Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Not to Watch ‘Copperhead’
Sidney Blumenthal misunderstands a film about peace, community, and the limits of dissent—not the Union or Confederate causes.

By BILL KAUFFMAN • July 24, 2013

Excerpt: "Those who wish to investigate the Copperheads further should read the works of the late historian and Marquette University professor Frank Klement, the dean of scholarly studies of Northern opposition to the Civil War. (Oddly, Blumenthal fails to mention Klement.) For more on such hobgoblins as the Knights of the Golden Circle—“I have here in my hand a list of half a million active conspirators!”—see Klement’s Dark Lanterns: Secret Political Societies, Conspiracies, and Treason Trials in the Civil War (1984); for more on Ohio’s Copperhead, see The Limits of Dissent: Clement L. Vallandigham & The Civil War (1970); for more on the geographical heart of the antiwar movement, see Klement’s The Copperheads of the Middle West (1960); for a posthumously published collection of essays, see Lincoln’s Critics: The Copperheads of the North (1999)."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Romanticizing the Villains of the Civil War

From the Atlantic, a review of the new movie "Copperhead".
Caveat Lector,

Romanticizing the Villains of the Civil War
The newly released film Copperhead is in the same tradition as Gone with the Wind andGods and Generals. Its history is highly revisionist.

Excerpt: "The Copperheads opposed the draft, emancipation, and suspension of habeas corpus. They were not pacifists; none of them were Quakers (who were deeply antislavery and had supported the Underground Railroad). Rather, they were an organized political movement, with political aims, chiefly to undermine the Union effort. Nobody really knows how big it was. They belonged to groups such as the Knights of the Golden Circle, which claimed a half million members, and its successor organization the Sons of Liberty, .."
Anyone researching the history of the Knights of the Golden Circle will undoubtedly come across references to Geo. Bickley's "Address to the People of the Southern States", alternately as the "Knights of the Golden Circle Convention address Raleigh, NC. May 1860".  You will find it listed in the footnotes of various research articles listed as:
"Records of the KGC Convention, 1860, Raleigh, N.C. (http://gunshowonthenet/AfterTheFact/KGC/KGC0571860.html),"

Most recently this address was again referenced in David C. Keehn's "Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, civil War", published by LSU Press April 15, 2913 and noted as being at http://gunshowonthenet/AfterTheFact/KGC/KGC0571860.html.

This article is no longer available at the previous url but a complete transcription is available at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Circle Is Unbroken By Roger Dale Miller

From page 42 of the January issue of Treasure Cache magazine.
Copyright © 1996, 2000 Lost Treasure, Inc.

The Confederate Knights' Brentwood Cache
The Brentwood area was picked by the Knights mainly because of its location. It
lies between the big cities to the north and the major cities, such as Atlanta,
to the south. The roads had to be good enough to bear the weight of gold-laden
wagons as they made their way deep into southern soil.

Somewhere deep in the Brentwood Hills, 10 miles south of Nashville, Tenn., lies
a fortune so vast that it staggers the imagination. The mere thought of tens of
thousands of gleaming gold bars and other valuables buried deep in the hillsides
tends to make treasure hunters sweat with anticipation.

But hunters beware. Barrels of black powder are ready to explode at the wrong
touch. Hidden and trapped pools of water are ready to cascade downward and drown
the foolish. Camouflaged wires leading to the triggers of loaded weapons are
just waiting to be pulled. Guillotine-like devices are ready to drop from above.
And who knows what else lies waiting deep in the tunnels that smell of death,
but also speak of fabulous fortunes.

Today, Brentwood is a parade of homes of the wealthy. Immaculate lawns and
well-trimmed hedges spread out for many miles. Retired lawyers and doctors spend
their days on the golf courses or around their swimming pools. Even those people
who still work from 9 to 5 come home to fantastic splendor.

Most of them have never heard of the treasure. A few have heard but do not
believe. They have their own lives to live and do not care to go out on wild
goose chases. But it is a chase that could make them richer than they could ever

The Knights of the Golden Circle appear to all have been Scottish Rite Masons
who were most active between 1861 and 1864. They did not believe that the War
between the States was fought over states' rights or the issues of slavery.
Instead they saw it as a cloak-and-dagger struggle between the northern bankers
and the southern wealthy for financial control of the Old South.

