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The Pay of Confederate Soldiers

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Gladys Hodge Sherrer, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Gladys Hodge Sherrer

    Gladys Hodge Sherrer Sergeant

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    It is my understanding that regular troops in the Confederate Army were paid $11.00 a month. Did they ever send that money home to families, and if so, how? The mail ceased delivery.

    As the war progressed and coffers emptied, at what point did they stop paying the men? For example, the soldiers were not provided even necessary food sustenance, nor clothing, and at the close of war, “muster out” pay was $1.25 each.
     
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  3. Legion Para

    Legion Para 1st Lieutenant Forum Host Retired Moderator

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  4. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    In the book "A Southern boy in blue the Memoirs of Marcus Woodcock 6th Kentucky USV"
    Woodcock who was from Tennessee but fought for the Union describes carrying thousands of dollars on furlough to distribute his comrades money to their families on furlough in an area of Kentucky infested with bandits and Confederate guerrillas.
    The same reality was true in many Confederate held areas. Many Confederate soldiers families lied behind Union lines as the war progresed.
    Therefore their is no safe way to guarantee any soldiers family on either side could get paid.
    To make matters worse Confederate money lost value as the war progressed.
    Their were food riots by Southern women throughout the Confederacy.
    Their was a reason that many Southern women had to turn to a certain profession to feed their children in say Memphis , Tennessee. Many Southern women especially by 1864 wrote letters to their husbands in the Confederate Army encouraging them to desert in order to support their families.
    A good source about the above is "Bitterly divided the South's inner Civil War"David Williams thenewpress.com
    Leftyhunter
     
  5. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    Is it true that there were food riots "throughout the Confederacy"? I've heard of the famous food riots in Richmond and Mobile, but it was not my impression the riots were widespread.
     
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  6. J. Horace

    J. Horace Corporal

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    This letter was written to Mrs. E.H. Brown (Smith's sister) who worked for the Central Presbyterian in Richmond. The young man states that he does send money home to his mother but has not been paid since December with this letter being written in June, 1864.

    stickler.jpg
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    strickler3.jpg
     
  7. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    " as early as 1862 food riots broke out all over the South.Gangs of women , many of them armed ransacked stores .depots snd supply wagons searching for any thing ediable. Major urban centers like Richmond, Atlanta, Mobile and Galveston experienced the biggest riots."

    " Even in smaller towns, like Georgia's
    Valdosta and Marietta and North Carolina's High Point and Salisbury, hungry women looted for food"
    Williams p.4
    Leftyhunter
     
  8. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    I learn new stuff all the time on this site! Thanks.
     
  9. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Even by June of 1864 even if the young man could deliver his back wages to his mother how much food could the mother actually purchase with the money assuming it is even available?
    Leftyhunter
     
  10. Podad

    Podad First Sergeant

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    From most of what I have read correspondence, packages, money, etc. was sent home and from home to the men by others in the company or regiment. Those going home on leave were usually carrying items both ways.
     
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  11. William G Hendry

    William G Hendry Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    a truly touching letter, I really hope he got his bible.
     
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  12. Podad

    Podad First Sergeant

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    The most interesting books I have read about the war were those of correspondence between a soldier and someone at home.
     
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  13. J. Horace

    J. Horace Corporal

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    I am in the process of transcribing a faded letter dated March 30th, 1863 from Beverly Tucker Lacy requesting Bibles and tracts as well. Seems Mrs. Brown got a lot of requests for Bibles.
     
  14. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant

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    Mail delivery in the South continued throughout the war, and, except for areas isolated by the war, was nearly as efficient as the North's postal service, which is not surprising given that the post masters (usually local citizens) were largely unchanged and the routes and means of transport were by and large still intact.

    (Richmond Daily Dispatch, December 11, 1863) A Post Office has recently been established to go along with the army when it moves, headed by Captain John L. Eubank. There are about 10,000 letters sent from the Post Office each day and as many received. This keeps the eight clerks quite busy from early morn until after midnight each day. ... Only one soldier from each brigade, known as the brigade mail carrier, visits the post office daily to receive the mail.

