Expedition of the Russian Navy to America in 1863–64

Expedition of the Russian Navy to America in 1863–64

 

a military demonstration of Russia’s support for the federal government of the North during the Civil War in the United States (1861–65).

With the British and French governments supporting the rebellious Southerners, Russia maintained friendly relations with the Northerners. The aggravation of Russo-British and Russo-French relations during the Polish Uprising of 1863–64 fostered a Russo-American rapprochement. The possibility of war with Great Britain and France prompted the Russian government to send two naval squadrons into the territorial waters of the United States. One squadron, commanded by Rear Admiral S. S. Lesovskii, consisted of three frigates, two corvettes, and three clippers. The other, under the command of Rear Admiral A. A. Popov, comprised five corvettes and four clippers.

Lesovskii arrived in New York, and Popov in San Francisco, in September 1863. In the event of war with Great Britain and France, the squadrons were to strike the communications and colonies of the enemy. The Russian ships were met with enthusiasm by the Americans, and their arrival provided significant moral and political support to the government of A. Lincoln.

When it became clear that Great Britain and France would not initiate a war in support of Poland, the Russian squadrons, which had rendezvoused in New York in April 1864, were recalled. They left US shores in July 1864.

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