Commemorating the Russian Fleets of Autumn 1863 – Tarpley to Address McClendon Group, National Press Club, Washington DC, Tuesday Sept. 24, 7PM

McClendon Group Meeting

Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, Ph.D., historian and commentator
The 150th Anniversary of the Russian Fleets in New York and San Francisco, 1863: How Tsar Alexander II Helped Lincoln Save the Union by Deterring England and France
Tuesday, September 24, 7 p.m. (dinner with the speaker at 6:30 p.m.)
National Press Club, McClendon Room, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC, Metro Center stop

As we mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, commemorations of the mid-point year of that terrible conflict in 1863 are dominated by much-studied battles like Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chickamauga. Often forgotten are events of perhaps even greater strategic importance – the arrival of the Russian Baltic Fleet in New York City on September 24, 1863, and of the Russian Pacific Squadron in San Francisco on October 12 of the same year. The two Russian admirals carried secret sealed orders they were instructed to open only if Great Britain and France declared war on Russia and/or the United States.

Any aggression by London and Paris against the Union in support of the Confederacy would have caused the Russian Empire to enter the war on the side of Lincoln. If war had come, the secret orders told the Russian admirals to cooperate with the Union Navy in attacking Anglo-French commerce on the high seas, in the manner of the highly successful Confederate raiders like the Alabama.

Napoleon III of France and Lord John Russell, Lord Palmerston, and William Gladstone of Britain had been threatening to intervene in favor of the Confederacy since 1861. They were deterred by the pro-Lincoln policy of the Imperial Court of St. Petersburg. With the arrival of the Russian fleets, consternation in London, Paris, and their partner Madrid was great. In the North, still traumatized by losses at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and by the New York City draft riots, the Russian fleets were a decisive morale booster. When a Confederate warship was feared to be approaching San Francisco, the Russian admiral cleared for action and prepared to defend the port. Russia was the only country to extend direct military support to the Lincoln government.

Cassius Marcellus Clay of Kentucky, a cousin of the Great Compromiser who was Lincoln’s Ambassador to Russia, later claimed that he had done more than any person to save the Union by obtaining Russian help to keep the British and French out of the war. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles summed up much Northern opinion when he observed: “God bless the Russians!” But later, Anglophilia and the Cold War helped obscure these decisive facts.

Please plan to be with us to hear some of the most unreported truth from a series of unbiased sources. We look forward to seeing you for this most timely session…and please remember to bring a friend!

— John Edward Hurley, Chairman

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Free parking after 5pm with National Press Club dinner validation of your parking receipt at the PMI Garage on G St. NW (between 13th & 14th streets, NW).
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