    Sending cash through the mail was avoided, for the same reasons that exist today. But a trusted courier, such as a chaplain or officer returning from the front, might volunteer to carry large sums of money home from soldiers in his unit, although there was also a risk in this method from highway robbers.

    It is true that pay was often delayed, and the problem was no doubt worse in the Southern armies. But even in the North, the army paymasters who typically showed up at two-month intervals were not infrequently delayed in an active campaign season, so that it might take additional time before a soldier was current on his pay.

    (Wesley Boyle, 143rd Pennsylvania) We ought to be paid the first of July, but it always runs two weeks after before the Pay Master comes around.

    (A Surgeon’s Tale: The Civil War Letters of James D. Benton, 111th New York) February 1863, Major Austin, Paymaster. We have received our pay for two months. Took him to Washington and he said he was assured by the Department that we should receive our money regularly hereafter. Carried a trunk of greenbacks.

    (History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry) 6 July 1863, a rebel paymaster with a guard of 15 men was captured, bearing important dispatches from Richmond, and a considerable amount of rebel money.
     
  15. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

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    There are numerous cards is southern newspapers reporting some local citizen who was going to make a trip to one of the armies and offering to take any items the locals wanted to send. Early in the war, these men carried clothing to the troops. One messenger claimed to have 2 box cars of clothing to forward. Some of these men, or organizations, made bi-monthly trips.

    Such men would certainly have carried soldier's money home on the return trip.
     
  16. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Sad to say Southern women did't really get their husbands pay that often and it only went so far. None the less women had to feed their children and like in all wars women had to do what they really didn't want to do .
    You might want to check out this source.
    Intimate matters: A History of Sexuality in America" John D'Emillio Estelle Freedman University of Chicago Press p.134
    Leftyhunter
     
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  17. Reb

    Reb Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Okay, since you want to use this to disparage Southern women, let me ask this question...... Why are prostitutes called "Hookers", they aren't called "Lees, or Jacksons".
     
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  18. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    I am not trying to disparage Southern women. They did what they had to do to feed their children. Many Northeren women had to do the same. If you read the book for just a few pages earlier their was plenty of antebellum prostitution in the U.S. but it exploded during the Civil War.
    The Civil War was not just about big battles it deeply affected society as well. The term Hooker was used in antebellum times.
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  19. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    The next question would be what if her Johnny Reb soldier

    A. Is killed?
    B.Comes home severely injured?
    C. Is captured which means no pay for several months or after the exchange cartel is suspended a much longer amount of time?
    D. Joins the Union Army
    E. Becomes a Unionist guerrilla?
    F. Becomes a deserter?
    G.Joins a bandit gang?
    H. Accepts a Union offer to go North and get a regular job?
    All of the above happened quite a bit. Yes the Confederacy did try to implement a welfare system but with very mixed results.
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
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  20. Reb

    Reb Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    The thread is about getting a Confederate paycheck. You managed to segue it into prostitution of Southern women. Yes, the term Hooker was in use prior to the war, and if I'm not mistaken, it was in reference of an area in a Northern City notorious for being a area of prostitution. The fact remains that the term Hooker is indelibly attached to General Hooker. I need not say more as to why.

    Getting back to a Confederate paycheck.... There is documentation that show that in the beginning of the conflict, for many a Confederate soldier, receiving a paycheck was a joke. It was laughable for them. It was considered to be a "poker check". Confederates of the planter class didn't need the money. Confederate cavalry were required to provide their own mount and equipage. Later, as things deteriorated, everything was scarce anyway. Confederate currency lost it's value, so even if you could send $11.oo home, it was near worthless, and there wasn't much it could buy.
     
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  21. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Very true about Confederate money. That is why unfortunately Southern and Northeren women had to earn U.S. dollars one way or the other. It was always ever thus in all wars women have to do what they have to do.
    You might enjoy on youtube the classic 1944 Andrew Sisters chartbuster "Rum and Coca Cola".
    Leftyhunter
     

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