October 19 - 1864 - The St. Albans Raid
The Confederacy was in a desperate situation in the fall of 1864, as their armies were being pushed back, their economy was spiraling from inflation, and their people were souring on the war. In that situation, things like raiding towns near the Canadian border seemed like it could make a difference. So in October 1864, Bennett H. Young, a Confederate veteran who had served under General John Hunt Morgan on his raids, gathered men in St. Albans, Vermont. St. Albans is just 15 miles from Canada, and the majority of Young's men were people who had fled to neutral Canada after escaping as prisoners of war. The plan was simple: the raiders would gather in St. Albans to rob banks, which would then cause panic in the Union and provide money to the Confederacy. Young managed to somewhat pull off the first goal, attacking three banks in the town simultaneously. His raiders collected over $200,000, but they also faced resistance from the town. They weren't even able to set the town on fire as planned. As soon as they reached Canada, they were arrested, but they weren't turned over because Canada was neutral in the American Civil War. Still, no other raids took place.