Monday, November 30, 2015

The Burning of Chambersburg, PA in the Civil War

Chambersburg, PA ruins c. 1864

Temple of Bal ruins c. Pre ISIS

Came across this another example of loser second rate nation's interaction with currency systems:

Historical Background: 
 Chambersburg was a frequent stop for Confederate forces, first invaded (and raided) by Jeb Stuart in 1862, the Army of Northern Virginia then passed through on its way to Gettysburg in 1863. The next year, on July 30, 1864, Early ordered Brigadier General John McCausland to demand a ransom of $500,000 in “greenbacks” or $100,000 in gold from the citizens of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. When they failed to take the demand seriously (in fact many laughed at the captured and then released banker who was sent by the Confederate officers to deliver the terms) McCausland, acting on Early’s orders, burned a large portion of the town.
At the link, you can see in the moron's own handwriting, his reasoning for why the difference in the amounts if paid in gold or in greenbacks; sounds just like a contemporary "hard money" libertarian nut-job out there today so not much has changed for these people in 150 years (and perhaps thousands...):
Lynchburg VA, June 1st 1882 
Dear Sir 
In reply to your enquiries I have to inform you that the Town of Chambersburg was burned on the same day in which the demand on it was made by McCausland and refused – ... – I had no knowledge of what amount of money there might be in Chambersburg – I knew that it was a town of some Twelve Thousand inhabitants – The Town of Fredrick in Maryland, which was a much smaller town than Chambersburg, had in June very promptly responded to my demand on it for $200.000 – Some of the inhabitants, who were friendly to us, expressed a regret that I had not put my demand at $500,000. 
There was one or more National Banks at Chambersburg, and the Town ought to have been able to raise the sum I demanded − I soon heard that the refusal was based on inability to pay such a sum, and there was no offer to pay any sum. The value of the ... was fully $100,000 in gold, and at the time I made the demand the price of gold in greenbacks had very nearly reached $3.00, and was going up rapidly. Hence it was that I required the $500,000 in greenbacks, if the gold was not paid. To provide against any further depreciation of the paper money.

So remember this guy writing this is from the confederate states and they are attacking the United States... but... the guy will readily take (of course preferably gold but) the actual currency issued by the enemy nation!

Hey moron, if you are successful in the war where are you going to spend it?

Can you spell L-O-S-E-R !

This is interesting in light of ISIS selling the oil today.  I would bet that ISIS, even though they have attempted to establish their own gold (of course...) based munnie, is readily accepting either EURs or USDs for the oil they are robbing.

This does not bode well for ISIS as neither does the massive ordnance being dropped on them.


Anonymous said...

I imagine that they planned to spend it during the war for supplies from various war profiteers and collaborators.

Roger Erickson said...

As usual, the "munnie" is spent on weapons, ordinance & other supplies ON THE SAME DAY.

In the case of ISIS, they really trade oil for weapons, & maybe food? Who knows how Erdogen & his son use the oil. They presumably make a profit out of the transaction chain.

You're right. It does seem comical that the US rebels were concerned about appreciation of stolen loot. Maybe they actually had a better sense of the fact that it's very difficult to productively save fiat. :)

People sociopathic enough to pursue war operate by a different moral compass, and "accounting" methods. Shoot first, capitalize later (supposedly).

Matt Franko said...

Right Roger I'd have to think ISIS is discounting the oil to Turkey below row in USD and EUR terms... then TRY is just marking it back up to row market prices and "making munnie!"....

So this could be why we have had a decent TRY rally vs. USD as ISIS is lowering the price of their oil in USD terms to the TRY zone... hence if you see an export commodity reduced in USD terms to a jurisdiction, then that jurisdiction's currency rallies off of that as they have increased real terms of trade ... TRY has come off a bit this week as that oil trade may have literally been blown up....

Ignacio said...

Amusing piece of history you got there Matt...

Some things never change ("Military Monetary Theory" -ofc the side implement it won the war-, profiteers, wars, goldbugs, and human idiocy... actually very little changes apparently lol).

Ignacio said...

I don't think the ISIS supply is enough to have any real impact in the international markets. I would watch at what happens between Turkey and Russia as that will actually have a bigger impact for the TRY.

Drawing a parallelism with this story your exposed here: ISIS is selling most of it's oil back to Assad (the western part of the country needs it to have electricity) and the East side (ISIS) is buying back supplies and providing social benefits to the Syrians enrolling. All this with the different intermediates profiting from the trades (including people in Turkey etc.). I'm pretty sure the same happened during the Civil War (with the South providing some commodities, maybe agricultural goods and buying back supplies the North), maybe someone knowledgeable can enlighten us.

Matt Franko said...


I'm not well read into it but this is the first time I've heard of the confederates seeking the Union greenbacks as official policy...

The history generally has the confederates paying for provisions taken from the agricultural producing locals in Pennsylvania with confederate currency:


Recognizing the need to avoid turning public opinion against his troops, General Lee on June 22 had issued General Orders Number 72, admonishing his men to avoid injuring or destroying private property. The order also placed the army's quartermaster corps in charge of appropriating goods for military use, all of which it would pay for in Confederate money, which, however, was worth only a fraction of Northern currency. If the owner refused to accept such payment, officers were to issue a receipt that enumerated the goods taken. Owners refusing to comply with requests for supplies would have their goods seized, but receipts would still be issued.

I've never read where Union soldiers ever sought the confederate currency as an actual official policy...

Seeking the other nation's currency is an act of subordination to the other nation... so no wonder the confederates lost the war to the Union... they were second rate... this is 1864 also which was towards the end (confederate's big Gettysburg defeat in 1863...) so they were already circling the toilet bowl...

Roger Erickson said...

"ISIS is selling most of it's oil back to Assad"

Where's your link for that, Ignacio. If that were the case, Russia would just bomb any oil-tanker convoy NOT heading to Assad's strongholds & ports.

Plus, Assad wouldn't be able to give them all the weapons & logistics support they've gotten.

Eager to examine your supporting links.

Roger Erickson said...

Shias see Turkey as definitely in the Sunni camp.

Turkey Boosts Arms Supplies to Syria Terrorists in Exchange for Oil, Antiques