Third Anglo-Virginian War
|Third Anglo-Virginian War|
|Republic of Virginia||United Kingdom|
The Third Anglo-Virginian War (1874-1875) was a conflict between the Republic of Virginia and the United Kingdom and its allies over the ownership of Salvatia in West Africa. Salvatia was colonized by Black Virginians who followed Zoekerism. The war ended in British victory and Salvatia would become part of the British Empire. The fallout from the war would result in the Economic Collapse in Virginia and the end of the Second Republic of Virginia.
Virginia became an independent nation following the Second Anglo-Virginian War (1852-1854) against the United Kingdom. Relations between the two countries had been strained since despite healthy trade. Virginia was left with a large free black population along with a minor Dutch speaking population. Race relations were tense and the spread of Zoerkerism did not help. Zoerkerism is a religion that mixes Protestantism and various traditional West African religious beliefs. Their beliefs center around a supreme creator, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the pursuit for truth, freedom, and homeland. Zoerkerism was meet with hostility by black and white Virginia, but continued to develop. By the late 1860s, Zoerkerist made up the majority of Black Virginians and Prime Minister Richard Churchill expanded religious freedoms to the group in political alliance with Piet de Kotter, the self exiled Zoerkerist spiritual leader in 1867. In exchange, his congregation would continue their support Churchill's party, the Rationalists, in elections.
Churchill had other plans as well. He wanted to expand Virginian influence abroad and supported the Zoerkerist pursuit of a new homeland. So long as Virginia had some control over it. Between the British colonies of Gambia and Sierra Leone, Salvatia was founded in 1868 by 400 Black Virginians led by 'Red' Benjamin Walker. Walker was a close associate of de Kotter with strict orders to convert the natives and if failing to force them off their land. Many scholars doubt Walker's claims as de Kotter showed himself to be openminded while Protector of South Tussenland. Either way, Walker followed those orders. As the natives were primarily Sunni Muslims, with a small Catholic minority, they did not accept the Zoerkerist conversion efforts. Both sides would soon respond in violence and were evenly matched. However, anther wave of colonists would arrive a long with soldiers led by Colonel Anthony Clarke of the African Expedition Force (AEF)
Clarke did not support Zoerkerism nor wished to help Black Virginians for their sack. He did however invest heavily into the Virginian African Company (VAC) and needed Salvatia to turn a profit. He began a brutal campaign down the coast throughout 1868 to pacify native resistance in the region. He was successful for the most part, but Clarke would bedridden by a fever and die on 12 January 1869. The town of Clarke would be named in his honor.
BY 1874, there were nearly 10,000 colonist in Salvatia and dozens of minor settlements across the coast. Though the only major ones were Clarke, Grandchurch and Port Victoria. Clarke was the military stronghold of the colony. The colony's arsenal and command center was in the town. General Matthew Washington, who had resigned from Parliament and accepted a commission following Clarke's death, set up his residency there. Grandchurch was the first place the Zoerkerist colonists arrived and they treated it as a holy city. They made pilgrimages to it and traveled to it for special holidays. Port Victoria was the largest port in the colony. Salvatia held large deposits of gold that attracted colonists to abandon homesteads to instead mine for gold. Walker condemned those who did but Washington and other VAC officials only saw the profit the gold could gain. The British noticed this too and along with fears of a strong Virginian colony divided their colonies in West Africa, they were ready to fight.
The spread of Zoerkerism into Sierra Leone caused social upheaval in the British colony. Miners who had gone to Salvatia for wealth and work were converted and brought their new faith back home. This caused opposition to British rule resulting in the Port Loko riot in which 8 Sierra Leonean were killed. Though the sect represented a insignificante amount of people it was enough to alarm the British and prepare for war.
First Phase: Invasion of Salvatia
The war would begin on 18 April 1874 with the British invasion as they crossed the Salutia River. The British forces were under the command of Major General James Outran. It was compromised of 1,000 white soldiers and 1,650 African auxiliaries. The AEF had only 800 soldiers, but the colony could muster another 2,000 militiamen Walker promised. When Washington received reports of the British invasions he at first dismissed it. Washington was celebrating the birthday of his second-in-command, Lt. Colonel Arthur Douglas, that evening and was by several accounts inebriated. However the next morning, when the mayor of New Jamestown arrived, exhausted and gave gruesome details of the the city's destructions, he wrote back to Virginia and prepared for war.
Prime Minister George Smith had established his second government (Smith II). His popularity and that of the Passionists was waning. However, after Lord Augustus Loftus, British Ambassador to Virginia delivered the declaration of war to PM Smith, war fever swept across the nation. The new Minister of War, Stephen Fuller, during a speech in Jamestown cried, "10,000 soldiers, 1,000 vessels and 1 month and Africa will be ours." Thousands of young men did enlist for a year of service. Many hoped instead of moving north to attack New England.
Outran wrote to Washington with the demands of the British government. They were the withdrawal of all AEF soldiers, removal of all Zoerkerist, and the renouncing of Virginian claims to Salvatia. He promised to give Washington time to think despite the numerical advantage the British had. Some scholars have argued that Outran was trying to starve the Virginians out as the British blockaded or that he thought Washington would give into the demands. On 24 May, Outran continued his march taking Amherst and New Elegasthaven by 3 June.
