The Confederate government issued its own money. Almost all Confederate notes were hand-signed, numbered, and cut by Treasury clerks in Richmond. The currency was backed by bonds and guaranteed only after the signing of a peace treaty between the United States and the Confederacy.
As the likelihood of peace dimmed, the notes quickly lost their value. In addition, the federal government flooded the Confederacy with counterfeit bills, contributing to the collapse of the currency.
At the beginning of the war, the Confederacy imposed a property tax of 0.5% on its citizens. This tax did not bring in enough revenue, so in 1863 the Confederacy imposed a tithe which required Confederate farmers to give ten percent of everything they raised to the government. The tithe yielded valuable cotton, tobacco, produce, and livestock for the Confederate war effort, but was extremely unpopular with the people.In addition to the tithe, Confederate citizens were subject to impressment, which allowed military officers to confiscate anything they thought might be useful to the war effort, including slaves. In Texas, hundreds of African-Americans were forced to leave their families to work on building coastal forts and perform other labor to help the Confederate military.
50 cents, February 17, 1864. Note depicts Jefferson Davis.
$1, June 2, 1862. Steamship (center); Lucy Holcomb Pickens, the first lady of South Carolina (right); and Liberty (left). Pickens (1832-1899) was known as the Queen of the Confederacy for her beauty and brilliance, and helped shape the legend of the southern belle.
$2, June 2, 1862. The South striking down the Union (center); and Judah P. Benjamin, the Secretary of State of the Confederacy (left).
$5, September 2, 1861. Commerce seated on a bale of cotton (center); and a sailor (left).
$10, September 2, 1861. Francis Marion’s sweet potato dinner (center); Minerva (right); and Robert M.T. Hunter, the Secretary of State of the Confederacy (left). Marion was a Revolutionary War hero known as the Swamp Fox. According to legend, he shared his humble dinner with a British general, impressing the enemy with his willingness to fight on under difficult conditions.
$20, September 2, 1861. Industry seated between Cupid and a beehive (center); Hope (right); and Alexander H. Stephens, vice-president of the Confederacy (left).
$100, February 17 ,1864. Lucy Holcomb Pickens (center); George W. Randolph, Secretary of War for the Confederacy (right); two soldiers (left).
Confederate $100 Note — Front
Confederate $100 Note — Back
$500, February 17, 1864. Stonewall Jackson (right); Confederate coat of arms (left).
Tithe and theft in Lavaca County
Confederate tithe documents and affidavit on women taking tithed cotton in Lavaca County, October 25, 1864. Adjutant General’s Correspondence.