PDA

View Full Version : Russian Navy During the Civil War



reve893
17 Jul 09,, 05:48
I heard the other day that during the Civil War there was a squadron of Russian ships anchored in New York and Los Angeles. And that they were there to keep the French and British from getting involved. I wonder now if they would really had affected the situation if they did choose to get involved. Would we had seen Russian troops under the command of Grant? And how come noone knows about it? (since it sounds pretty shocking)

Albany Rifles
17 Jul 09,, 13:47
They weren't stationed there but rather made an extended port visit. Imperial Russia was one of the few European powers which openly sided with teh Union during our Civil War.


Russia had a second motive to align itself behind the United States. A reunited United States would potentially be a powerful ally for the Russians, an ally that Russia desperately needed after losing the Crimean War. In 1863, Tsar Alexander II ordered the Russian Atlantic Fleet and the Pacific Fleet to United States ports for the winter. Many construed this action to mean that Russia was openly aiding the Union and that the Russian Navy would supplement the Federal Navy against the Confederacy. However, this apparent meaning proved false. Tensions between Russia and England were escalating over Russian actions against the Polish and war between the two was on the horizon. The Tsar sent the navy to the United States so that the naval fleets would not be trapped by the winter ice in arctic Russia ports. An underlying motive probably was to warm American support for Russia in case of war with England.

Dr. C. J. Stumph

Full article

Modern History/American Civil War/Wartime Diplomacy/US-Russian Relations - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Modern_History/American_Civil_War/Wartime_Diplomacy/US-Russian_Relations)

You can see there that there was no real consideration of Russian troops fighting for the Union.

Additionally, if manpower REALLY became an issue for the Federals there were ample ways to increase troop strength without resorting to using foreign troops.

As for no one knowing about it....well, maybe because Ken Burns didn't mention it!

Actually, in a good survey course of the American Civil War this subject (the entire Russia-GB-France friction) should be at least mentioned. I know I do when I teach it.

Officer of Engineers
17 Jul 09,, 15:09
10,000 British troops re-enforced Canada during the ACW. It would have been a nice speed bump for the Union.

mikado
17 Jul 09,, 18:55
For all the alarmist talk at the time, the British forces in Canada posed as little threat to the Union as the Russian navy posed to the Royal Navy.

Albany Rifles
17 Jul 09,, 19:45
10,000 British troops re-enforced Canada during the ACW. It would have been a nice speed bump for the Union.


Well, Colonel, they did have the secret weapon of the early prototype of Celine Dion player piano scrolls to help them!


In a related topic, ask the French how they felt when Phil Sheridan showed up on the Texas-Mexican border in June 1865...with 50,000 veterans in 3 corps....distractions over, the US could start paying attention to the Monroe Doctrine again!

Albany Rifles
17 Jul 09,, 19:51
For all the alarmist talk at the time, the British forces in Canada posed as little threat to the Union as the Russian navy posed to the Royal Navy.

As President Lincoln said during the Trent Affair "One war at a time, gentlemen."

Much credit to Charles Francis Adams for keeping the UK out of that mess!

reve893
21 Jul 09,, 03:10
Well i am glad that you teach it. It seems to me, that if the Confederates might had won the Battle of Gettysberg things could have escalated to a world war. But then again maybe i am thinking to much.

Albany Rifles
21 Jul 09,, 14:02
Well i am glad that you teach it. It seems to me, that if the Confederates might had won the Battle of Gettysberg things could have escalated to a world war. But then again maybe i am thinking to much.

By 1863 the populations of France and Great Britain would not allow open military support of the Confederacy. Why? In a word, slavery. Both populations were strongly abolitionist and did not favor the Confederacy. The politicians were willing to sell material to the Confederates and help smuggle it past the Union blockade but outright military support and alliance? Not going to happen. Additionally, America was supplying almost a third of the wheat consumed in Europe. That could have been a real hardball for the US to play.

astralis
21 Jul 09,, 14:31
AR,

that seems right to me-- lee lost his chance after antietam. i wonder if the UK/France wouldn't have started making ominous hints again about negotiations if lee had won gettysburg, though.

