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Thread: Russian Navy During the Civil War

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    Russian Navy During the Civil War

    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)
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    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

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    Modern History/American Civil War/Wartime Diplomacy/US-Russian Relations - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks

    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.
    Last edited by Albany Rifles; 17 Jul 09, at 13:51.
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    10,000 British troops re-enforced Canada during the ACW. It would have been a nice speed bump for the Union.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    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!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikado View Post
    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!
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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by reve893 View Post
    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.
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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost88 View Post
    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.
    Last edited by zraver; 01 Aug 09, at 06:25.

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