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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 [849] 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:

You will report to General Beauregard [850] with the treasure in your possession, that he may give it due protection, as a military chest, to be moved with his army train. For further instructions you will report to the Secretary of the Treasury.

(Signed) Jefferson Davis. Official. (Signed) F. R. Lubbock, Colonel and A. D. C.

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 [851] (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:

Richmond, Va., December 21, 1880.
The Honorable Jefferson Davis, Beauvoir, Miss. My Dear Sir:
Your letter of the 17th instant was duly received. I am sorry to say that my memory does not enable me to give you any assistance in regard to the matter [852] mentioned at page 408 of General Johnston's “Narrative,” to which you direct my attention. I do not remember anything connected with the subject, except that there was a payment of silver coin to the army at Greensborough, and I have no papers which would afford information.

Yours truly, Archer Anderson.

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:

Mississippi City, February 4, 1878.
The facts you state in regard to captured treasure are new to me. It is probable that [853] most of it was the property of the Richmond banks. The item of money captured from “Jeff Davis” is unfounded, for the sufficient reason that I had no gold when captured, either private or public. Mr. Reagan, Secretary of the Treasury, had some gold, part of it his private property, more of it belonged to the C. S. treasury, which was seized in his saddle-bags; the amount does not, as my memory serves me, correspond with either item. It was probably appropriated by the drunken fellow Hudson, who was recognized as Adj. of the Michigan Regiment, and who Reagan told me got his saddle-bags.

The rest of the C. S. treasury was in the possession of the treasurer and his assistant. They were in Washington, Ga., when I left there, and I have no knowledge of their future conduct.

Colonel Pritchard told me that he had been sent in pursuit of the wagon train, and that he had no expectation of finding me with it. I will write to Mr. Reagan and ask him to answer your inquiries.

The fact is, I staked all my property and reputation in the defence of State rights and constitutional liberty, as I understood them. The first I spent in the cause, except what was seized, appropriated, or destroyed by the enemy; the last has been persistently assailed [854] by all which falsehood could invent and malignity employ.

I am ever affectionately yours, Jefferson Davis. C. J. Wright, Chicago.

On December 18, 188r, there appeared in the Philadelphia Press the following extraordinary publication:

Confederate gold missing. General Johnston calls Jefferson Davis to account for over $2,000,000 in specie.

Philadelphia, December 17th.-
The Press will publish to-morrow an interview with General Joseph E. Johnston, in which he charges that Jefferson Davis received a very large sum of money belonging to the Confederate Treasury at the evacuation of Richmond, for which he has never accounted. In the course of his remarks he says: “I had learned from General Beauregard that Mr. Davis had a large amount of specie in his possession, and I wrote urging that a portion of it be paid to the soldiers then in active service. My letter to Mr. Davis on this subject was quite urgent, and I entrusted it to Colonel Mason, of my staff, with instructions that he deliver it in person to Mr. Davis and being a reply. Colonel Mason went to Charlotte, delivered the letter to Mr. Davis, but [855] beyond a telegraphic acknowledgment to me that the letter was received, there has never yet been a response to it. Colonel Mason waited some time and made several efforts to get a reply from Mr. Davis, in obedience to my instructions, but was obliged to return without one.”

“What became of the specie?”

“It followed or preceded the head of the civil Government of the Confederacy to the South about the time Mr. Davis went in that direction.”

“Have you any idea of the amount of specie Mr. Davis carried South?”

Colonel Paul, an eminent artillery officer of the Confederacy, and now a prominent lawyer of Richmond, a man of high character, told me that he inspected the specie before its removal from Richmond, and after it had been loaded ready for transportation. He said that there was a car-load of it. As he only saw it boxed away ready for shipment, he could, of course, give no information as to the amount in dollars and cents. General Beauregard, however, was in immediate command at Greensborough while the President was there, and doubtless had an opportunity of knowing more accurately the amount of money with the President than any one except the President's immediate political family. [856] He told me that he was convinced that the President had $2,500,000 in specie at Greensborough. I have no doubt that General Beauregard's estimate was within bounds. After Mr. Davis left Charlotte and moved South, a Confederate officer told me that, while standing near a bridge crossing a creek, a man rode up and inspected it. He said that he was in charge of the President's money train and wanted to see if the bridge was safe or not. The man in charge told the officer he had twenty wagon-loads of specie in the train. This would be in perfect harmony with Colonel Paul's statement, that there was a car-load when it left Richmond, and with General Beauregard's, that there was $2, 0000, 00000 at Greensborough.”

