On February 17, 1863, Karl Marx received a letter from his friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, discussing the course of the American Civil War. A leader of the international revolutionary movement since the publication of The Communist Manifesto in 1848, Marx had taken a keen interest in the Civil War.
From London, Marx had written articles for the New York Herald Tribune until 1862, frequently arguing that the Union crusade against slavery was to the benefit of workingmen everywhere.
While both Marx and Engels were avid supporters of the Union, Engels’ February 17 letter was pessimistic, noting that while Union military strength was growing, signs of war weariness were in evidence with much of the Northern public. As he concluded, things at the moment “don’t look too good in Yankee-land.”