, Pitcairn ordered his troops to retreat for Boston and the safety of the naval guns in the harbor while he prepared a report for Gage. McClellan, not willing to let his opponent escape, gave chase and the stationary battle now became a running firefight.

    In New York City, General Gage was furious. He had learned of the actions at Lexington (but not yet the Boston Incident) and was already preparing orders for both Burgoyne and Clinton to immediately arrest and detain the American military personnel as well as the delegates to the Convention. He felt betrayed by his former friend Washington (who was also not aware of the Boston Incident, or for that matter the fighting in Lexington). It was later reported that when Clinton received his orders to detain Washington, he flew into a rage and immediately tore off all the medals he had earned in service to the British Army, declaring himself "a proud American". He never arrested Washington, nor did he make his friend aware of Gage's order to do so. Burgoyne, who had also fought with Washington against the French was appalled by the decree and also resigned in protest. As reports from Pitcairn arrived on the strength of the American armies pressing on him as he retreated to Boston, Gage found himself without support as his two best generals had not responded acknowledgment of their orders and Howe was still in Britain helping to retrain the Home Army in the wake of the Bourbon Invasion. On the 8th of July at 9 am, the survivor of the Boston Incident arrived at Gage's HQ with the detailed report of the incident in all its gory detail and made clear that it had been Pitcairn's troops which had committed the offenses leading to and igniting the bloodbath. His later acocunt of the meeting with Gage recalled that upon hearing the story of the massacre in Boston, Gage sank into his chair and wept like a little girl, not just because of the casualties which both sides suffered in Boston, but also because of the fact that the Americans were only desiring Pitcairn to account for his actions-or in the case of the incident, inactions. He drafted a letter to the British Colonial Secretary of State George Germain and the Prime Minister Lord North requesting instruction and calling for immediate dismissal of Pitcairn, who would also be tried for his role in the Boston Incident. He soon after sent an urgent letter to Pitcairn demanding his resignation and an immediate cease-fire.

    Gage need not have bothered with the letter, for as Pitcairn drew close to Boston, he found himself facing an army of Redcoats numbering 3,000 commanded by Lord Cornwallis. Cornwallis had been informed by the Massachusetts legislature of the events of the Incident and had brought his troops to arrest Pitcairn. Cornwallis sent a rider to meet with McClellan to inform him of Pitcairn's arrest. Pitcairn, thinking Cornwallis was there to support him, finally turned to face the approaching Continentals, only to find the iron cuffs clapped on his wrists. As McClellan (and the messenger) rode forward, Cornwallis presented Pitcairn's saber as a gesture of trust, then presented the handcuffed ex-Major. He informed him that Pitcairn had been arrested by order of the Boston council and he would likely also face charges from the Colonial Office. McClellan accepted the saber, and called off his troops . On 8 August, weeks after the Boston Incident and the Clash at Lexington, Major John Pitcairn was dismissed from the Royal Army, his honors and medals stripped, and he himself transported to Australia to serve a 10-year prison term. Gage issued an edict awarding damages to those families in Boston who had lost loved ones in the massacre and reducing the number of Redcoat patrols to 100 men, placing the garrison under the command of Cornwallis for the remainder of the period. However, these acts, gracious though they were, had ignited outrage across the American Federation, as it also did in London when they learned the details of the Boston Incident three weeks after news reached Philadelphia. Both sides had been given a kick to the rear-end by the Boston Incident and the resulting Battle of Lexington and though there were those in the British Ministry such as Lord North, who wanted to use the Lexington battle as a means to suppress American separatism once and for all. the strong voice of the elder Pitt now urged that a compromise needed to be made with America, even if independence was the end result as they couldn't afford new enemies at a time when they were still (technically) at war with France and Spain and already fighting Maracaibo as well. At Pitt's urging (and over the head of Lord North, who resigned soon after with his last words being "Oh God! Its all over now") George III sent the Earl of Carlisle Frederick Howard to Philadelphia to meet with Jefferson and Jay.