“What became of the money?”

“That I am unable to say. Mr. Davis has never given any satisfactory account of it, and, what is a strange thing to me, is the Southern people here never held him to an account for it. The $39,000 he left at Greensborough the soldiers received. Major Moses, an attorney now living in Atlanta, has accounted for $20,000 more. A short time before the evacuation of Richmond the bankers of that city placed in Mr. Davis's hands $360,000 in specie for the defence of the city. There was never any service rendered for this money, but [857] when Richmond was evacuated it was transported South with the specie belonging to the Confederacy. A committee of Richmond bankers were sent to receive it. At Washington, Ga., they succeeded in getting between $110,ooo and $120,000, but while transporting it home it was captured by General Wilson's cavalry and turned into the United States Treasury. It is now there in litigation. The Richmond bankers are suing for its recovery, and it has never been decided to whom it belongs. Say $120,000 of it is there and $39,000 in the military chest left at Greensborough for the army, and $20,000 accounted for by Major Moses. This would make $179,000 out of the $2,500,000 which General Beauregard and other good authority estimate was on hand.”

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 [858] had raised, sent the following so-called “disclaimer.”

To the Editor of the Philadelphia Press.

Dear Sir:
I was greatly annoyed by reading the article in your paper of the Xith inst., headed “ General Johnston's Narrative,” and signed “ F. A. B.” This article is evidently based on a conversation which I did not take to be an interview. In that conversation, therefore, a good deal was said which nothing could induce me to say for publication, notably what relates to Confederate treasure at Greensborough. Besides this, the narrative is inaccurate, so much so that I will not undertake to correct it, and it contains letters which not only did not come from me, but which have not been in my possession for years. So I beg you to publish this to relieve me of responsibility for the narrative.

Most respectfully yours, J. E. Johnston. Washington, December 20, 1881.

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 [859] 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.

Philadelphia, August 20, 1885.
Honorable Jefferson Davis. Dear Sir:
Your kind note of a recent date received, and I take great pleasure in furnishing you the following statement of facts in relation to my interview with General Joseph E. Johnston, published in the Philadelphia Press of some years ago (1881), to which you refer:

Some month or six weeks before that publication was made I was on my way South, and on the train met General Johnston. When we reached Richmond we both took the same omnibus for the Exchange Hotel. ... Later in the day I met him in the hotel, and we entered into conversation after dinner about general matters. I said to him I should very much like to get fi-om him a good story of his surrender to Sherman, not the humdrum details that appeared in the books, but such a story of it as a man would naturally tell in conversation, giving all the [860] incidents, frivolous or otherwise. General Johnston readily assented to my request, and we went to his room. Soon after your book on “The Rise and fall of the Confederate Government” was issued, I started South to review it, or allow prominent soldiers to review it in a series of interviews. The first man I visited upon this mission was General Johnston, and I printed and published his criticisms upon your work, covering some two columns and a half of the Press. Once after that interview, and before the time of which I am writing, I met General Johnston again, so that before our accidental meeting on the cars my character and occupation were thoroughly fixed upon his mind.2 Our conversation at the first interview was directed solely to the military operations between himself and General Sherman previous to the surrender. Our conversation was interrupted by a business engagement which he had previously made, and I left him with the understanding that we were to meet again to finish the subject. My stenographer was travelling with me, so immediately after our first conversation I went and dictated it while it was fresh in my mind. The next day the conversation [861] was renewed and continued for some time. When I left General Johnston I thanked him for the courtesy and said that, as this was an important matter and one which I hoped to make a feature of my trip, I should be glad to submit him the copy for revision before it was printed. He said no, that that was not necessary; that my former treatment of him and general correctness of expression were guarantee enough that I would not misrepresent him; and he added jocularly, that “no man ought to make a statement to a journalist that he was not willing to stand by.” After this at the table our conversation was renewed upon various matters, and we parted, he going south in one direction and I in the other. Immediately after my second conversation with him I dictated my impressions of it, as well as General Johnston's own statements, to my stenographer, so when I came to make up the article I had the expressions as given to me at the moment. But after I had written the article and recognized its importance, I wrote a letter to General Johnston, saying that I had finished the article and that it was subject to his order for revision, or any other purpose that to him might seem meet. I held the matter two weeks after this letter was mailed. I then gave the order for its publication. When it was printed and the [862] commotion came, the Washington correspondent of the New York World made General Johnston say in an interview that he did not know me, and that he was beguiled into the conversation which I had reported. Without any solicitation on my part, in a telegram to the editor of the Philadelphia Press, General Johnston denied the statement made by the [Vorld's writer, and expressed his full understanding of my character and purpose. I do not think that it is possible that, to anyone and for any purpose, General Johnston has ever said that he was not well acquainted with me, and thoroughly understood the use I was to make of what he said to me upon the occasion to which I herein refer.

