The Money Man’s War
The freeing of the slaves not only cost the South two billion dollars (in lost investment of wealth), it also forced upon that section an absolute economic and social revolution. The repudiation of debts impoverished the South and destroyed its financial relationships. While the South lost its debts, it had to pay its full share of the northern debts which amounted to about four-fifths of the total northern war expenses. The money for this debt was spent in the North for its own benefit. The South paid also its share of the $20,000,000 returned by the Federal treasury to the northern states for direct taxes collected from them during the war and of extravagant pensions to northern soldiers. It is estimated that the South paid in these ways an indemnity of at least a billion dollars to the north.
Cape Fear Historical Institute
The Money Man’s War:
"(The) North had fought, not in a crusade for equality and against aristocracy, but for money; for the riches it had acquired, and that the newly-developed means of acquiring riches it had acquired, and that the newly-developed means of acquiring riches might not be destroyed; for nothing else. After the first flush of enthusiasm caused by the bombardment of Fort Sumter—"firing on the flag"—had subsided, before which no insult, no defiance, and notably—very notably—no enthusiasm for (the slaves’) liberty and equality had been able to awaken enough fighting spirit in the North to lead the administrators of the Federal Government to take any important steps for its preservation….(Yet) the war must…be prosecuted or the Government destroyed, the contest became one of money for the sake of money.
The war was virtually carried on by the moneyed men, the businessmen of the North. They furnished its "sinews" and this they did for their own interest. Many of them grew rich by the war; most of them saw that in its successful prosecution lay their future prosperity. The war-time was a money-making process. The Federal Government was victorious simply because it had the most men and the most money. The Confederate cause failed simply because its men and money were exhausted; for no other reason. Inequality came to an end in the South; equality was established throughout the Union; but the real victors were the money-makers, merchants, bankers, manufacturers, railway men, monopolists, and speculators. It was their cause that had triumphed under the banner of freedom.
General Grant has been roughly-handled by caricaturists and paragraphists as a beggar. Verily, his reward has been small at the hands of those to whom he rendered his chief service. If the businessmen of the North had given him an income of one thousand dollars a day, and General Sherman one of five hundred, they would have insufficiently acknowledged what those stubborn soldiers did for them."
(Who and What Conquered the South? Richard Grant White, North American Review, September, 1883)