Trent Affair, naval incident in the U.S. Civil War that nearly brought Britain to militarily support the South. In Nov. 1861, Charles Wilkes, commanding the Union ship San Jacinto stopped the British ship Trent and seized two southern agents, J.M Mason and John Slidell. Britain demanded an apology for this violation of the freedom of the sea and ordered 8,000 troops to Canada. The southerners were freed in December.
See also: Civil War, U.S.