American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Treasure Hunt: Lost Civil War Gold

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Man says he found missing Civil War gold, but state won't let him dig
No one has discovered the gold (worth $2 million) lost during the Civil War in Elk County. According to legend, Abraham Lincoln ordered a gold shipment to pay Union soldiers and the route came through Elk County. The soldiers escorting the gold made it to Ridgway and St. Mary's, then they disappeared: except for the wagon train's guide, Conners. "He claimed he couldn't remember anything," said Dennis Parada, who runs Finders Keepers USA, a treasure hunting crew. Some treasure hunters say a raiding party killed the soldiers escorting the gold. Parada thinks the gold's disappearance was an inside job: "Conners ambushed and killed the rest of the guys."

The Rebel and the Rose: What happened to the stockpile of Confederate gold
In the early 1990s, Gerald White became intrigued by the story of James A. Semple and lost Confederate gold. While researching he met Wesley Millett, who was also gathering information about Semple and the gold. Eventually White and Millett decided to collaborate on a book, and their project, "The Rebel and the Rose" has recently been released. It traces Semple's story. He was a Navy paymaster who, in May 1865, was entrusted with all the gold in the Confederate treasury: $86,000 in coins and bullion, the equivalent of $2M today. After hiding the treasure in the false bottom of a carriage, he and another man Edward M. Tidball disappeared.

Treasures of cargo and story found in shipwreck
Priit J. Vesilind weaves together a history of Civil War-era shipping and a treasure hunt in "Lost Gold of the Republic: The Remarkable Quest for the Greatest Shipwreck Treasure of the Civil War Era." Greg Stemm and John Morris had spent 12 years researching the resting place of a steamship that had sunk off the coast of Georgia, loaded with $400,000 in gold and silver coins. Deep-water shipwreck recovery is a high-dollar, high-risk line of work, and one subject to a variety of complications. Is it salvage or archaeology? Should artifacts from shipwrecks be sold or regarded as objects for academic study?

Rare civil war era gold and silver coins from a sunken treasure   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In 1865, a steamship carrying 59 passengers and a rumored $400,000 in gold and silver coins sank in the Atlantic Ocean. The wreckage of the SS Republic lay undisturbed in waters off the Georgia until 2003, when an treasure-hunting firm sent a robot 1,700 feet down and began pulling it up, coin by coin. Over time, the appraisals began to come out, and coin collectors across the nation salivated. More than $100,000 in rare Civil War-era coins was recovered, worth about $75 million. Some of this treasure will be on display, drawing coin collectors who spend time fantasizing about buried treasure but don't often get to see it.

Man hunts for Confederate treasure in Danville   (Article no longer available from the original source)
What if government records of the Confederacy were discovered underground? Add to that tantalizing possibility: Gold, silver and jewels that would now be worth millions. It might just be fantasy. However, Todd Hall believes he's located the lost Confederate Treasury. "Through the years of research, I've pretty much decided it's here, right here in Danville." In the final days of the Confederacy -- in April, 1865 -- the Confederate Treasury was loaded onto a train in Richmond. It's an accepted fact that the train made it to Danville. Was that the end of the line? Or did it reach Georgia?

Organized hunts for relics raise dust between participants, historians
"Did you hear?" asked one relic hunter. "Yeah. A Mississippi plate. Absolutely perfect." The proud new owner of the Confederate belt plate embossed with an eagle held out his treasure. "That's $12,000 right there." It was the prize find of a 3-day relic hunt, one of a new breed of organized digs. More than 200 relic hunters hauled metal detectors up and down the hills. But to alarmed archaeologists these safari digs -- though legal -- represent the destruction of the past. Stripping sites of their artifacts strips the ability to learn what stories they could tell.