For those interested in the American Civil War

#1
#3
The thing I found surprising about the American Civil War was how near the UK came to openly allying with the Confederates. It's another of those great historical what ifs, had we sided with the South would it have changed the outcome?
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
it wasnt just us thinking about it, for us it was more of a commercial thing as the blockade runners were smuggling cotton out and uk arms back in. they were the first to trey transatlantic paddle steaming and there is a wreck of one just out from liverpool apparently where they cant decide if it was sabotaged by union agents.

more bully boy tactics by the union though just like the take over of the rest of the continent.
 
#5
The thing I found surprising about the American Civil War was how near the UK came to openly allying with the Confederates. It's another of those great historical what ifs, had we sided with the South would it have changed the outcome?
Did we though. Quite a good programme on R4 a few weeks ago about the subject. Liverpool scallies were quite pro the confederates but Manchester sided with the emancipation struggle. An often neglected result of the blockade was the Lancashire cotton famine when it is estimated at least 50,000 posobly a lot more died in destitution and this was 1860's England.
 
#6
Did we though. Quite a good programme on R4 a few weeks ago about the subject. Liverpool scallies were quite pro the confederates but Manchester sided with the emancipation struggle. An often neglected result of the blockade was the Lancashire cotton famine when it is estimated at least 50,000 posobly a lot more died in destitution and this was 1860's England.
Strong Point, apparantly 3/4 of all British cotton workers were laid off or on short time by 1862 ('Battle Cry of Freedom' by James McPherson) so the commercial incentive for British support for the South was there. The same book has an amusing editorial quote from 'The Times' "[The destruction of] the American Colossus means riddance of a nightmare ... Excepting a few gentlemen of republican tendencies, we all expect, we nearly all wish, success to the Confederate cause". Aside from sheer commerlism it seems that Gladstone and Palmerston saw the Confederates as some form of 'freedom-fighters' against Yankee opression. My personal view is that, purely from a selfish Anglocentric view, the world would be a worse place today had the South been victorious. I don't think the qualities that made America so powerful in the 20th century, such as the willingness to accept the 'huddled masses' and put them to work and the egalitarian 'Amercian Dream' attitude, were necessarily present in the SOuth in the concentration that they were in the North.
 
#7
Rather interesting excerpt from the first article I thought;

It was a story that played out on campuses across the North: junior officers, those who risked their lives commanding units the front lines, were more likely to be graduates of, or wartime dropouts from, America’s roughly 200 or so civilian colleges. Sixteen thousand young men were enrolled in the nation’s colleges when war broke out and, if Hamilton College’s record is any measure, most would soon be wearing blue (or gray – 11 Hamilton alumni served with the Confederate army). Of the 226 Hamilton alumni who served in the war, more than a third came from the four classes from 1861 to 1864. A startlingly high proportion did not live to see their 25th birthday.

The role of college graduates is an often-underappreciated aspect of the war. Better known are the West Pointers: it was, after all, one of history’s first conflicts in which the bulk of the top commanders on both sides had been professionally trained at public military institutions, including men like Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet and William Tecumseh Sherman. In the South, these men were supplemented in the officers corps by graduates of military academies like Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel. As Jefferson Davis boasted to an English visitor in 1861, “[W]e are the only people in the world where gentlemen go to a military academy who do not intend to follow the profession of arms.”

Things were different in the North. Though a higher percentage of men pursued higher education than in the South, the vast majority went to institutions like Hamilton: four-year residential liberal arts institutions, with a strong sense of religious vocation even when, as in Hamilton’s case, they lacked denominational affiliation, and with curricula centered on the study of Greek and Latin, along with a smattering of mathematics, geography and the physical sciences.

It was not, seemingly, an education well-designed to equip young men with the knowledge they would need to command other, less educated, young men to fight and die. Instead, graduates of these civilian colleges would have to learn the practical arts of war and the habits of command the hard way, through battlefield experience. (Although their counterparts who trained at the military academies would often have to unlearn the lessons they had been taught in Napoleonic strategy and tactics, which proved unsuitable to a war fought with the new rifled muskets.)


Just FYI, Hamilton College's first-year curriculum;

First Term;
Livy - The Histories
Xenophon - Anabasis
Algebra
Rhetoric - Elecution

Second Term
Livy cont'd
Herodotus
Geometry

Third Term;
Horace
Xenophon - Memorabilia
Geometry
 
#8
Strong Point, apparantly 3/4 of all British cotton workers were laid off or on short time by 1862 ('Battle Cry of Freedom' by James McPherson) so the commercial incentive for British support for the South was there. The same book has an amusing editorial quote from 'The Times' "[The destruction of] the American Colossus means riddance of a nightmare ... Excepting a few gentlemen of republican tendencies, we all expect, we nearly all wish, success to the Confederate cause". Aside from sheer commerlism it seems that Gladstone and Palmerston saw the Confederates as some form of 'freedom-fighters' against Yankee opression. My personal view is that, purely from a selfish Anglocentric view, the world would be a worse place today had the South been victorious. I don't think the qualities that made America so powerful in the 20th century, such as the willingness to accept the 'huddled masses' and put them to work and the egalitarian 'Amercian Dream' attitude, were necessarily present in the SOuth in the concentration that they were in the North.
Aside from wounded Brit National pride, at being defeated in the War of Independence, you might want to remember why folk emigrated to America in the first place, and why the States seceded: it was because the original pilgrims profoundly disliked the kind of attitude that the South perpetuated, and which was inherited from Britain as the American nation prospered, attracting commercial migrants looking for profit (rather than migrants of principle)

Not so surprising that Brit editors should feel that way.

