BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press
Updated 9:06 a.m., Sunday, September 2, 2012
WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) — In a little-known chapter of Civil War history, while Confederate troops fought in the field, lawyers called receivers were back home systematically seizing an estimated $20 million worth of property and goods from anyone suspected of having Union leanings.
The system robbed the Confederate government of needed funds and tore at the morale and loyalty of Southerners as their fledgling nation fought for its existence, said Rodney Steward, a historian who teaches at the University of South Carolina-Salkahatchie.
"What you find is there was another layer to the Confederate home front. It's ugly. It's really ugly," he said. "It's a state that is highly intolerant of any type of dissent. It's highly suspicious of its own people to the point where it deprives some of them of their lives."
Much of the property is thought to have gone to the people who turned in neighbors. A large part also ended up with the receivers or an inner circle of ultra-nationalists like Schenck, who left extensive diaries, Steward said.