On October 19, 1864, a small force of Confederates launched a raid from Canada on St. Albans, Vermont, just 15 miles from the border, in the northernmost engagement of the Civil War. Almost two dozen Confederates—mainly escaped prisoners of war—trickled into the Vermont town over the course of a few days so as not to arouse suspicion. The plan was to rob the town’s banks, and on the afternoon of the 19th they did just that, holding up three banks at the same time. The leader of the raiders, 21-year-old Bennett Young supposedly announced, “I take possession of this town in the name of the Confederate States of America!”
While some of the Confederates were robbing the banks, others were stealing horses for the getaway and keeping nearby townspeople on the village green at gunpoint so they couldn’t interfere with the robberies or alert the authorities. When all was said and done, one man from the town had been killed, a few others were wounded, and the robbers had netted about $200,000—roughly $3 million in today’s currency. After unsuccessfully trying to burn the town, the raiders took off back to Canada with their haul. Under pressure from the United States, the Canadians apprehended the raiders (though they didn’t extradite them and later released them). Only about $87,000 of the stolen money was recovered.