The Civil War’s worst investment tip?

“Confederate prospects for victory seemed brightest during the months after the Emancipation Proclamation, partly because this measure divided the Northern people and intensified a morale crisis in Union armies.

“Slave prices rose even faster than the rate of inflation…. A number of soldiers wrote home advising relatives to invest in slaves….The famous ‘boy colonel’ of the Confederacy, the planter’s son Henry Burgwyn [of Northampton County], who became colonel of the 26th North Carolina at the age of 21, urged his father to put every dollar he had into slaves. ‘I would buy boys & girls from 15 to 20 years old & take care to have a majority of girls ….’ he wrote. ‘I would not be surprised to see negroes in 6 mos. after peace worth from 2 to 3000 dollars.’

“Gettysburg cut short his life before he could witness the collapse of his dreams.”

— From “For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War” (1997) by James M. McPherson

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