Fenians, Brits, Mexicans, Canucks and Frenchies....OH, MY! An alternate American Civil War

Chapter 19
August, 1862

Washington DC

Upon the arrival of a British fleet outside of New York and Boston, Lincoln had waited for the declaration of war....and then waited some more. Finally, he demanded to know from the Admiralty and Secretary of the Navy Welles what the hell the British intended. Small, unarmed American ships approached the respective fleets under the white flag and asked that very question. The response was....vague, according to the sailors. If anything, the respective British Admirals were as confused as to their orders as the Americans.

The Boston squadron commander stated that his orders were to blockade the Port.....nothing more. He would not assault the city nor would he seize any American ships unless they tried to run the blockade.

The New York commander seemed flustered as to why their orders did not carry a declaration of war. Of course, this was the same Admiral who took part in the Veracruz expedition and there was certainly no declaration of war in that situation either. The American Captain who met with this fellow stated he seemed somewhat....embarrassed by the situation. This fellow stated, though, that he would also fire on any ship attempting to break the blockade. Lincoln wisely ordered all ships in those ports to lay anchor and wait.

The President hoped that peace may yet be had with Britain. The worst offenses in the British mind related to seizing a few British trading vessels breaking a blockade (ironically given the situation) and the assassination of Lord Lyons. Lincoln doubted anyone in Britain actually believed the death of the British Ambassador, whom Lincoln agreed had been striving to keep the peace between the two countries, was part of a deliberate murder on the part of the government.

The British reaction of expelling the American Ambassador had been born of pride and not any actual plan to accomplish anything. The fact that no declaration of war had been delivered nor had any actual invasion of America from Canada taken placed boded well for a possible peaceful settlement. Thus, Lincoln set his hopes on a diplomatic settlement. He ordered another set of representatives to Britain with expressions of friendship. He even arranged for the famous Booth brothers to sail to Britain to put on a popular American play for the benefit of the British elites.

Until Britain's guns fired in earnest, Lincoln was willing to halt trade for a few months and let tempers cool. Not for the first time, he regretted the loss of Prince Albert, whose level-headness likely would have been mutually beneficial in this crisis.

More importantly, the somewhat tepid British reaction allowed for the Union to pursue a victorious end to the war. If Britain wanted to spend a few months figuring out how they felt about matters, that was fine with Lincoln. Even if Britain entered the war in earnest, it was obvious that most of the Union's resources would remain pointed south. If America could knock the Confederacy out of the war before Britain could garner their forces, Lincoln was certain Her Majesty could do no more than irritate America on the High Seas. With a million men at arms at any point compared to perhaps 30,000 for Britain across a thousand mile border, Lincoln was certain America was a greater threat in a land war.

But he wanted the Confederacy dealt with....and soon. His orders to Hooker and Grant were simple: attack. If you are not attacking, you better damned well be preparing to attack....and soon.

Grant did not concern Lincoln. That man marched forward in his sleep. He may not be a brilliant tactician as he showed in the poor performance at the first battle of Corinth but he made up for it with dogged tenacity and energy. When Grant managed to take Shiloh and Corinth, some members of the General staff were already talking about another campaign in 1863.

Grant, on the other hand, spent a week reorganizing and resupplying and march south. Within a month, he had taken the Mississippi Capital of Jackson and besieged Vicksburg. The victories were not only important militarily but politically as it buoyed the Republicans during the mid-term elections and presented Britain and France with clear evidence that the Confederacy was on its last legs. The Emancipation Proclamation was another step in producing middle-class resistance in Europe to the colonial powers' position.

As it was, despite her declaration of War (which even Britain hadn't "officially" done), France had yet to actually act against America. Like virtually everyone else on the planet, Lincoln was convinced that Napoleon III only acted to keep Britain off its back in Mexico. The American President vowed that once his country was reunited and peace could be made with Britain, that France's little Latin expedition would come to a swift end.

He just needed Hooker to take Richmond and Grant to keep doing what he was doing.

Meridian, Mississippi

Braxton Bragg had managed to eliminate his two greatest challengers for power in the West by forcing Sherman and Jackson to assume control over Vicksburg. Without relief, the city was doomed. By fall of 1862, Bragg was beginning to realize that the war was a loss. Tennessee had fallen as had half of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. Half of Virginia had seceded (Ironically) from their state and was apparently now a new state (Bragg had no idea Yankees were such secessionists). Most of eastern Virginia was now under Federal control and the Capital of Richmond was in dire straights. Meanwhile, states like North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama refused to send reinforcements to key arenas due to their "States' Rights".

Some Confederate officers had spoken of Britain and France as being their saviors but Bragg doubted this. He knew enough that France only wanted cover for their invasion of Mexico and Britain lacked an army to fight a million blue-bellies under arms. Short of sending their fleet to ravage America's coastline and sweep the American merchant fleet from the seas.....he was not convinced Britain would do anything of note.

The Confederacy's best hope lay in an economic collapse in the Union, which sapped their will to fight. Certainly fighting Confederates had never sapped the Union will to fight.

But Bragg had his duty and, having lost Jackson, Mississippi, he had been commanded to "DO SOMETHING" by his chief sponsor, Jeff Davis. Well, Bragg had husbanded his resources and, with Grant's forces stretched across the length of Mississippi, stood an even chance of defeating the Union outside the city of Meridian, east of Jackson.

Bragg, with unusual alacrity, surged his 40,000 soldiers west against the extended Union Army. John Bell Hood, the aggressive Texan, led his assault east of Meridian with I Corps. Bragg had found himself short of experienced Corp commanders after he ordered Jackson and Sherman to Vicksburg and managed to get the languid Joe Johnston and William Hardee transferred east. Both had tried to get Bragg removed from command and Bragg never forgot it. Leonidas Polk, another favorite of Jefferson, was now plying his trade in the East after failing to give due deference to his commander.

Thus, the aggressive Hood led the charge, smashing headlong into the Union forces approaching Meridian. The initial Union forces were repulsed but quickly reformed. On relatively flat ground, Bragg launched a series of quick strikes, some of which astounded his own subordinates with their daring and speed. The Union force seemed to fade and threaten to break but instead launched a flanking maneuver along his southern lines, forcing him to pull back a few miles. Not willing to let Grant beat him, Bragg launched an almost unheard (for Bragg) night march which again turned the tide of battle. But a stubborn holding action by a decimated Union Corps kept a potential route into a retreat.

After four days of fighting, the end result was 7000 Union casualties, 6000 Confederate killed and wounded and 1500 Confederate captured.

