Chapter 80: General Joseph E. Johnston and the Confederate treasure.The quiet tenor of Mr. Davis's life flowed on; in supervising his own affairs, and in receiving the visits of neighbors and friends, he rarely gave more than a glance at the political condition of the country, generally winding up his few gentle remarks of disapproval with the phrase “we are drifting fast.” He seemed so averse to controversies that he neglected to read the “charges and specifications” put forth by Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and others. Some apocryphal histories came forth also in a kind of defamatory international leaflets, generally published at the North, and always inspired or attested by one or the other of the malcontent Confederate generals or their staff. At this time General Johnston made himself conspicuous for a remarkable dual nature, partaking of the mistrustful St. Thomas and the faithful Abraham. In an interview with Colonel Frank Burr, of the Press, he expressed his doubt of the honesty of the President of  the Confederate States, and intimated that he had made away with over two millions of Confederate treasure; and then the other side of General Johnston's character asserted itself, when, for his figures, he cited General Beauregard's estimate, and declined to read Colonel Burr's report of the conversation before it was sent to the Press because, he said, “that was not necessary; no man ought to make a statement to a journalist that he was not willing to stand by,” 1 but nevertheless he yet felt a profound confidence that what he said would not be made public. The history of the disposition of the Confederate treasure is given in extenso below, and the case is rested on the evidence. It is not all quoted, because my memoir has been extended much more than was anticipated, and I am obliged to cut out very valuable matter which will be found available to any future biographer or historian in the rooms of the Louisiana Historical building, at New Orleans. On April 11th Mr. Davis, being at Greensborough, S. C., issued the following order to Mr. J. N. Hendren, Treasurer of the Confederate States:
General Johnston, in his “Narrative,” page 408, says:
I arrived in Greensborough, near which the Confederate troops were in bivouac, before daybreak on April 19th. Colonel Archer Anderson, Adjutant-General of the army, gave me two papers addressed to me by the President. The first directed me to obtain from Mr. J. N. Hendren, treasury agent, thirty-nine thousand dollars in silver, which was in his hands, subject to my order, and to use it as the military chest of the army. The second, received subsequently by Colonel Anderson, directed me to send this money to the President, at Charlotte. This order was not obeyed, however. As only the military part of our Government had then any existence, I thought that a fair share of the fund still left should be appropriated to the benefit of the army, especially as the troops had received no pay for many months. This sum  (except twelve hundred dollars which Mr. Hendren said that the Commissary-General had taken) was divided among the troops irrespective of rank, each individual receiving the same share. As there was reason to suppose that the Confederate Executive had a large sum in specie in its possession, I urged it earnestly, in writing, to apply a part of it to the payment of the army. This letter was entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel Mason, who was instructed to wait for an answer. Its receipt was acknowledged by telegraph, and an answer promised. After waiting several days to no purpose, Colonel Mason returned without one.When Mr. Davis was informed of the above statement by “one who had read the ‘ Narrative,’ ” he wrote to Colonel Anderson, referred to book and page, and inquired what letter from him as there described he had received. He responded as follows:
Mr. Davis wrote: “Not recollecting to have met Colonel Mason at Charlotte, I wrote him, asking what was the fact. Receiving no reply, I renewed the inquiry, but though considerable time has elapsed, he has not answered. It is possible that I might have met the gentleman without recollecting it, but not probable that I should have received such a letter and have forgotten it.” In 1878 Mr. Davis received a letter from a former classmate at West Point, quoting the statement of the United States Treasurer as to the amount of treasure taken at the surrender. Among the items was one that a specified sum had been taken from “Jeff Davis.” To this letter Mr. Davis replied:
On December 18, 188r, there appeared in the Philadelphia Press the following extraordinary publication:
This charge of General Johnston against the integrity of Mr. Davis excited intense indignation all over the South. The friends of General Johnston refused to believe he had uttered the libel. Statements made by officers and men of the Confederate army, and from many in the North, each reciting his personal knowledge of the events as incorrectly related by General Johnston, burdened Mr. Davis's mail. To the editor of the Philadelphia Press, General Johnston, to stay the whirlwind he  had raised, sent the following so-called “disclaimer.”
