"Like a Cord through the Whole Country": Union Bonds and Financial Mobilization for Victory

David K. Thomson, Sacred Heart University


On September 18, 1863, on the eve of his trial, Union spy Spencer Kellogg Brown wrote from his Richmond jail cell to his sister Kitty, relaying to her the supreme faith he held in the Almighty. “God has been very kind to me, and for the past twelve months I have tried earnestly to please Him,” exclaimed Brown. Resigned to his fate, he attempted to put his house in order regarding “some little trinkets.” Of greatest importance was his back pay, owed by the Federal government; he left no doubt for his uncle as to where this money should go. “Tell him to invest in United States six per cent bonds,” Brown ordered. He left the purchase of such bonds to his Uncle Cozzens in St. Louis, who acted on his wife’s behalf. Brown was executed a week later, on September 25, 1863