Albany Rifles
21 Jul 09,, 18:19
AR,

that seems right to me-- lee lost his chance after antietam. i wonder if the UK/France wouldn't have started making ominous hints again about negotiations if lee had won gettysburg, though.


Lee wins on 3 July....and is sitting in Pennsylvania short on ammo. AOP falls back to the Pipe Creek line. Defenses of Washington are still manned. Militia was being called out throughout PA & NY. Lee STILL would have had to retreat into VA. And Vicksburg still falls on 4 July....does Grant come east sooner? Does he bring Ninth Corps then rather than in 1864?

After Chancellorsville the ANVs offensive power was gravely damaged...after Gettysburg it was shredded. A victory at Gettysburg after 1 July would have been Pyhrric.

Lis of coulda, wouldas but I don't think by mid-63 that GB and France could do more than cause mischief. They could have pushed all they wanted....the Union wasn't listening. There were no Congressional elections in 1863 to worry about. Once Emanciaption Proclamtion was made that marginalized the influence of the European powers.

zraver
21 Jul 09,, 18:26
In a related topic, ask the French how they felt when Phil Sheridan showed up on the Texas-Mexican border in June 1865...with 50,000 veterans in 3 corps....distractions over, the US could start paying attention to the Monroe Doctrine again!

Not just the troops but a naval blockade that effectively trapped the troops there without further support. There wasn't really anything France could do. The US had the most powerful military in the word at the time on land and at sea.

Albany Rifles
21 Jul 09,, 21:04
Not just the troops but a naval blockade that effectively trapped the troops there without further support. There wasn't really anything France could do. The US had the most powerful military in the word at the time on land and at sea.


That's right...and Phil Sheridan was just the guy to lead it.

zraver
21 Jul 09,, 23:29
That's right...and Phil Sheridan was just the guy to lead it.


If you could get him moving lol. That is seems to have been almost as difficult as stopping him.

ghost88
31 Jul 09,, 17:26
Not just the troops but a naval blockade that effectively trapped the troops there without further support. There wasn't really anything France could do. The US had the most powerful military in the word at the time on land and at sea.

On land yes, at sea not even close. The Royal Navy out numbered the US 4 to 1 and the Moniters were useless at sea and out gunned by the Warrior and other British Ironclads.

zraver
01 Aug 09,, 01:46
On land yes, at sea not even close. The Royal Navy out numbered the US 4 to 1 and the Moniters were useless at sea and out gunned by the Warrior and other British Ironclads.

Really, care to back that up? US monitors sailed to Britain, and around the Roarign 40's to reach the US West Coast.

By the end of 1865 the US had 4 double turreted monitors which could beat anything at sea. The US also had 10 Passaic class monitors and 7 Canonicus class monitors. In additon the US had at least 6 captured CSS ironclads. The Royal Navy had 22 ironclads so was outnumbered 27-22. The US Passaic Class had much thicker armor over the turrets since the RN standard was 4.5 inches (5.5 on the Minotaur class, 6 inches of a few others) while the turrets of the US ships was 11 inches.

zraver
01 Aug 09,, 06:32
Doing some research it seems the RN only had 9 real Ironclad warships the rest were either modded wooden ships or central battery types that where very under-gunned. The USN would have had a huge firepower advantage.

ghost88
01 Aug 09,, 14:01
Really, care to back that up? US monitors sailed to Britain, and around the Roarign 40's to reach the US West Coast.

By the end of 1865 the US had 4 double turreted monitors which could beat anything at sea. The US also had 10 Passaic class monitors and 7 Canonicus class monitors. In addition the US had at least 6 captured CSS ironclads. The Royal Navy had 22 ironclads so was outnumbered 27-22. The US Passaic Class had much thicker armor over the turrets since the RN standard was 4.5 inches (5.5 on the Minotaur class, 6 inches of a few others) while the turrets of the US ships was 11 inches.

