When people consider the
possibility of foreign intervention during the USCW, they tend to consider, as
both Harry Turtledove and Harry Harrison did, the British and French supporting
the confederacy. Their support,
some consider, would have broken the United States, left the CSA with it’s
independence and allowed the two powers major concessions from the US.
I am going to take the
unlikely tack that the British support the United States instead.
There were in fact strong reasons for doing that; the south were
slaveholders, which the British had campaigned against, the south’s cotton was
a major competitor with Britain and a broken US would have invited in other
powers to the American continent, as France was already trying in Mexico.
Further, a war with the US would probably mean the loss of Canada and the
West Indies. Finally, a war that
dragged on for a long time or ended in a shocking defeat would have a grim
effect on both the British financial markets and British trade.
For a POD I am going to
remove the Trent Affair. A
US captain had boarded a British ship and removed two CS dignitaries under his
guns. This infuriated Britain and
made supporting the North impossible. The
US delivered an apology that prevented a US/UK war.
However, it seems that
neither of the two CS ambassadors were impressive to the British or French
establishment. If they did not have
the fame attached by their capture, would they have been even that impressive?
Add in the strong anti-slavery lobby and the UK might have declared war
on the South.
The UK had a strong naval
squadron in the West Indies. If the
US agreed to cooperate, they could have joined the blockade and made any French
supplies to the CSA far more difficult. If
not, the British could still deny the south their supplies, send them to the
north and intercept CSA commence raiders. The British might also launch a few operations against
southern ports (we could have one of them at Biloxi, just for laughs) and
perhaps send a few supplies to union supports and black slaves within the
Further, if the US does
cooperate, the British might send a regiment or two to join the union forces.
The British forces might play a role in the Battle of Antietam, fighting
bravely perhaps, and working with their American counterparts.
The British might learn a few valuable lesions about modern warfare from
them. The British would
probably be quicker to use, train and deploy black regiments.
The addition of the
British should end the USCW sooner. The
British forces and bases would make attacks directed against Texas, Mississippi
and the rest of the Mexican coast far easier.
That would knock some states out of the CSA, while Lee would be far
shorter on supplies and men if the CSA’s rear were haemorrhaging.
Presume that the CSA surrenders in 1863.
US politics would
probably be unwilling to allow the British any share in occupation and
reconstruction. The British would
probably claim a moral need to ensure that the slaves are not reenslaved, which
might lead to the blacks getting a couple of states of their own, or equal
rights sooner. The British would
probably leave the blacks what weapons and encouragement they could.
Long-Term, the British
and Americans would have a long-lasting alliance.
The two powers were bound together anyway, so have a formal agreement.
The British and Americans share the China trade and resist any attempt to
partition china. UK and US forces
train together. The US blacks send
a regiment to the Boer War. The
British take the Spanish East Indies and allow the US to use British bases.
The US joins WW1, at least the naval aspect, from the start.