Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon

Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon
"Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon" formerly titled "Raid From Hell" by Don Davison is the historical novel recounting the 1864 raid on St. Albans, known as the Northernmost battle of the civil war.

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"The Wide Spread and Free Soil of the Yankee" by Don Davison. An insight into the author and his telling of the story of the raid of 1864.


Setting the scene of the American Civil War and how the St. Albans of the 1860's played such a key role role

Excerpts from the book
"Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon".

Book Reviews

"Living as we do in this bucolic out of the way rural setting, it is easy to assume that History is something that happens somewhere else...

Read the Sherbrooke Record Book Review from April 24th, 2009

Reader Reviews

"Just finished the book this evening. What a pleasant way to spend a couple of rainy days.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

I really find a it very unique when an author takes a historical event and historical characters and blends in fictitious characters and fill ins.

The character John Rumsey is masterfully blended into this event without detracting from the real life characters and the raid itself.

I guess the biggest complement came this morning when I had laid the book down at the breakfast table and my wife picked it up.

Keep in mind while she loves history she could care very little about the details of the Civil War. But after about 5 minutes of skimming the book she asked me when I was finished to pass it on to her "because it looked very interesting".

A book well written--Kudos Don!!

Ken Sullivan
Plymouth, Michigan

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Contact the author, Don Davison, by email

The Wide Spread and Free Soil of the Yankee
by Don Davison


Don Davison
When I retired from banking and moved to Knowlton, Quebec, I fell in love with the Eastern Townships and neighboring Vermont. I couldn’t wait to write a story about the land and its people. The result was Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon a lively Victorian melodrama of life on both sides of the border.

Years ago I came across some very old leather bound diaries in my father's library. The period was 1842 - 1849. The diary started in England where a bankrupt solicitor named John Rumsey, from High Wycombe and a member of a prominent medical family, was given transportation to America. His wife had just died and his two children had been placed in foster care with his sister Margaret.

The diary covered the sea voyage to New York, the canal boats to Lake Ontario and the steamers and barges to Niagara Falls and through to Quebec City. All the story needed was some Bartlett prints from the period and you had the makings of a marvelous biography.

During Rumsey's lengthy stay in Montreal he met an Irish servant who had fallen on hard times. Rumsey tried to help him. According to his diary:

"This being a country in which great things sometimes come from little beginnings, I suggested to a poor Irish servant, the vending of a corn medicine. I gave him a recipe, a fine name for it and an elaborate accound of its merits. I mixed up the first fourteen bottles, the Queens Printer gave publicity to it and after sending the bottles among the Canadiens, my Irish friend is now practising his profession in the wide spread and free soil of the Yankee."

The Photo is courtesy of Peter Flood.
There were only 21 rebels. Huntley was aka Hutchison.
The diary ended the day his lodgings and the Montreal parliament buildings burnt down (The United Province of Canada East and West, 1849). While I finished the biography, Banished, it was no way to end a book.

And so began the birth of this novel, Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon. Rumsey was drawn to the wide spread and free soil of the Yankee, just like his friend, we shall call Patrick O'Toole. They agreed that he should leave his begging around Montreal behind, change his name to "Doc" Rumsey and move down to the first Yankee town across the border, St. Albans, Vermont.

When I heard about the St. Albans Raid, during the Civil War, it made the perfect backdrop for Rumsey's advenures ... even if it was fifteen years later.

The rest is history, sort of ... and the beginning of a new musical comedy named Chickasaw that was staged in Knowlton, Quebec (2007) that is an adaptation from this novel. The novel, at the time of the production of Chickasaw, was entitled "Raid From Hell". Chickasaw.ca - Official website of the theatrical production

The following is a special telegram from the Editorial Correspondent of the Montreal Gazette, at Quebec, dated yesterday evening: -- The Montreal Gazette, October 20, 1864

"From the Vermont and Boston Line: St. Albans, Vt., 19th. -- A party of 20 rebel raiders entered this place this p.m. shooting and killing the citizens. They robbed all the banks, stole 15 or 20 horses, killed 4 or 5 and wounded several. They have left town but are expected back soon with a large force. If there is no error or exaggeration in this statement, a gross outrage has been committed, in a peaceful and thriving village, situated on the Vermont Central Railway, a short distance from Rouses Point, and not far from the borders of Canada."


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