The four Double turrets were considered good sea-boats, but were not finished until late 1865. None of the other US "Monitor" class could "sail" across the oceans they had to be towed.
The Warrior had 40 guns including breech loaders and the Royal Navy was building at least 15 more seagoing ironclads at the time of Hampton Roads.
Also the Brits had decided to build only iron ships from c1860 on. At this time the US's shipbuilding capacity was insignificant compared to the UK's. As for wooden ships that is where the UK outnumbered the US by at least 4 to one.
One more item quoted from Wiki:
The U.S. Navy ended the Civil War with about fifty monitor-type coastal ironclads; by the 1870s most of these were laid up in reserve, leaving the USA virtually without an ironclad fleet. Another five large monitors were ordered in the 1870s. The limitations of the monitor type effectively prevented the USA from projecting power overseas, and until the 1890s the USA would have come off badly in a conflict with even Spain or the Latin American powers. The 1890s saw the beginning of what became the Great White Fleet, and it was the modern pre-Dreadnoughts and armored cruisers built in the 1890s which defeated the Spanish fleet in the Spanish-American War of 1898. This started a new era of naval warfare.[77]
As much as I love my country to think that it's Navy would have had a "snowballs chance in Hell" against the Royal Navy in the 19th century boarders on the delusional.
At the start of WWI for example (from "Battleships 1856-1977" by A. Preston):
p#47
UK pre-dreds 40 built 1895-1908
Dreds 22 + 9 Battle-cruisers
p#48
US 23 PDreds
10 Dreds
It was not till the Washington Treaty that the US Navy achieved parity with the Royal Navy and it may have been much later than that had the UK seen the US as a potential threat.

turretman1st
01 Aug 09,, 15:44
nice info.
if you want to see photo's of all mentioned above.

archive .org

[go to text] [advanced search]
inter title: the photographic history of the civil war
author: Francis miller

it has ten volumes each around 330 pages
published 1911

there is photo's of the russian ships and crew photo's

monitor photo's

archive .org is a web site part of library of congress.
it has open source out of copy write books in both text and audio.
movies, old TV, old radio. etc

text books i download in pdf format so i can print just like i scanned page from book.

if the civil war is what you study you must have these books.
plus all of Lincolns writings are also here.

turretman1st
01 Aug 09,, 15:53
there is also books on dreadnoughts, great white fleet, all wars before 1927, and movies ww2 Aleutians, original Memphis bell movie with original crew done during ww2 etc.

just about all books published before 1927

project Gutenberg etc.

there is in text area, just about info for all here, on any subject posted about any thing dating back before 1927 and a lot after that date if it was not copy writed.

libraries are taking books shelf by shelf and digitizing them.

zraver
02 Aug 09,, 00:56
The four Double turrets were considered good sea-boats, but were not finished until late 1865. None of the other US "Monitor" class could "sail" across the oceans they had to be towed.

The British weapons in all likelihood could not penetrate the armor of the monitors. Along the US seaboard or in the Gulf of Mexico the single turret designs would have ruled the waves and at sea the double turrets would have sunk anything they came across.


As for wooden ships that is where the UK outnumbered the US by at least 4 to one.

The USN finished the civil war with over 1000 armed vessels.

redco
24 Oct 09,, 00:10
The British weapons in all likelihood could not penetrate the armor of the monitors. Along the US seaboard or in the Gulf of Mexico the single turret designs would have ruled the waves and at sea the double turrets would have sunk anything they came across.
Except the Warrior and Black Prince ;)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Warrior_(1860)




The USN finished the civil war with over 1000 armed vessels.And how many were sea going ?

Ironduke
24 Oct 09,, 01:20
The USN finished the civil war with over 1000 armed vessels.
Armored, or armed vessels?

TopHatter
24 Oct 09,, 03:15
10,000 British troops re-enforced Canada during the ACW. It would have been a nice speed bump for the Union.

Sir, can you expand on that?


Doing some research it seems the RN only had 9 real Ironclad warships the rest were either modded wooden ships or central battery types that where very under-gunned. The USN would have had a huge firepower advantage.

