The Federation War of Independence, also known as the Return of Napoleon, was a war between the Federation, Britain and Portugal. It began on January 1, 1819 at the invasion of St. Helena and ended with the destruction of the coalition fleet on August 14, 1821. The main reason for the war beginning was Napoleon trying to conquer a new country to lead, Portugal trying to reclaim its colony from Napoleon's Federation, and Britain wanting to end Napoleon's new country before his wars in Europe were repeated in South America. Most nations, like Spain, Russia, etc. were tired from war and wanted to do little with it. Other nations, like France and the United States, knew the problems that would arise nationally and internationally if they chose sides in this war, decided it would be best to stay neutral.
Due to Napoleon's conquests in Europe, he was imprisoned on the island of St. Helena after the Battle of Waterloo by the coalition to ensure that he'd never cause a massive war. Many people around the world, especially in France, were against this and wanted him to be freed. Thousands of French soldiers deserted and went on their own paths, with many ending up joining under French Admiral Nathan Dorian, who had the financial backing of several families in Europe, including the Bonaparte family. With a fleet of over 10,000 sailors, they knew there was a chance.
Invasion of St. Helena
The invasion of St. Helena happened early in the night on New Year's Day. They chose this day because they knew most of the British garrison and fleet stationed there would be drunk and would make an ideal time to strike. Under the cover of night, Dorian's soldiers boarded each British ship and killed or captured all of the sailors, and then captured the ship. They then used their fleet and newly acquired naval ships to bombard St. Helena till early morning, when the invasion force landed on the beaches.
They went through the island, looking for Napoleon, and supplies, ranging from booze, to weapons, to food, etc. Eventually they found Napoleon and brought him back to Dorian's ship. In the end, they acquired 24 ships, including two Ships of the Line and seven frigates. They brought with them all captured British soldiers, placed evenly on every ship so the chances of them staging a mutiny unlikely. They also brought any locals who wanted to go with them, many of who were other imprisoned Frenchmen.
Setting up government
Two weeks later, Dorian's fleet ports in Brazil. There, they take over the city with their 16,500 strong army, many of who were British soldiers who joined the French. They easily take it from the Portuguese, who had a garrison of 3,500 soldiers. The local militias stay neutral in this, as they believe the French are there to help them secure their independence from Portugal. The French also capture John VI of Portugal, and put him in house arrest, with Napoleon attempting to form a treaty with him.
Napoleon starts setting up a new Napoleonic Code for his future government he'll establish once all of Brazil is captured. He gains the trust of the local Militias by saying he's there to liberate them from tyranny, and plans to have influenced enough of them to join him that by the time his true intentions are revealed, there won't be enough of rebels to oppose him.
He then sent an army of 8,500 soldiers and 6,250 militiamen, led by general Jean-Pierre Leroy, marched West, towards Sao Paulo. They arrived in three and a half weeks, and found a Portuguese garrison 1,500 strong. They held out for a few days, with a warning having came days before Leroy's army arrived. The only major defense the garrison had was a makeshift wall, which was destroyed by cannon fire. Leroy's army flooded into the city, which led to the deaths of over 1,200 men lead by Leroy. The Portuguese soldiers had surrendered and the city was the second city to be conquered by Napoleon's army.
Two weeks after the invasion of St. Helena, Europe learned of Napoleon's escape. Although many monarchs were furious, little wanted to start a hunt for him. Only Britain was willing to, with the support of Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. However, three weeks later, word of the capture of Rio de Janeiro and the Portuguese king, the Portuguese government join Britain to kill Napoleon. They send out a Naval Fleet, with seven Ships of the Line, fourteen frigates, and more.
The reaction in France was mixed. Some were angry, as they believed Napoleon nearly destroyed their country. Others were overjoyed too see him return, with some even going to Rio de Janeiro to join his army, and others sending financial and material support. The French government decided not to help destroy his army, as they knew it would end in large revolts. Even in England, there were revolts due to most British being tired war, especially a war against Napoleon.
The reaction in North America was also mixed. People in British Canada were negative as they were against Napoleon just like mainland Britain. People in the United States however, was much more positive. Many liked Napoleon, mostly due to the hatred towards Britain and her allies after the War of 1812. Although the American government knew it would be too risky to help Napoleon, they sent some secret support, including supplies, guns, money, and even some people willing to fight for Napoleon.