The Union could accept these losses. Bragg could not. Worse, several thousand Confederate regulars (and most of the militia) deserted after the battle for lack of food and pay while Bragg's munitions fell to dangerously low levels.

And to top it off, Bragg learned he hadn't even been facing Grant himself. It was George Thomas. Well, that made Bragg feel a little better. At least he drew with a Southerner than with a Yankee.

The Confederate attempt to regain middle Mississippi had failed and Grant was busily tightening the stranglehold on Vicksburg.

Southeastern Prussia

The Austrian attack into Prussia was something of an ill-considered, ham-fisted affair. Lacking a "General Staff" in the Prussian Model, the Austrians immediately suffered from a lack of planning and logistics. Entire Corps ran out of ammunition, the Commissaries were unsure of how to obtain supplies and the assorted Generals were vague as to what the Emperor wanted them to do.

Thus, the element of surprise possessed by the Austrians (and the months they had to prepare) was largely wasted as the attack bogged down in confusion. Then the Prussian Army struck back. The breech-loading Needle Guns allowed a soldier to shoot five times before reloading, something that could be done laying down. Most of the Austrian infantry still had to stand to muzzle-load their muskets standing up. Prussian artillery also proved superior.

In short order, the Prussians managed to turn the tide as the nation's rapid response system and well-thought-out strategy paid off. Less than a month after crossing the border, the Austrian armies were already in full retreat to the protection of mountain passes.

Having whipped the Austrians as handily as Frederick the Great ever did, the King of Prussia, his Foreign Minister Bismarck and the brilliant tactician and organizers Von Roon and Von Moltke were dusting off a plan of invading Austria (the land was more dangerous than the Austrian Army).

Only a shocking event saved what was likely the latest in a long series of Austrian humiliations over the past century.

Western Prussia

Napoleon III had looked on in amusement as Austria invaded Prussia. He was quite certain how THAT was going to end. The Prussian Army had several technological advances over the Austrians though their organization was Prussia's TRUE talent. The Emperor had sought Austria's alliance over the past year but hard feelings over the War of Italian Unification along with centuries of mutual antagonism between France and Austria prevented any meaningful dialogue on the part of Vienna.

The French Emperor suspected that his Habsburg counterpart was now willing to talk. Austria was, in his mind, no longer a threat to France. France had secured most of her borders with the exception of the northeastern frontier. Unfortunately, this was where the rising power of Europe was centered. Prussia had long been a French ally against Austria in Germany but now it was obvious that it was Austria that needed to be propped up as a counterbalance to the Prussian-led Northern Confederation.

Austria stupidly attacked Prussia believing that the Prussian invasion of Denmark would occupy most of her resources. This was obviously untrue as the tide turned quickly. If Napoleon III did not act quickly, the Habsburgs would be evicted from any influence in Germany.

Thus, with his large standing army on alert due to the Mexican intervention (only about 30,000 troops, many of them hirelings, had been sent to North America), the declaration of War upon the United States and the Italian invasion of the Papal States, it was not hard to shift 150,000 soldiers quietly to the northeaster border and cross into Rhinish Prussia with barely a declaration of war in order to "Support the Claims of the House of Augustenburg to Schleswig and Holstein".

Of course, French people can make miscalculations too. Among Napoleon's errors was his invasion of Germany threw many of the small states of the Northern Confederation from their position of outraged neutrality at Bismarck's actions in claiming Schleswig and Holstein as his personal provinces to reasserting their allegiance. This brought about 100,000 more soldiers back into the Prussian hand as well as opening up several major railroads to King Wilhelm's use.

The French assault would not prove nearly as devastating as Napoleon III had assumed.

He also failed to take into account that OTHERS make take advantage of the distraction.


After the unauthorized "Patriotic" invasion of the rump Papal State by idealistic young Italians (led by Garibaldi) seized Rome and her environs for Italy, the bulk of Italy prepared for war. The political classes knew France wanted an alliance with Italy but also Napoleon III was obliged to support the Papacy.

It seemed obvious that eventually Italy and France would come to blows. Thus, when France invaded Germany instead of Italy, Garibaldi and his ever-Patriotic volunteers made the logical decision to......invade Austria.

This may have made little sense to some but Austria was always going to be a long term adversary to Italy in a way that France never was. Italy was already looking to the Balkans for influence and, more importantly, the largely Italian-speaking population not yet under King Victor Emmanuel's reign was the Habsburg possession of Venitia to the northeast of Italy.

In the War of Italian Unification, Garibaldi had wanted, with French help, to invade this region and add it to Italy but Victor and the French both forbade this.

But with Austria under attack by Prussia, Garibaldi had marched tens of thousands of volunteers (again without the "official" support of the King) to Venetia to liberate his Italian brethren. Garibaldi had already crossed the border when he learned that the French had invaded Prussia.

As it so happened, King Victor had hastily sent diplomats to Berlin to agree to a formal alliance...before it was too late.
I'll be delving into most of these issues. My take is that Britain's strategy of exactly how to fight America would be confused at best as the primary cassis belli is an insult to the British flag. That doesn't lend to a coherent battle plan with defined objectives.
Even with any naval blockade, the navy would insist on a contraband list.
This way they know what ships to seize and what ones to let pass.
The ship would be ordered to stop for inspection. if any of the below were found or false papers were used the ship could be sized and a prize crew put on board. Crew and officer got a share of the prize. The ship could also be sunk if needed. prize ships could help pay for the operation.
Food at the time was not considered contraband for the purpose of a naval blockade.
contraband list.
drugs like opium and cocaine.
naval sores (turpentine)
Saltpetre and guano
Men of military age (passengers).
paper and printing equipment especial engraved plates (printing money or propaganda)
Chemicals like acids could be used in weapons manufacture.
whale oil
Rope and cordage
Metals or ores
Gold or silver bullion.
Machine tools and steam engines of factory tools.
Large amounts of money beyond what was needed for normal ships needs.
telegraph equipment and telegraph wire.
railway equipment
tools to build railways or trenches
Horse or other draft aminals
Military uniforms or boots
Explosives or detonators etc
Codebooks or information of a military nature.
surveying and navigation equipment beyond what was needed for the voyage.
The passengers would be checked for persons of interest of union agents.
IRB agents or members would be of special interest.

