Confederate Currency -- First Issue March 9, 1861
Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh
Born in Württemberg, Germany, after coming to Charleston, South Carolina as a child, Christopher Memminger became a successful lawyer and state legislator. He took a prominent part in the proceedings of the South Carolina secession convention of 1860 and was chairman of the committee that drafted the provisional constitution of the Confederacy.
Christopher Memminger (1803-1888)
Confederate Secretary of the Treasury
Appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1861, Memminger, although a believer in hard currency, was forced by circumstances to direct an inflationary financial program. He was blamed for the collapse of Confederate credit and compelled to resign in 1864.
The Act of March 9, 1861 "authorized Treasury notes to be issued for such sum or sums as the exigencies of the public service may require, but not to exceed at any time one million dollars, and of denominations not less than fifty dollars for any such note." Payable "Twelve months after date" with interest at one cent per day for each one hundred dollars.
The first notes of $50 to $1000 are dated from Montgomery, Alabama which was the Confederate capital until after Virginia seceded and the capital was moved to Richmond on May 24, 1861.
The South, lacking skilled engraver, arranged to have its first notes printed in the North by the National Bank Note Company, New York, and shipped by express to the South. More notes might have been printed, but the U.S. government seized the plates.
$50 -- T4 -- Three slaves in cotton field. 1606 issued.
$100 -- T3 -- Railroad train at station, Columbia at left. 1606 issued.
$500 -- T2 -- Cattle being driven down lane to brook as train crosses bridge. Ceres in oval at left. 607 issued.
$1000 -- T1 -- John C. Calhoun at left, Andrew Jackson at right.
The Confederate Treasury needed more $50 and $100 notes to be held for their interest by the smaller planters instead of the $500 and $1000 notes which were largely held by the bank. Secretary of the Treasury Memminger wanted the National Bank Note Co. to print more of the lower denominations, but before this could be accommplished hostilities broke out.
After contacting the manager of the New Orleans branch of the American Bank Note Company, a contract was made on May 13, 1861 for the production of $50 and $100 notes. They were completed on August 26, 1861. In the meantime, the name of the branch was changed to Southern Bank Note Company. These bills are usually counted as part of the First Issue, but in fact they came out after the Second Issue.