April 1865 the Civil War was over for most Americans,
including the more than 600,000 soldiers, North and South,
who died from wounds or disease. Confederate President
Jefferson Davis and much of his administration had fled
Richmond, accompanied by an escort of cavalry, various
hangers-on, and all that was left of the treasury.
the Davis party was a navy paymaster, James A. Semple. In
Washington, Georgia, a small town untouched by the war, he
was entrusted with $86,000 in gold coin and bullion (about
$1 million in today's money) and disappeared into the night.
The treasure was secured in the false bottom of a carriage.
Rebel and the Rose reveals for
the first time what happened to the Confederate gold, until
now a mystery. However, this historically accurate story is
more than the accounting of a missing treasury. It is the
story of a man on the run who stashes the gold and seeks to
escape capture by fleeing through a devastated South
swarming with Federal troops.
hiding in Okefenokee Swamp for months, Semple eventually
reaches Nassau. Ultimately, he takes refuge in the North
with Julia Gardiner Tyler, the widow of former U.S.
President John Tyler and stepmother of Semple's estranged
wife, Letitia. Semple is drawn to Julia, and she to him, by
circumstances of war and its aftermath.
to accept the end of the Confederacy and Union domination of
the South, Semple collaborates with other disenfranchised
leaders exiled in Canada, often traveling between the U.S.
and Canada in clandestine activities under the alias of
Allen S. James. Whenever he can travel to New York City, he
spends as much time as he can with Julia and her family.
Rebel and the Rose focuses on the symbiotic bond that
develops between Semple ("the Rebel") and Tyler
("the Rose"). With well-documented detail,
Wesley Millett and Gerald White examine Semple's growing
passion for Julia, the fury of Letitia over her husband's
relationship with her stepmother, and the concerted effort
in the past by members of the Tyler family to
disguise the closeness that developed between the
paymaster and the first lady.