In my exchanges, over the years, some folks have indicated that they thought some Southern Claims applicants were lying.
Well, yes some were, but I have to ask… “How have you identified those who you think were lying?”
It’s not always so easy.
Sometimes, however, it’s painfully obvious… and one doesn’t have to read between the lines to figure it out. The Claim’s investigation process made it oh so clear…
So was the case with claimant George Viands of Page County, Virginia. With a claim for $1,039, George wasn’t messing around either.
First to crash George’s party was George W. Sedwick, who stated…
I was intimately acquainted with George Viands the claimant. I have known him all my life… claimant always talked in favor of secession, the Confederacy, & the Confederate cause. Before the war I think in 1860 the claimant and a man by the name of Noah Foltz bought a forge for the manufacture of iron… almost all the iron the claimant manufactured during the war was for the Confederate Government. It was a great deal of it made into horse shoes. Some iron made into horse shoes in that shop in 1863 & 1864 by men detailed by the Confederates for that purpose. In the first part of 1863 I was detailed by the Confederates… to haul charcoal to the Speedwell Forge. The claimant was then in control of that forge. I objected to going to haul the coal[;] the claimant said I must do it or they would put me in the Confederate army & could take my horse…. Hauled… more or less during the whole of 1863 & 1864 until the Federal Army came here and burned the forge. I know that the claimant in 1863 & 1864 was then present at that forge, that he had exclusive control and supervision of the forge and the whole business… He wasn’t Union man I tell you, he done everything in his power to help the Confederate cause.
William Campbell said much the same… giving even more details, in that there were two forges in operation, about half a mile apart. He also named others who were in on the operation, to include local Augustus S. Modesitt and Peter B. Borst (the county’s delegate to the Virginia Convention).
Gabriel Smith added even more testimony against Viands.
The claimant was no Union man during the war. He was a good Confederate certain.
Viands’ partner, A.S. Modesitt, stacked even more against him…
I proposed to make a contract with the Confederate Government to furnish them with Horse Shoes and Horse Shoe nails. I went to the claimant & told him what I proposed to do… he told me that if I was going to work for the Confederate Government he would certainly supply me with Iron.
Then too there was the testimony of… ehhhh, what’s the point?!
Did some testify for him? Sure… that items were taken by the Federal army, but, as for his loyalty to the Union… Pshaw!
The Commission’s job was made easy. In the end they noted…
The developments in this case are not creditable to Mr. Viands’ character for truth and veracity. He swears he was not engaged in any manner in the manufacture of anything whatsoever for the use & benefit of the confederate states & had no interests… in any such transactions. He swears also that “being engaged in the manufacture of iron inducements were held out inviting me to take a contract to make iron for the confederacy, which I refused. I was then threatened to press the Forge. I told them I would burn it down before they should have it.”
The testimony taken by our agent, of which Mr. Viands has had notice & which he fails to deny, or in any manner explain shows conclusively that he did for a long period of the war manufacture iron for the use of the confederacy. Several witnesses testify to this fact…. The evidence also shows that Mr. Viands was in full sympathy with the confederate cause.
The claim is disallowed.
Alas, we have a new category… “Post-war Southern Unionist out of convenience.”