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ISBN: 9781771861236

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Montreal, City of Secrets

Confederate Operations in Montreal During the American Civil War

“Barry Sheehy lays out the case for the involvement of the Confederates in a concise and convincing manner showing once and for all that Booth could not have carried out his plot without their direct help. It is about time.” – Edward Steers

Montreal hosted the Confederacy’s largest foreign secret service base during the Civil War. Montreal banks and other Canadian financial institutions held a million dollars or more in hard currency or gold to fund clandestine activities. When Jefferson Davis fled the U.S. in 1865, Montreal welcomed him and his family. Overrun with refugees, soldiers of fortune, spies, assassins, bankers and smugglers, Montreal was a pro “Secesh” town.

From the city’s grand hotels, plots of all sorts were hatched, including the infamous St. Albans raid and the Lincoln kidnapping, which mutated into an assassination. Influential British-Canadian bankers joined Confederates as they launched a successful assault on the new “Greenback.” When John Wilkes Booth was shot, a bank draft signed by Montreal banker and future mayor Henry Starnes was found in his coat pocket.

Surprises are not limited to the Confederacy. The level of corruption in the Northern war effort, as suggested by the names registered at the St. Lawrence Hall—Montreal’s finest hotel—is breathtaking. Opposition to Lincoln from both parties ran deeper than is generally acknowledged.

Based on original archival research and his previous books on the Civil War, Barry Sheehy challenges core tenets of the American Civil War narrative. Moreover, his case is greatly reinforced by the many photos taken by internationally celebrated photographer William Notman. A number of these photos have never been published before.


Barry Sheehy

Barry Sheehy is an award-winning author of six books. His most recent, Savannah: Immortal City, was featured at the prestigious Savannah Book Fair. His writings have appeared in historical and business publications worldwide. Born and raised in Montreal, Barry Sheehy divides his time between Gabarus, Nova Scotia and Savannah, Georgia.

Cindy Wallace

Cindy Wallace is a photographer and an art and photography professor with a Master’s in Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States. Along with Barry Sheehy, she received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2012 for the book Savannah: Brokers, Bankers and bay Lane – Inside the Slave Trade. She lives in Amarillo, Texas.
Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


- ; 7 $0.70


This chapter looks at links between Montreal and the Confederacy, exploring how Montreal became a hub of Confederate Secret Service activity during the American Civil War and touching on … ; 12 $1.20


In the years 1861-1865, and indeed for some time following the Civil War, hundreds of Confederate exiles, soldiers, blockade runners, and agents flocked to Montreal. They formed a distinct … ; 48 $4.80


This chapter further explores Confederate presence in Montreal, exploring key figures and activities as seen through the perspective/lens of Confederate courier Josephine Brown … ; 27 $2.70


This chapter explores the reasons for and impact of a host of important American politicians, radical abolitionists, bankers, newspaper editors, treasury agents, arms manufacturers, and Federal … ; 19 $1.90


This chapter looks at trade/economic ties and factors between America and Canada/specifically Montreal during this period. The cotton trade and key figures are explored. ; 17 $1.70


This chapter explores New York, Halifax, Matamoros, and Montreal’s role in the story of the Civil War as port cities. ; 11 $1.10


In the fateful fall of 1864, a number of plots were afoot in Montreal. The city was bubbling with plots, counterplots, and conspiracies. This chapter explores these plots and John Wilkes … ; 24 $2.40


Inconsistencies and contradictory evidence frustrate historians and readers alike, but the questions most difficult to answer may prove the most important in the long run. The anomalies and … ; 23 $2.30


This chapter explores various British figures involved in the story of the Confederacy in Montreal. ; 14 $1.40


This chapter looks at the St. Albans Raid, which resulted in the most northerly engagement of the Civil War. ; 11 $1.10


This chapter focuses on the settlement of Jefferson Davis and his family in Montreal. ; 6 $0.60