Johnsburg Goes to War: 1861-1865

Trick Question: How far north did Confederate forces get during the Civil War?

Most of us were taught in school that it was Gettysburg, Penn., where in July of 1863 Robert E. Lee's "Second Invasion of the North" was turned back by Union forces under General George Meade. Others, who like me thrive on Civil War history, might answer, "No, it was General Jubal Early's Confederates on the outskirts of the Pennsylvania state capitol at Harrisburg that same month."

Actually, the answer may be St. Albans, VT. - 30 miles north of Burlington. In early Oct. of 1864, 21 confederate cavalrymen slipped over the Canadian border and entered St. Albans in twos and threes disguised as "sportsmen." On Oct. 19, 1864, at 3 p.m., they simultaneously robbed the three banks in town and held the townspeople hostage. They also intended to burn the town to the ground, but the bottles of "Greek Fire" they had brought with them failed to work. In the end, only one shed was burned.

They escaped back to Canada with $88,000. They were arrested by Canadian authorities at the border but later released when the courts determined these men were acting under military orders. Canada, like her mother country England, was neutral in this war. Most of the money, which was to help finance the south's continuation of the war, however, was returned to the banks in St. Albans. One can only wonder how the folks in Johnsburg and throughout the Adirondacks reacted to the news of that attack.

The following Civil War veterans are buried in Union Cemetery in North Creek, joined by Charles Austin (killed in the war), David Austin (killed in the war), Rollin Austin (killed in the war), Shelden Austin (killed in the war), George Cleveland, Jabez Eldridge (killed in the war), Nathan Eldridge, Norman Eldridge (killed in the war), William Eldridge, John Fraser, Alonzo Fuller, Stephen Monthony and Andrew Raymond:

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