After the war, in 1869, a very strange thing happened.
The Confederacy had gone to pieces, and the bonds were worthless—were not on the market.
However, curio collectors began to buy them.
This gave rise to a report that money had been found on deposit in London
to the credit of the Confederacy
Naturally holders of bonds could claim any such funds.
The price of these cotton bonds then went up as high as 10 cents on the dollar, due to this foolish rumor.
In the cellar of his home, Colonel Gibbes
had stored hundreds of thousands of dollars in ordinary Confederate bonds and in ‘cotton bonds.’
The paper was heavily ‘sized’ or starched, and had been a toothsome find for mice and roaches.
However, from the barrels of shreds of paper which had once been valuable bonds, Colonel Gibbes
managed to find one bundle in a fair state of preservation.
This he forwarded to Branch
& Sons, Richmond
, and secured $Zzz,800 for his bonds.
While Colonel Gibbes
was in England
trying to place the ‘cotton bonds,’ he was accorded a privilege which few then enjoyed, and from which he now derives an unique distinction.
He was in a semi-official capacity permitted to witness the marriage of the Prince
, now King Edward of England
The marriage took place at the chapel of Windsor Castle
, and there were few permitted to enter the church, as the Queen
, was in deep mourning for her husband.
However, 200,000 people crowded the streets leading to the chapel.
Although it was a private marriage, there was a great deal of style and pomp about the ceremony.
attended and viewed the ceremony from a balcony.
saw her as she parted the curtains of the balcony to look down upon the marriage.
is, perhaps, the only living American who was invited there.
He was then staying with Mr. James M. Mason
,’ or Minister, from the Confederacy
The Confederacy had never been recognized, and Mr. Mason
was not by the Queen
regarded as an official, yet there was in Great Britain
a great deal of sympathy for the Southern Cause
In this way Mr. Mason
was given entree to the highest circles, and so was Colonel Gibbes
during his visit.