A U.S. warship seizes a British merchant vessel in neutral waters, which threatens to cause an international crisis.
News of the capture of Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell spreads throughout America and is met with mixed reactions in North and South.
Captain Charles Wilkes of the U.S.S. San Jacinto halts the neutral British steamship R.M.S. Trent on the open sea and seizes two Confederate envoys under dubious circumstances.
Confederate envoys board a steamship in the hopes of eluding the Federal blockade and reaching Europe to gain Confederate recognition.