Fractional issues, Military Scrip, etc.
Did you know that there were banknotes issued by the US Government in denominations LESS than 1 dollar? They were issued during the civil war during a shortage in coinage, and were called Fractional Currency. Here’s a couple of them. They were used as small change as we use coinage now, but to be redeemed for banknotes you had to save a minimum of $3 worth (30 of these little notes). To pay dues to the U.S., they had to be in amounts less than $5. So it is evident that the banks didn't want to deal with small amounts of these as it very likely wasn't worth their while to mess with such small sums. For the Tax Collectors, or whoever collected "dues to the United States", the notes were obviously too troublesome to deal with, and they had to be limited to less than 50 notes per transaction.
10 Cents Fractional Currency 1869-1876
At the end of the Civil War the State of Kansas submitted a petition to the US Government for damages resulting from the war. The petition specifically addressed actions resulting from a Confederate excursion that was known as the ‘Price Raid’, and the Union’s ‘Indian Expedition’ under General Samuel R. Curtis.
By 1864 the Confederate Army found itself on the losing edge. In an attempt to bolster both public support for the South and to gain territory and supplies, a plan was devised to send Confederate Major-General Sterling Price into the states of Missouri and Kansas to conduct raids on the Union Military. The plan was to retake Missouri, enter Kansas and scour the land for mules, wagons and other supplies. Leaving in August 1864, Price left with 12,000 men and a small contingent of artillery. During the raids, Price and his men also killed and robbed unarmed civilians and pillaged private properties. Though these actions were not uncommon on both sides of the war, the Price Raid became infamous for its actions and was estimated to have cost over $500,000 in damages.
General Samuel Curtis was a Union General in charge of the Department of Kansas, and was tasked to defend the western frontier during the Civil War. He was specifically sent to deal with hostile Indians, primarily Cheyenne and Lakota, who were conducting attacks on travelers through their territory. The reasons for the attacks were many, including the spread of disease, devastation of the grasses for grazing, wholesale reduction of timber, and other misuse of lands and nuisances. These attacks were effective and became disruptive to the U.S. Government and tocompanies transporting freight. Eventually General Curtis was made to conduct an Indian Expedition, which enlisted "friendly" Pawnees to fight against the other Indians. Curtis also enlisted what were called "Galvanized" Yankees (ex-confederate soldiers serving in the Union Army) to conduct general military operations in the area. As a result of the Indian Expedition, the affected Indians attacked more fervently, and chose additional targets, causing what was believed to be more damage than if the military had not acted at all.
By October 1864, two months into their raid started, the Confederate expedition had confiscated over 500 wagons of supplies and it seemed as if it was a success. In addition, while it was much less than he had hoped for, it is estimated that as many as 6,000 men joined up with Price while he was in Missouri. Under their long wagon train the Confederate march began to slow down, allowing the Union forces more time to act.
After the Indian Expedition, General Curtis joined up with others to stop the Confederate raids. Combining militias from Kansas and Missouri with several other Federal units, the Union forces totaled somewhere around 35,000 men pursuing Price’s ever slowing force of about 18,000. Several battles ensued, following Price on his way westward. At first, as the Union forces were just assembling, Price was able to win a few skirmishes, and keep the Union Army at bay, continuing his snail’s pace.
At the battle of Westport, Missouri, Price was faced with Union soldiers in front and behind his long column. Instead of fleeing south, he decided to fight. After several hours of fighting, it became apparent that he could not win. Price then retreated back south, towing a 15 mile long wagon train of booty behind him. This line of wagons was acting as an anchor and was the undoing of the Confederate’s raid.
Passing through the winding Mine Creek, Price crossed a ford at the head of the line, but about halfway through, the banks softened and the wagons began to bog down, and soon were stuck hard. Price was oblivious of the situation. The Union forces in pursuit from the battle of Westport were soon upon the stranded Confederates and as the rebels were scurrying to make a stand, the Union, vastly outnumbered, but better armed with repeating rifles and pistols, started a cavalry charge. After a brief stall, the Union soldiers broke the rebel’s lines and in less than 30 minutes, the battle was over with the Union army defeating their enemy due in large part to their weaponry and to the quickness of their charge. Price was followed, but he decided to abandon the wagon train of loot and burn it. Thus unburdened, he found his way back south to Texas, safe and unharmed.
After assessing the petition, the U.S. Government agreed to pay out assessed damages resulting from the Price Raid and the Indian Expedition. Kansas distributed the money to the claimants in banknotes under the title "Union Military Scrip". The following $5 banknote is an example. The uniface note was printed by the Continental Banknote Company in New York.
5 Dollars 1867 Military Scrip Kansas
Little known outside the world of collectors and a few military veterans who've used them, the Military Payment Certificate (MPC) has been around as a type of a chit used to pay for goods and services on bases. They are no longer used, nor can they be redeemed, but they are an important sideline in the history of United States paper money. While some were nothing more than text on paper, most of these were steeped with imagery of American symbolism including Liberty, tanks, planes, a submarine, soldiers, sailors, American Indian Chief Hollow Horn Bear, a bison, and of course several pretty women. Issues were in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1, 5, 10, and 20 dollars.
Below is a military payment certificate series 681 $1 note issued in 1969. This note depicts an Air Force pilot on the front and the Thunderbirds flying F-100 Super Sabres in formation on the back. In the spring of 1969, they switched to the newer F-4E Phantom II.
1 Dollar Military Payment Certificate 1969
While the MPC's were not issued after 1970, things called Pogs are currently issued to members overseas for use in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) base and post exchange stores. These pogs are simple round cardboard discs issued in 1, 5, 10 and 25 cent denominations with a plethora of computer printed images on them. Below are just a few.
Small Change "Pogs" aka MPC
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