    Carlisle came to Philadelphia on 11 September in the hope of meeting only with Jefferson and Jay. But as both men were at the Philadelphia Convention, he was forced to travel to the Convention Hall, where he found the delegates in a fit of rage over the Boston Incident. Fearing for his safety, he waited in the adjacent room while Jefferson tried to restore calm. Here, Carlisle met General Washington, who agreed to escort him into the chamber and stand with him. Carlisle agreed and entered the chamber with Washington. His presence helped prevent some of the delegates from rushing the still-nervous Carlisle. The Georgia delegation shouted down Carlisle before he could even begin to speak, until they were silemced by a calm Franklin. The following is a later recounting of the opening speech Carlisle made to the Convention as recorded by John Adams:

    "It is with great distress that His Royal Majesty learned of the tragedy which befell the citizens of the city of Boston. Our Commander-in-Chief has already awarded damages to be paid to the victiims, though I have no doubt that this will not be enough to assauge the outrage you no doubt feel. It is for this reason that His Royal Majesty, wishing to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion has authorized me to offer the following options. The first isfor self-government with a fixed general tax for maintenance of British troops on this continent. He is even willing to accept a unification of your colonies as a federation. Option two is a full and formal separation. Your colonial militias comported themselves admirably during the war and won significant gains. It is quite difficult for His Royal Majesty to deny that you have earned your right to freedom of self-government independent of Our tutelage...."

    Though Carlisle continued for some time with his speech, the announcement that Britain was willing to part company with its American colonies had taken the fire from the delegates. Even Washington was stunned into silence. After finishing his speech, Carlisle left the chamber. Washington made clear that he still viewed with favor continued union with the Empire, but would be willing to accept independence now that it was also an option. Adams, Revere and Franklin also agreed to endorse independence. Jefferson was tasked with drafting the document as well as a Article of Federation for the state. It wouldn't be until 1776 that the last British troops (which had ironically been returning since 1770) would evacuate. Jefferson finished the Declaration on 15 December and finished the Article of Federation on 12 February (it is worth noting that while the documents were made official on their respective dates, the Declaration was not announced until 4 July 1776, which became known soon after as Independence Day). It was decided that a delegation would travel to Europe to discuss final treaty boundaries with the French. Spanish and British ambassadors.

    Seven Years War - Daniel Marston
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    The Congress of Frankfurt 1775-1776
  • Reader's Note: The next posts will consist of a breakdown of the events directly leading to the Congress, as well as the Congress itself and its immediate aftermath. Subheaders will be used to delineate each section and each may contain more than one post. Fictional characters will again be marked with an (*) and their real-life approximates listed where applicable.


    With cease-fires and armistices in place, the diplomats of the major powers involved in the Ten Years War now worked feverishly to construct a general framework for the negotiations which would need to take place for peace to finally arrive. All combatant powers were by now thoroughly exhausted, their populace becoming increasingly unhappy both with the increased taxes being used to fund the war and the loss of life resulting from the war and in nations such as France, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Hungary and even Great Britain the combined effects of high taxation, conscriptions, devastation, blockade and outbreaks of disease were straining the populations to the breaking point. Emergency measures were already being applied in Russia and Britain to mitigate the negative effects as best as their governments could, while in France Louis XVI* who had ascended the throne in 1774 after the death of Louis XV, now called the Estates-Generak for the first time since 1612 to seek recommendations on how to rebuild the French treasury and avoid bread shortages resulting both from the shift in climate during this period (the Little Ice Age) and the constant supply of troops in the field. In Russia, the climate shift resulted in large-scale famine only alleviated with the intervention of their former foes Poland-Lithuania and Sweden via shipments of grain, fish, and potatoes. In the Ottoman Empire, famine in Mesopotamia, while responsible for the full Persian withdrawal from the region, did little improvement with the return of the Turkish governors and soldiers. Hungary, too, experienced brief periods of food shortage as their countryside had been devastated by Austrian, Polish, and Turkish raids in the course of the war, and the popularity of King Anton I was at an all-time low with many who were still alive when the Hapsburgs had liberated Hungary from Islamic rule longing for their return. For Frederick the Great, the conquest of Bornholm and defense of Silesia was small endeavors in a country whose treasury, like in France was very low. Unlike France, however, Frederick had no qualms about raising taxes and using force to put down any dissention, even from among his own family. Spain was experiencing a recession due to the decrease in the flow of gold, silver, sugar, tobacco and indigo from their American empire due to British, Maracaiban, American and Mayan interference. Further, they were now at diplomaric loggerheads with many of the nations which were already recognizing Maracaiban independence (and in the case of the American Federation, the Mayan rebels as well) and further felt cheated by the loss of Buenos Aires to Britain, Florida and Georgia to the Americans, Maracaibo to the "rebels" and the Mayan Insurgency. Austria's economic woes, while not as dire as Spain's, was still felt among the landed gentry and even the incorporation of Ragusa and Dalmatia only barely offset the financial costs of having so many troops in the field. Novgorod had already begun constructing its financial base with the assistance of Britain and Sweden but could not as yet raise an army even for purely defensive purposes.