In this so-called “disclaimer,” General Johnston shelters himself under the plea that he did not mean to make his slanderous accusation publicly, but he did not deny saying that Mr. Davis appropriated to his own use two millions and a half dollars of Confederate  treasure. He wrote “nothing could induce me to say for publication” what he did say. That he did know that he was being interviewed by a representative of the Press, as he afterward acknowledged, the following letter from Colonel Frank Burr will show.
The letter of Senator Hill is not needful to Mr. Davis's vindication, and therefore I suppress it, though if desired at any time it can be made public. Having, by the letter of Colonel Burr, established the fact that General Johnston did make the charge against Mr. Davis, knowing Colonel Burr's position and connection with the Press, I now give the unsolicited and spontaneous testimony of men who were eye-witnesses of the events connected with the Confederate treasure, and with the separation of the armies and cabinet of the Confederacy. The Honorable John H. Reagan, who was the last Secretary of the Confederate Treasury, and who now represents Texas in the United States Senate, wrote:
Before we left Washington, Ga., the money of the Richmond banks, which I understood had been under the protection of the escort for the protection of the Confederate money, was placed under the exclusive control of the agent of the banks, whose name I do not remember. I do not know what  became of it. I understood from the verbal statement of Mr. Trenholm, on his turning over the business of the Treasury Department to me, that there was in the Confederate Treasury some eighty-five thousand dollars in gold coin and bullion; some thirty-five thousand dollars in silver coin; about thirtysix thousand dollars in silver bullion, and some six or seven hundred thousand in Confederate Treasury notes; besides some sixteen or eighteen thousand pounds sterling, in Liverpool acceptances. You will remember that the silver coin and an amount of gold coin about equal to the silver bullion, was paid out to the troops before they or the money reached Washington. There I directed an acting treasurer to turn over to two of our naval officers, whose names I do not now remember, most of the gold coin and bullion; with the understanding between us all, before you left Washington, that as soon as the excitement subsided a little, they were to take this out to Bermuda or Liverpool, and turn it over to our agents, that we might draw against it after we should get across the Mississippi River. I directed him to turn the silver bullion over to Major Moses, as it was too bulky and heavy to be managed by us in our then condition; and I saw Moses putting it in a warehouse in  Washington before I left there. I also directed him to burn the Confederate notes in the presence of General Breckinridge and myself. The acceptances on Liverpool were turned over to me, and were taken by the Federal forces with my other papers when we were captured. You were not captured until several days after the disposition of all these funds, as above stated. These constitute, as I remember them, about all the material facts as to the public funds, and as to the money of the Richmond banks ... The slander that you had attempted to escape with a large amount of funds, was at first uttered as a means of bringing odium on your name, and on the Confederacy. But it has become stale and threadbare, and its falsity so generally understood, that I am persuaded a further denial of the charges would be regarded as useless.As General Johnston mentioned in effect that General Beauregard was one of the parties who had knowledge of the alleged facts, General Beauregard stated to a reporter of the New Orleans Picayune the following:
General Johnston is in error, for no report was ever made to me of the amount of Government treasure which accompanied or preceded the Government from Richmond,  and I have never known the amount. Just before the surrender at Greensborough, we received out of it $37,000 in silver, which was paid out per capita to officers, soldiers, and employees of the army, each one receiving $1.15. I have preserved my share, intending having a small medal made of it as a memento of the last days of the Confederacy. I have no knowledge of what became of the rest of the amount, whatever it may have been, that the Government sent away or brought away from Richmond.The statement of Captain M. H. Clark, of Clarksville, Tenn., who was acting treasurer at the time of the surrender, is very full and explicit. It was given in the Courier-Journal, Louisville, Friday, January 13, 1882, and is as follows:
 Although there are many more statements, letters, etc., in my possession respecting General Johnston's charge, and unfortunately lack of space has forced me to condense Colonel Clark's statement too closely, for the same reason I will present but one more, that of Colonel W. Preston Johnston, who was aide to the President, and with it submit the case.