The South was ill-prepared to fight any kind of battle. Realizing early in the
war that the South could not win, the Knights began paving the financial
foundation for a second great civil war, one in which the South would be

Using a vast network of southern spies, the Knights infiltrated all aspects of
northern business. They also joined the army and navy and entered politics. They
used the vast information they uncovered to steal gold, silver and other
valuables from the northern bankers, or other northern businesses insured by

By re-investing these stolen moneys into legitimate business ventures, gigantic
fortunes were amassed over the years. Railroads and mining operations were a
favorite target and often led to quick profits. Eventually, these profits were
converted back to gold and silver, then carefully hidden in more than 500
locations across the United States.

Many of these cache locations are still intact, although a few of the largest
ones like the Doc Noss-Victorio Peak cache at White Sands, N.M., have been found
and probably recovered by the U.S. Government. (Editor's note: The story of this
cache was told in the 1994 edition of Treasure Cache.)

This location alone contained 68,240 40- to 60-pound gold bars and other
treasures. This cache location had to be one of the eight enormous depositories
created by hollowing out several levels of tunnels under mountains, hills and
mesas. By comparison, the Brentwood, Tennessee site is located in a hillside.

The Brentwood area was picked by the Knights mainly because of its location. It
lies between the big cities to the north and the major cities, such as Atlanta,
to the south. The roads had to be good enough to bear the weight of gold-laden
wagons as they made their way deep into southern soil.

As the wagons neared Nashville, they probably used part of the Natchez Trace
Parkway nearby for easy travel and for possible burying of some of the gold.
Most of the gold, silver and other treasures, however, ended up at the Brentwood
cache location.

The amount of this treasure is enormous beyond belief. According to secret
records, it is reported to contain tens of thousands of gold and silver bars
worth perhaps as much as $350 billion today. Also, a large supply of weapons of
every description are believed to be hidden at this site. These antique pieces
would be priceless in today's market. All this would surely make it one of the
largest hidden treasures in recorded history.

Several years ago, a blueprint copy of the tunnel complex housing this huge
treasure surfaced for a brief period. The document was in the possession of a
former intelligence agent. Since he obtained the copy by unknown means, there is
a great possibility that a few other copies exist and are carefully hidden by
descendants of the original Golden Circle members. The copy shows the immediate
site of the treasure, but gives no directions on how to get to it. The
surrounding landscape has probably changed greatly since the treasure was first

The blueprint copy showed a large vertical shaft that had been dug at the base
of a hill. Tunnels then branched off horizontally at different levels. These
contained the gold and weapons. The shaft, perhaps as deep as 60 feet, appears
to have been sealed with rock and dirt. The blueprint also shows the placement
of both black powder and water booby-traps.

This treasure site was the pride and joy of the Confederate elite, especially
the 12-member ruling council called the Knights of the Inner Circle. (The Outer
Circle contained the vast majority of the members.) The original Inner Circle
was made up of some of the most important historical figures of all time. They
included Confederate President Jefferson Davis, brutal guerrilla leader William
Clarke Quantrill, the heroic General Joe Shelby and the famous rebel cavalry
leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. But perhaps the most famous of them all were the
brothers Frank and Jesse James. There is no doubt that all 12 original members
knew the exact location of the Brentwood treasure, as well as the other seven
large ones hidden all across the United States.

The Golden Circle was led with a iron hand by Quantrill. After his death, Jesse
James took over and led the organization until the time of his real death in
Granbury, Texas, in 1951. Jesse passed away at the ripe old age of 109, and is
buried in Granbury. (While official records of the life of Jesse James dispute
this claim, recent information shows it is possible James lived on well into the
20th century.)

Jesse and Frank James had several relatives who lived in the East Nashville area
and visited there often. On Friday, March 25, 1881, a member of the James gang
was arrested by magistrate and ex-constable W.L. Earthman. Earthman had been
tipped off that gang member Bill Ryan was at one of the local saloons. In fear
of their lives, Frank and Jesse James and their families left the Nashville area
the next day. Witnesses reported to have seen them heading south toward
Brentwood, but they were never caught.

