Many people might guess that it was in Pennsylvania. If so, they would be off by several hundred miles. In fact, the northernmost land battle of the U.S. Civil War was fought in Saint Albans, Vermont, about 15 miles from the Canadian border.
About twenty Confederate cavalrymen were in Montreal, Quebec, roughly sixty miles north of Saint Albans. These were Confederate soldiers who had been captured by Union forces and then escaped into Canada. They were trying to arrange passage back to the Confederate states. However, first they decided to gather cash for the Confederate treasury and to divert federal troops away from the Confederate armies in order to protect their northern border. The Confederate government approved their plan.
Under the command of Lieutenant Bennett Young, the cavalrymen headed south and surreptitiously crossed the international boundary into the United States. On October 10, 1864, three young men checked into a Saint Albans hotel. The spokesman signed the register as Bennett Young and explained that they had come from St. John's, Canada, for a sporting vacation. Every day or so, two or three more men would arrive until the hotel contained a total of 20 to 25 young men (Reports vary a bit as to the exact count.). Just before 3:00 p.m. on October 19, the visitors simultaneously entered the town's three banks, announced that they were Confederate soldiers, and robbed the banks of $208,000. Lieutenant Young mounted the steps of a hotel and shouted, "This city is now in the possession of the Confederate States of America." Apparently none of the troops were wearing uniforms.
While the banks were being robbed, eight or nine of the young men, with guns drawn, were herding the townspeople onto the town common and stealing their horses. Young ordered the men to set the town on fire. They had brought along four-ounce bottles of "Greek Fire", a chemical that would burst into flame when exposed to air, but when they smashed their bottles against the buildings, the stuff would not burn. The marauding troops managed to destroy only a woodshed.
Among the few townsmen who tried to fight back, one was killed and another was wounded. One of the raiders was wounded during the raid and died shortly thereafter.
The raiders jumped on their stolen horses, headed north, and crossed into Canada, where they were soon arrested by the Canadian authorities. The Confederate troops were later released unpunished by a Canadian court. The stolen money that was seized upon the arrest of the Confederates was returned by the Canadian government. Lieutenant Young later rose to the rank of General.
You can read more about this raid in the Montreal Gazette newspaper of the next day, October 20, 1864, at http://www.collectionscanada.ca/confederation/023001-251-e.html. A detailed account may be found at http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1961/5/1961_5_28.shtml.
Photographs of six of the Confederate raiders were taken at a Montreal jail. You can see the photograph at Lieutenant Young is seated at the far right.
There is an interesting sidelight to this story: Lieutenant Bennett Young's raid on Saint Albans was organized by Confederate agent George Sanders, whom the Confederacy stationed in Montreal. John Wilkes Booth also was in Montreal three times in 1864 and opened a bank account at the Montreal Branch of the Ontario Bank. It is believed that Lincoln's assassination was plotted in Montreal, probably with Sanders' assistance. It is probable that John Wilkes Booth met a number of the Saint Albans raiders although proof is lacking.