Confederate gold

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Confederate gold refers to hidden caches of gold lost after the American Civil War. Millions of dollars' worth of gold was lost or unaccounted for after the war, and its possible location has been the source of speculation of many historians and treasure hunters. Allegedly, some of the Confederate treasury was hidden in order to wait for the rising again of the South and at other times simply so that the Union would not gain possession of it.

Origin of the legend[edit]

When Union troops were on the verge of invading New Orleans, Confederates quickly removed millions of dollars of gold to a "safer" location, the city of Columbus, Georgia.[1] The gold was temporarily stored at the Iron Bank by William H. Young. On October 11, 1862, General P. G. T. Beauregard was ordered to take the gold from Young's bank in Columbus. Young refused to release it, but was compelled to do so by force. According to Beauregard's biography, "What became of that coin is a mystery."[2]

Trenholm's embezzlement[edit]

George Trenholm, who was Confederate States Secretary of the Treasury for the last year of the Civil War, was arrested after the war and accused of making off with millions in Confederate assets.[3]

In fiction[edit]

  • In the novel Gone With the Wind, Rhett Butler is rumored to have stolen the Confederate gold.
  • In the Italian comic book Tex, Confederate gold was placed on board a Confederate river ironclad which ended up in the swamps around the Arkansas River. The gold was later found by members of the Ku Klux Klan who intended to use it to finance a new rebellion in the Southern United States. The ironclad, along with the gold, was destroyed in an explosion by Tex Willer.[4]
  • In the Franco-Belgian comic book series Blueberry (volumes "Chihuahua Pearl" through "Ballad for a Coffin"), $500,000 in Confederate gold bullion was smuggled to Mexico by a group of Confederate soldiers led by Colonel Trevor, the latter acting under orders from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to do so, and who buried the gold in the graveyard of the deserted village of Tacoma, Chihuahua state. The gold was later found by Juaristas who used it to finance their fight against Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.
  • In the 1966 Spaghetti Western film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the protagonists get information about lost Confederate gold, worth $200,000, hidden in a grave at a cemetery.
  • In the 1971 spaghetti western film The Last Traitor there is $200,000 worth of Confederate gold.
  • A series of western adventure novels written by Paul Wheelahan using the pseudonym E. Jefferson Clay, featured two brawling Civil War veterans searching for stolen Confederate gold.
  • In the 1994 film Timecop, a single traveler from the future hijacks a shipment of Confederate gold using advanced automatic weapons with laser-sighting. This gold is mentioned later to be used in untraceable payment to terrorists in the 20th century.
  • In the 2005 action film Sahara, Confederate gold was placed on board the CSS Texas which ended up in Africa. The gold was later found by Dirk Pitt.
  • In the 2012 TV series Alcatraz, Confederate gold was hidden beneath Alcatraz prison by the warden in 1960 to be discovered in 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Davis, Robert Scott (2002). "The Georgia Odyssey of the Confederate Gold". Georgia Historical Quarterly. 86 (4). Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  2. ^ Roman, Alfred (1884). The Military Operations of General Beauregard (Volume 2, Part 1). Harper & Brothers. pp. 23–24. Retrieved 8 September 2013. What became of that coin is, we believe, even to this day, a mystery. It was, doubtless, spent for the benefit of the Confederacy; but how, and to what purpose--not having been regularly appropriated by Congress--has never been made known...
  3. ^ Nepveux, Ethel S. (1973). George Alfred Trenholm and the Company That Went to War. Charleston.
  4. ^ Tex Willer - L'oro del sud/Gold of the South Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine

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