1. Knights of the Golden Circle
3. Along with a series of secret hand gestures, these tickets were supposed to protect the horses and other possessions of ticket holders from seizure by invading Confederate soldiers.
1. I assume the desired answer here is the Knights of the Golden Circle, though it is questionable whether the scam artists actually belonged to that organization.
2. One dollar
3. The Confederate soldiers were supposed to pass by the locals' farms without confiscating their livestock, horses, or chickens.
1) The Knights Of The Golden Circle (KGC)
2) $1 (One Dollar) for paper tickets and secret hand gestures.
3) Along with a series of hand gestures, these tickets were supposed to protect the horses and other possessions of ticket holders from seizure by invading Confederate soldiers.
1. New York City con men sold phony memberships in the Knights of the Golden Circle and American Knights
3. They lost their horses and other livestock, often suffering worse than their pro-Union neighbors
As the Confederate soldiers marched or rode through York County during the invasion of June
Edit - The third part of the question asked what was supposed to happen if the tickets and hand gestures were displayed. They weren't supposed to lose their horses and livestock, nor suffer worse than pro-Union neighbors.
I thought this July 1863 Harrisburg Telegraph news article was interesting. There are times I wish we had a forum for further discussion on trivia question posts. Trivia players may not see posts if they go into their respective forum. One can debate who the actual con artists were in this scam. But I find this topic fascinating.
The Knights of the Golden Circle
Written for the Telegraph. The Copperheads Humbugging Their Deluded Followers–The Signs and Certificates no Guarantee against the Ravages of their “Southern Brethren”–Light in Codorus–An Anecdote
Notwithstanding the denial of the copperhead papers, it seems there actually exists such a secret organization as that called “The Knights of the Golden Circle.” Though we believe the main object of this new order is to bind men to support, by solemn obligation, none but men of their own political party for office, and to raise money for electioneering purposes; yet there is no longer any doubt that the victims of this organisation were made to believe that, by speaking against the Government, and expressing sympathy with the southern rebels–but especially, by making certain signs, in case of an invasion into the loyal States, they would be spared, in person and property, by these southern “gentlemen,” who were after the abolitionists only. How badly these deluded beings have been humbugged by the unprincipled office seekers may now be readily learned by a tour through the sections of our beloved Commonwealth, which have been visited by Lee’s dirty, lousy, robbing horde, and by listening to the whining complaints of those who would to save themselves from being plundered, fain have aided these rebellious villains in their ungodly purpose to destroy the “best government on earth.”
In proof of what we have written, we will merely add one anecdote–perfectly reliable–of a certain victim of the ring in Codorus Township, York County, which, though a little ludicrous amid the poor fellow’s distress, fully confirms the points above stated, in regard to the “Knights.” (The township, by the way, though exceedingly copperheadish, seems to have been most terribly visited by Stuart’ s marauding band.) That the gusto of the story may not be marred, we will give it in the same Pennsylvania German brogue in which it was related, but in Roman characters.
One of our good Knights of Codorus, having been called upon by his “Southern brethren” for the use of all his horses for Jeff [Davis]’s service, besides sundry other accommodations, thus bitterly complained to a friend of the Union, in a half whining tone: “Oh I sie hen mir all my Geil g’numme, un em — seine all, un em, — seine, un em — seine, un. Oh! es ist zu arig wie sie g’haust hen in Codorus!!”
“Ei,” replied the Union man, “het ihr ihne dann net g’sagt dass ihr Democrate seyd?”
“Ei, yo, beshure hen mer; un mer hen ihne ah g’sagt dass mer zum ‘Gold’ne Ring’ g’here; un hen ah noch unser babiere g’wisse, un’s hot wahrhaftig nix gebalt!”
Un noh hen sie noch g’sagt mer solle unser babiere nemme un solle unser ‘dahler’ widder holle!”
All the comments we deem necessary on such manifestations of knowledge is, if light has broken in upon the minds of these Codorus victims by this instructive raid, happy are the people thereof, in consequence of the courted visit (by many copperheads at least) of their “Southern brethren.”
“Oh, they’ve taken all my horses, and all of ——‘s, and all of —-‘s, and it’s too bad how they have carried on in Codorus!”
“Indeed,” replied the Union man, “and didn’t you tell them, then, that you were Democrats?”
“Why, to be sure we did; and we told them, too that we belonged to the ‘Golden Ring,’ and besides that we showed them our papers, and it was all positively no use! And they told us we should take our papers back and get our dollar again!!”
Harrisburg Evening Telegraph, July 13, 1863
1. What group was responsible for this scam? It seems that the "group" actually responsible was just a couple of scam artists. The "tickets" were supposed to be membership cards in the Knights of the Golden Circle. According to our own @Scott Mingus , the scam artists purported to be recruiters for the KGC but "The cards were bogus and the salesmen were con artists." source
2. How much did the group charge for the secret hand jestures and tickets? "sold golden-colored membership cards for $1 to gullible farmers" source
3. What was supposed to happen when the locals flashed the hand jestures and handed over their tickets?
"...if the Rebels invaded, they were to show the golden tickets, make certain gestures with their hands, and recite a secret password. If the civilians did that, the Rebels would know they were friends and would leave them in peace. Their horses, mules, farm crops, and possessions would be safe."source
1) The group was the Knights of the Golden Circle.
2) They charged $1 for the secret hand jestures and the ticket.
3) The tickets were supposed to protect the locals horses and possessions from seizure by the invading Confederate's.
Edit - The first part of the question asked what group was responsible for the scam. While the scammers claimed to be representing the Knights of the Golden Circle, I've seen no source indicating that they actually belonged to that organization, or that the KGC had any knowledge of the scam. Therefore, I am accepting answers that identify them simply as shysters, con men, scam artists, or the like.