The biggest insurer of ships in the world at the time was Lloyds of London.
I imagine the ship insurance rate will make US-owned ships unaffordable to put to sea.
Many of the American merchant ships will be sold to foreign buyers or just tied up in port.
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The Booth brothers.
Boy did he pick the wrong guys.
With imports blocked inflation could start to become a problem in the union. Coffee will start to run out. That will hit morale.
No exports mean the collapse in grain prices and bankruptcy of farmers and smuggling grain across the border into Canada.
With no immigrants arriving there could be a labour shortage.
The British are in control of the telegraph across the Atlantic.
The Russian navy is in the area too. so a lot of potential for unexpected conflict.
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Chapter 20
August, 1862

Southern Virginia

Just as Longstreet had come to expect, Sheridan had no intention of playing his game. What Longstreet was slow to realize was that Sheridan was not RETREATING South against his smaller force.....the Union General was GOING south and Longstreet was just following.

Longstreet had two options....hunt Sheridan down and thus leave Beauregard even MORE outnumbered in the shrinking defenses of Richmond and Petersburg....

Or let Sheridan advance south through southern Virginia and potentially North Carolina.

Now 60 miles south of Petersburg, Longstreet made his decision and followed closely upon Sheridan's heels.

Northern Virginia

"Where the HELL is Longstreet?" Beauregard grumbled. "He should have been back by now! Or at least reported in!"

But Beauregard knew that Longstreet would not have wandered about for no reason. If he was hunting Sheridan, it was probably for the right reason.

However, that didn't help Beauregard. Hooker was plainly preparing another attack, this time upon Richmond from THREE directions. Beauregard did not believe he had the manpower to hold such a long series of trenches.


Hooker, prodded by the President, would dispatch his best Generals to strike the weak-points of the Confederate lines. Between hundreds of cannon and naval-based artillery, the Confederate trenches were bombarded. Sappers had been busily mining under key Confederate positions representing an oval nearly 30 miles in length surrounding the cities of Richmond and Petersburg.

The Union commander would allow his subordinates to handle this.

Instead, Hooker himself would succeed where Rosecrans failed in the spring and Sheridan would attempt with more success: he would cross the James to the west and strike at the Confederate line of supply, communication and retreat.

With confidence brimming from knowledge he had the numerical advantage (Beauregard could surely not dispatch enough men from the trenches to stop him, not without leave his defenses too weak to be held), Hooker marched west and crossed the James with only minor harassment from Confederate Cavalry and Virginia Militia. Always with a eye on his back for fear of Longstreet's sudden return (Hooker HAD ordered Sheridan south, thus Longstreet MIGHT abandon his quarry to return to Petersburg).

But no such event occurred and Hooker was able to slice through the ragged Confederate formations on the open ground before approaching the rail junction near Petersburg's western approaches.

Richmond and Petersburg was ALMOST cut off.

Beauregard knew that his time was up. He requested an immediate audience with President Davis....while there was still time.
Chapter 21
September, 1862


The emissaries dispatched by the United States seeking an end to the current situation found no audience in London. The Queen had retreated to Scotland in her grief (and was unlikely to return anytime soon) and refused to accept any representatives of America.

The government remained in convulsion. By September, the negative effects of the feud with America was starting to take effect. Loans to Americans were not being repaid. Huge quantities of goods sat in warehouses waiting for shipment to America. Most importantly, the annual grain shipments had not arrived....nor would they.

A declaration of war was not forthcoming as it was held that an enemy should have adequate time to "apologize for their sins". America, of course, could not apologize for what it had not done (assassinate Lord Lyons or John A. MacDonald) nor could they apologize for following the same blockade system Britain had utilized for generations.

Finally, the fierce debate in Parliament regarding war would take on a partisan tone as the Emancipation Proclamation added a louder faction in favor of peace.

In truth, the main reason the nation had not declared war was Palmerston and Russell were waiting on America to grovel for forgiveness. When that didn't happen, Palmerston sought and received the vote he was looking for. He just wasn't sure if he wanted it anymore.


With the final railroad out of Richmond at risk of being cut, President Davis ordered the city to be abandoned. If the government and 50,000 Confederate troops fell to Hooker's army, the war may be as good as lost.

Davis was not foolish enough to think that losing Richmond was anything BUT a terrible loss. More than just the symbol of the Confederacy, Richmond was by far the most industrialized city.

Also, there were few likely places for the Confederacy to halt the Union in southeastern Virginia. The lowlands of coastal Virginia and the Carolinas lacked the defensive positions commonly found in the west.

Of course, what the army does once it leaves Richmond would be a moot point if it was ALLOWED to leave. Hooker would later be criticize for allowing most of the Confederate and 2/3's of the army to escape down a narrow corridor. That hundreds of ships, factories, locomotives, cannon, etc fell into Union hands was cold consolation.

Furious Lincoln would demand Hooker pursue Beauregard without pause. When Hooker failed to do so (spending nearly a week in Richmond enjoying the tobacco), Lincoln announced that Hooker was now military governor of occupied Virginia.

The bulk of the Army of Eastern Virginia would march south under a new commander, Hooker's most aggressive Corp Commander, Major General Philip Kearny.

Kearny had actually gotten on well with Hooker (unlike Rosecrans, McDowell or any other more slothful officers) and promptly plunged south in pursuit of Beauregard. Most of the Army of Eastern Virginia were transferred to Kearny or to Sheridan (once Kearny caught up with Sheridan).


Having their entreaties for peace rejected, the American delegation prepared to separate. A few councils would remain behind to maintain the hope of reconciliation but this did not appear of interest to the government in September. The Confederacy had been recognized by Britain and war declared. What more was there to say?

Oddly, there was ONE voice for peace between America and Britain. The Spanish Ambassador offered to mediate a settlement to any shipping losses between the two powers. He'd been requested to do so by the Spanish Crown itself. While Spain had no affection for the United States, it was also quite apparent that the Southern states had long been the leaders of those covetous Americans which desired to conquer Cuba. Previously, these attempts had been stalled by northern interests. An independent Confederacy would be unlikely to wait a month to lay claim to Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spain had long since taken the road of the Dutch and Portuguese as a faded power.

The Ambassador told his counterparts to call upon his government should an opportunity to restore the peace arrived.

The Booth brothers, on the other hand, were feted by the theater community. Eventually, John Booth, who had southern sympathies, would begin to speak behind closed doors with Confederate Ambassador Mason. There we men in Richmond (they would not learn of Richmond's fall until returning to America. John's knowledge of Washington and New York society may prove useful.

Thus, John talked his brothers, particularly Unionist Edwin, into accepting passage back to America on a Confederate vessel. As celebrities, it was unlikely they would have trouble crossing the border back to the Union. However, passage on a Union vessel may not make it to America at all. Even foreign ships may be stopped by the blockade.

It seemed a reasonable agreement at the time.


President Juarez had been forced from Mexico City. His soldiers continued to fight on in the west (mainly around Guadalajara) but the capital had fallen as had Veracruz, Puebla and most regional cities.

