Confederate Paper Money Series XXII: Paper Money of the Southern States (Pt. 13)

The secession of the southern states in the early 1860s led to the formation of the Confederacy. After South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860, seven states followed although it was thought that there would be double that initially. Secession was a delegate decision state by state and after the election and fall of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, some states decided against it. However, once the Confederate States were established, currency circulated heavily throughout the South during the American Civil War. But as we have come to learn throughout this blog series, that currency still was not enough in the South. This led to the enactment of individual states issuing their own currency.


Although one of the most important states of the Confederacy, it was not until seven other states seceded successfully from the United States that Virginia would become a Confederate state. While a conference was called for in Washington on February 4, 1861, comprised of delegates from 21 states from both the North and South, it was dissolved by the 27th and no agreement was made. This led to the beginning of the American Civil War.

Even during this time, the state of Virginia held their own convention in Richmond on February 13, 1861, to talk about secession but progress was not made there either. By early April, secession was still getting voted down despite the growing pressures of those who favored the move. By mid April, the pressure finally grew too much for some of those against it as a vote of 85-55 in favor of would finally give Virginia what they needed to secede. However, near the Northern states, Virginia would become a major combat zone for the war. After the war, Virginia was run as a military region but was eventually readmitted to the Union on January 26, 1870.

Like many other Southern states, Virginia was able to pay down its debts from the war and the postwar Reconstruction period. However, the state was not able to afford the reimbursement of all those who suffered losses after the following act was passed declaring the following:

“Be it enacted by the General Assembly that it shall be the duty of the several county and corporation clerks to keep a record of such papers relating to the loss of property due to the late war as they may be required to do so by this act. Any person who has suffered losses by the operations of the war since the 17th day of April 1861, may make a statement of such losses, stating the kind and description of property, including Negroes emancipated; at what time take, damaged, or destroyed, by the army of which belligerent and in whatever manner by either army, and the amount of loss sustained, making the value of said property on January 1, 1861, the standard of valuation, and offer the same, proven by affidavit of one or more citizens to the clerk of the county or corporation in which said property was taken, damaged, or destroyed who shall receive and record same in a book kept for that purpose. The original papers shall be safely kept by the clerk, but they may be withdrawn at any time after they have been recorded.”

The state of Virginia did not issue a large number of notes during the war. Denominations included $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

Source: Confederate States Paper Money: Civil War Currency From the South (12th Edition) by George S. Cuhaj & William Brandimore