The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 29, July 18, 2004, Article 24


  From the July/August issue of PAPER MONEY:

  "Correspondence of the Treasury Department of the
  Confederate States of America, 1861-65, by Raphael P.
  Thian.  An indexed and searchable CD produced by
  George B. Tremmel and Tom Carson.  2659 pages.
  Requires a reasonably modern PC or Macintosh and
  Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6 (free software).

  Many know Raphael P. Thian's Register of the
  Confederate Debt through the 1972 Quarterman reprint.
  This is a highly detailed compilation of data about
  Confederate treasury notes by issue, serial number, plate
  letter, signer, etc--190 pages of tables.  But Thian, in his
  remarkable and long career as Chief Clerk in the Adjutant
  General's Office, did much more to preserve the history of
  Confederate finance since he believed that "'the history
  of the purse is as valuable as that of the sword'".

  This CD duplicates four volumes of Thian's compilations --
  incoming and outgoing Treasury Department correspondence
  and Treasury reports to the Confederate Congress, President,
  cabinet officials, and others.  They were published in very
  limited editions about 1878-1880 and today are very rare
  and fragile volumes.

  Most of the correspondence from the Treasury Department
  is that of Secretaries Memminger and Trenholm.  They wrote
  to President Jefferson Davis and other Confederate government
 officials, to bankers, to printers such as Keatinge and Ball, to
  foreign officials, and to many others.  Correspondence to the
  Treasury Department is as varied.  Henry Savage, an official of
  the Commercial Bank of Wilmington, NC, writes secretary
  Memminger on May 26, 1864: "SIR:  I regret to report the
  capture by the enemy of the steamship Greyhound, on which
  vessel I shipped for account of the Treasury Department
  $26,600-in gold."

  Memminger writes to Joseph D. Pope of Columbia, SC on
  August 4, 1862: "I have had a full conference with Mr. Keatinge
  in the relation of the practicability of printing engraved signatures

  to Treasury notes, and of new issues in place of the present
  issues which have been counterfeited.  It seems to me that we
  shall be compelled to create something like a Government
  establishment to make everything secure."

  The correspondence is by no means just about money, but
  includes the full and broad scope of the business of the
  Confederate Department of the Treasury.  This is the raw
  material of historians and the fascination of Civil War and
  Confederate paper money enthusiasts.

  The 2,659 pages are reproduced on your screen exactly as
  they were originally printed.  The CD uses Adobe Acrobat
  technology.  While you see the facsimile pages on your screen,
  the file also stores the words so they can be searched.  In
  constructing the CD files, Acrobat uses an automatic word
  recognition methodology called optical character reading
  (OCR).  OCR is not 100% perfect when the original paper
  or microfilmed page is dirty, marred, or deteriorated.  This
  is the case for part of this manuscript.  The compilers estimate
  that about 85-90% of the words were captured accurately for
  searching.  I searched on "Keatinge" and found 139 listings
  of the word.

  The compilers have created an extensive index (called
  bookmarks) to the document.  For example, every letter
  from the Treasury Department is individually listed by subject
  or recipient.  Click on a letter entry like a link on a web page,
  and you go to that letter.  The correspondence index is
  arranged chronologically.  They have also color coded index
  entries:  Red, about counterfeiting; green, about currency
  production; and blue, those they found especially interesting.
  Tremmel and Carson, both advanced collectors and respected
  numismatic authors, have made a major repository of primary
  material about Confederate finance available to researchers
  and hobbyists at a low price and in a very useful format.  In
  this reviewer's opinion, having the index and the word-
  searchability, even if not fully complete, is far superior to
  having a paper or microfilmed copy.

  The CD is available for $42 from Tom Carson, 5712
  N. Morgan Lane, Chattanooga TN 37415; email
  htcarson at   Tom is interested in converting other
  historical documents.  Send him your suggestions.
  -- Bob Schreiner"

  [While most bibliophiles would readily agree to the
  benefits of the electronic version, to get them to give up
  their bound copies you'll have to pry them from their
  cold, dead hands.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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