What accounts or events in Europe’s reaction to the American Civil War do you find most interesting?
Belgium… does not come to mind when contemplating the American Civil War, yet the tiny nation, with its gun manufacture centered at Liege, played a significant role: acquiring antiquated firearms from across Europe, and re-boring those smoothbore muskets (to standard .69 and .71 calibre); converting flintlock firing mechanism to percussion cap; and sometimes rifling the barrels of smoothbores. These re-tooled firearms were sold to arms purchasers, North and South, re-birthed as “Belgian Muskets.” (Belgium also had a licence to produce the English Enfield rifle-musket… but it is said that the licence expired prior to the Civil War; so the many thousands of Enfields produced in Belgium may have been “pirate copies.”)
Russia. There seems to be little question that the Tsar acted as a check on Napoleon III and Britain during the first couple of years of the war, symbolized by his fleet’s visits to NY and SF.
A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman is a good read, imho.
The crowd off Cherbourg…witnessing the duel of the CSS Alabama and USN Kearsage….make a great movie!
I think an under-appreciated story is what is discussed in Christopher Dickey’s book, “Our Man in Charleston.”
It is often reported (falsely) that the Vatican “recognized” the Confederacy; only the Kingdom of Pohnpei ever recognized the Confederate States of America. Yet Recognition by “a significant Power, or cabal of cotton-seeking European States” had potential to end the Civil War to the satisfaction of Jefferson Davis just as surely as Victory through force of arms. Many engagements came close to verifying the Confederacy’s claim as a viable Nation: Bull Run (if Beauregard had pushed on and captured Washington); Shiloh (claimed — falsely — as “decisive Southern Victory” for weeks after the event, in hope of persuading European observers in Richmond that “the decisive engagement” had indeed occurred. This Shiloh claim was abandoned upon the news of the Loss of New Orleans.)
Suppliers to the Confederacy II: S Isaac Campbell & Co., London, Peter Tait & Co., Limerick:
“This book tells the compelling stories of two of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of 19th Century Britain whose companies would eventually go on to provide uniforms, arms and equipment to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.” (Amazon)
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