The Treasury's Part in Confiscation

John Syrett

in The Civil War Confiscation Acts

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780823224890
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240852 | DOI:

Series: Reconstructing America

The Treasury's Part in Confiscation

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The Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, had the greatest anti-slavery and radical reputation of the men Lincoln chose for the Cabinet. The first indication of Chase's cautious attitude toward using confiscation for abolition came in the fall of 1861. Chase was under pressure almost from the start of the war to establish a system that regulated and facilitated trade, particularly cotton, in the South. Treasury officials had no authority to direct agents to seek out confiscable property. Treasury agents generally relied upon the military to supply them with information about abandoned and confiscable property, but the military's knowledge of this property was incomplete since they occupied only some areas within a Special Agency. Commodore, a famous stallion worth at least sixteen thousand dollars, was the most valuable piece of property the military turned over to Treasury agents.

Keywords: Salmon P. Chase; Treasury; Commodore; military; property; cotton; South; confiscation

Chapter.  7916 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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