1864 St. Albans Raid
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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    304 times

    1864 St. Albans Raid

    In 1864, St. Albans was a quiet village on Lake Champlain in upstate Vermont, just 15 miles from the Canadian border. Far from the bloody battlefields and devastation, life in St. Albans had changed little since the start of the war.

    On October 10, 1864, three young men checked into a local hotel. The spokesman signed the register as Bennett Young and explained that they had come from St. John's, Canada, for a sporting vacation. Every day or so two or three more men would arrive until there was a total of 21. All were young, averaging age 23, and friendly. The friendliness ended, however, just before 3:00pm on October 19, when groups of the visitors simultaneously entered the town's three banks, announced that they were Confederate soldiers, and robbed the banks of $208,000. While the banks were being robbed, eight or nine of the young men, with guns drawn, were herding the townspeople onto the town common and stealing their horses. Young ordered the men to set the town on fire. They had brought along four-ounce bottles of "Greek Fire", a chemical that would burst into flame when exposed to air, but when they smashed their bottles against the buildings, the stuff would not burn.

    Among the few townsmen who tried to fight back, one was killed and one wounded. The raiders jumped on their stolen horses, headed north, and crossed into Canada, where they were arrested by the Canadian authorities. The Canadian court denied the U.S. government's request for extradition, declaring that the raiders were soldiers under military orders, and let them go. It turned out that all of the raiders were Confederate soldiers who had been captured by Union forces and then escaped into Canada. Their goals in the raid, which was authorized by the Confederate government, were to gather cash for the Confederate treasury and to divert federal troops away from the Confederate armies in order to protect their Northern border.

    Fascinating Fact: The Canadian government did return to the Vermont banks $88,000 that was found on the raiders.

    The Colonial Standard
    (Pictou, N.S.),
    October 25, 1864

    Yesterday p.m. twenty-five armed desperadoes supposed to be rebels from Canada, entered St. Albans, eight miles from the line, robbed the bank of $150,000, plundered stores and stole 20 horses; they also deliberately shot several citizens who resisted, killing one; the scoundrels then fled across the border. -- The stables at the race-course, Brighton, Mass., were destroyed by fire last night, and 23 horses, embracing some of the best trotting stock in the country, were burnt to death. -- Edward Everett made a great Union Speech in Faneuil Hall last night. -- Gold 211 .

    [Evening] --The Secretary of War sends the following official Bulletin dated at Washington today, noon: --

    "A great battle was fought and a splendid victory won by Sheridan over Longstreet yesterday at Cedar Creek. 43 pieces of artillery were captured and many prisoners, among whom was the rebel General Ramseur. On our side Generals Wright and Ricketts were wounded, and Gen. Bidwell was killed. Further official advices state the number of rebel prisoners captured at two thousand. Longstreet, who had been heavily reinforced, made the attack at daylight with great impetuosity, breaking the Federal lines, and for a time gaining apparent success. Sheridan was on his return from Washington, and did not reach the field of battle till nearly noon, when he took command in person and achieved a great victory."

    Seven of the rebel freebooters who invaded St. Albans have been caught, and fifty thousand dollars of the stolen money recovered. -- Gold 206.

    New York, October 21
    By the prompt and energetic action of the Canadian Authorities, in connection with the Government of Vermont, eight of the miscreants who plundered St. Albans are now in jail, and will be delivered up to the Federal Authorities. -- Most of the stolen money has also been recovered. -- One Canadian officer was mortally wounded in making the arrest.

    [Evening.] --The trial of the parties recently arrested in Baltimore and Washington for selling goods to the Confederates, is now proceeding before a Military Commission. -- Advices from Sherman continue favourable. Hood's attempt to cut his communication had utterly failed, and his retreat southwest was becoming a rout. -- Official advices from Sheridan state that his cavalry had driven Longstreet from Fisher's Hill, when the latter attempted to make a stand and were continuing pursuit. -- Fifty guns and 1600 Confederate prisoners had been brought in. -- Gen. Grant had ordered a salute of 100 guns from each of his armies before Richmond, in honor of Sheridan's victory. -- Conference at Quebec still in session. -- Gold, 203.

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    junk and Rick Dangerous like this.
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  2. #2

    Aug 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    3 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    This was my first treasure project...I was able to find the bank manifests and contrary to popular belief, no gold or silver was taken from the banks.

  3. #3
    Sep 2018
    St. Albans, VT
    Garrett AT Pro
    62 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Great story! I was just at this site last weekend. I was at the farmers market in Taylor Park in St. Albans, and across the street, the building is still a bank (TD Bank I believe) and has a plaque on it RE the Saint Albans raid, the northernmost action of the Civil War. I will take a picture of the plaque to post here the next time I am in town.
    -Garrett AT Pro, Garrett Pro Pointer AT, Bounty Hunter Tracker II



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