What is the Primary Source for Mosby's Treasure?

yankeeblue

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Jul 24, 2018
I've seen a lot of talk on the Internet about Mosby's buried treasure. The story goes that Mosby made off with about $350,000 worth of gold, jewels, and other goods when he raided the Fairfax Courthouse and captured General Stoughton. Then, on the way back to Confederate lines, his men spotted Union troops in the distance. Not wanting the treasure recovered, Mosby and one of his sergeants went into the woods somewhere near Warrenton close to what is now US Route 122 and buried the treasure in a burlap sack between two pine trees, marking the trees with an X at their bases. Months later Mosby sent some men to recover the treasure, but they were captured and hanged. Mosby never went back to recover it, even after the war.

I have looked through Mosby's memoirs and the memoirs of John Munson, one of Mosby's men, and I can find no mention of taking a treasure trove from the Fairfax Courthouse or even burying anything. They did stop in Warrenton, but it would seem that there was no danger there since General Stoughton was allowed to reacquaint himself with a former classmate who was now a Confederate officer.

Where does this story of Mosby's treasure come from? Is there something to it, or is it just a legend?
 

Lubliner

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It may be possible to look into Union payroll accounts to see when the men stationed were to be paid. Too, the Federal reports of any wealth that was there in Fairfax when the troops arrived that may have been grabbed up by them. Check the tally and see if it matches the hearsay of Mosby's acclaimed treasure.
Lubliner.
 

John Hartwell

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Purportedly, the "treasure" consisted mainly of valuables confiscated from rebel homes by the Union army. When Lincoln heard of the raid, he made no mention of any such booty, and was more concerned for the loss of the captured horses than of Gen. Stoughton, stating: “I can make brigadier generals, but I can’t make horses.”

If there was any "treasure," the $350,000 value is pure fantasy ... that's a heck of a lot of 1863 dollars ... even Confederate ones! And, did Mosby have a qualified "treasure appraiser" in his troop to figure it all out?
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
Central Pennsylvania
Thanks for asking that question. These runaway stories are probably a lot of fun but generally so full of obvious holes you wonder why they send so many people out to buy shovels.

The gold - jewels - buried thing is like legend trifecta. Like Stoughton was Smaug the dragon sitting on some heap inside Fairfax Courthouse. Doesn't make sense there would be ' treasure ' there in the first place.

Ever dig a hole in the woods, beneath trees? Takes more than time. " Between two trees ". Holy heck, it's more like hacking your way through a tangle of roots than digging. I'm not trying to find things to scoff over, it's just that even that part is pretty suspect.

If they make yet another 'Find The Lost Treasure ' TV show from this, I'm turning off TV forever. Remember the one on wild ginseng? How many years ago was that and our ginseng never came back after the woods were swarmed ( we saw a lot of bobbing lights at night ) or Virginia creeper. Looks a lot like ginseng so that went, too. Can't imagine what the area around the old courthouse would look like, gee whiz.
 

General Butler

First Sergeant
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Nov 16, 2017
In the Haymarket VA area there is still the chit chat that the treasure is real and buried there.
A large swath of land was just cleared having been woods for years and the metal detectors were out in force.
 

yankeeblue

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Jul 24, 2018
I'm pretty certain that Mosby's treasure is apocryphal; a lot of stuff just doesn't add up. But where did this story come from in the first place? Mosby and Munson do not mention anything resembling this story in their respective memoirs. So far, the only sources I can find are hearsay.
 

yankeeblue

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Joined
Jul 24, 2018
It may be possible to look into Union payroll accounts to see when the men stationed were to be paid. Too, the Federal reports of any wealth that was there in Fairfax when the troops arrived that may have been grabbed up by them. Check the tally and see if it matches the hearsay of Mosby's acclaimed treasure.
Lubliner.

Where would I find Union payroll records?

Where does the story come from ? I think the History Channel is spreading the story so it can have yet another series that amounts to nothing . I'm just kidding of course......I think.

You know, I wish the History Channel was still about history. Modern Marvels is a great series, but there is nothing historical about pawn shops, truckers driving on icy roads, and fake stories of aliens building the pyramids. But, I guess this is a discussion for another thread.
 

General Butler

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Where would I find Union payroll records?



You know, I wish the History Channel was still about history. Modern Marvels is a great series, but there is nothing historical about pawn shops, truckers driving on icy roads, and fake stories of aliens building the pyramids. But, I guess this is a discussion for another thread.
History Channel should do 2 days on Ben Butler...now that was an American for his time
 

John Hartwell

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Location
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I'm pretty certain that Mosby's treasure is apocryphal; a lot of stuff just doesn't add up. But where did this story come from in the first place? Mosby and Munson do not mention anything resembling this story in their respective memoirs. So far, the only sources I can find are hearsay.
There are many articles about it online (try a Google search). But, nobody seems to offer a primary source.
 

Lubliner

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Where would I find Union payroll records?



You know, I wish the History Channel was still about history. Modern Marvels is a great series, but there is nothing historical about pawn shops, truckers driving on icy roads, and fake stories of aliens building the pyramids. But, I guess this is a discussion for another thread.
The whole fun for the search is investigative research in the books and not in the field. If I remember correctly, that is the time the General hid in the latrine to escape Mosby. Anyway the official records of that surrounding time with correspondence between Stoughton and Halleck, Stanton, orders of command, etc. would be the first place to look. If it wasn't Stoughton that hid in the latrine, then who was it? [edit to add] Just look and see if a paymaster clerk was due in to the area. You don't need any roster, just whether the time corresponds to a pay period. Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

kholland

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Location
Howard County, Maryland
I've seen a lot of talk on the Internet about Mosby's buried treasure. The story goes that Mosby made off with about $350,000 worth of gold, jewels, and other goods when he raided the Fairfax Courthouse and captured General Stoughton. Then, on the way back to Confederate lines, his men spotted Union troops in the distance. Not wanting the treasure recovered, Mosby and one of his sergeants went into the woods somewhere near Warrenton close to what is now US Route 122 and buried the treasure in a burlap sack between two pine trees, marking the trees with an X at their bases. Months later Mosby sent some men to recover the treasure, but they were captured and hanged. Mosby never went back to recover it, even after the war.

I have looked through Mosby's memoirs and the memoirs of John Munson, one of Mosby's men, and I can find no mention of taking a treasure trove from the Fairfax Courthouse or even burying anything. They did stop in Warrenton, but it would seem that there was no danger there since General Stoughton was allowed to reacquaint himself with a former classmate who was now a Confederate officer.

Where does this story of Mosby's treasure come from? Is there something to it, or is it just a legend?
I am aware of this Fairfax Courthouse incident from reading about it over the years. And have probably read three books on Mosby and do not recall any mention of any "treasure" gotten from this raid. And Lincoln himself never brought it up in his famous quote about generals and horses. The only incident I recall regarding cash, gold or jewels was his "Greenback Raid" in October of 1864 in which he and his men got Phil Sheridan's payroll of $175,000 (which seemed substantial enough). And this was a payroll of half of the reported amount for this incident.
 
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General Butler

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Since I live in the area, I dig up my back yard all the time but to no avail, not even an arrowhead.
Guess I will stick with Ben Butler items.
There is a large swath of woods just outside of Haymarket that runs down route 15 into new baltimore on one end and route 55 down to the windy roads which can take you do the backside of warrenton/thoroughfare gap area...lots of places and old home site to stash your plunder.
We need an airborne metal detector!
 

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