Ontario's Historical Plaques 

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The "Philo Parsons" Incident

The Philo Parsons Incident

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted September, 2004

Plaque Location

The County of Essex
The Town of Amherstburg
In the Holiday Beach Conservation Area
on the west side of Road 50, 2 km south of Road 20
at the end of the road to the beach

Coordinates: N 42 01.925 W 83 02.407


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Plaque Text

On September 19, 1864, the American steamer "Philo Parsons" was seized off Kelley's Island, about 56 km southeast of here, by some thirty Confederate sympathizers under John Y. Beale, a Southern naval officer. The group, whose members had embarked at Sandwich and Amherstburg, Canada West, intended to free the Confederate inmates of a prison camp in Sandusky Bay, Ohio. The plan included the capture of the U.S. gunboat "Michigan" for use in commerce raiding and attacks on Great Lakes ports. Arriving off Sandusky Bay the raiders found the "Michigan" forewarned and called off the operation. They returned the following morning to Sandwich, abandoned the steamer and dispersed.


Assorted Events

Amherstburg Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted December 28, 2011
Sources say Britain supported the South in the war, despite official neutrality, for mercantile reasons. I wonder if that played a role in permitting or encouraging this group to be recruited (if they were from C.W.) or in allowing them to form and then disperse here after the attempt. All but one escaped arrest. -Wayne

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