Becky Rush "Talisman" and Rick Lank "The Coiner" of Hagerstown Maryland have published the third book in their planned series on the numismatics of the U.S. Civil War. Here's the announcement. Thanks!
Sumptuous Southern Stories of
Missing Confederate Money
Racing against time – and doubling-down on their odds of escaping the pursuing
federal cavalry – the
Confederate Treasure Train raced south from Richmond
until it literally ran out of track and options in a north-eastern Georgia town called
Washington. On board this ill-fated train (which ultimately had to resort to
becoming an unwieldy wagon train) was money – a strange brew of northern gold
coins, Mexican silver coins,
slugs of Georgia and Carolinian gold sweepings,
and bales of Confederate (CSA) paper currency. There were also barrels of
copper coins, probably old US large cents (obsolete, but still valuable).
There was plenty of cunning and internal deal-making, as well as good and bad
intentions afoot, as the last days of the Confederacy played out and the money that
was left in the CSA Treasury was hurriedly put on board steam trains that dashed
south out of Richmond, Virginia when
the Queen City fell to Union forces led by
U.S. Grant. Wealth of every description was part of the exodus – the remnants of
the Confederate Treasury, the gold (and other private treasure) of the principal
Richmond banks and unlisted stores of money from wealthy individuals (which no
doubt could have included the infamous and influential Knights of the Golden
Circle – KGC). Private wealth included in this mix of coins were every
denomination from $50 hexagonal gold pieces to older
small change, including
half-dimes struck in New Orleans.
Official and court records also show that abundant Richmond Bank gold was
funneled on board – about 7 million dollars' worth in today's spending power – all
intended for Confederate General Robert E Lee's bedraggled Army of Northern
Virginia. Controversy existed regarding whether or not the
Bank Money was
subject to the Union's Confiscation Laws; this issue was debated in federal court
for 28 years.
All along the route that the money took -- from Danville, VA to Greensboro and
Charlotte, NC and through Newberry, Abbeville and Vienna, SC and finally
several stops in Georgia – the troubles multiplied (Lincoln was assassinated;
Generals Lee and Johnston surrendered, and the Union forces closed in). The
money on that beleaguered train– especially gold and silver – became the envy of
pardoned Confederate soldiers as well as the Union cavalry.
Sumptuous Southern Stories of Missing Confederate Money is a fine
spread of these tales of coins and currency, mishaps and mayhem, and a big dash
of adventure that traces the path of the Confederate Treasure Train to its end and
beyond. The events took place in April and May of 1865 – and they involve
barrels of silver coins possibly being left in a cemetery in Danville, VA plus $50
California gold pieces being heisted near Petersburg, GA and $25,000-plus of
British Gold Sovereigns being secretly disbursed near rural Gainesville, FL.
Our earlier book –
The Furious Flight of the Confederate Treasure
Train – or – Where Did All the Southern Dough Go? -- delved into
this story of the very end of the Civil War. This first book examined many of the
personalities involved and towns that were traveled through as the steam trains
yielded to wagon-trains and traveled through areas along the Savannah River that
are now under 30 feet of water.
The authors –
Talisman & Coiner – traveled through the South on a
Dive in June of this year – and uncovered yet more stories and lore, which gave
Sumptuous Southern Stories... And, more stories are drifting in to us!
This sequel picks up on intriguing stories of missing money and maneuvers to
escape capture and ransacking, including more insights into the heist of the
honor among thieves as revealed by one of
Vaughn's Brigade's former cavalrymen when he was in his 70s. And there is an
intriguing investigation into a massive iron strongbox that has been sitting quietly
in a Georgia library for a century that was opened with fanfare in 1948 – we'll
reveal what was found (or not). And then there is the hand-written
Eulogy to the
Confederacy that was originally written on the back of a CSA $500 bill in a hotel
in Richmond by a paroled soldier who had served under General Johnston & was
copied over and over by veterans as a memento to the
Lost Cause. (Talisman &
Coiner have the good fortune of having seen such a Confederate bill – this time, on
a $10 note – thanks to Erick Windsor, avid coin dealer.) And David Hill of the
American Numismatic Society (ANS) was kind enough to share a rare
Capture Shield – dated May 10th 1865 – and hand-struck on a Mexican Reale.
The book is 8 1/2 by 11 inches and has nine chapters with fewer than 100 pages. It
is spiral-bound for easy reading and sharing with friends and family. There are
ample color and black-and-white photos and illustrations through-out,
Bulk orders for coin clubs and school groups are available.
Here's the table of contents.
Chapter One -- Danville and the Silver Cemetery
Chapter Two -- Joe Johnston and the 39,000 mementos
Chapter Three -- The Randall Hoard Connection (perhaps) &
the Georgia Railroad & Banking Co. scrip and legend
Chapter Four --- The Clark's Hill Dam and 75,000 acres go
Underwater – many spots where the Treasure Train
traveled & Treasure was pitched
Chapter Five – Where Did All the Dough Go? 5 Stories
Oceans of it (gold that is!) and
In the Heels of their Boots!
Chapter Six – INSIDE JOB? (Or who snagged the Swag?)
The Story of the Ones who got away! Told by Judge
Shepherd in 1914 (
Honor Among Thieves)
Chapter Seven – The Mystery of the Confederate Treasure Chest
Chapter Eight – The Jefferson Davis Talisman (his 50 cent
piece) and the
The Shield Flight Medal struck from a Mexican
Chapter Nine –
Note on a CSA Ten Dollar Bill
For more information, or to order, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NEW BOOK: MONEY, MAYHEM AND MIGHT
NEW BOOK: THE CONFEDERATE TREASURE TRAIN
NEW BOOK: MINTING PRINTING & COUNTERFEITING
Wayne Homren, Editor
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