I have been thus explicit, Mr. Davis, that you may see how well I remember the smallest detail. I can readily recall the words that were spoken, the appearance of the room, and everything in relation to that remarkable interview. My memory is tenacious of all matters of that character, and especially so as to this one, which was severely impressed upon my mind from the fact that there were no other subjects intruded into my inquiry. In the North here, where I am known, I think it would be difficult for General Johnston or any other person to make people believe that I would either misrepresent or be guilty of a [863] breach of faith. I enclose you the letter of our mutual friend, Senator Hill.

Very sincerely, Frank A. Burr.

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 [864] 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 [865] 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, [866] 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:

Clarksville, Tenn., January 10th.
As the papers of late have been full of communications from ex-Confederates in regard to the Confederate Treasury matters, called out by a reported interview with General J. E. Johnston with a reporter of the Philadelphia Press, and as I have it in my power to rive a true history of the last days of the Confederate Treasury from the written documents of that period still in my possession, I have decided to prevent any further controversy, and show what were the specie assets of the [867] Confederate States at the time of the dissolution of its Government.

General surprise has been felt at General Johnston's tardiness in disavowing his connection with the unworthy insinuations against the Confederate President and Cabinet in the article referred to.

I will state as briefly as possible my connection with the Confederate Treasury.

The President from Danville proceeded to Charlotte, N. C. We arrived at Abbeville, S. C., the morning of May 2d. At Abbeville, S. C., the Treasury officers reported the train at the depot, having been a part of the time under the escort of Admiral Raphael Semmes's little naval force to protect it from the Federal cavalry, who were raiding on a parallel line with our route, between us and the mountains. Mr. G. A. Trenholm, the Secretary of the Treasury, having been left quite ill near the Catawba River, the President appointed the Postmaster-General, Honorable John H. Reagan, acting Secretary of the Treasury, who took charge of that Department, and placed the coin under charge of the cavalry to convoy it to Washington, Ga. The party left for Washington that night, and stopped for breakfast a few miles from Washington. At our breakfast halt, when the road was taken, Mr. Benjamin came to me and said “good-by,” [868] and turned off south from that point. Mr. Mallory left the party at Washington, Ga., going to a friend's in the neighborhood.

Next morning Colonel William Preston Johnston informed me that Mr. Reagan had applied for me to act as Treasurer, to take charge of the Treasury matters, and I was ordered to report to him, and doing so, was handed my commission, which is now before me and reads as follows, viz.:

Washington, Ga., May 4, 1865.
M. H. Clark, Esq., is hereby appointed Acting Treasurer of the Confederate States, and is authorized to act as such during the absence of the Treasurer.

Jefferson Davis.

[This was the last official signature President Davis affixed to any paper.]

Returning to my train to get some necessary articles, President Davis rode up with his party, when what I supposed were farewell words were passed between us, and my train, under charge of its Quartermaster, moved out. The Treasury train arrived shortly after President Davis's party left, and being reported at General Basil W. Duke's camp, about a mile from town, I went there with the proper authority, and he turned the whole of it over to me. Selecting the shade [869] of a large elm-tree as the “Treasury Department,” I commenced my duties as “Acting Treasurer C. S.”