    Carlisle, coming off the success of his peace talks with the American Federation, now proposed a congress to settle all outstanding issues remaining from the Hapsburg Succession War (which might not have been settled by the Peace of Munich) and the Ten Years War. He was not alone, for the Polish diplomat Casimir Lokietek* was also eager to bring an end to the war, as his country-despite its victory over Russia-was experiencing economic distress related to supporting both Russia and Novgorod and had already received subsidies from Britain to offset the drain due to subsidizing both its new ally and its old former enemy. Carlisle and Lokietek had begun corresponding on 12 September while he was still in America negotiating the armistice. Lokietek proposed a meeting of the major European powers in a central location where final treaties could be worked out and combined into a general settlement. Upon his return on 20 November, Carlisle-joined by the Marquess of Rockingham** traveled to the Imperial Free City of Frankfurt to meet with the Mayor to discuss hosting a peace congress. Three weeks later, they were joined by Lokietek and the Ottoman grand Vizier Kose Pasha. These three men (Carlisle would play a role, but history would only remember Rockingham) would form the 'Big Three' of the Congress of Frankfurt. They would be joined, on 30 November by de Vergennes, the French diplomat and foreign minister. These individuals would have to discuss the order of precedence, seating arrangements, cuisine to be served during the congress, as well as any entertainments. On the order of precedence, it was agreed that the Bahemianss-as Holy Roman Emperors-would be given the first seat, followed by Prussia, Austria, Saxony, and Hanover (despite the Elector also being King of Great Britain, which meant that a solely Hanoverian representative would have to be selected). Of the non-German powers, Britain and France would take precedence, followed by Poland-Lithuania, Sweden, Spain, Sardinia-Piedmont, The Papal State, Portugal, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Hungary, Novgorod, the Dutch Republic, Grand Duchy of Flanders, Denmark-Norway, Two Sicilies and Morocco (as an observer). Just before the conference was set to begin the American Federation announced it would send delegates to the Congress, which caused some resentment among the Spanish and Russian delegations as they now had to make a place for the delegation (also, Spain was still fuming over the losses of Georgia and Florida, as well as the recognition of the Mayan rebels as independent).

    Problems arose when the Russian and Novgorodian delegations arrived on 6 December. With 1 foot of snow already fallen, the delegates came into contact with each other and immediately began taunting one another. When a snowball hit the child of the secretary for the Russian delegation, the verbal fighting became an intense snowball fight which required the city authorities and a detachment of Imperial troops to break up and separate. This wouldn't be the last time the two delegations would face off during the conference, and they were far from the only ones. At the very first dinner between the delegates and their wives and mistresses, the Spanish delegate raised a toast to the health of James III the Stuart Pretender, which outraged the British delegates and nearly ended the dinner prematurely as both groups stared each other down for several tense minutes, causing the Hungarian and Neapolitan delegations to consider withdrawing to their own housing. Meanwhile, after the opening dinner, each of the delegates retired to their own suites, where many continued to receive reports from the commanders on the field. Often the diplomats received these reports well before the sovereigns back home did, which caused some scandal especially with the Hungarians as King Anton often only learned of a military decision six days after his ambassador in Franfurt-am-Main did (and by then he was unable to counter such a decision). Two more days of festivities designed to distract the wives, mistresses, and children of the delegates would take place as final preparations for the conference were completed. The coming of the new year would be a trying time for the diplomats as they worked to repair the damage which had not fully been resolved by the Peace of Munich.

    * A fictional character for this timeline. His real-life approximation would be Lech Walesa, founder of Solidarity and Poland's first democratic president
    ** Charles Watson-Wentworth 2nd Marquess of Rockingham ( 27 March-2 July 1782). ITTL he's part of the trio of British negotiators at the Congress of Frankfurt, the others being the Earl of Carlisle and Lord Shelburne.

