Sunday, December 2, 2007

Value of a Dollar in the Civil War

I did some checking online after I wrote the last comments about each Civil War volunteer getting $50, raised by taxation ordered at the 1862 Scipio Town Meeting.
A dollar in 1862 has about the same value as $20 in 2005.
In other words, the same volunteers would now receive $1,000.00.
Not a huge amount, but enough to have significance to the volunteers and their families and to recognize the sacrifices made.


Sean Wolf said...
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Sean Wolf said...

Take into account also that Confederate money was useless then. Regular hotel rates of the day were $20 dollars in paper money for a night (with three meals a day), but if you paid in gold, it cost you 3 shillings ($0.30).

(The New York Times; 6 Jan 1918; Civil War Food Prices Were Lower Than Those of Today)

The Northern dollar weighed against gold was better, but still not even. A hotel would cost you $2.50 cents in NY, but you could still get a much more reduced price if you paid in actual gold shillings. The question is, were they paid in the southern Confederate Dollar, the northern-eastern Greenback, or were they paid in gold (or silver, or copper)? If they were paid in metal, then they were living like kings. If they were paid in the Greenback, they sought to trade it for metal at a significant loss if they could find any who would trade. If they were paid in Confederate dollars, then they had some kindling for their fire.