He could only transfer to the northern town of Monterrey in hopes that help could be summoned from the only source possible. Whether his pleas would even be heard was beyond him.


Almost by accident and against their will, a pair of alliances were forged.

Italy would ally with Prussia and France with Austria. It was a situation no one liked or sought out.

An omni-directional war had broken out, tearing Europe asunder.
Map of Europe - 1862 - (Wikipedia)
Poor Britain... take your eyes off the continent for but a moment and suddenly everything is on fire.
Britain has spent many years making sure Europe is on fire and they all keep fighting among themselves. The only thing that worried the British is seeing anyone side winning anything other than a pyrrhic victory.
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Chapter 22
September, 1862

New York

The declaration of war on Britain's part had at least one positive side-effect for the Union: the Irish not only ceased their draft riots but actually started VOLUNTEERING by the thousands. The region around New York saw nearly 20,000 Irish volunteer in less than 6 weeks.

At the same time, the Emancipation Proclamation had allowed tens of thousands of free blacks, escaped slaves and those taken from Southern states as "contraband".

In fall of 1862, nearly 50,000 men total were training around New York with another 15,000 regulars under arms in additional to the large militia detachments available on short notice.

The influx was SO great that Lincoln needed to dispatch a higher ranking General to assume control over the chaos.

For this, Lincoln chose George McClellan whom had done so much in the past year to shift production from the old Enfield and Springfield muskets to the new Spencers and Sharpes. As expected (McClellan openly stated this), this changeover would have short-term consequences in loss of production but the shortfall in conventional weapons caused few problems on the front line (mainly militia).

Now, over 40,000 long-distance Sharpe's rifles and 60,000 Spencers had been distributed to the Federal armies over the past year with 15,000 of each produced each month. McClellan had even managed to acquire 20,000 Dreyse Needle Guns from a sympathetic Prussian King (who probably wished he had them now) as an experiment. The Needle guns had a mixed reputation so McClellan chose to consolidate their use in the new black Regiments being formed in the north. If they didn't work out, then the consequences would be minimal as most of the black Regiments were expected to be garrison troops anyway.

McClellan had lost a leg in the Shenandoah Valley and the eternal gratitude of Lincoln. Though he knew Lincoln appointing him to the Board of Ordnance was a factor of trust, the New Jersey man longed to be out in the field and finally badgered Lincoln for a command. The New York district was a backwater beforehand but the presence of a British fleet at the mouth of the Bay changed things. The fortifications of New York had been upgraded during the war but not to the point of being able to survive an onslaught from the Royal Navy.

McClellan rapidly built up the local fortifications and worked with the Union Admiral station in New York Harbor. Between the two of them....maybe they may stop a British attack.

As an organizer with Lincoln's confidence, McClelland had also been put in charge of training the raw recruits in the area and been given leave to use them in any manner he requires in the situation. This allowed him a vast amount of manpower he swiftly put to use throwing up earthen works at key spots around the Harbor and up the Hudson.

Wilmington, NC

Given the Union control over the Chesapeake and the James, the Confederate Blockade-runner would have to sneak through the looser blockade of Wilmington's expansive Cape Fear estuary, which for the better part of a year had been the most reliable port to reach safely. Hundreds of cannon, tens of thousands of pounds of powder, shot and etc, had made its way through this port. It would only be a modest ride north to Richmond once the Confederates dropped anchor.

They would not learn of Richmond's fall until arrival.
Chapter 23
September, 1862


Almost without warning, the British fleet blockading Boston vanished. One evening they were there....the next they were gone.

Some hopeful Bostonians opined that this meant peace with Britain could be regained. Others suspected that the Royal Navy simply had a better place to be.

Wilmington, North Carolina

General Beauregard had taken the time to travel east to Wilmington and witness firsthand....that the damned British had yet to actually break the Union blockade of the largest Confederate port in which blockade-runners still occasionally slipped in and out.

What the hell good are they, anyway? He fumed. If the ROYAL NAVY can't do anything useful, then what's the point?

It had been weeks since word arrived that Britain had declared war (FINALLY) on the United States. That news did not come with any immediate relief. Indeed, Her Majesty apparently hadn't deigned to even formally ally with the Confederacy.

Beauregard had learned of the Royal Navy blockade of New York and Boston so he supposed they were doing SOMETHING....but wouldn't BURNING New York and Boston be better?

Why didn't the Queen just send her navy to the Chesapeake, to Wilmington, to Charleston....to ANYPLACE where the Union was blockading the Confederacy. Given that the Union fleets weren't exactly racing north to defend their cities lent the impression that the Royal Navy wasn't exactly jumping into this war with both feet....or all of Britain, in fact.

Hell, a year ago, even the British blockade would probably have been enough to turn the tide in the war. It would have economically crippled the Yankees, set up in internal dissention and the Union war effort ground to a halt. Instead, the British had dicked around so long that the Union Army was advancing on all fronts.

Like most Southern officers, the Louisianan held southern men, the white ones anyway, as superior to their northern counterparts. But Beauregard knew full well just how MANY northern men there were and could not help but notice that the south produced very, very little. There was a reason that the Confederacy had been begging the Brits and Frenchies to join the war for a year and a half....for the south could not produce her own war material. Most of the Enfield muskets, Armstrong cannon, saltpeter and other necessities of war had to be purchased abroad. Blockade runners were able to supply SOME of this demand but the seizure rate of blockade-runners by the Union Navy would make the trade perilous enough for few to want to risk everything to deliver a cargo of gunpowder or cannon (luxuries were more profitable anyway).

Yet even after a declaration of war, the damned Brits were doing NOTHING to actually help the south.

For the first time, Beauregard felt despair over his cause for the loss of Virginia, the greatest population and industrial center in the south, would place the Confederacy in dire peril. Just as important as the hundreds of thousands of men it had provided, northeastern Virginia was a funnel whose topography had kept the Union Army bottled up near Richmond for a year and a half. Blockaded by mountains to the west and the sea to the east, it had taken all of Beauregard's talents to hold the plug in that bottle. Once freed, the Davis had relieved Beauregard of his command and "reassigned" him to Wilmington.

Beauregard's replacement in the Army of the Potomac (now in North Carolina, FAR from the Potomac)?

Leonidas Polk.

Dear, god, help the Confederacy.

But that was now beyond Beauregard's power. He was sure it was all over. Even if the Union fleets disappeared today from Southern Ports and the flow of goods from Britain became unimpeded, the war on land would not likely be affected. A third of the Confederacy's population had been conquered along with most of the industrial base and railroads. A half million slaves or more under Federal control had been freed, mostly likely long since departed their plantations and owners. Some estimated another 200,000 had fled lands still under Confederate control. The capital loss of so many slaves no doubt had bankrupted thousands of planters who were the backbone of southern culture.

