The Civil War Abroad

How the Great American Conflict Reached Overseas


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About the Book

The impact of the Civil War was felt far beyond American shores. Many sites associated with the war remain in Britain and France—the two countries most affected—and traces of it can still be found in such unlikely places as Sweden and Turkey. Both Union and Confederate agents sought support overseas, aided by local sympathizers. Some Victorian Britons, despite their disdain for slavery, saw the South as an incipient nation struggling for recognition, like the Italians or the Poles, but linked to Britain by ties of blood, language and history. The sinking of the CSS Alabama by the USS Kearsarge off Cherbourg brought the war to the European coastline. Ten years after Appomattox, veterans from both North and South found themselves on the same side in the Egyptian army. Drawing on a wide range of sources, this book examines the international side of the Civil War.

About the Author(s)

Charles Priestley retired after 35 years as an international communication trainer. He is a long-standing member of the American Civil War Round Table (United Kingdom) and lives in Berkshire.

Bibliographic Details

Charles Priestley
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 227
Bibliographic Info: 44 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8709-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4515-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Alexander Beresford Hope and the Civil War 7
2. A Philosopher’s Defense of the Confederacy 17
3. A Lively Meeting in Burnley 25
4. Yancey and the Fishmongers 35
5. A Civil War Grave in Turkey 41
6. On the Cleburne Trail in Cork and Cumbria 49
7. France’s Opportunity 59
8. Death in Paris 68
9. The Last Days of the Alabama 85
10. Three Accounts of the Battle Off Cherbourg 104
11. The Prince Offers His Services 116
12. From Calais to Cairo 132
13. Three Union Veterans’ Overseas Graves 149
14. An Officer’s Payslip 167
15. A Postmaster in the Cavalry 182
Chapter Notes 199
Bibliography 213
Index 215

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “These essays display the author’s prodigious talent for uncovering the fascinating details of an unusual cast of characters most readers will encounter for the first time, Prince Polignac, the dashing French volunteer for the Confederacy. William Lewis Dayton, Lincoln’s ill-fated ambassador to France who fell dead at his mysterious lover’s sofa in Paris. William Yancey, the Confederacy’s rough-hewn envoy to Great Britain, and many other extraordinary figures. Charles Priestley has strung these gems together in a dazzling book that owes much to his talent for research and an irrepressible curiosity that readers will find infectious.”—Don H. Doyle, McCausland Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina, author of The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War
  • “This is a book that breaks new ground on American Civil War history. It is thoroughly documented and well written. I highly recommend it!”—Norman C. Delaney, PhD, the Naval Institute’s Author of the Year for 2010, author of John McIntosh Kell of the Raider Alabama and The Maltby Brothers’ Civil War
  • “Charles Priestley’s fascinating study presents a rogues’ gallery of the semi-heroic and quixotic, all of whom believed that right was on their side. Drawing on a wide range of sources, all politics, Priestley shows, are personal, even—and perhaps especially—when it comes to foreign countries.”—Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire: The Epic History of Two Nations Divided.