I've been reading the book on Semmes and the Alabama that Shamus turned me on to, as well as looking through a few other things.

I'm of the opinion that Warrior and Black Prince and most of the rest of the Royal Navy would've torn through the ACW USN like a bag of leaves.

Was there any kind of serious comparison done that's been posted on the Web? Any learned opinions from our own WABbits? (particular the Warrior-class versus the best of the USN)

I'll be pruning this off onto a RN/USN-ACW thread tomorrow

Ironduke
24 Oct 09,, 03:52
10,000 British troops re-enforced Canada during the ACW. It would have been a nice speed bump for the Union.

Sir, can you expand on that?
I think what he meant to say was that the US would have rolled over Canada like a bulldozer. A million men under arms? It would have been over in relatively short order, however, I'd think the logistics of organizing an offensive against Canada would have taken longer than the offensive itself. Let's say the Union had left half of its men under arms in the South for occupation and deployed the other half north, we're looking at an army of 500,000 men pitted against territories holding about 3 million in population.

Speaking of which, a quick check on Google states the Britain was dependent on US imports for 40% of its grain consumption, which could have led to major unrest in Britain and a fraying of the nerves of its government.

As far as the RN is concerned, even if it were more than a match for the Union at the time, what good is it going to do? I'd estimate the US could sink any RN fleet in its own water. Our monitors may not have been able to take the fight to the Thames like the Dutch did, but I'd assume they could cut through a British fleet like a hot knife through butter. At this time period, the world was far more dependent on US exports than the other way around. The largest impact the RN is going to have on the US is the disruption of foreign inflows of cash and depression of the price of grain in the US, while having the practical effect of exporting famine to Britain and Europe, the former of which would have created all sorts of domestic political problems for the British and created a minefield for British relations with other European powers.

For any of you ACW experts (Shek, AR) and on Canada/Britain (OoE), am I off the mark here or are my assessments valid?

turretman1st
24 Oct 09,, 04:06
here is some books

report of the secretary of the navy in relations to armored vessels

dated 1864 has all action reports from commanders to and from secretary of
the navy on all iron vessels in all campaigns during civil war. very informative as to problems with them and damage they could take.

the monitor and the navy under steam

dated 1900 covers from monitor up to 1900 covers all iron ships all countries
during evolution of iron clads

these books can be downloaded from www.archive.org

if you look thru there you could probably find some thing on Canada during civil war. there was also something i read but cannot remember where about foreign troops also in Mexico.

redco
24 Oct 09,, 04:22
For any of you ACW experts (Shek, AR) and on Canada/Britain (OoE), am I off the mark here or are my assessments valid?
I would dispute your view that the USN could even come close to defeating the RN, but your views on the cost of a war with the US on the economic side of things seem correct to me.
So its a good job that Britain at no point had even the slightest interest in getting involved in your disagreement over State rights ;)

Ironduke
24 Oct 09,, 04:38
I would dispute your view that the USN could even come close to defeating the RN, but your views on the cost of a war with the US on the economic side of things seem correct to me.
The US doesn't need to defeat the RN. The monitors could operate in areas the RN couldn't and the US, in my opinion, could mass enough naval force to beat the British at any one of its ports.

Albany Rifles
26 Oct 09,, 19:15
Okay, lets look at a few things here.

1. Land side

Combat experienced and well equipped forces. The US Army of the spring 1865 was arguably the best equipped, proficient and lethal large army in the world. It was well versed in operating over long distances, had superbly equipped, trained and experienced support harms, it logistics operations were second to none. The medical branch had advanced much opf medical sciences for the world due to its wide ranging experience...including the capability to operate a 2,000 bed mobile tactical hospital...in different theaters concurrently. Its artillery was ruthlessly efficient. Its cavalry was a superbly equipped and trained and the remount service of the US Cavalry was as coldly proficient as any other form of logistics within the US military. And the infantry was simply superb.

And the combat leaders from regiment through army level were stone killers who could take on any army in the world and win...repeatedly.

This is not national pride or hyperbole....it is stone cold truth. After 4 years of conflict the US Army had forged itself into a massively efficient bludgeon of national power.

