Discussion Adams Express or Union Soldiers Sending Money Home

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NH Civil War Gal

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I've always wondered how they did that. I'm currently reading, "Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman" and he is always talking about using Adams Express, once the paymaster has been, to send money home.

How did that work exactly? How did the Government guarantee it, etc?
 

DaveBrt

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I've always wondered how they did that. I'm currently reading, "Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman" and he is always talking about using Adams Express, once the paymaster has been, to send money home.

How did that work exactly? How did the Government guarantee it, etc?
Both sides used the express companies to transport money to the Quartermasters and Paymasters and from the soldiers to their families. The express companies had the liability for lost money.
 

huskerblitz

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Dr. Stevenson of the 22nd Ky talks a lot about sending money home to his wife or making deposits in banks where his wife could make drafts on. Quite honestly, it sounds a lot like modern-day money transfers. Sender gives money to Adams Express, they make a paper draft of it and the money is transferred to whatever account of person the draft is made out to.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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I keep running into Adams Express too. Sounds like UPS if a six horse stagecoach were a brown truck. Never knew the company functioned as paycheck currier. Interesting stuff, thank you!

Proof everything gets looked up- found this in an era Harper's ( Hathitrust ) a few years ago. Adams Express office at Fortress Monroe, men receiving packages and letters. The company shipped everything! They made a parade ( a real, marching band parade ) out of delivering the Atlantic cable.

wife wanted adams express.JPG
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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Adams Express was huge. It continued operating the the CSA as Southern Express. Next time there is a chance to see an episode of Gunsmoke, check the express office.
 
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captaindrew

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I just got done reading a book of the letters home of Irby Goodwin Scott of the 12th Georgia. He did not at all trust trying to send money. He would only send money home with friends he trusted that were granted furlough or visiting family going back home. He talked about this quite a bit in his letters. More than I would expect on the southern side, having money to send that is.
 
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The Adams Express Co. not only shipped soldier money to family at home and packages to soldiers from home, but shipped soldier bodies as well. They had a booming business since early 1861. They initially used wooden coffins, but as the war progressed Adam's Express changed over to metallic coffins.

1571702241798.png
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Just found this in Wikipedia about Adams Express:

History
In 1839, Alvin Adams, a produce merchant ruined by the Panic of 1837, began carrying letters, small packages and valuables for patrons between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. He had at first a partner named Burke, who soon withdrew, and as Adams & Company, Adams rapidly extended his territory to New York City, Philadelphia and other eastern cities. By 1847, he had penetrated deeply into the South, and by 1850 he was shipping by rail and stagecoach to St. Louis.

Adams Express was used by abolitionist groups in the 1840s to deliver anti-slavery newspapers from northern publishers to southern states; in 1849, a Richmond, Virginia slave named Henry "Box" Brown shipped himself north to Philadelphia and freedom via Adams Express.[1] In 1855, the company was reorganized as the Adams Express Company.

A subsidiary, Adams & Company of California, had been organized in 1850 and offer express service throughout the Pacific Coast. The enterprise was led by Isaiah C. Woods. Not being under Adams' personal management, Woods badly handled it, and it failed on February 23, 1855.

250px-1911-adamsexpress-messengers.jpg


Child messengers, Norfolk, Virginia, 1911

By the time the Civil War started in 1861, Adams had operations throughout the American South, operating as Southern Express, led by Henry B. Plant. The company served as paymaster for both the Union and Confederate sides.

The parent company held a strong position from New England and the mid-Atlantic coast to the far Western plains. In 1910, it was the second largest stockholder in the Pennsylvania Railroad and the third largest in the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, besides owning large blocks of American Express, Norfolk & Western Railroad and other shares.

The company's antebellum employment of Allan Pinkerton to solve its robbery problems was a large factor in building up the noted Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Along with the other express shipping companies, Adams' shipping interests were forcibly merged by President Woodrow Wilson into the American Railway Express Company, which later became the Railway Express Agency.

Since 1929, Adams Express has operated as a closed-end fund, (NYSE: ADX), located in Baltimore, Maryland. As of 2015, it had paid a dividend every year for 80 years (since 1935).[2] Effective March 31, 2015, the company changed its name to Adams Diversified Equity Fund[3] in recognition of the fact that its express activities had long ended; it continues to operate as a closed-end fund traded on the New York Stock Exchange under its previous symbol.
 
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