The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS OF THE CONFEDERATE
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.
L. R. GARRISON
4. RELATIONS WITH THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT
The post office department and the treasury department of
the Confederate States bore the same relation to each other as
the corresponding offices in the United States Government. That
is, the first auditor of the treasury was charged with the duty of
auditing the accounts of the postal service without being subject
to the revision of the comptroller of the treasury. He likewise
conducted all suits and legal proceedings for the collection of
sums due the department, instead of referring such cases to the
department of justice as other departments did.1 This arrange-
ment with the treasury Mr. Reagan thought entirely suitable, and
when the work became too heavy for the first auditor, he asked
Congress for assistants and clerks for that officer of the treasury.
But the relations between the two departments were not always
quite amicable, as there were occasional differences of opinion
between the postmaster-general and the secretary of the treasury
because of Mr. Memminger's instructions to the accounting and
disbursing officers. One of these incidents led to a sensational
episode, in which threats of criminal prosecution were made be-
fore matters were adjusted.
The postmaster-general on June 27, 1863, made a draft on the
treasury for ten thousand pounds in the current exchange for
specie, the money to, be placed on deposit in England to the credit
of the department. The treasurer declined to. honor the draft
on the ground that the department had no specie to its credit,
and that the draft should have called for $145,000, which was
the currency value of the $50,000 demanded in specie. Reagan in
turn declared that he certainly ought to. have at least $67,000 of
specie in the treasury, because all postage had been paid in coin
'Report, Dec. 7, 1863, p. 20.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/. Accessed July 28, 2014.