Friday Mar 25, 2022

048 - The Trent Affair


About this episode: 

James Murray Mason was a Virginian. As a former member of the U.S. Senate, he once served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. His credentials made him a natural selection for a diplomatic mission to London as a representative for the Confederate States of America. Then there was John Slidell, a native New Yorker, who moved to Louisiana where, as a young man, he embraced the French language and culture. He, too, was perfect for his assignment to Paris - to the court of Napoleon III. In November of 1861, they made their way on a mission which, if successful, would create a tipping point that would have profound consequences for the American Civil War. Then an event in the Bahama Channel abruptly interrupted their journey. Found on a British vessel, they were captured in international waters by a US armed sloop and, because of that, the two came the closest to accomplishing their designated mission long before they ever arrived. This is their story and the incredible ramifications of their capture. This is the story of the Trent Affair.


Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode:

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerson

Napoleon III

Robert Barnwell Rhett

Queen Victoria

Charles Francis Adams Sr.

James Murray Mason

John Slidell

Charles Wilkes


Get The Guide:

Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.


Producer: Dan Irving


Thank you to our sponsor Bob Graesser, Raleigh Civil War Round Table's editor of The Knapsack newsletter and the Round Table's webmaster at


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