Confederate Money

In Trade for Union Orders

Jefferson Davis would be proud.

More than 140 years after his Confederacy bent to the power of the North, some of the money that the long-gone southern president had minted is being used to capture Yankee treasure. And not just any treasure. We're talking goodies that once belonged to the only Yankee whom the rebels might have hated more than Abraham Lincoln. We're talking about William Tecumseh Sherman, he of the March to the Sea, he of the torching of Atlanta.

The Atlanta History Center has had its eye on 52 special field orders that Sherman wrote in 1864 when Yankee troops were smashing the heck out of Atlanta. Being handwritten artifacts, the field orders are pretty pricey. A broker -- a Yankee, from New York, no less -- wants $400,000 for the orders.

That's where Dick Myrick comes in. He found a big pile of Confederate dollars and Civil War-era documents in the early 1970s while renovating some old buildings in Roswell, Ga. He has offered to donate them to the cause of getting Sherman's orders, though his generosity will pay for only a portion of the collection. At least the stash of old dollars has a purpose now. Myrick says, "I've been trying to figure out what to do with them."

-- Manuel Roig-Franzia

Dick Myrick, left, and Atlanta History Center Director Bim Bruns hold Confederate bank notes Myrick plans to trade for Gen. William T. Sherman's field orders.SHERMAN