Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 10.djvu/149

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139
The Confederate Treasure.

to accompany the naval command under Captain Wm. H. Parker, which had been ordered to escort the Treasury Department. The cars (two I think) containing the coin, books, and a number of officials, clerks and escort, was a part of the same train on which the President and Cabinet went from Richmond to Danville. My information as to the amount of gold and silver (obtained through conversations with gentlemen connected with the Department) was to the effect that it amounted to about $200,000 mostly, silver and silver bullion. The Richmond banks also sent out about $300,000, mostly gold, in charge of their own officials or clerks, who continued with the Treasury Department in order to have the protection of its escort.

In order to avoid the frequent repetition of "Treasury Department," I beg simply to refer to it by the expression "we."

After remaining three or four days in Danville, we proceeded to Greensboro, N. C.; remained there a few days, and leaving about $40,000 of the silver there, moved to Charlotte. Staid there nearly a week, and went to Chester, S. C, thence to Newbury, and thence to Abbeyville, where we remained a few days, and then moved to Washington, Ga., where we took the cars for Augusta. We reached the Georgia railroad at Barnett's station, and I there met friends returning from the vicinity of Atlanta who informed me that they had seen in the Federal papers that Generals Sherman and Johnston had agreed upon an armistice. I immediately communicated the information to Captain Parker, and assured him of my confidence in the reliability of the report, and my conviction that it would end in General Johnston's surrender, and that a complete collapse of the Confederacy would immediately follow, and as soon as this became known Confederate money would become valueless, and the thousands of people of Augusta, and the large force of soldiers employed in the arsenal and other government shops there, having no other means with which to purchase supplies, would attempt the capture of the Confederate treasure, and in such an event our force was wholly inadequate for its protection, consisting only of the midshipmen and officers formerly of the Confederate States steamer "Patrick Henry." During the few days we remained in Augusta, I invited Judge Crump (the acting or assistant treasurer) and Captain Parker to dine with me at the Planter's hotel, and urged upon them the danger that would be incurred by remaining in Augusta, and advised moving to some smaller place, or back to the vicinity of the army, where discipline and organization would be maintained longer than elsewhere. We returned over the route by which he had moved south, and reached