History Alive!

Britain and the American Civil War

Union Infantry Camping in the Woods

Why should we in Britain be so interested in a Civil War fought last century on the other side of the Atlantic?

The armies of the American Civil War were formed mainly of English speaking men, mostly descended from colonists who had come from these islands. Great Britain contributed over 45,000 participants to the struggle, as well as vast quantities of arms and war material, much finding its way through the Federal blockade of the Confederate coastline.

Confederate warships were built at the Birkenhead shipyard of Lairds, the most famous being the commerce raider Alabama, later sunk by the Federal warship, the Kearsarge, off Cherbourg.

The cotton workers of Lancashire endured great hardship during the war years, but they steadfastly refused to handle Southern cotton knowing it had been gathered by slave labour.

There are many, many personal connections between this country and the people and events of the American Civil War, including the great-grandfather of one of our members being involved in gun running in the Mersey estuary to ships bound for America.

ACWS Union Infantry in Battle 2003