Given that the idiots Braxton Bragg and Leonidas Polk commanded the Confederacy's greatest armies, salvation did not seem likely. Lincoln, damn him, would probably let Boston and New York be burned to the ground by the Royal Navy and only order his armies further south. If nothing else, Beauregard admired Lincoln's single-minded tenacity and ruthlessness.

Most disheartening was the news he'd received from the "triumphant" Confederate envoys to Britain. They brought news of (Finally) a British declaration of war....but no alliance. What was more, the best intelligence that Mason was able to gather was that Britain planned......PLANNED....on sending another15,000 men to Canada.


If the entire British global army of 200,000 or so were to disembark upon southern soil tomorrow...........then MAYBE, that would make a difference. But another 15,000 men to Canada........at SOME POINT in the future?

That would do nothing to save the Confederacy. The Union Armies would have marched to the tip of Florida....and taken their time to do it....before any British reinforcements of note arrived.

A year ago, the British could have won the war for the Confederacy. Now, it was too late. Damn them to hell.

As it so happened, Beauregard was only MOSTLY right about the British. The confused and ham-fisted manner in which the British Government had painstakingly escalated the conflict, in its mishmash of contradictory orders to the Royal Navy in WHAT they were supposed to be doing in North American waters, would finally result in a campaign to "RELIEVE the Confederacy" despite no formal alliance being signed.

When the truth became clear, Beauregard laughed almost hysterically.

The Chesapeake

The British Squadron blockading Boston had not left for home as many Bostonians hoped. Instead, it briefly returned to Halifax to re-provision and sailed south to aid the Confederacy by....breaking the blockade in the Chesapeake.

Of course, Virginia had almost entirely fallen by the time the British fleet arrived to "break the blockade" by crushing the Union Naval Flotilla. They did not find out until arriving that the Confederate Capital had fallen (they learned by seizing several American trading ships).

The British Admiral, David Milne, was uncertain what to do. Plainly, his orders were INTENDED to help relieve Britain's pseudo-allies in the Confederacy in defending their capital. In most European conflicts, the seizure of an enemy capital heralded the end of the war. But, on the other hand, Britain had seized America's capital in their rebellion in 1777 and burned their capital in 1813 with no apparent alteration of American will.

The land was vast. Fighting America, he determined, would be akin to the Royal Navy fighting Russia. Beyond besieging a few ports, it seemed unlikely that the Royal Navy would bring America to heel. And Milne had been party to the plans to transfer tens of thousands of soldiers to North America. Given that the United States had a million men under arms, the whole matter seemed counter-productive, especially with the Confederacy on her last legs.

Did Britain REALLY have nothing better to do than this?

Most of Europe was already at war and Russia was openly defying the conventions imposed over the Crimean War. There seemed at least three or four European nations both more likely to become a threat and more dangerous at that.

Milne had been in command of the North American station for years and helped suppress the slave trade. He found the institution repugnant and loathed aiding anyone who supported it. He'd largely gotten along with the Americans over the years and found the obvious British support for the Confederacy unpalatable. Milne was politically astute enough to realize that some in London had quietly wished for a Southern victory in order to prevent America's development as a power and maybe prevent covetous eyes on Canada.

While Milne had heard the original jingoist American talk of invading Canada, in truth these people held no following. What was more, it seemed far more likely that Canada was being PUT in danger by Britain's actions over the past year and a half. Even if the Confederacy won their independence tomorrow, the Americans would never forgot Britain's actions and losing the south would not materially reduce America's capacity to march north. Canada's best protection was always cordial relations with America. Britain was putting that at risk to say the least. A million men under arms....

From his flagship, the HMS Warrior (recently dispatched to his squadron from Europe, just as the HMS Black Prince was now attached to the squadron blockading New York), Milne would take stock of the situation, halting several ships (and largely letting them go) as he decided what to do.

Unfortunately, the Admiral's presence would panic the American commander. The Chesapeake commanded a dozen river mouths including the Potomac and James. Seeing a dozen heavy British warships and an equal number of support tenders (victualling ships, coal tenders, etc) led by the mighty HMS Warrior cutting off the American capital led to a hasty decision which would be regretted later.

The British ironclads Warrior and Black Prince were held in some quarters as the most modern on earth. Some Americans, in particular, believed that the modern touches to THEIR brown-water ironclad fleet (despite being unable to manage the waves) may give an advantage over the heavy ocean-going craft

Milne spent a few days stopping and occasionally SEIZING American ships. One in particular managed to evade his blockade despite being fired upon. Its identity could not be more ironic. This ship had been produced by British shipyards for the purpose of providing a commerce raider for the Confederacy. Prior to the decline of British and American relations, the ship had been secreted out of Britain to be armed in another location (plausible deniability), in this case the Azores, and rechristened the CSS Alabama.

Just prior to reaching the Azores, the ship was seized by an American warship and taken to Spain with a prize crew. This incident (it was well known that the ship was bound for the Confederacy but the British government did nothing) would add another bone of contention between the two nations as the revelation would have embarrassed Britain before Europe had Europe not already begun the process of tearing itself apart. The Americans took a few months pouring over the ship as a new crew could be found to take her home.

Still unnamed, the ship would set sail for the Potomac rather than New York as the existence of the ship was more political than military at this point. The captain was shocked to find a British fleet blockading the capital and, unarmed and low on coal, the ship's captain opted to utilize the ship's entire purpose and run the blockade. Beyond a few near misses, the ship crossed into the Chesapeake.

Seeing an American ship fired upon was too much. With dozens of American ships on hand, the Navy had to respond but there was debate as to whether or not the Warrior was as dominant as some feared. Rather than challenge it directly, the American commander determined to use a secret weapon of his own.

The USS Alligator was a submersible design to attack a torpedo (mine, in later parlance) to the underside of an enemy ship and then detonate it via wire.

With the British Fleet perched off the James, the Americans towed the hand-crank powered submersible forward at dusk. The Captain had been carefully tasked with targeting the most dangerous enemy vessel: the Warrior.

The Alligator had been redesigned the previous summer after the initial design had failed. It now included an oxygen pump to allow the crews to stay under longer and.....well, continue to live. There was a great deal of trepidation and doubt but the Alligator function quite well. The crew managed to maneuver her forward, attach the mine, withdraw and detonate. The target was savaged. Returning to American lines, the triumphant crew were informed that they attacked the wrong damn ship. Instead, they hit one of the more conventional British vessels.