Despite that, English influence was key to ending the slave trade (as history knows it. anyway: we'll not explore here the forcible employment of Slavs, Africans , Asians etc. in the contemporary sex trade in the Western world).
 
#9
Aside from wounded Brit National pride, at being defeated in the War of Independence, you might want to remember why folk emigrated to America in the first place, and why the States seceded: it was because the original pilgrims profoundly disliked the kind of attitude that the South perpetuated, and which was inherited from Britain as the American nation prospered, attracting commercial migrants looking for profit (rather than migrants of principle)

Not so surprising that Brit editors should feel that way.

Despite that, English influence was key to ending the slave trade (as history knows it. anyway: we'll not explore here the forcible employment of Slavs, Africans , Asians etc. in the contemporary sex trade in the Western world).
Let's not forget that of all places in the US--then and now--the greatest concentration of English, Scots and Welsh descendents are/were in the American South. Hence the reputation for backwardness, illiteracy, etc...

Virgil, running and ducking...running and ducking...
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
another thing was that almost as soon as independance was achieved they started on canada and lost (something they surprisingly havent been tempted to try again considering there is oil up there) and we were still upset over that and also the initial support for the french earlier in the century.

as the british military was an extension of uk manufacturing plc its not surprising if we nearly went with the south. its probably only because of wilberforce that we didnt.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
as featured as an aside during the gangs of new york the north conducted its own kind of slavery with indentured service and promises of citizenship in return for military service, so a lot of irish and russian immigrants got off the boat and straight onto a train headed south to the front. Dying for an ideal they didnt really understand and indeed even now I think the whole country is mixed up as to just what america was meant to be. Indeed the popular belief of the founding fathers forming a democracy where all man was created equal is just a myth, in reality they liked power and wanted to keep it thank you very much and where very scornfull of the masses. they wanted a capitalist version of communism really and have been striving towards a powerfull world elite ever since. There was an excellent feature on it somewhere, I'll have to try and remember what it was.

Meanwhile 'America a citizens guide to democracy in action' by john stewart is a good read/listen. the audio book on torrent is funny and factual.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
The thing I found surprising about the American Civil War was how near the UK came to openly allying with the Confederates. It's another of those great historical what ifs, had we sided with the South would it have changed the outcome?
It could have been a game changer. The Royal Navy (back in the days when we had one) was more than strong enough to drive the North's ships back into port and then blockade those ports.

The South (which was always strapped for resources) could then have freely traded cotton, etc, for its needs. For example, it could have brought rails, railway engines and wagons - thus boosting its strategic mobility. Similarly it could have brought telegraph wire and posts to improve its internal communication network. That would have improved the ability of its armies to operate on interior lines.

Wordsmith
 
#13
as featured as an aside during the gangs of new york the north conducted its own kind of slavery with indentured service and promises of citizenship in return for military service, so a lot of irish and russian immigrants got off the boat and straight onto a train headed south to the front. Dying for an ideal they didnt really understand and indeed even now I think the whole country is mixed up as to just what america was meant to be. Indeed the popular belief of the founding fathers forming a democracy where all man was created equal is just a myth, in reality they liked power and wanted to keep it thank you very much and where very scornfull of the masses. they wanted a capitalist version of communism really and have been striving towards a powerfull world elite ever since. There was an excellent feature on it somewhere, I'll have to try and remember what it was.

Meanwhile 'America a citizens guide to democracy in action' by john stewart is a good read/listen. the audio book on torrent is funny and factual.
I'd correct you by replacing "Russian" immigrants with Germans. Not many Russians immigrating in large numbers in the 1800s. The Germans--arguably unlike most Irish--in the US did understand and were concerned about what was going on. They were pro-abolitionist (anti-slavery), pro-Union & were among the strongest supporters of Lincoln's administration.

The founding fathers theory you're putting forth is an offshoot of a thesis thought up by an American historian named Charles Beard. He wrote "An Economic Analysis of the Constitution of the United States" where he put forth the notion that it was in part written up as a protection and promotion of the (land owning) class who wrote it. Incredibly influential stuff still somewhat in vogue when I was growing up, not so much now in the U.S.