It is only natural to assume that Frank and Jesse, on their way out of the
middle Tennessee area, went right by the location of the treasure to make sure
nothing was disturbed. This would also account for so many of his relatives
living in the Nashville area. (Jesse's relatives were probably members of the
Outer Circle. They lived here to keep a sharp eye out for any one else looking
for the treasure.)

Here are several clues that will be useful in your search.

1. The treasure is probably in a hillside or series of hillsides within a mile
or two of a large supply of water. This water was needed for the many
booby-traps and also for watering the many horses who pulled the wagons. A large
creek or small river, like Harpeth River, would fit into the plans perfectly. It
would also have to be shallow enough in places for wagons to cross.

2. Search the nearby woods close to the water supply and look for old wagon
trails or parallel ruts in the earth. Look for old roads and shallow paths. This
could still be a long shot, since the ones who buried the treasure may have
cleaned up afterward and made sure there were no tell-tale signs leading to the

3. Look for areas of clear pastures near the woods. A large operation, such as a
ranch or perhaps some sort of mining camp, would have been in the area. This
would help explain the many wagons coming and going at all hours.

4. Look for strange markings on old trees and unusual rock formations. Coded
messages could help newcomers quickly find the area. The trees may have long ago
been cut down by loggers, but it still doesn't hurt to check the bark and trunks
of old trees still standing.

5. Look for hillsides and bluffs with small cave openings — these may resemble
groundhog burrows. It would be so easy for people to fill such holes with
treasure and then use explosives to blast them shut.

6. Always have your metal detector going. A heavy concentration of Civil War
bullets, Confederate coins and other items should be in the area. With so many
people coming and going, things had to get lost now and then.

7. As always, get permission to search on private land. This huge treasure may
never be found by one person working alone. One may find small hoards here and
there, but the mother lode is well protected and it will take teamwork and
plenty of extreme caution.

During March 1995, I spent a whole day driving and walking the roads and streets
of Brentwood. I took pictures and tried to interview at least four people. I
wanted the people to be elderly, because I figured the young generation would be
totally lost when it came to the history of the treasure.

One gentleman told me he had just retired and moved to the area from Illinois.
This was the first time he had heard of the treasure. Another gentleman sitting
on his front porch seemed suspicious of me from the start, probably because
there is a lot of crime in the Nashville and Brentwood area. He told me he
didn't do interviews for anyone, and seemed relieved when I started to walk
away. He got up and went into the house. An elderly lady was working in her
flower garden and had very little to say.

Finally, I encountered an elderly man who was willing to talk to me. He was
swinging in his yard under a huge shade tree. He was a regular reader of Lost
Treasure magazine and agreed to be interviewed, but only if I promised not to
use his real name and address. The following is part of what he told me:

"Of course I know about the legend," he said. "I had distant relatives who
fought in the Civil War and at least three of them were members of the Circle.
When I was growing up, I heard plenty of backyard conversations when a bunch of
my kin got together for a reunion of sorts. I overheard whispered words about
gold and silver. I heard words like `rocky hills' and `water troughs.' As a kid
I had no idea what the words meant, and even today I am not sure. I do know that
they often spoke of general directions, but that is something I cannot tell you,
out of respect for all my relatives.

"I can tell you this much. If I were interested in searching for the treasure
today I would narrow my search down to one part of Brentwood. Be it north,
south, east or west, that is the part I must keep secret."

It seems there lot of secrets still hidden deep in the hills of Brentwood. One
day they may be revealed and the treasure found. There are many people who want
to find the treasure and still a few who wish it to stay hidden.

The Confederate Knights' Brentwood Cache

The treasure:

Thousands of gold and silver bars worth up to $350 million today. In addition,
there are likely hundreds of well-preserved Civil War-era relics.

How to find it:

The cache is located in the hills of Brentwood, Tenn., most likely near a large
creek or river. Look for wagon ruts and large nearby pastures.

Tennessee State Library and Archives.
A Guide To Historical Markers In Nashville And Davidson County, 1993, page 19.
World Book Encyclopedia.
Lost Treasure magazine, November 1991, page 54; April 1992.
Tennessean newspaper, Nashville, Tenn., March 6, 1995