Now for the specie of the Treasury.

It must be remembered that a month or more before the evacuation of Richmond, Va., for the relief of the people, the Treasury Department had opened its depositories and had been selling silver coin, the rate being fixed at $60 for $I in coin. While at Danville, Va., the Treasury Department resumed these sales, the rate there being $70 for $I.

About $40,000 in silver, generally reported (and no doubt correctly) at $39,000, was left at Greensborough, N. C., as a military chest for the forces there, under charge of the Treasurer, Mr. John C. Hendren; all of the balance was turned into my hands, which amounted, in gold and silver coin, gold and silver bullion, to $288,022.90. Adding the $39,000 left at Greensborough, N. C., the Treasury contained in coin and bullion, when it left Danville, Va., $327,022.90.

If the Treasury at Richmond had contained $2,500,000 in coin, certainly the brave men of our armies would never have suffered so severely from want of sufficient food and clothing as they did during the winter of 864-65, for it had been demonstrated that gold could draw food and raiment from without [870] the lines. With the train at Washington, Ga., however, was the specie belonging to the Virginia banks, which some time before had been ordered to be turned over to their officers, who had accompanied it out from Richmond, and had never left it; but the proper officer had not been present to make the transfer. It had never been mixed with the Treasury funds, but kept apart and distinct, and when Acting Secretary Reagan ordered the transfer to be made, no handling of specie or counting was necessary, but merely permission for the cashiers and tellers to take control of their own matters. I knew them all personally, but my impression is that it was about $230,000. General E. P. Alexander has already given in your columns the after-fate of this fund.

While at Washington, Ga., communications were received from General John C. Breckinridge, that payments had been promised by him to the cavalry from the train. General Breckinridge's action was ratified, and President Davis gave some other directions before he left. General Breckinridge arrived in Washington, Ga., an hour or so after President Davis left.-My recollection of his statement was that during the night of the 3d, en route from Abbeville, S. C., to Washington, Ga., he found the cavalry and train at a halt, resting. Stopping, he learned [871] from the officers that the men were dissatisfied at the position of affairs; that they were guarding a train which could not be carried safely much farther; the Federal cavalry were known to be in full force not a great distance off; the destination and disposition of their own force was an uncertain one; their paper money was worthless for their needs; that they might never reach Washington, Ga., with it, etc. A crowd gathered around, when General Breckinridge made them a little speech, appealing to their honor as Confederate soldiers not to violate the trust reposed in them, but to remain Southern soldiers and gentlemen; and that when they reached Washington with the train fair payments should be made.

The men responded frankly, saying they proposed to violate no trust; they would guard it, but expressed what they considered due to them in the matter; and, as they would be paid some money in Washington, Ga., and no one could tell what would happen before they reached Washington, there was no good reason for delay.

General Breckinridge replied that, if they wished an instant compliance with his promise, he would redeem it at once, and ordered up the train to the house at which he had stopped, and had the wagons unloaded; the [872] quartermasters being ordered to make out their pay-rolls, when a certain amount was counted out and turned over to the proper officers. The wagons were then reloaded, and the route was taken up to Washington, Ga. The boys told me they got about twenty-six dollars apiece; enough, they hoped, to take them through.

It is this transaction which has produced so many contradictory statements from men and officers, many seeing nothing more, and regarding it as the final disbursing of the Confederate specie. Proper receipts were given and taken at the time, and I rated it as if disbursed by myself, and covered it into the Treasury accounts by the paper of which below is a copy:

Confederate States of America, Washington, Ga., May 4, 1865.
Honorable J. C. Breckinridge, Secretary of War :
There is required for payment of troops now on the march through Georgia, the sum of one hundred and eight thousand three hundred and twenty-two dollars and ninety cents ($T08,322.90), to be placed to the credit of Major E. C. White, Quartermaster.

