In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Great Britain and the Civil War

Since the outbreak of war in 1861, U.S. relations with Great Britain were at a low. Fearing foreign involvement in the war in support of the South, the U.S. Navy took to stopping and searching foreign vessels. The stopping of a British ship, the Royal Mail Steamer Trent, in November, 1861, and the removal of the Confederate envoys on board, brought the 2 countries to the brink of war. From the British point of view, the American action was a direct pretext for unfriendly action, a near act of war.

Only through slick U.S. diplomacy were tensions eased between the 2 countries. However, there remained a feeling of British irritation and a tacit determination to do something when a proper opportunity should occur. The Southern government was determined to exploit the rift and engender Britain's support for its war with the Union.

On this date in 1862,  in a general speech, William Ewart Gladstone, a Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer and future Prime Minister, made an interesting observation on the American struggle.
We know quite well that the people of the North have not yet drunk of the cup—they are still trying to hold it far from their lips—which, all the rest of the world see they nevertheless must drink of. We may have our own opinions about slavery; we may be for or against the South; but there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made—what is more than either—they have made a nation.
At this point, the war had been going decidedly in the South's favor. The Confederate successes in the summer of 1862 were convincing proofs to British thinking that the independence of the South was only a matter of time. The British Government was on the verge of recognizing the independence of the South, and this inevitably would lead to war between Great Britain and the United States. President Lincoln will require decisive Union victories if he is going to turn European sympathies away from the South.

Source: Stone's River: The Turning-Point of the Civil War, Wilson J. Vance

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