Sunday, January 11, 2009

Civil War Treasure Caches in Georgia

Georgia Paid Dearly for Her "Rebellion"

The State of Georgia played a prominent role in the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War and ultimately paid dearly for her "rebellion" against the Union. Nowhere is this sad fact better illustrated than in a brutal military campaign known as "Sherman's March to the Sea."

Treasure Hunting
Gold Concentrators
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Union General William Sherman began his "march" in the Fall of 1864 after Confederate General John Bell Hood abandoned his defensive positions around Atlanta to pursue a disastrous offensive in Tennessee. Sherman's army was then free to cut a swath of destruction west-to-east across Georgia all the way to the sea near Savannah.

Adept at Hiding Their Valuables

Georgia's civilian population endured the brunt of Sherman's March, suffering every depredation imaginable as Sherman vowed to "make Georgia stand up and howl" as punishment for her participation in the Confederacy. And punish Georgia his troops did, carrying on a campaign of terror and destruction that involved rape, looting, murder, and the burning of countless homes, plantations, and public buildings.

Georgia residents in the path of Sherman's March learned very quickly to protect their possessions, including livestock and food, since Sherman's army was under orders to "live off the countryside." More importantly, Georgians became quite adept at hiding their valuables (gold, silver, coins, jewelry, silverware, heirlooms, etc.) since these possessions were often the first items stolen from them.

A Proliferation of Treasure Caches

All of this depredation resulted in a proliferation of treasure caches along the route of Sherman's March. These included small caches on the order of what we know today as "posthole banks" to medium-sized troves containing hundreds of dollars in silver and gold coin, to large treasures buried by wealthy land or plantation owners. Some of the latter contained the equivalent of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Granted, many of these treasure caches were recovered by those who buried them after the passing of Sherman's columns of "bummers." But conversely, many of these hurriedly buried troves were never recovered for any number of reasons, some of which should come readily to mind considering the overall circumstances of the time.

Detailed Research Will Pay Off

Any perceptive and earnest treasure hunter who is interested in locating and recovering one or more of these Civil War treasure caches in Georgia knows that the first step he or she must take is pursuing a path involving detailed research. Without detailed research even the best treasure hunter in the world will only be "stabbing in the dark" when it comes to realizing a pay off from one of these caches.

Where do you start? Why at the beginning, of course! Read historical and first-hand accounts of Sherman's March from both the Union and Rebel points of view, paying close attention to details that may provide a starting point. Then narrow your research down to state or county records, or better yet, diaries or family histories. Something is bound to turn up for you if you are persistent and thorough in this regard.

How do I know this? I am personally acquainted with a treasure hunter who did his research on Sherman's March and actually located and recovered a medium-sized cache. He worked a deal beforehand with the landowner whose property contained the trove and they split 50-50 after the recovery. What was the cache worth? A dollar value of over $10,000 for both parties. Enough said.....

Good hunting for those hidden valuables!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "3 Key Tips for Successful Treasure Hunters"

(c) J.R. 2009

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