View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Sun Nov 27th, 2011 09:34 am
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Root Beer Lover

Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
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csamillerp wrote: I dont think it would have been improbable though. A desperate man can make desperate decisions and it's no secret that the south was just about always desperate. I have never heard of southern troops in canada thats very interesting. What were they doing there?
I didn't say impossible or improbable, only that it would have been a bad idea because of what it would could have done if they were caught trying to get Canada or Britain to enter the war that way. They would have had to ensure they didn't get captured by Canadian or British authorities in order to get away with it.


BHR62 wrote:
I believe Hellcat is talking about the Confederate 5th Column. THey were spies and propagandists for the Southern cause operating out of Canada. I don't believe they were actual soldiers.


Spies, propagandists, sabotuers, raiders, escaped prisoners, diplomats to the North.

February 15th the Confederate Congress apprpriated $5 million for operations based out of Canada. According to The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference this was saboatage and espionage idea of one Thomas C. Hines, a former calvarlyman who was placed in charge of the operation.

However, this was likely Thomas Henry Hines, a Captain in the Confederate cavalry who served under John Hunt Morgan. According to the article on Hines in the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War (edited by David S. Heilder and Jeanne T. Heidler) Hines accompanied Morgan to Richmond after they had returned to Kentucky following the escape from the Ohio Penitentiary. According to this article the Confederate Secretary of State, James Seddon, appointed Hines as a covert agent and sent him to Canada where he was to hook up with James Holcombe for, among other things, the purpose of gathering Confederate soldiers in Canada so as to assist in their returning to the Confederacy. He would also get involved in the Northwestern Conspiracy as he was returning to the Confederacy only to have to return to Canada when the conspiracy fell apart and spies within the Copperheads recgonized him. According to this article he remained there until 1867.

Yet other sources say Hines didn't return to Canada until after getting married and even then he didn't stay in Canada until after Lincoln was assassinated. He was mistaken for Booth in Detroit and forced to flee to Canada according to James Horan's Confederate Agent.

The Encycolpedia of the America Civil War has an article on Covert Action, Confederate. Pertaining to operations in Canada the article talks about an operation to defeat Lincoln in the 1864 election. Buchanan Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson was selected to head the operation and was given $1 million in gold to take care of this operation. Accompanying him, and representing the Confederate War Department, was Clement Clay. Operations were based out of Toronto and St. Catherines, the latter of which allowed meetings with Northern antiwar politicians in Detroit and New York and New England. Thompson and Clay gathered together a staff that included a P.C. Martain, a Larry McDonald, escaped Confederate POWs, and other Confederate military personnel as the need would arise. According to this article Hines was one such military personnel attached to Thompson and Clay's operations in Canada.

Another of their operatives was one George Nicholas Sanders who was supposed to favor a chaos theory. Unlike the mathematical theory this chaos theory was about creating chaos in the Federal government through the removal of key political figures either by capture or assassination. Basically the removal of these figures would cause a political upheval which would then allow antigovernment groups to sieze the reins of power over the Federal government. John Wilkes Booth, according to the article, was supposedly recuited for the attempt to capture Lincoln.

This group was also supposed to try to cause the Copperheads to revolt against the government through the use of sabotage and raids. Among the latter was the St. Albans Raid. The St. Albans Raid was a raid on the banks in St Albans, Vermont. According to the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War's article on the afforementioned Clement Clay planned the raid. However he's not mentioned in the book's article on the raid which does discuss the raid and others being an effort to either influence the 1864 election or lead to an Anglo-American War. The raid was lead by a Lt. Bennett Young and the raiders checked into Vermont hotels as members of the Montreal fishing club (gee, I wonder if they needed passports to cross the border (sarcasm inserted there)). The raid proved a failure according to the article, but did cause  legal proceedings that threatened Anglo-American peace when the raiders were captured. Captured on Candaian soil by US troops dispatched by the governor of Vermont. Aside from causing the raiders to be captured it did cost Clay his position as a Confederate Commisioner to Canada as the article on Clay says that once it was revealed he'd participated in the raid in any way he was then forced to flee Canada.

Philip Van Doren Stern posted an article from 1906 by John W. Headley on the raid in his book Secret Misions of the Civil War. Stern reveals that Young was a 21-yeard old cavalryman  under Morgan who had been captured at the same time as Morgan and escaped to Canada before returning to the Confederacy via Bermuda. He was promoted to the rank of Lt. then dispatched by the Secretary of War to Canada with a letter for Clay. Young made a couple of unsuccesful attempts to free Confederate POWs before meeting again with Clay and getting him to allow him to pick out a town in Vermont to raid. So we do here have Clay somehow involved in the raid. Headley's article (entiteld Confederate Operations in Canada and New York) does further place Clay involved in planning the raid. Headley, who was involved in the Confederate attempt to burn NYC, claimed the raiders wore Confederate uniforms, a pair of navy pistols, and declared they were taking the town in the name of the Confederacy. When people hesitated to obey the orders given to go into the town square and remain their until further ordered the raiders, according to Headley, fired on them resulting in the injury of one. After three quarters of an hour more people began to arrive (the population was listed at 5,000 in the article) which included Federal soldiers. As a result a skirmish broke out between the raiders and a combined force of soldiers and civillians. This skirmish resulted in three seriously injured Confederate and one dead civillian.

It should, however, be noted that although Headley says the raiders wore their uniforms, Stern mentions that many of the eyewitnesses never reported seeing Confederate uniforms.

The raid is mentioned in Donald E. Markle's Spies & Spymasters of the Civil War which suggests the raiders may have had some success as they netted $200,000 from the St Albans banks. The US attempted to get the money back from Canada who refused the return on the grounds that the raid had been a military mission. And apparently Canada was able to produce the orders for the raid which came directly from Richmond.

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