The good news was that initial British assumption was that they had struck an old Confederate mine. The ships settled within an hour and most of the crew was saved.

The following evening, the Alligator sailed again. This time, having quite rigorously studied the profile of the ship in question, the Captain got it right. The Warrior suffered a massive blast near the stern, completely severing the screws and rudder. Despite being designed with bulkheads intended to keep the full ship from flooding, the damaged seem too great and Admiral Milne, by now suspecting deliberate sabotage, would transfer his flag to another ship as the Warrior was beached. He would not find out until after the war that the Alligator had been sunk in the explosion despite detonating the proscribed distance away.

By enormous coincidence, an actual old Confederate mine happened to across one of the ships aiding the Warrior and blew that vessel's hull to shreds on fifteen minutes after the Warrior was struck.

The next morning, the Americans (having confirmed that the Warrior seemed crippled) finally sailed out to confront the British. The USS Passaic and Monitor led the charge, following were the captured Ironclad Confederate vessels Virginia, Richmond and Atlanta (oddly the trio had yet to be renamed). The Virginia and Atlanta had been captured after being beached in combat while the Richmond had been shockingly forgotten with the Capital was evacuated. No one remembered to scuttle her. A dozen more warships of varying classes followed, all coal-powered and most at least partially armored. The obsolete sailing ships were left behind.

There was a great deal of debate as to whether the ironclads could even maneuver safely even in the relatively sedate Chesapeake (the fleet commander had vowed not to leave the safety of the James unless the weather seemed tranquil). The mild weather forced his hand and the fleet charged forward to defend the Capital. By this point, the British had been briefed on the Monitor, Passaic and Virginia though Milne, who transferred his flag an hour earlier, had no idea as to the Atlanta and Richmond. The five American ironclads charged out and fell upon the British. For two hours, the fleets engaged in a free-for-all.

The Virginia and Monitor, which had battled one another prior, now cooperated in reducing a heavy British cruiser. The Passaic pummeled another British ship which used it superior speed to escape. The Atlanta burst a boiler and had to be towed back to the James.

Ironically, the only partially armed USS Richmond (formerly CSS Richmond) managed to get a direct kill. Utilizer her ram, she impaled a British cruiser which settled into the water within minutes.

Most of the remaining ships fired from afar, the American lighter ships largely happy to let the ironclads handle close combat. But three of the American wooden vessels did great service to America's cause by pounding the Warrior from her bow and stern where the immobile British vessel could not defend herself. Soon, she struck after a fire ignited a powder store. The blaze was brought under control as American Marines boarded the huge vessel and accepted the Captain's sword.

Seeing the ongoing disaster, Milne knew that the battle was lost. Rather than suffer greater defeat, he ordered his ships to retreat. He left four British warships at the bottom of the Chesapeake or in American hands. A fifth, the one savaged by the Monitor and Passaic, would founder the next day as her pumps lost the battle with the inrushing sea. Her crew was saved however.

Passing New York en route to Halifax, Milne would detail the Battle of the Chesapeake to his counterpart.
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Chapter 24
October, 1862

Western Alabama

Reinforced by 10,000 additional men after the Battle of Meridian, George Henry Thomas chased Braxton Bragg into Alabama. By this point, the effects of the loss of Virginia, both material and psychological, were telling to the Confederates. Now freed from the Appalachian Mountains, the Union Armies were no longer constrained by geography and thrust forward in every direction.

The orders from President Lincoln were clear: attack a Confederate Army or seize Confederate territory.

There was to be no more "preparing" or "planning" or "gathering resources". America must end this war NOW. The first Commanding General to utter the words "winter quarters" would be relieved on the spot. If the Union armies got cold, the President stated that the weather was warmer the further South they made it. Indeed, Lincoln ordered his four primary army commanders - Grant, Thomas, Sheridan and Kearny - to march until they saw the Caribbean.

Thomas took this to heart and followed nipping at Bragg's heels even as Bragg's forces withered for lack of food, ammunition and pay. Thousands of southern men began to desert their posts to go home and provide for their families.

The Union armies of the west, on the other hand, had not only received reinforcements but constructed their own as Grant, long before the Emancipation Proclamation, had ordered his "contraband" freed slaves to be trained as soldiers. Thus, when Lincoln approved putting black men in arms, Grant had nearly 20,000 partially trained freedmen on hand. Most would initially serve in support areas but Grant and Thomas did not hesitate to place the freedmen further and further afield.

Bragg belatedly turned and struck before he was pushed into the central Alabama city of Birmingham, one of the last hubs in southern industry and rail.

With 30,000 men under his command, he crashed directly into Thomas' line. However, the Virginian was prepared and managed to form strong ranks on some local hills. Suffering 3000 casualties, 1000 captured and another 1000 deserters (not to mention using up a great deal of his remaining supplies) was crippling. Bragg's army fled further east. Thomas, with 2500 casualties of his own, would move inexorably towards Birmingham and seize it on Thanksgiving.

Raleigh, Central North Carolina

Near the city of Raleigh, the Union Armies under Sheridan and Kearny and the Confederate armies under Longstreet and Polk finally consolidated. Sheridan had led Longstreet on a merry chase but the former was happy to reach Kearny's supply line again. 80,000 American troops now massed against 56,000 Confederate. Neither carried huge quantities of supplies and both armies had trouble "living off the land".

In a somewhat catastrophic battle which cost nearly 10,000 Union casualties and 8,500 Confederate, the two combatants exhausted one another. However, the Union could absorb these losses, Polk could not.

Perhaps worse, Polk and Longstreet's relationship, never good, had completely fallen apart. Both spent much of the next few days as the Confederates retreated writing letters to Davis begging for the other to be relieved.

Sheridan's exhausted men were granted a short reprieve to rest as they occupied Raleigh. Then the bulk of his army was to march southwest to Charlotte.

Kearny, backed by another Corp commanded by Meade, would march southeast through Fayetteville to Wilmington, then on to Charleston.


Grant had taken months to methodically cut off all arteries from Vicksburg. Almost supernaturally protected by nature, the city was protected by swamps, floodplains, rivers, streams and every conceivable naturally barrier. Grant reduced, crossed and generally subsumed nature to his will and tightened the vice.

By October, the city was thoroughly throttled. His old friend Cump Sherman could only hold out for so long.

In the meantime, other elements of Grant's forces marched south into southern Mississippi and parts of Louisiana. With Naval assistance, the river-side towns of Louisiana fell and only Vicksburg was left.

Galveston, Texas

For months of siege, the Army forces under John Pope and Union Naval forces managed to seize Galveston Island.