And in typical American fashion it would all be thrown away within the year.

2 Naval side.

The Royal Navy was modern and well equipped. But so was the US Navy. Admittedly it was not a great ocean Navy as it would become a half a century later but it was a superb brown water navy and that is what would be needed in thsi fight...because the fight is in Canada not across the Atlantic. And the US Navy of 1865 had a LOT more combat experience than the Royal Navy of 1865.


That said if a war had come prior to demobilization it would have been a walk.

Logistically a Canadian campaign would have been easier than the Atlanta campaign or the Virginia campaign. Rail lines already ran throughout New York and the New England states to the Canadian border. The manufacturing base was closer to Canada than to the deep South and most of the territory which was worthwhile was, like today, within a 100 miles of the border.



It would have been an attack into Ontario supported by masses of gunboats which were no longer needed along the inland waterways. The blockading squadron off of Florida and Carolina moves to the mouth of the St Lawrence and cuts it off. The same engineers who bridged the James River could throw bridges across the Saint Lawrence and Niagra rivers.

If you want to recall how poorly prepared the British were to


As the good Colonel has already said...it would have ended in a negotiated settlement because there was nothing the British could have done to prevent it. And there was nowhere along the East Coast of the US that the British could attack which was not well defended by fortifications and killingly efficient large artillery backed by maneuver forces.

And all of this with the UK losing access to 40% of its wheat and 30% of its fish imports.

And all of this without resorting to using any former Confederate forces. As a wrote elsewhere a guarantee of full restoration of rights and access to free land in return for loyal service would have been an overwhelming incentive for many a Confederate veteran.

Ironduke
26 Oct 09,, 19:23
AR, exactly what I wanted to say, except I'm not quite the expert and couldn't have put it the way you did. Even this bit had crossed my mind:

And all of this without resorting to using any former Confederate forces. As a wrote elsewhere a guarantee of full restoration of rights and access to free land in return for loyal service would have been an overwhelming incentive for many a Confederate veteran.
And you make it almost sound as if America had lost a wonderful opportunity to start immediately healing those North-South hard feelings. :)

Dreadnought
26 Oct 09,, 19:39
Interestingly enough, I read the other night that President Abraham Lincoln had a Confederate $5 dollar note in his jacket pocket the night he was shot at Fords theatre.;)

Albany Rifles
26 Oct 09,, 19:56
AR, exactly what I wanted to say, except I'm not quite the expert and couldn't have put it the way you did. Even this bit had crossed my mind:

And you make it almost sound as if America had lost a wonderful opportunity to start immediately healing those North-South hard feelings. :)

Nothing like a little furrin butt whoopin' to make amends!;)

And I really should read my stuff prior to posting! Too many errors!

Ironduke
26 Oct 09,, 19:58
I've read that the Spanish-American War really helped to bridge the divisions between North and South. I'm sure the next two wars also played a role as well.

Albany Rifles
27 Oct 09,, 14:12
I've read that the Spanish-American War really helped to bridge the divisions between North and South. I'm sure the next two wars also played a role as well.

You may recall the corny scene in the The Fighting 69th when the New York and Alabama boys are brigaded together and how they kiss and make up. Recall also that Fitz Lee and Joe Wheeler were US generals of volunteers in Cuba....with Wheeler saying of the Spanish "Let's go get those Yankee Sons A Bitches!"...while his son, a brand new graduate of West point at his side.

Officer of Engineers
28 Oct 09,, 07:04
Sir, can you expand on that?Drunken Irish ACW veteran regiments took on the best Canadian regiments during the Fenian Invasions of 1869-71 and b!tchslapped the Brits and Canadian militias.

Albany Rifles
28 Oct 09,, 15:34
Drunken Irish ACW veteran regiments took on the best Canadian regiments during the Fenian Invasions of 1869-71 and b!tchslapped the Brits and Canadian militias.


I was going to bring that up but I figured it would have been cross checking coupled with a slash across the back of the legs.

And they weren't ALL drunk, sir!