A. R. Lawton, Quartermaster-General. (Indorsed.)
[873] The Secretary of the Treasury will please issue as requested.

John C. Breckinridge, Secretary of War. (Indorsed.)
M. H. Clark, Acting Treasurer, will turn over to Major E. C. White the amount named within, preserving the necessary vouchers, warrant hereafter to be drawn when settlement can be regularly made.

John H. Reagan, Acting Secretary of Treasury. (Indorsed.)

Washington, Ga., May 4, 1865.
Received of M. H. Clark, Acting Treasurer, C. S., the sum of one hundred and eight thousand three hundred and twenty-two dollars and ninety cents ($108,322.90) in specie, the amount called for by within paper.

I obtained permission from General Breckinridge and Mr. Reagan to burn a mass of currency and bonds, and burnt millions in their presence.

Before reaching town I was halted by Major R. J. Moses, to turn over to him the specie which President Davis, before he left, had ordered to be placed at the disposal of [874] the Commissary Department, to feed the paroled soldiers and stragglers passing through, to prevent their burdening a section already stripped of supplies. I turned over to Major Moses the wagons and silver bullion, and all of the escort except about ten men.

In my statement of the specie assets of the Treasury being $288,022.90, I counted the payment to Major Moses as being $40,000.

My last payment in Washington, Ga., was of eighty-six thousand dollars ($86,000) in gold coin and gold bullion, to a trusted officer of the navy, taking his receipt for its transmission out of the Confederacy, to be held for the Treasury Department ...

Judge Reagan and myself left Washington, Ga.

I found the party, consisting of the President and staff, and a few others, Captain Given Campbell and twelve of his men, near Sandersville, Ga. There the President heard disturbing reports from Mrs. Davis's party, they fearing attempts to steal their horses by stragglers, and decided next morning to take his staff and join her party for a few days. As “everything on wheels” was to be abandoned by him, I remained with my train, the chances of the capture of which were steadily increasing. I inquired as to the funds of the staff, and found that they had only a small amount [875] of paper currency each, except, perhaps, Colonel F. R. Lubbock, A. D. C., who had, I believe, a little specie of his private funds. Colonel William Preston Johnston told me that the President's purse contained paper money only. I represented to them that they would need money for their supplies en route, and to buy boats in Florida, etc., and that I wished to pay over to them funds to be used for those purposes, and they consented. I paid, with the concurrence of Honorable John H. Reagan, the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, $1,500 in gold each to Colonel John Taylor Wood, A. D. C.; Colonel William Preston Johnston, A. D. C.; Colonel F. R. Lubbock, A. D. C., and Colonel C. E. Thorburn (a naval purchasing agent who was with the party), taking a receipt from each one; but as they were all of the same verbiage, I merely give one, as follows:

Sandersville, Ga., May 6, 1865.
$1,500. Received of M. H. Clark, Acting Treasurer C. S., fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500) in gold coin, the property of the Confederate States, for transmission abroad, of the safe arrival of which due notice to be given the Secretary of the Treasury.

I also paid to each $10 in silver for small uses, from a little executive office fund, which [876] I had obtained in Danville, Va., by converting my paper when the Treasurer was selling silver there. For this I took no receipt, charging it in my office accounts. I also called up Captain Given Campbell and paid him, for himself and men, $300 in gold, taking the following receipt:

Received of M. H. Clark, Acting Treasurer C. S., three hundred dollars ($300) in gold, upon requisition of Colonel John Taylor Wood, A. D. C.

Given Campbell, Captain Company B., Second Kentucky Cavalry, Williams's Brigade.

I then went to Judge Reagan with a bag containing thirty-five hundred dollars ($3,500) in gold, and asked that he take it in his saddle-bags as an additional fund in case of accidents or separation. He resisted, saying that he was already weighted by some $2,ooo of his own personal funds, which he had brought out from Richmond, Va., in a belt around his person; but after some argument on my part he allowed me to put it in his saddle-bags. The party then were already on horse, and “ Good-by” was said.

