This story is based upon a raid by 20 Confederate soldiers that took place in St. Albans, Vermont, on 10 October, 1864, toward the end of the Civil War. The Confederacy was desperate for money and arms. Why not hold up mercantile banks in Union towns close to the U.S.-Canadian border and then retreat with the money to the safety of Canada? The leader, Lieutenant Bennett Young, CSA, declared, “Canada can’t arrest us. They’re neutral. We’ll call this raid a military action.”
Canada’s response may surprise you.
When the author acquired the diaries of John Rumsey, he was fascinated by the story of this immigrant solicitor from England, who in 1842, arrived in Montreal from debtor’s prison. Realizing that Rumsey’s story and another of his interests, the Raid in St. Albans, overlapped, he wrote the story of the Raid and surrounded it with characters, many of whom were real (Rumsey) and a few who were not.
The Rebels plot and plan the Raid from Canada, where there were many Southern sympathizers. They leave from Montreal, rob the banks of $205.000, wound and kill citizens, steal horses and head back to Canada. The author, after research, speculates about what happened during the getaway, about which little was reported.
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