The first and only engagement between Washington and Outran occurred at the Battle of Mansoa River on 8 June. Washington's forces had marched to Charlottesville to engage Outran. Not wishing to hide in the city, Washington went on the offensive. The surprise attack caused the colonial soldiers to break and forced the British into an orderly retreat. Outran saw this as a minor setback in the campaign while Washington celebrated the war ending battle. He wrote to PM Smith promising that the war was nearly at end. The Virginian government took the news too seriously and requested that Washington leave Africa to escort the army for an invasion of New England. The British had not yet blockaded Virginia and Washington was able to sail home. Lt. Colonel Douglas was left in charge.
Second Phase: The Pilgrimage to Grandchurch
Outran called for reinforcements and they arrived on 1 July. Though only an additional 500 British soldiers they had with them the new Clyde Guns. The world's first automatic firearm. It was capable of firing up to 500 rounds per minute if used properly and if it did not malfunction. The British would use them to great effect during the Battle of Charlottesville. Douglas, hoping to repeat Washington's success, left the city to fight on 4 July. The Virginians were devastated by the firepower of the British and were forced to retreat. They would abandon Charlottesville and Victoria the next day and go back to Clarke.
New of the defeat spread like fire across Salvatia and Walker called for a "pilgrimage" to Grandchurch to defend their holy city from the British. Roughly a 1,000 colonist would make up its defense, Both men and woman began to drill and make a barricade. Children were sent to the countryside. The city had a population of less than 500 so small wooden forts were constructed to the north, west and southwest (Forts Alexander, Barnabas, and Cyrus respectively) for the colonist to fight from.
At 5:30 AM, British artillery attacked Fort Alexander and Barnabas until 6:15 AM. After that the British vanguard march towards hoping to move up the artillery as well. Despite the forts been badly damaged there still remained colonist who opened fire on the British soldiers. The skirmishes lasted until 7:05 AM with Fort Barnabas' capture and Fort Alexander's forces retreating to Grandchurch. At 7:30, British artillery began to bombard Grandchurch directly. The AEF had taken all field artillery with them to Clarke for itself defense, leaving Walker with no ability to fight back.
The guns were silenced at 10:00 AM and a request to parley with Walker was sent. Outran promised that the British would respect the property rights of the Salvatian colonists (religious rights were never mentioned) so long as they surrendered. Walker refused and the British artillery continued. By 3:00 PM, the British attacked the town. The colonist used destroyed buildings as cover and the British used them to move around the barricades. The colonists soon ran out of ammunition and began to fight the British by hand. Many picked up farm tools like machetes to fight.
Walker began to see the hopelessness of the situation evacuated his force by 6:00 PM escaping to Fort C and then Zoerkersville. Some advised him to go Clarke and aid the AEF, but he refused. He knew that the British would go there instead and wished to leave them to their fate. The Battle of Grandchurch had up to 500 causalities for the colonists with 200 dead. Many of the survivors left and went back to their homes hoping that the British would leave them in peace.
Unlike Grandchurch, Clarke was designed to weather a siege. Douglas and the AEF had enough provisions and ammunition to withstand three months of sieging. However, rodents had devastated their food supply so by the fourth week, Douglas meet with Outran. Outran was hoping to discuss terms of surrender but Douglas refused. Douglas wished for the British to allow the AEF to leave Clark and prepare for a battle. He argued that a siege of attrition was dishonorable to both Virginia and Britain and convinced Outran that the still had enough supplies to last before Walker and the colonist would relief them. Outran agreed to fight and the Battle of Clarke occurred on 2 August. The superior British firepower and numbers overcame the Virginians.
The Royal Navy was also organizing itself. Salvatia and Virginia were both firmly blockaded by late July. The Battle of Virginia Bay 29-30 July crippled the Virginian Navy and left Washington with no way to sail his army to New England nor aid the AEF. The Battle of Elegast Bay on August 7 destroyed the small mercantile fleet in Salvatia. The last straw for the Virginian war effort came after British marines raided Port Victoria on August 15 emptying the city of the gold found in the colony. News of these defeats a long with the AEF's surrender made its way to PM Smith and he collapsed at his desk. President Jacob Reign would meet with British to negotiate a treaty.
The Treaty of Boston was signed on 7 November with generous terms towards Virginia. Virginia would have to pay no reparations but gave up all claims to Salvatia. All Virginian prisoners would be released, but they refused to return on British ships. As this would just be another humiliation. As there was no Virginian Navy, Dutch ships would have to evacuated them.
Third Phase: The Great Uprising
Retribution by the locals was quick after the defeat of AEF. Black Virginians were chased from their home and Zoerkerist churches were destroyed. The British did little to stop the fighting. They mostly protected the gold mines and their fortifications. On 8 January 1875, the last Virginian soldier sailed away from Salvatia and that night Walker came out of hiding. In Carlisle, Walker called for a Kruisvaart against their enemies.
Hundreds of armed rebels took to the streets attacking British and colonial soldiers. The towns of Eastden and Kolda would be destroyed in the fighting. Afterwards, Walker would begin a campaign of guerilla warfare to bleed the British dry. Despite the early success of Walker, he lacked both the manpower and supplies to carry on the war. The British set up camps for Zoerkerists, outside of urban centers. This separated, Walker from the people he could draw upon for support. The British were accused of forcing Zoerkerists in these camps to mine for gold. However, they argued that they allowed prisoners who were uprooted to mine to support themselves while giving a small percentage to the British.
On 5 February , Walker was killed near cave outside of Maki. The remaining rebels soon dispersed and Governor Outran would declare the rebellion pacified on 11 February. Zoerkerism would be declared illegal and many followers would return to Virginia.