This Week in the Civil War - #922
For the Confederate States of America Canada represented a convenient second front to attack the United States of America. Such was the case on Monday, September 19, 1864 when twenty Confederate agents under John Yates Beall captured the steamer Philo Parsons on Lake Erie. Beall’s intention was to sail near Johnson’s Island, where the U.S.S. Michigan guarded three thousand two hundred Confederate prisoners of war. If the Michigan could be captured, the Confederate prisoners then could be freed and armed to carry out military operations on Lake Erie. The Confederate intrigue failed when the Michigan’s captain arrested Confederate agent Charles Cole who plotted to seize the Union warship. While in neutral waters at Sandwich, Canada, Beall had no alternative but to strip and burn the Philo Parsons, aborting his mission.