Trent affair

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Civil War

Prince Albert (1819—1861) prince consort, consort of Queen Victoria

Charles Wilkes (1798—1877)

William Seward (1801—1872)

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(November–December 1861)

An incident between the USA and Britain during the American Civil War. In November 1861 the US warship San Jacinto stopped the British mail packet Trent at sea and forcibly removed two Confederate (Southern) diplomats and their secretaries. News of the incident produced widespread demands in Britain for war against the Union (the North), but the crisis was averted partly through the intervention of Prince Albert and by the decision of US Secretary of State William Seward to release the diplomats on the grounds that the captain had erred in not bringing the Trent and its “personal contraband” to port.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — History.

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