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.
Dan Sickles for shooting his wife’s lover dead right outside the White House and won the case by advancing the insanity defense for the first time in American legal history. Because of those briefings, Stanton had acquired a taste for what Sharpe had to say. Sharpe, a slope-shouldered man from Kingston, New York, was unique in any number of ways. He was a Hudson Valley aristocrat, sophisticated and cosmopolitan. He was one of the best-educated men in the country, with degrees from Rutgers and
they think we want to hear. It is a common thing and easily found out, for already we have such a body of information on the organization, strengths, leaders, and problems of the Army of Northern Virginia that a simple comparison will tell if the story rings true or false. We know every regiment in Lee’s Army, its commander, and its strength. We know the state of their horses, the rations and forage they receive or not, the arrival of reinforcements or not. We follow them when they move their
rise to Scott’s bait, so Scott challenged him to try a shot at the target himself. Poor Scott—he and bad judgment went together. A target of a man was set up at six hundred yards and they wrote the name of Jeff Davis on it.” Lincoln laughed. “Now Berdan said that he was a bit reluctant to take a shot at a chief executive in the presence of another, and I said, ‘Oh, Colonel, if you make a good shot it will serve him right.’ “Berdan borrowed his sergeant major’s personal breechloader. Then Scott,
conclude that should he succeed in slipping the ram out of British waters, he would surely have outworn his welcome in that country. He was not thinking of that now. They would soon cross out of British territorial waters and be beyond the reach of British law. There was not a hint of alarm, no fast harbor craft speeding after to overtake him. It was a normal morning tide on the swift Mersey. There was the excitement of knowing that it would be his command. The Alabama had been originally
Intelligence CONTENTS Introduction Maps Dramatis Personae CHAPTERS 1. Cossacks, Copperheads, and Corsairs 2. Russell and the Rams 3. George the Contraband and One-Eyed Garnet 4. Gallantry on Crutches 5. Sergeant Cline Gets a New Job 6. “Roll, Alabama, Roll!” 7. French Lick to Halifax 8. Battle at Moelfre Bay 9. Pursuit Into the Upper Bay 10. A Rain of Blows 11. Treason, Frogs, and Ironclads 12. Cold Spring and Crossing the Bar Appendix A: Order of Battle of the Armies at the