Friday, May 13, 2011

Queen Victoria grants Confederacy belligerent status

  • In London, Queen Victoria announces Great Britain’s neutrality in regard to the warring States, stating that the British will not assist either side, but instead give each the rights accorded to belligerent powers. Gaining belligerent status is a very important diplomatic step forward for the Confederate States of America in getting international recognition as a nation. Under belligerent status, Britain will continue to trade with the Southern States. British ports around the globe will also be open to Confederate vessels to refit, repair, and refuel their ships, a major advantage, but will not be supplied with weapons – at least not officially. Her Majesty’s vessels also will continue to enter Southern ports, completely ignoring the Lincoln Naval Blockade, but will be prohibited from engaging in any military activities. Britain’s decision is a diplomatic failure and major irritation for the Lincoln Administration, denying the Administration’s demand that the Confederate armies be seen as rebels and war criminals trying to destroy their rightful government. Ironically, the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain arrives in London today to speak with the Queen to ask specifically that the British government not to grant belligerent rights to the South. Victoria makes her announcement just hours before Adams' arrival./1861 
  • The citizens of North Carolina, forced to reconsider secession from the Union because of Lincoln’s demand for a quota of troops to raise an army to invade his own country, elects delegates to the Secession Convention./1861
  • What would become known as the First Wheeling Convention convenes with 436 elected delegates from 17 Virginia counties at Washington Hall in Wheeling, western Virginia. Several delegates had attended the General Assembly at Richmond. Fueled by a long list of grievances and many years of mostly failure to redress them, the Unionists of western Virginia meet as West Virginia's first official state body, although earlier organizational meetings had occurred shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Lincoln would quickly pledge his unconstitutional support to meddle in a sovereign state’s affairs to carve out a new Unionist state. The first day of the convention is mostly taken up with parliamentary actions./1861
  • Major General of the Ohio Militia, George B. McClellan, is appointed as commander of the United States Department of Ohio which includes a portion of western Virginia./1861

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