On Sunday, September 14th at 3 P.M., the Franklin Civil War Round Table will host Franklin native and retired physicist Dr. Gale Pewitt, who will present “Confederates in Canada: The St. Albans Raid.”
The unexpected and successful Confederate attack at St. Albans, Vermont on October 19, 1864 caught the Federal government off guard and shocked a war-weary Northern public. With a few notable exceptions, the loyal states had been largely spared invasion by Southern forces. People in the North were unprepared for a raid launched from Canada by Southern agents, deep in their homeland. Northern cities and towns were forced to consider the possibility that Southern agents and disloyal Northerners might attack without warning, and the Lincoln administration now faced the unpleasant possibility of fighting a war on two fronts.
Born in Franklin, Pewitt recalls studying the Civil War as a child at Battle Ground Academy. He graduated from Vanderbilt University, the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), and the University of Chicago. He is a retired particle physicist from the Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago.
Pewitt is an avid scholar of all periods of American military history, and has traveled the world visiting historic sites and famous battlefields. He has served as President of the Salt Creek Illinois Civil War Round Table, and is a Franklin Round Table member.
Pewitt has a special interest in the St. Albans Raid and the Confederate Secret Service in Canada, and has lectured on these and related subjects at numerous Civil War Round Table meetings. He is the coauthor of the 2008 book “The St. Albans Raiders.”