The last major port in the Confederacy was falling.

Austrian Silesia and Bohemia

The Prussian counter-attack had driven Austria's forces back into the mountains as expected. Not for the first time, Austria was finding Prussia difficult to handle. But the alliance with France may yet bear fruit as France must be having a better time against western Prussia and her allies, right?

Western Prussia (Rhineland)

The French forces initially made progress against the Prussians. However, the Prussian allies mobilized quickly and slowed their advance.

Venetia, Austrian Empire

The Italian patriots invading Venetia discovered invading an Empire somewhat more challenging than defeating the assorted petty Kings of Italy. The Italians were thrown back across the border and Venetia failed to rise up as expected.
The union armies supply line must be getting very badly extend by now. Some heavy rain they could be cut off from the supply of ammo and unable to move due to mud.
All that living off the land must be leaving a lot of hungry people after them including freedmen
The number of former slaves following the union army must be slowing them down.
I wonder how big a problem is desertion in the union army?
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Chapter 25
November, 1862


Grant continued to tighten his grip. Though supremely well protected by nature, the city's defenses were pushed by by a determined Grant one bog, stream, hill or swamp at a time. The Navy was routinely pummeling the city from the Mississippi while Grant's own artillery began to reach ever stronger positions to fire upon Vicksburg.

A series of captured rebels, deserters and escaped slaves all painted the same picture, one Grant had largely already assumed. The spirited defense by the Confederate artillery was slackening for wont of shells and powder. No harvest had been gathered due to Grant's rapid siege and the city was already hungry enough to slaughter every horse, dog and cat within her walls.

Though he loathed the expediency, Grant was willing to starve the city into submission rather than charge good men into a slaughter house. As best he could tell not a single cart or fishing boat of provisions could reach the city.

But that did not mean Grant was doing nothing. He had 60,000 men (not counting the naval forces and Marines). He dispatched 10,000 south under that idiot Banks to reinforce Baton Rouge, which had been harassed by rebel irregulars. By 1862, Grant knew a political General when he saw one. Banks was a popular Republican, a former Governor of Massachusetts and a big supporter of Lincoln. Thus the man could not be cashiered but Grant could stick him on some administration duty where he couldn't do any further harm. Ben Butler down in New Orleans wasn't much better. Grant shuddered to think what would happen if the British launched a full invasion of New Orleans and these two political hacks were in command. But that seemed unlikely given the intelligence reports he'd been receiving. Besides reinforcing Canada, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to British actions.

Declaring war out of a fit of pique was one thing. Having to come up with a strategy after putting yourself in a poor position was quite another. Grant was not surprised that the British seemed to have no idea what they were about.

But that wasn't his problem.

Grant still had 50,000 good troops doing not much of anything in besieging Vicksburg. As the nature of the Confederate defenses (and the 30,000 Confederate soldiers huddled in the city with an equal number of civilians) prevented any real chance of escape or breakout from the city, provided that the besieging commander wasn't the biggest idiot on planet Earth, Grant knew he could dispatch another 10,000 men to George Thomas.

The Virginian was a dynamo, no doubt the best fighting man Grant had, maybe the best the UNION had. But Thomas was stretched thin in central Alabama and would need reinforcements badly. Grant sent as many supplies as he could to his nominal subordinate. It was a hard decision. Grant hated being stationary while someone else fought for the Union.

Montgomery, Alabama

Braxton Bragg was outraged at the resistance the state of Alabama's government made to appropriating soldiers, food and munitions. The governor had the temerity to claim that those goods belonged to ALABAMA not the Confederacy. Bragg thundered that his starving, barefooted troops in threadbare coats were actually attempting to preserve Alabama's existence as a state.

For god's sake, Birmingham had already fallen, did these idiots actually think Montgomery would not follow?

Bragg's problems grew greater when thousands of Confederates, particularly those from states under Union occupation, deserted en masse. In one notable instance, three regiments of Louisianans marched westward at night for home: whether to fight for Louisiana or just return home was never verified.

HIs army had collapsed by November to a nominal 35,000 men with few supplies. Realizing that he could not defeat Thomas in a standup battle for want of ammunition and artillery, Bragg turned north towards Georgia.

Of course, this meant that 5000 Alabamans in his army deserted to defend the Capital of Alabama from Thomas' 45,000 man onslaught. Even supported by local Confederate units and militia, the 10,000 or so summoned by the inept Governor of Alabama were promptly slaughtered by Thomas' advance columns.

Bragg thought about moving to flank the Blue-bellies but his hungry army was not fit to fight.

Augmented in late November by another Corps of men, Thomas turned northeast to pursue Bragg. In early December, he would cross the border into Georgia, hereto untouched by Union Armies. Here also, the remnant of Confederate government had raised its banner.

Wilmington, North Carolina

P.T. Beauregard did not hesitate for a moment. Rather than defend the indefensible, he ordered his collection of invalids he called a garrison south as the Union army under Kearny advanced forward. Polk made but one attempt to engage, a fast, fierce battle north of Fayetteville. Failing to control his own army, two full Corps of Confederate troops sat about while their compatriots were pummeled. By that point, the battle was lost.

Beauregard knew Wilmington was next and he saw no real to get his own men slaughtered. He ordered them south.

North Carolina was effectively abandoned.

At the same time, Sheridan was approaching Charlotte near the southern border and burned it to the ground, Longstreet still pursuing but lagging behind.

Large elements of Polk, Longstreet and Beauregard's forces began deserting in droves. Men from Virginia and North Carolina saw no reason to keep fighting as their own states had fallen. Others were just tired of not being paid or fed. Yet more saw no reason to keep fighting as the war was plainly lost.

The firebrands of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and the rest.....they were about to discover what the "middle south" had been facing for nearly two years. Since the formation of the Confederacy, Georgia and Alabama's governments had been miserly in their support for their comrades facing Yankee wrath. They would find few others willing to fight for them now.

In early, December, Union troops were entering Georgia and South Carolina.


The government of London was enduring a firestorm of abuse by the opposition. The astounding humiliation of the Chesapeake and the litany of Southern defeats would lead the fickle public to start questioning just what the hell Palmerston and Russell had gotten them into. Schemes to undermine a potential future enemy by dividing it were all well and good.....as long as those schemes WORKED.

Now, there seemed only a dismal situation getting worse by the moment. Accounts of mass jubilation among the freedmen were welcomed in some quarters while American newspaper estimate that freed slaves alone in Union Army uniform would, by New Year's DOUBLE the total number of British soldiers expected to be stationed North America. Throw in the other 1,000,000 or so white men in uniform....and things did NOT look good.

