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St. Albans Raid

Youthful Witness to St. Albans Raid

The Vermont Journal, October 26, 1939

Dear Editor;

Now I am a native of St. Albans, I was very much impressed in the radio remarks of Edwin C. Hill in his talk of last Thursday evening in regard to the raid on the banks of St. Albans 75 years ago. He gave a good account of the raid. As I was a boy of nine years old, at the time, I would like to add a little to the affair.

On the morning of that day, my grandfather, the late William Eaton, went to St. Albans with a double wagon load of vegetables. He unloaded his supplies and took his team to the sheds at Fowler's livery stable, then returned to do his trading. All at once the town was thrown into a commotion. There were armed men at every street ordering people to go onto the green and men were stationed there to keep guard. All obeyed orders.

Then at 2 p.m., robbers went into the St. Albans banks and ordered the cashiers of each bank to hand out the money. They did so without arguing as they thought it better to be living cowards than dead heroes. The robbers got over $200,000 and they killed one man by the name of Morrison.

After the raiders left town, my grandfather thought he had better go home. He went after his team and found that the wagon and harness, minus the bridles, were left. The marauders rode the horses to Canada. There were about 20 of them, all young Rebels. When they got to Sheldon Creek they burned the bridge so the people following could not cross and so they made their escape into Canada.

The Canadian government made the loss good to the United States. My father went to Canada and got the horses, but they had been ridden so hard that they were not much good. After this raid there was a home guard of some 300 men organized, but the next spring, that company disbanded.

C. A. Corliss,
Springfield, Vt.

Courtesy of Cathy Hoyt.

Cathy checked up on the letter writer, C. A. Corliss. His full name was Clark Alonzo Corliss. He was born in Swanton March 14, 1855. His parents were John and Louisa (Eaton) Corliss, so it was his maternal grandfather he mentions. He died October 10, 1944 in Springfield.