On February 6, 1863, Secretary of State Seward announced that the Union was rejecting a French offer to mediate in the American Civil War.
With ambitions rivaling those of his more famous uncle, Emperor Napoleon III had hoped to establish a military alliance with the Confederacy, and to build a French colonial empire in Mexico. Napoleon’s efforts in Mexico were dealt a setback on May 5, 1862, however, when a French army was defeated by Mexican forces.
Napoleon’s attempt to meddle in the American Civil War was likewise defeated when Britain refused to cooperate. For much of the early Civil War, Confederate leadership had hoped that European intervention would secure Confederate independence. But by early 1863, it had become increasingly apparent that the Confederacy was on its own.