Britannia's Fist: From Civil War to World War: An Alternate History
Peter G. Tsouras
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Once too often in the War Between the States, Great Britain’s support for the Confederacy takes it to the brink of war with the Union. The escape of a British-built Confederate ironclad finally ignites the heap of combustible animosities and national interests. When the U.S. Navy seizes it in British waters, the ensuing battle spirals into all-out war. Napoleon III eagerly joins the British and declares war on the United States. Meanwhile, treason uncoils in the North as the anti-war Democrats, known as Copperheads, plot to overthrow the U.S. government and take the Midwest into the Confederacy.
Britannia’s fist strikes quickly and hard. Along with the Canadians, the British invade New York and Maine, and the Royal Navy strikes at the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The clash at Charleston is history’s first great naval battle between ironclads. Meanwhile, a French army marches into Texas from Mexico, and the French Navy attacks the Gulf coast. In the Midwest, the Copperheads rise in revolt to liberate Confederate POWs and arm them with stockpiled weapons. Never has the Republic been in such peril.
Britannia’s Fist brilliantly describes not just a war of stroke and counterstroke but one in which new technologies—repeating weapons, observation balloons, advances in naval ordnance and armament—become vital factors in the struggle of the young country against the Old World’s empires. For one of the great missed stories of the Civil War was not the advance of military technology but its impediment by incompetence, disorganization, and in some serious cases outright refusal to contemplate anything innovative. This is also a war in which the Union finds a “combat multiplier” when it organizes history’s first national-level intelligence effort. Britannia’s Fist is the compelling story of powerful historical personalities who come together as the Union goes into total war mobilization in the fight for its life.
base and willing to thumb its nose at Britain in the process was obvious—the United States. Russian and American strategic priorities were rapidly converging. The two countries had been on the friendliest terms since Catherine the Great formed her League of Armed Neutrality during the American Revolution to protect neutral trade with the new country from British interdiction. Since then, they had found natural attraction in the similar problems and opportunities of developing vast continents.
Harper) (1,423) Staff: 7 3rd Maine 4th Maine 5th Maine 6th Maine 7th Maine Maine Light 5th Battery 1st Maine Cavalry (370) Maine Light 6th Battery (81) Division Train (350)1 Portland City Militia (2,500) Harbor Fort Home Guard Garrisons (600) Fort Gorges (400) Fort Preble (200) Maine Division Total: 6,6912 Field Guns: 18 APPENDIX B Order of Battle of the Fleets at the Third Battle of Charleston October 8, 1863 BRITISH ROYAL NAVY’S CHARLESTON SQUADRON (ADMIRAL SEYMOUR) First
(Boston: Appleton, 1880), 301–2. Dahlgren’s account is unabashed hero worship of his father both as a naval commander and as a man. 40. Unidentified newspaper article entitled, “The Warrior,” dated May 11, 1861, found in the Dahlgren Papers, Library of Congress. 41. *William R. Thomas, With Colonel Dahlgren and the Marines: Adventures on the New Ironsides at the Battle of Charleston (New York: The Century Company, 1888), 206. 42. *Ulric Dahlgren, New Ironsides and Black Prince: Duel of the
secretary of war back then, and a friend of Ripley, sneered something powerful at Colonel Berdan, asking him how he could compare his knowledge of ordnance with the phalanx of ‘experts’ in the government. I knew what he was up to right off. You see, Berdan had hoped to get on the good side of Ripley by agreeing to the muzzle-loaders, but then changed his mind and ended up on Ripley’s bad side. I guess his boys gave him an earful. But he only earned Ripley’s ill will. Well, now, Berdan did not
navies, especially where an irritation with the Americans was preferred. When Porter dismissed the crew after Goshawk passed, there was a notable mutter as the men broke ranks. The snub had not gone unnoticed.6 Attention soon shifted to the marvel of the enclosed docking system, fascinating everyone from captain to cabin boy. The pilot directed them through Queen’s Basin and from there down a short channel into King’s Dock. Lamson was pleased at how well Gettysburg handled in such tight places.