I've got a copy of the Jon Stewart book on audio. I'll give it a listen the next long trip I take.
 
#14
We are all right on so many different levels. Rather like the English civil war more came out of it than seemingly went into it. Now any one out there have a whitworth rifle for sale cheapish?....Please.
 
#15
"My personal view is that, purely from a selfish Anglocentric view, the world would be a worse place today had the South been victorious."

And if New Amsterdam was still so, no civil war and apartheid.

john
 
#16
as featured as an aside during the gangs of new york the north conducted its own kind of slavery with indentured service and promises of citizenship in return for military service, so a lot of irish and russian immigrants got off the boat and straight onto a train headed south to the front. Dying for an ideal they didnt really understand and indeed even now I think the whole country is mixed up as to just what america was meant to be. Indeed the popular belief of the founding fathers forming a democracy where all man was created equal is just a myth, in reality they liked power and wanted to keep it thank you very much and where very scornfull of the masses. they wanted a capitalist version of communism really and have been striving towards a powerfull world elite ever since. There was an excellent feature on it somewhere, I'll have to try and remember what it was.

Meanwhile 'America a citizens guide to democracy in action' by john stewart is a good read/listen. the audio book on torrent is funny and factual.
Odd as between 1802 to 1882 all it took was a 5 year residency. so they werent dragooned into joining.

The act you mention

Act of 17 July 1862, stated: "any alien, of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, who has enlisted, or may enlist in the armies of the United States, either the regulars or volunteer forces, and has been, or may be hereafter, honorably discharged, shall be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, upon his petition, without any previous declaration of intention to become such; and he shall not be required to prove more than one year's residence." (Act of July 17, 1862, 12 Stat. 597, section 21)

Basically this allowed an honorably discharged Civil War veteran (who fought for the Union) to apply for citizenship without filing a declaration of intention and without the usual residency requirement. It did not grant him automatic citizenship - he still had to apply, but the naturalization process was expedited.


All it did was reduce the residency to 1 year.

The Draft on the other hand only gave the Union 2% of its manpower. It applied for citizens and those who had applied to be citizens
Gilder Lehrman Center: Sources:

The Fenians had an influence in Irish recruiting as it was seen as a way to have a body of combat experienced trained forces for a eventual war to free Ireland. IIRC they even tried to invade Canada in 1867? and had their asses handed to them.
 
#17
One fairy recent book that might be of interest is:
"This Republic of Suffering" by Dr Drew Gilpin Faust. The book came out shortly before Dr Faust was appointed President of Harvard University. Her forte is examining the impact of historical events on society. This book examines the massive numbers of killed and wounded, North and South, and how it has formed the way the US is today. She feels that our respect for veterans, our provision of services and benefits to veterans, out nationwide network of government clinics and hospitals for veterans grew out of the conflict.

I should note that Dr Faust seems supportive of the military. This and others of her books are dedicated to her father with reference to his rank, decorations and WW II service. She also reinstated the ROTC program at Harvard. BTW, the book is readable.
 
#18
Not too sure about the willingness of college boys to fight. "Rich Man's War - Poor Man's Fight" being a common theme. I heard, via the BBC so may be rubbish, that the war did not disrupt the elite US colleges- they even found time for their annual boat races.
 
#19
Not too sure about the willingness of college boys to fight. "Rich Man's War - Poor Man's Fight" being a common theme. I heard, via the BBC so may be rubbish, that the war did not disrupt the elite US colleges- they even found time for their annual boat races.
Not entirely sure what you mean by "Elite US Colleges" but I can tell you that the Harvard Yale boat race was discontinued from 1860 until 1864. Harvard University lost 136 Union fallen of those who served which was a bit more than 1000. Of the approximately 250 Harvard alumni and students who served the Confederate states about 50 died. At Memorial Hall at Harvard the names of all the fallen from the Civil War are on plaques in the transept listing their names, where they fell, date and class year. Rather poignant to see the name of someone who dies in '63 who was a member of the class of '65. Also some quite elderly graduates of the medical school who died caring for the Union wounded.

The number of alumni who have earned the Medal of Honor is not, and should not be, a contest between schools but Harvard ranks third, with 17 alumni with the Medal of Honor, exceeded only by the USMA, Westpoint and the USNA, Annapolis.

On November 11th 2009 a plaque was unveiled at Memorial Church listing the names of Harvard men who have earned the Medal of Honor. General George W. Casey jr. , the Army Chief of Staff, unveiled the plaque. Just to the left of the Medal of Honor plaque is the plaque listing the Harvard fallen from the Vietnam War. On that plaque is the name of Major General George W. Casey Sr. who was killed on July 7th, 1970.

Links to information on this is at:

Medal of Honor Recipients from Harvard University
and
Army.mil Article: CSA unveils Medal of Honor plaque at Harvard
 
#20
Thanks DavidBOC. ******* BBC you've just reminded me why I refuse to pay a license fee to the Ministry of Truth.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top