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    America: From Federation to Kingdom
  • Even as the war was winding down and negotiations with Great Britain began, debate continued in Philadelphia over how to strengthen the central government to counter the centrifugal tendencies of the individual colonies. Three plans would soon be drafted which would propose to centralize the government and form an executive to oversee the management of the legislative structure which would be created. With Jay, Franklin and John Adams away in Europe, it was Tom Paine-along with Samuel Adams and Alexander Hamilton-who now became the most powerful proponents of an executive office or title. Two proposals were now being discussed.

    The first, known as the Virginia Plan, proposed a supreme national government with three branches (executive, legislative, judicial) and a bicameral legislature. This would have the benefit of population-weighted representation and centralize the overall government, but had the negative effect of giving the larger territories greater weight in the new federal structure. The plan was drafted by James Madison, and among other things, would've allowed the central administration to use force against territories which failed to comply with regulations. Madison and Edmund Randoplh pushed for adoption of this proposal but were soon faced with a second proposal known as the Small State Plan as drafted by William Patterson. His proposal was supported by the smaller territories and would allow for a more relaxed federal structure, giving greater autonomy to the individual territories (they were not yet organized). Throughout the period debate raged between the two groups with no one gaining a clear advantage, and it soon spread into the general population. Washington was fearful that the continued division would open up outlets in which foreign powers could interfere. He was especially concerned about British and Spanish interference as Britain had yet to fully recognize American independence and Spain was still eager to regain Florida and Georgia and would use the chaos to their advantage. Alexander Hamilton's own proposal calling for a British-style legislative structure was nearly lost among the delegate squabbles until picked up by a Georgia representative, William Houstoun. Houstoun's Comprpmise to the Hamilton proposal became known both as the Houstoun-Hamilton Plan and the Georgia Plan.

    The Georgia Plan unifiied elements of the Small State and Virginia plans in that a strong central government would be created with three branches and a bicameral legislature or Parliament. As in Britain the bicameral Parliament would be comprised of the House of Peers (equivalent to the House of Lords) in which prominent families would have representation based on the territories where they originated from-and they would be limited to one family regardless of the size of the territory, and a National Assembly (equivalent to the House of Commons or the US Senate IOTL). Where the compromise lay was in the structure, duties, and title of the executive. The Georgia Plan called for a royal title to be offered to a prince of a European royal house, the formation of a ministeriate which like the House of Peers would be appointed by the king (but unlike the House of Peers, the ministeriate would answer only to the king and could be dismissed by the king alone. The House of Peers, while appointed by the king, would answer to the citizens and be responsbile for assuring their well-being by working with the senators, but not interfering with them) Opinion of the Georgia Plan was mixed in the beginning, but as the conflict over the other two proposals threatened to create a gulf in the Convention, gradually the Georgia Plan began to win support.

    By the time of the Treaties of Caracas and Munster, the Georgia Plan had gained enough support from among the general populace and with enough delegates in the Convention to be brought up for a general vote. Of all the delegations present, only Delaware and Vermont voted against the Georgia Plan (they would, unfortunately, suffer the consequences of their nay vote by being incorporated into the newly created provincial divisions). The Georgia Plan would serve as the bedrock for the later Royal Constitution which Jefferson would draft. Having agreed to establish a monarchy, it now became imperative to seek out a suitable candidate from among the great European houses to be the first king of America. Adams, always astute as to the danger that would result from a European dynastic house becoming king of America and potentially inheriting his main European crown at the same time, urged that a proviso be inserted into the Royal Contract hastily drafted which would require any potential European candidate renounce his claims to the crown in his own country as a condition for being given the Crown of America. Armed with this, the American delegation in Frankfurt was now given the task of sounding out the various European diplomats and crowned heads to find a suitable candidate. Initially they were rebuffed as the Powers were too busy attempting to delineate the peace terms either to preserve what they held or to maximize their conquests. It wasn't until the closing days of the Congress of Frankfurt that the delegation finally had their chance to meet. To no one's surprise, the British delegation refused, though they offered their support should a candidate be found among the other dynastic families. Louis XVI was initially interested, but between the rift with his Spanish kin and a debt crisis which needed to be addressed, could only offer military support in the event of a successful candidate. The Hapsburgs-who at one time had an empire in the Americas as well as East Asia (Phillippines) and with a coastline acquired from the Hungarians which would allow for a return to colonial empire, instead rejected the idea of a Crown in America as the proviso of renouncing their titles and rights in the Hapsburg Patrimony was anathema to many. Prince Henry of Prussia showed some interest, but when the report was sent back to Philadelphia, the Convention rejected the idea because it would give Prussia too much power both in Europe and in America. The Portuguese rejected the proposal as their potential candidate would've found themselves ruling over a majority Protestant population. Both the Danes and Swedes, while acknowledging the independence of America, were unable to provide any candidates. Spain, still at odds over the losses of Cuba, Florida and Georgia to America, refused to recognize the new nation despite the treaties they were compelled to sign, It became apparent that while America would have a European-style monarchy and legislature, they could not find a European prince to assume the crown.