The President's party was captured a few days afterward, and upon their release from [877] prison several of the party told me that everyone was robbed of all they had, except Colonel F. R. Lubbock, who, after stout resistance and great risk, retained his money, upon which the party subsisted during their long imprisonment at Fort Delaware. No gold was found on President Davis when captured, for he had none. He could only have received it through me, and I paid him none. The Treasury train was never with President Davis's party. They found it at Abbeville, S. C., rode away and left it there, and rode away from Washington, Ga., shortly after its arrival there, while it was being turned over to me. It will have been noted that the receipts quoted are of two classes-payments to troops and clerks for their own services; but to officers of higher rank, like Generals Bragg and Breckinridge, or to members of the President's military family, they were for transmission to a distance, to be afterward accounted for to the Treasury Department.

The old Confederates brought nothing out of the war, save honor; for God's sake, and the precious memory of the dead, let us preserve that untarnished, and defend it from slanderous insinuations. To do my part, I have spoken.

M. H. Clark, Ex-Captain P. A. C. S., and ex-Acting Treasurer C S. A.


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.

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La., January 6, 1882.
General Joseph R. Davis, New Orleans, La. My Dear Sir:
Your letter of December 29th, in relation to an alleged interview of General Joseph E. Johnston reflecting upon President Davis, has been received. I was greatly surprised when I first saw the report of the interview; but still more so when I found that General Johnston did not contradict it with an emphatic denial. If I had supposed that its insinuations required disproof, or that they would not be met by witnesses more fully informed than myself, I certainly should have promptly published such knowledge as I had. I rested so secure in the universal confidence of friend and foe in President Davis's integrity and patriotic self-abnegation, that I felt he might, in the future as in the past, oppose his unsullied record against [879] a world of calumny. This unworthy charge has, as I anticipated, called forth detailed statements from a multitude of persons cognizant of the facts, whose concurrent testimony presents an irrefragable record. It has, furthermore, elicited even from partisans of General Johnston--a response which evinces that President Davis's honor is as dear to each Southern heart as its own.

I accompanied President Davis from Richmond till his capture. At Greensborough, N. C., I accepted a loan of $100 in gold, pressed upon me by a friend, as I had only Confederate money. I used this to pay the expenses of our military family. The sum was not quite exhausted when we were captured, as our incidental expenses were small. Having been an inmate of President Davis's house, as well as a member of his military family, I know that he came out of the war a poor man.

I knew that $20 or $30 were distributed to each soldier. I was told by someone at Washington to draw that amount, but was too much engaged to do so.

After leaving Washington, when President Davis determined to part company with the wagon train, Major Van Benthuysen, who had charge of it, handed me $1,200 to transport and took my receipt for it. I regarded [880] it as a trust to be employed, if necessary, in getting our party to the Trans-Mississippi Department. I am of the opinion that our party received from Major Van Benthuysen some $5,000 or $6,000, but am not fully advised. This full suni of $1,200 was taken from my holsters by men of the Second Michigan Regiment when I was captured. I am quite sure that President Davis could not have carried much money about him, as he handed me his derringer to carry, being too feeble to endure its weight.

But there is no ground for argument with any man who impugns the personal integrity of Jefferson Davis. The charge recoils upon the author. For twenty years, President Davis has breasted a storm of obloquy and calumny from every quarter. Yet, to-day, he stands unscathed, the representative man of the most glorious epoch of Southern history, so that in all our part of the Union it is hard to find a man who has done his duty by his country who would not prefer a word of approval from his lips to a crown of gold from the hand of the best of his detractors.

Of course, no word from me can add anything to the lustre of President Davis's reputation in the eyes of those whose good opinion we chiefly value. But, as I am putting myself on record, I must permit myself to say [881] that, having stood so near him for four years that no veil to his character was possible, even if he had wished it, he has left upon my mind an ineffaceable image of knightly purity, of public rectitude, of undeviating patriotism, and of moral grandeur which I shall forever cherish as a consolation in adversity and defeat, and as a standard and ideal for myself and my countrymen.

I am, my dear sir, very sincerely yours, William Preston Johnston.

1 See letter of Colonel Burr to Mr. Davis given in this statement, vol. II.-54

2 All the italics in this letter are the author's. The omissions are simply unimportant words left out for want of space.

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