"Friends in Peace and War": The Russian Navy's Landmark Visit to Civil War San Francisco
Great friendship existed between the United States and Imperial Russia during the nineteenth century. The Old World Russian autocracy supported the young New World democracy because of the emerging U.S. role as a bulwark against Great Britain's ambitions, in Asia and in the North Pacific Ocean region especially. In fact, when the American Civil War threatened to divide the United States, Russia alone among the European great powers gave no aid or comfort to the seceding states.
The surprise 1863 arrival of squadrons of Russian warships and thousands of Russian sailors in New York and San Francisco proved fortuitous, coming when the Union feared British and French intervention on the Confederacy's behalf. C. Douglas Kroll, using both Russian and U.S. documents, investigates why the Russian Pacific Squadron came to San Francisco, a port of departure for California and Nevada gold headed east; what happened during its nearly year-long visit; and how its presence influenced events. With the units of the U.S. Navy's small Pacific Squadron widely dispersed and Confederate commerce raiders on the loose, the Russians' arrival suggested to on-lookers that they intended to defend the Union against interference.
Whether actively supporting the Union or training and refitting or both, the Russian officers and sailors endeared themselves to San Francisco's citizens. Parades and balls, as well as dinners hosted by both sides, helped San Franciscans overlook the various differences they had with their Russian visitors. Kroll gives us a thorough examination of the Russians' visit and its social, diplomatic, and military impact.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Abrek Admiral Popov Alabama Alaska Alcatraz Alcatraz Island Alta California American anchored Angel Island April arrived in San attack Benicia Arsenal Bogatyr British Camanche cannon Captain Scammon Chapman Charles citizens city’s Civil commanding officer Commodore Confederacy crew cruise departed Etolin February fire flag flagship Fort Point Franciscans Gaidamak Golden Gate guns Harpending Ibid Island Naval Shipyard Island Navy Yard June Kalevala later letter Lieutenant Lighthouse Makarov March Mare Island Naval morning Narragansett Navy’s Pacific Squadron November Novick o’clock October ordered Pacific Squadron Petersburg Point Reyes port Rear Admiral rebellion repairs residents returned Russia’s Pacific Squadron Russian America Russian Ball Russian Fleet Russian navy Russian officers Russian sailors Russian squadron Russian steam corvette Russian vessels Russian-American Rynda sailed salute San Francisco San Francisco harbor Saranac Selfridge sent Shubrick Sitka steamer Thomas Selfridge Tsar U.S. Navy Union United USS Lancaster warships wharf wreck York