Ministry supporters rarely made speeches in Parliament. When they did, words like "honor" would be used in place of expected benefits to the nation. The cotton was being burned in Confederate warehouses by the retreating rebels or seized by the Union (who were unlikely to sell it to the British).

Loans made by British banks to both Union and Confederates were....naturally....not behind honored.

With two continents at war, trade was naturally down.

The British were a proud people. Sometimes, a bit on the stupid side of proud, but usually this was a good thing. When the British suffered loss after loss in the Napoleon Wars and the 7 Years war, they bounced back by sheer determination and usually made tangible gains for the future of the Empire.

When THIS war started over "pride", there seemed to be little benefit in the long run....and very, very much to lose.

Privately, any member of the government would have been happy for the matter to be over immediately, preferably never to be spoken of again. But the defeat in the Chesapeake was something that could not be buried. And who knew if America would even FORGIVE this transgression?

Palmerston and Russell, the two men most responsible for the state of affairs somehow doubted that the Americans, with a huge army in the field, would not take the opportunity to seize Canada. The two discussed the matter and came to the same conclusion.

"If we attempt to settle now," Russell opined over a sherry in his private study, "it will be seen as an act of weakness by the opposition, by the public and, most importantly the Americans."

Palmerston nodded, "Only fear of our Navy has stayed America's hand against Canada this past decade, well that and the fact that most Americans didn't care much about Canada given the huge swathes of empty land they acquired from Napoleon I and later Mexico. In 1776 and 1813, the Americans were stymied by remoteness of Canada from their population centers and lack of functional army. Now, the huge population of America has a dozen railroads to carry men to the border in days, not months, and a battle-hardened army at its disposal."

"Our gamble had failed rather spectacularly," Russell admitted. "I'm not sure how we extricate ourselves from this fiasco."

"We must do what our Government has done for centuries.....rely upon the Navy," Palmerston determined. "The Americans got lucky in the Chesapeake. The Warrior was struck by a mine, not felled by an enemy vessel. The Black Prince in New York will do better. The Naval commander will be ordered to not just step on the throat of America's primary port but slit it. Let Lincoln march across the south. America's economy will collapse soon enough. A big enough victory will allow us to claim we've honored our insulted flag and return to the status quo ante bellum."

"Let us hope so, Palmerston," the Foreign Secretary replied. "We have yet to make many correct calls lately and the opposition sharks are circling."


The Prussian troops, as expected, bogged down in the hilly terrain of Bohemia. Split between two fronts (the French in the west and Austrians in the east), the German Confederation appeared stretched to the brink.

Even the Danes had somehow found the courage to counter-attack into Holstein (though that attack was repulsed and the Danes thrown back).

A war expected to last a few months at the outside was now looking to be long and expensive. Prussians don't like long and expensive. They like short, cheap and victorious.

Now even the Russians were massing on the borders of Prussia and Austria. Despite diplomatic entreaties, both warring parties had received little information regarding the Czar's intentions.


The diplomatic team dispatched by Secretary of State Seward would arrive in the border-town on the Rio Grand. For the past year and a half, the Confederacy had used this as a entrepot for trade though the utility was limited given the remoteness of the location from the centers of Confederate power. Still, large amounts of gunpowder, armaments and other goods had exchanged hands in this region. The arrival of General John Pope in eastern Texas had altered this state of affairs.

His initial 10,000 man force augmented by 5000 reinforcements sent in the fall from Kansas and another 10,000 or so local Unionist or freedmen, Pope retained a stranglehold on east Texas to the Mississippi River.

He made it to the border of Mexico and took Brownsville two months after seizing Galveston island. Vast amounts of goods fell into his hands and he summoned naval ships from Galveston to carry off huge amounts of cotton, hides and other goods. His army had lived well off the land of East Texas with plenty of beef and grain to be had and huge numbers of horses to carry off. Virtually every many in Pope's army could now be classified as a cavalryman or dragoon (at least) as most had their own mounts.

The French invasion of Mexico had pushed the Juarez government north into Chihuahua and Monterrey. Juarez dispatched patriots to "regain control over Matamoros trade" and attempt to solicit help from the Union. As luck would have it, Seward had sent an embassy to Galveston the previous month. Learning that Pope had marched upon Brownsville, the diplomats sailed south and discovered, to their luck, the President himself across the river in Matamoros pleading with Pope to march south to Mexico City.

In 1860, Juarez had just come off yet another vicious civil war, the type of which had plagued Mexico since her inception. Utterly bankrupt, Juarez had no capacity to make interest payments on loans from Britain, France, Spain, America and other nations.

Seward, in 1861, would offer to assume many of these debts in return for mining rights to northwest Mexico with several states and territories being used as collateral should Mexico fail to pay. Juarez, desperate, was willing to accept but it was the American Congress who voted the Treaty down as America's own impending war was deemed a better use of resources.

Having been forced from the capital, Juarez was in an even worse position than in 1861. Seward, true to his nature, gave nothing away for free. He offered to "buy" the debt of Britain and Spain (not France, as Juarez repudiated this debt when France invaded), write off any debts to America, cover any debts to individual Americans, pay Mexico 3 million in gold (within 2 years after the war) and provide a nearly unlimited supply of arms to Juarez.

In return, Juarez would immediately turn over largely unpopulated Baja California to America in perpetuity and use Sonora and Chihuahua as collateral. Juarez negotiated Chihuahua out of the agreement but had to sign up for the other provisions.

He attempted to entice a Federal Army but America could not yet promise this.

The American negotiators brought with them 20,000 Springfield muskets, 30 cannon, huge quantities of shot and a moderately large amount of powder (powder being the limiting material in America at the moment).

Juarez was able to reassemble an offensive force and dispatch his Patriots southward. Over the next few months, tens of thousands more American weapons flowed through the border. Naturally, Seward did not hesitate to assume control over Baja California. Before Congress even approved the Treaty, the United States Government arranged for General Fremont in California to assume control over Baja California.
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In return, Juarez would immediately turn over largely unpopulated Baja California to America in perpetuity and use Sonora and Chihuahua as collateral. Juarez negotiated Chihuahua out of the agreement but had to sign up for the other provisions.
Very doubtful that Juarez, would have been willing or even able to accept, what would be perceived as a devil 's deal, with Seward.
Basically, cause even if out of necessity, he would have thought to accept it, it would have as immediate consequence the loss of any kind of legitimacy and even his own life...
Given that when the news would reach to his supporters, he would have felt after a coup and/or killed shortly after... Without mention that it would be very harming (politically) for the war effort against the French.