World War: One War at a Time

In November 1861, when the U. S. Civil War was just getting going. Captain Charles Wilkes of the Union Navy, commanding the screw sloop San Jacinto, fired a shot across the bows of the British Royal Mail packet Trent as she steamed along the Bahama Channel. The Trent hove to and, under the San Jacinto's guns, surrendered to a U. S. boarding party the persons of James Murray Mason and John Slidell, commissioners on their way to represent the Confederacy in Great Britain and France, respectively.

Queen Victoria's Government (Prime Minister: Lord Palmerston) was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!