    With their efforts to find a European prince thwarted, the Convention began to reconsider the idea of a royal title. The key stumbling black, however, remained in the Georgia Plan, which had been adopted by the Convention and for whose purpose Jefferson was already writing the Royal Constitution. The Delaware and Vermont delegations, in one of their last acts as sovereign territories, introduced a measure which would've unified the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. This was met with strong opposition from the Georgia, New York, and Massachusetts delegations who simply struck it from the debate. In the midst of this, it was John Adams who now made the proposal that would shape the future destiny of America. Using the example of the late Roman Empire in which gifted successful generals were often elevated to the purple by their soldiers and in almost every case proved just as adept in politics as on the battlefield, Adams nominated Washington, the successful general from the recent war. Washington initially hesitated, seeing in acceptance the likelihood that other generals such as Gage, Burgoyne, Arnold and Gates would attempt to challenge Washington and lead the new nation into a civil war. Arnold did in fact have an idea to challenge Washington and attempted to gain the support of Burgoyne and Gates, but they offered their support to Washington while Gage declined to even become involved. Arnold, with no support, relented and gave his support to Washington, thus clearing the way for his acceptance of the royal title. It was agreed that on completion of the Constitution the formal coronation of Washington would take place. Five months after the Frankfurt Final Act was submitted to the various delegations for signature and ratification, the Kingdom of America was proclaimed (4 July 1776) with the completion of the Royal Constitution, a Declaration of Principles, and the coronation of George Washington as King George I of the newly created American royal house of Washington, with Martha Custis Washington now a queen and the two stepsons as heirs.
    It would take another four yrears for King George I to outline the line of succession, but the new kingdom was already on a strong foundation.

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    France: Reign of Terror Avoided
  • READER'S NOTE: The French Revolution IOTL was the result of fiscal mismanagement on the part of Louis XV and Louis XVI as well as the constant wars France fought in the period between 1740-1789. While French support in the American War of Independence was not THE point of no return, it did play a major role in the chain of events which led to the French Revolution. ITTL, mainly due to the enormous reparations France receives from Portugal, indemnities seized from Genoa, and the lucrative trade in both India and 'L'Oregon as well as astute finance ministers Turgot and Neckar, the revolution will have a different outcome than what happened IOTL

    The Ten Years War had finally come to an end. French troops which had been in Germany, Iberia, even Poland-Lithuania as mercenaries, were returning home. Troops in India and North America were already on ships bound for the home ports. Commerce could now resume with the ending of the British blockade of French Indian and Caribbean ports. But there were serious problems to which Louis XVI had not forseen in the end of the war. Primary among these were the sudden unemployment of the privateers which had operated from bases in Dunkerque, La Rochelle and Brest. These privateers, now without government sanction, began attacking French merchant ships, provoking a devastating reprisal by the French Navy which forced many to actually join the resurgent Barbary corsairs. Where the French Navy couldn't defeat or scatter the privateers, the British Royal Navy provided the decisive factor in the final defeat of the privateers. Those who had not escaped to join the Barbary pirates, or had gone down with their ships, found themselves in French and British prisons. The depredations of the privateers only added to the economic crisis which now plagued the country as peasants continued to struggle for bread amid a climate shift brought on by volcanic activity. Upon returning from Frankfurt, Louis XVI began to take an intense interest in the financial and economic situation. He removed the previous finance minister, and brought in the duo that would help bring France back into economic parity with its former rival Britain and guarantee that alongside her new partner, France would become the arbiter of western Europe.

