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 middle of the 19th century in America is in a transition from huge immigration from Europe in the first half of the century to industrial expansion, in particular the manufacturing of iron and steel, the railways and the telegraphs, in the latter half.

Life styles are simple. A nightly church service is the only entertainment and diversion in town. There are no cars, trucks, phones or lights. Patent medicines are the principal method for curing the effects of maladies but not causes. Because of the War, St. Albans is struggling with the loss of many of its men.

When Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army lost the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 and General Ulysses Grant became the leader of the Union forces in the spring of 1864, the tide of the Civil War turns against the Confederate States of America.

By the fall of 1864, Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, is getting desperate for money to pay for his munitions, that are coming in part from Europe. Extreme measures are needed, such as raiding Union banks close to the Canadian border for the stronger Union dollar.

Lieutenant Bennett Young leads twenty Confederate soldiers into St. Albans to rob their banks. He enlists at gun point, “Doc” Rumsey, to look after one of his wounded soldiers and to ride back to the border with them. All goes well until they return to Canada on stolen horses and are … arrested! There is a great debate in Canada, Great Britain and the USA over the legitimacy of the arrests.

Many Vermonters recommended that I meet Carl E. Johnson and read his book, The St. Albans Raid, 19 October 1864, that was published in 2001. Even the U.S. customs officers at the Franklin/Frelighsburg border suggested, “You should meet this fella Johnson … he’s a retired policeman you know!”

This book is dedicated to Carl and to all those who devote their time and energy to North America’s heritage.

more background of Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon

Grand Trunk / Central Vermont Rail Road 1879

The Rebels used the trains to go to St. Albans and had planned to use them for their escape thereafter.

This map was drawn several years after the raid, when two important lines were built; the St. Albans-Richford line in 1871 and the Waterloo-Magog line in 1877. The Central Vermont and the Canadian Grand Trunk controlled most lines.

John Gregory Smith, Governor of Vermont in 1864, was the owner of the Central-Vermont Railroad and had moved the workshops and head office to St. Albans when he acquired the line in 1855. His family lived in St. Albans at the time of the raid.

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."

* The novel had been tentatively titled "Raid From Hell" but was published in 2008 by Shoreline Press as "Raise The Flag & Sound The Cannon" buy the book


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