North Brazil campaign
With Napoleon realizing that with it nearly March, soon Summer will set in, and the already hot weather will be unbearable and most of his army will be put to a halt. He decided to send most of his navy up north to the city of Salvador. Their marines would disembark and land in the center of the city, and kill or capture the whole Portuguese garrison there. Due to bad weather however, it took three weeks for the fleet to reach Salvador.
On March 28, the French fleet reached Salvador, they boarded the Portuguese ships at bay and started bombarding certain parts of the city. The Marines then landed on the port of Salvador, with most of garrison not being ready, expecting an attack by land, not sea. Within hours, Salvador is taken. The casualties for the Portuguese is very heavy, with over two thousand having been killed or wounded, more then 80% of the entire force. The casualties for Dorian's marines barely reached the hundreds, with only 20 of those being deaths. The marines then focus on putting the fires that were caused by the battle out before they spread even more.
The second part of the campaign was planned to be the taking of cities Maceio, Recife, and Natal. But word of the coming British and Portuguese fleet ended most operations, with the naval fleet going back to Salvador to prepare it for the upcoming battle, which was expected to take place in the harbor of Salvador.
British and Portuguese Fleet land in S. America
The British and Portuguese fleet both split up when they neared Salvador. The first half, which included of four Ships of the Line, nine Frigates, eight Corvettes, and five Briggs, went to Salvador to bombard the city and destroy the navy there. The other half, which included of five Ships of the Line, six Frigates, three Corvettes, eight Briggs, and had most of the marines with them, went down too Rio de Janeiro, to reclaim the city, capture Napoleon, and save John VI of Portugal.
The Second Battle of Salvador began on April 14, 1819, with the British and Portuguese fleet, under the command of Portuguese Admiral Rodrigo de Santiago, approaching in line of battle formation. The Federation fleet, under the command of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, responded by sending a barrage at Santiago's fleet. The number of ships on both sides were almost even, with Cochrane having two Ships of the Line, seven Frigates, 23 Corvettes, and 38 Brigs, and land artillery. The fight goes on for hours, with no side getting the upper hand, until Cochrane starts using his only two Ships of the Line to board Santiago's ship. They succeed, with Santiago having been wounded and captured, and another Ship of the Line to be used against Santiago's fleet, which is now seemingly in peril with their admiral gone.
However, Captain Francisco Torres, the captain of the other Portuguese Ship of the Line, took charge of the fleet, and got them back into fighting fiercely. Eventually the losses for the joint fleet, now under the command of Captain Torres, decided to retreat and go meet up with the other half of the fleet. Later Admiral Santiago is interrogated by Cochrane, who learns that he only forced half of the joint fleet away from Salvador, and now the British/Portuguese fleet is heading too Rio de Janeiro.
In Rio de Janeiro, six day later, the only ships there is one Ship of the Line, the FNS Dorian, three Frigates, eight Corvettes, and 32 Brigs, and is lead by Admiral Dorian. Due to the amount of ships needed in the battle of Salvador, most were sent there and little were kept to protect Rio de Janeiro. Most of them were still in port when the British fleet was sighted, and some were destroyed before they even moved.The British took many by surprise, destroying three Corvettes and nine Brigs before they could even react. Admiral Dorian directed his ships into one area, in an attempt to put Admiral Jones' fleet in a place were both the naval ships and land artillery could hit them. The land artillery was then directed to fire at the British fleet, but with little affect against them. One lucky shot, however, hit the capital ship deck, which sent splinters flying at the British Admiral Thomas Jones, who had to have his left arm amputated due to infection. The battle raged over the course of the night, with little progress being made until the remains of Torres' fleet having arrived to the battle, starts to decimate the Federation Fleet. Eventually, Dorian, who realized the battle was already lost, decided to seemingly sacrifice his ship by sending it straight into the middle of battle to give the rest of the fleet time to retreat and rearm.
The FNS Dorian was destroyed only minutes after the order to sail into the middle of the battle was given. 359 sailors, Dorian included, were killed. The rest were captured as they jumped from the burning ship. Most of the Federation's fleet then retreated, but some stayed to unload many of its men and cannons to be used to defend Rio de Janeiro, and other ships tried defending them as they did this. In total, the Federation lost the FNS Dorian, two Frigates, four Corvettes, and 17 Brigs. The British lost.