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The Last Civil War Debt


In 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early invaded Maryland. He threatened to burn the city of Frederick to the ground unless they paid him $200,000. Frederick city leaders agreed. They took out loans to make the payment.

Frederick paid off those loans in 1951

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  • Bitter Scribe

    They should have sent the bill to John Greenleaf Whittier.

  • prufrock

    Armistead should have hit Early in the head with a heavier plate.

  • Anonymous

    How much prison time did Early get again?

  • Loomis, we’re still paying for the Civil war everytime some Southern congresscritter stands up to make a motion in Congress, who you kidding “last”?

  • Larry

    Jesus, Clark was just a warlord.

  • Autonomous Coward

    The guy from Firefly was also a time traveler?

    No wonder he wasn’t too unhappy about getting ejected into the dark, he just had to call up his Tardis…

    • heckblazer

      They named the character that because 1) Nathan Fillion is a descendant of Jubal Early and 2) the name sounds cool.

  • postmodulator

    I ended up checking out the Jubal Early Wikipedia page. Weirdly, this incident doesn’t seem to feature there. So I checked the edit history.

    I’m not that familiar with Wikipedia’s editing process and the timeline of how an article develops is obscure. However, it seems pretty clear that this article began its life as incompetently-written Neoconfederatism(“…he was soon aroused by the aggressive movements of the Federal government to draw his sword for the defense of his native State and the Confederate cause.”)

    I wonder how much time the “real” Wikipedia people have to spend de-slanting Civil War topics.

  • cpinva

    the city of Frederick should have refused to re-pay the loan, or applied to the federal gov’t to take it over, as a valid cost of the war. the contract wasn’t valid to begin with, being entered into under duress. being unenforceable as a business contract, the creditors could, themselves, have applied for relief to congress.

    • Seriously. No way that would have stood up in court.

    • rea

      the city of Frederick should have refused to re-pay the loan, or applied to the federal gov’t to take it over

      Well, (1) as the linked article indicates, the feds refused to take over the loan, and (2) the loan was not invalid on the basis of duress, because the duress was not applied by the parties lending the money

      • Warren Terra

        The latter especially. How would it be more just for the city’s creditors to have been robbed by the warlord Early than for the city to have been robbed?

        Though, a long hard look at the interest rate charged would seem appropriate …

  • Bloix

    Jubal Early and his men marched right by my house (which wasn’t there yet) on their way from Frederick to Washington. The Episcopal church on the corner has a marker where 17 confederate soldiers were temporarily buried in shallow graves.


  • rea

    Jubal Early and his men marched right by my house (which wasn’t there yet)

    So, you’re telling us he was too Early to see your house?

    • Autonomous Coward

      Here, my good sir, have all of my Internets.

    • Bloix

      He was too early to see my house, but too late to take Washington.

  • rea

    Early, by the way, was a real piece of work, even for a Confederate general. He was one of the main post-war “Lost Cause” spinners, largely to cover up the role his own incompetence played in losing the war for the South.

    • Bloix

      I don’t know about his incompetence as a whole, but if Lew Wallace hadn’t had the presence of mind to rush his 6000 men out of Baltimore and hold Early and his 15,000 up for one day at the Battle of Monocacy, Early would have marched into Washington unopposed and burned the city. Lincoln would have lost the 1864 election to McClellan, and the South would have won the Civil War.

      • rea

        I don’t know about his incompetence as a whole

        Well, (1) Sheridan repeatedly kicked his ass, and (2) He talked Ewell out of attacking at a crucial moment at Gettysburg, and (3) he got lost at Malvern Hill. But it probably was not so much actual incompetence as public perception of his incompetence that motivated his big role in creating the “Lost Cause” myth to get back on the public’s good side.

  • I’m thinking the Sons of Confederate Ninnies, League of the Louse, Treasonous Bastards Association or whatever those clowns call themselves should come up w/ some reparations for Frederick.

    Hate to see that nice Plantation-style McMansion go up in flames, y’know?

    Seriously, if they still won’t admit just how lost their cause is, we probably shouldn’t stop fighting either.

    Bet Early didn’t take the $200,000 in Confederate dollars, either.

  • DV Lawyer

    Wow. I didn’t know that. If you ever have the chance, go to Frederick (or, FredNeck, as it is often called). Great antique shops and restaurants.

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