James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
Accompanying the redundant currency were apparent high prices. Contemporary and later writings are full of the subject and indicate the impression made on peoples minds by the advance of daily comforts and conveniences. Mrs. Jefferson Davis, drawing from her own domestic experiences and from private diaries, has presented many of the facts in an interesting manner. In July, 1862, when gold was worth $1.50, beef and mutton sold in Richmond for 37 1/2 cents a pound, potatoes $6 a bushel, tea $5 a pound and boots $25 per pair. In the early part of 1864, when $1 in gold brought $22 in Confederate money, she reports the price of a turkey as $60, flour $300 per barrel and in July of that year shoes $150 per pair.
Gold increased steadily in value and most articles of consumption followed until the extravagant prices were reached which prevailed in the last days of the Confederacy. That money was cheap rather than articles of food dear is signified by the experiences of two Englishmen. Lieutenant-Colonel Fremantle was in Charleston during June, 1863, and wrote that the fare was good at the Charleston Hotel, the charge being $8 a day which was equivalent to but little over $1 in gold. A compatriot sojourning at the best hotel in Richmond in January, 1864, remarked that he had never lived so cheaply in any country. It is true that he paid $20 per day, but that was equal to only three shillings of his own money.
The great concern of the Confederate government was to feed the army and, when its financial system broke down, it resorted to the tax of one-tenth in kind of agricultural products, and collected this tax by the impressment of food . The impossibility of supplying the army by purchase alone being now clearly recognized, the act of impressment inaugurated a far-reaching system of taking