    Louis XVI appointed Anne Robert Jacques Turgot as finance minister and First Minister of State on 24 August 1774 to begin the process of reorganizing France's fiscal budget. All departmental expenses were to be submitted for the approval of the controller-general, a number of sinecures were suppressed, the holders of them being compensated, and the abuse of the acquits au comptant was attacked, while Turgot appealed personally to the king against the lavish giving of places and pensions. He even set up a regular budget for the country which delineated what the king could spend. While this had some effect on the domestic budget of France proper, the French colonies in India, L'Oregon, and the Caribbean were still incapable of meeting the new regulations and continued to struggle to meet the demands of both the merchants based in France and the settlers themselves. Turgot, in desperation, turned to the king and implored him to appoint a second finance minister to assist him in the rejuvenation effort. To this the king appointed Director-General Jacques Neckar as Second Finance Minister. Turgot and Neckar could now divide the tasks they faced and with resolve began to reorganize the French colonial and domestic economy. They had nearly managed to bring the French domestic economy back into order when the soldiers arrived from the various European battlefields, which now added additional mouths to the already strained civilian population. Bread shortages reached such high levels that in many places, stores were broken into, and bread stolen straight off the shelves. Local security clashed with the civilians or sans-cullottes in pitched battles across France, leading to the deaths of up to 20,000 people. As the intendants began to clamp down on the unrest, resentment rose to fever pitch as many military veterans now joined with the sans-cullottes to demand affordable bread and reduced taxes. This led to the storming of the Bastile prison on 14 July 1776 (ten days after the proclamation of George Washington as King George I in America), in which 99 were killed and 186 were injured. This action convinced Louis XVI that he needed to call the Estates-General into session. In the Session of August 1776 Louis XVI stunned everyone with a radical reorganization of the legislature. To the shock of the nobility and the consternation of both the clergy and the Third Estate (commoners of middle class standing) he proclaimed a constitution which on the one hand allowed for greater legislative authority yet at the same time reserved the power to declare war, negotiate peace, and appoint ministers to the king and at the same time preserved the principle of Divine Right. He added concessions to the Third Estate which won them over, such as a reduction in taxes and an increase in agricultural output which would help reduce the price of bread. This revolutionary change brought into existence an unlikely combination of constitutional and absolutist government where the king still ruled according to Divine Right yet provided a framework on which he could rule his kingdom. This was best summed up in the opening line in the Louis Constitution: "I Louis XVI, with the Grace and favor of He who is Lord of the World and the source of My Divine Power, have bestowed upon the people of France...." Thomas Jefferson, on learning of the French Constitution, said that "today France has taken a new course in its history, one which insure the continuation of the current dynasty"

    Reactions across Europe to the new French constitutional absolutism varied. In Britain, George III applauded the new form as it allowed the king to retain important powers while also delegating management to the legislature. King Leopold I (Emperor Leopold II of the Empire IOTL) remarked that France "could now become a power more impressive in the future than at any time since Francis I). Charles III of Spain expressed dismay over his kinsman's choice to give greater voice to the common people and especially reducing the power and influence of the clergy, lamenting that France would become atheist "within 5 years". Frederick the Great, back at his estate in Sans Souci, scoffed at the news from France, deriding the king for "submitting to the scum of the land over those whose very blood was the true source of his power". The changing legislature had also opened greater opportunity for the Turgot-Neckar duo as they were no longer restrained by a nobility that often placed the burden of taxation on the peasants, and they now set to work constructing a new tax plan which would in effect give to the poor. Remaining respectful of the clergy, they agreed to a limited tax increase on Church property (which nonetheless earned them excommunication by the Pope) and a greater tax increase on the nobility. Louis XVI, in order to stem the likely noble uprising, also established a national guard comprised of many of the Noble Regiments (with the rest incorporated into a new, more professional royal army) thus depriving them of autonomy and yoking them tightly to the new system. Thus by the end of 1779 as the 25 Years Peace began, France had not only strengthened royal authority and balanced it with a more or less equally strong legislature (now known as the National Assembly) but had neutralized the power of the nobility and reduced the clergy to subservience to the Crown. France had escaped what would otherwise have been the bloodiest upheval in its history and in so doing, became-with Britain-a shaper in the future affairs of Western and Central Europe