In London, England, the British Parliament has been in discussions the last two nights on the relationship between England and the America. There is an outburst of anger against U.S. Admiral Charles Wilkes interfering with British trade to islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Frustration is also aimed at U.S. Ambassador Charles Francis Adams (son of former President John Quincy Adams) for granting a free pass to a British steamer loaded with munitions of war for the Mexicans while denying a similar ship a pass because their destination was the Gulf of Mexico, which was considered to be too close to the U.S. blockade in place to prevent any supplies or goods in or out of the Confederate ports.
England has tried to be neutral to both the United States and Confederate governments since the war started. While at first seen as a rebellion, the Confederacy has proven its strength in winning battle after battle, especially in the Eastern part of the country. The lack of cotton imports from the South has severely hurt England, and while they have been hesitant to support a country that still allows slavery – something that England abolished decades before – they are constantly debating whether to recognize the Confederacy as a new, individual country. Their stance of being neutral meant that what they do for the U.S. they do for the Confederacy. England even allowed the Confederacy to pay them to build a ship, which was commissioned as the C.S.S. Alabama on August 24, 1862. Since that time the ship has become a “pirate ship”, capturing Union merchant ships and burning them, and recently moving on to the East Indies where it has seized more than 40 merchant ships under the flag of the Confederacy.
What it comes down to is a serious discussion on whether England should declare war on the United States. They believe this would stretch the resources of the North too thin; that the United States is already weak, without resources and on its last breath, and that the Confederacy will soon win the war. Others believe that the U.S. is still a strong power, and if they declare war against the U.S. they have to take into consideration that nearby France may decide to join the U.S. against them. With the recent incidents in the Gulf of Mexico, England’s patience with the United States is running out.
Far away in a little farm house outside of Spotsylvania, Virginia, C.S.A. Lieutenant General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson continues to write battle reports, this time on his troops actions in Fredericksburg last December. He tries to finish his work as early as possible, as his wife Anna and their five-month-old baby girl Julia are with him. He relishes having Julia in his arms, and rarely lets her out of his sight. Tonight he caresses her and plays with her; it’s a very joyous time.