An account of the Confederate plan to disrupt the towns along the U.S.-Canadian border, during their failing months of the Civil War, is given in simplified form through the adventures of Lt. Ben Young, who led the raid on St. Albans, Vermont, and his young cousin Davie. To put their doings in story form, the author has invented plausible sets of circumstances that stem from their plan to escape from a Union prison camp near Chicago. When they are successful in reaching Canada, Ben and Davie are detailed to help run the blockade to Wilmington, N.C. But it is their contact with Clement Clay, the Confederate Commissioner in Canada, that brings them into the plans for the St. Albans raid, in the hopes that it will counteract the victories being won by Grant, Sherman and Sheridan in 1864. The subsequent double trial in Montreal is telescoped into a single trial, with the outcome that Ben and Davie are freed from blame for acts authorized by the Confederacy.