Dixie & the Dominion: Canada, the Confederacy, and the War for the Union

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6 Generals Who Fought Against their Home State in the Civil War - HISTORY

Wordings may not come from in-copyright sources. From sea unto sea;: Canada to the road to nationhood Canadian history series by W. Union to Confederation Davis seemed stunned by the reception and paused to shake outstretched hands.

Confederate States of America (1861-1865) Patriotic song "Dixie"

About two hours later, they boarded the Rothesay Castle bound for the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. As the party walked up the hill from the wharf, Davis turned and for a moment stared across the Niagara River to Fort Niagara where an oversized Stars and Stripes fluttered in the breeze. Davis came out onto the verandah. There was brief applause and then silence. It was a rousing start to an extraordinary five-month Canadian visit; a journey that allowed Davis to restore physical and mental equilibrium after two years of prison and four more of civil war.

The railway coach in which Davis had traveled to Canada had been pelted with fruit and crowds had jeered as he passed.

Dixie & The Dominion

In Canada, he was hailed as a tragic, even noble fallen hero. If these plans had succeeded, Canada would have been drawn into the war, as a pawn a larger Confederate game to gain peace at any price. Larry Macdonald, who operated an explosives factory in Toronto. I was a strong friend of the Southern refugees who were exiled in our country, and I treated them with the hospitality due to unfortunate strangers driven from their homes.

Breckenridge, General Jubal A. Early and other high-ranking members of the Confederate Army—Denison argued that his interest in Confederate guests was purely to learn from their military expertise. However, despite the prevalence of Southern sympathizers in British North America, few prominent citizens were as unconcealed or zealous in their support of Southern secret service operations as Denison. In the hotel bar—and across the street at the railway station—Union detectives observed the comings and goings of Confederate spies and agents. Detectives or those ready to give information stand at every corner.

Two or three cannot interchange ideas without a reporter.


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With more and more couriers being caught, it was getting more and more difficult for Thompson to communicate with his superiors in Richmond. He turned to Denison for help.

Denison knew that Union had learned all the spy tricks employed by Confederate agents. He suggested that the secret messages be written on white silk, and stitched into the elbows and the lining of the coat—undetectable to the touch. In the pre-dawn hours, Denison guided the young spy to Mimico station to catch his southbound train.

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Once Davis was across the border, however, he was recognized and arrested in Newark, Ohio. Denison was also involved in a scheme to buy a steamer ship to be armed for raids on the Union. In the version of events recorded by Winks, British North American revenue collectors inspected and harassed the Georgian and her crew each time the vessel put into port. He was acquitted and tried to sue the government for damages.

As the Civil War progressed, Winks argues, the St.

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A noticeable shift in public opinion coincided with a noticeable shift in official attitude. The only notable success for the Confederates in Canada was the St. Sometimes they had chosen their assistants badly; once or twice luck had been against them; but the greatest of their errors was that they entirely misjudged the spirit of the people they were fighting.

Eventually relieved of his post, Thompson bounced around in exile for a number of years before eventually settling in Memphis, Tennessee, where he died in For the remainder of his life, Denison was unrepentant about his Confederate sympathies.