Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Confusing Information about the Confederate Treasury

As promised, here is some more and conflicting information about the Confederate treasury. The information in this post comes from another New York Times article dated December 18, 1881. Thank you to my buddy in Tennessee for sending me the article.

According to General Joseph E. Johnson, Jefferson Davis supposedly had in his possession a “car-load” of “specie". He was referring to a railroad car and he said that a Colonel Paul had inspected the treasure before it was sent south from Richmond during or just before the evacuation of that city. Gen Johnson also stated that Colonel Paul didn’t really see the gold, just the boxes it was supposedly packed in prior to being shipped south.

According to another General, General Beauregard, who was in command at Greensboro when Davis was there and apparently saw the golden treasure, Jefferson Davis had in his possession $2,500,000 in “gold specie”. (That’s 1880’s prices now, don’t forget that) General Johnson also said that the wagon train that was moving this treasure across the country consisted of 20 wagon-loads of gold.

In the article a question is posed to General Johnson and this is his response directly from the newspaper article.

“What became of the money?”
“That I am unable to say. Mr. Davis has never given any satisfactory account of it, and, what is a strange thing to me, is the Southern people have never held him to account for it. The $39,000 he left at Greensboro the soldiers received. Major Moses, an attorney, now living in Atlanta has accounted for $20,000 more. A short time before the evacuation of Richmond the bankers of that city placed in Mr. Davis’s hands $360,000 in specie for the defense of the city. There was never any service rendered for this money, but when Richmond was evacuated it was transported south with the specie belonging to the Confederacy. A committee of Richmond bankers was sent to receive it. At Washington, Ga. they succeeded in getting between $110,000 and $120,000, but while transporting it home it was captured by General Wilson’s cavalry and turned in to the United States Treasury. It is now there in litigation. The Richmond bankers are suing for it’s recovery, and it has never been decided to whom it belongs. Say $120,000 of it is there and $39,000 in the military chest left at Greensboro for the army and $20,000 accounted for by Major Moses. This would make $179,000 of the $2,500,000 which Gen. Beauregard and other good authority estimate was on hand”

So, according to General Johnson, Jefferson Davis made off with over two million dollars in gold when he left Richmond and it hadn’t been accounted for as late as 1881. Anybody got any guesses?

I know the big believers in the KGC mega bucks treasures are grinning right now. Was Davis part of the KGC and did he make off with the treasure and hide it in one of the “depositories”? You know how I feel about that but I will let you decide for yourself. Johnson didn’t mention anything about the load of Mexican silver that Davis was supposed to have and he didn’t mention anything about a robbery while the money was being transported. As I pointed out before, one article says the treasury was in Georgia and was being moved to Virginia and this article says the treasure was in Virginia being moved south.

A little more research will find that Major Moses wrote his own memoirs and in those he wrote:

“shortly before [General Joseph E.] Johnston’s surrender, I was ordered to Washington, Wilkes County [Georgia]. Soon after, Davis and his cabinet arrived there. Mrs. Davis met her husband in Washington. A train containing gold and silver bullion accompanied the cabinet. It was brought from Richmond banks. I was staying with General Toombs… I remember seeing General [Braxton] Bragg waiting under an oak tree to get his $20.00."

"I received an order from General Johnston to provide 250,000 rations at Augusta for the returning soldiers…and there arrange as best I could with general Mollyneux [Molineux] who then occupied Augusta with Federal troops, to protect me in furnishing the troops as they passed through Augusta and to provide for the sick and wounded in hospitals."

Here’s some more information about Major Moses.

“About three weeks after the war’s end, as chief commissary for Georgia, Moses carried out what is reputed to have been the last order of the Confederacy. It involved safeguarding and delivering the Confederate treasury’s last $40,000 of silver and/or gold bullion.”

“Although the accounts are contradictory and confusing, it appears that Moses paid $10,000 to the Quartermaster-General in Washington and carried $30,000 in bullion to Augusta.”

In a January 13, 1882 interview in the Louisville Courier Journal the acting Treasurer, Captain M.H. Clark of Clarksville, TN described what happened to the remainder of the Confederate treasury:

"Before reaching town [Washington, Georgia], I was halted by Major R.J. Moses, to turn over to him the specie which president Davis, before he left, ordered to be placed at the disposal of the Commissary Department, to feed the paroled soldiers and stragglers passing through, to prevent their burdening a section already stripped of supplies. I turned over to Major Moses the wagons and silver bullion, and all of the escort except about ten men."

On May 5, 1865 the Southern Government held it’s last meeting in Washington, GA. That meeting was attended by Jefferson Davis, Major Moses and others. The last order issued at this meeting read:

"Major R.J. Moses, will pay $10,000, the amount of bullion appropriated to Q.M. [quartermaster] Dept. by Sec. War to Maj. R.R. Wood. By order of Q.M. Gen.
[signed] W.F. Alexander, Maj. And Asst. to Q.M. Gen., 5 May, 1865"

It seems like there are some pretty big discrepancies in what was actually in the treasury and what happened to it. It would seem it was all spent but if you like a good conspiracy you could say Davis made off with a whole lot of money!

This could drive a man to drink,
some more!

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