The Tilley Treasure is a very unique book on the American Civil War in Missouri. It starts out with the 1962 accidental discovery of a buried treasure; many thousands of pure silver coins, mostly half dollars that were uncovered on a section of the U. S. Army base at Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri. It traces the life of Wilson M. Tilley the man who buried the coins in 1864, and his unsolved murder which occurred before he told his family where the money was buried. Tilley was a southern loyalist who lived with his family in the shadow of a Union Army fort and was regarded as disloyal by the Union officers at Fort Waynesville.
The book traces the life of his son Wilson Leroy Tilley who was an ex-confederate soldier who returned home after his discharge from the rebel army only to be arrested by Union forces and forced to take an oath of allegiance to the United States and to post a cash bond to guarantee his good behavior. The book follows Leroy Tilley, after he posted his good behavior bond, as he waged war as a “guerilla marauder” upon the union army in Missouri.
The book extensively covers the 1864 arrest and 1865 conviction of Leroy Tilley on a charge of violating the oath of allegiance and being a guerilla marauder. It also follows the military tribunal that convicted his traveling companion at the time of his arrest; Miss Emily Weaver, from Batesville, Arkansas, who was a confederate spy at the age of seventeen. Miss Weaver was sentenced to death by hanging.
The Tilley Treasure also presents a lot of material on the civil war in Missouri. A war that was vastly different from the civil war that was fought in the east and south. You will read an extensive report on the illegal massacre of rebel prisoners by the Union Army garrison at Fort Waynesville. You will read about the constant guerilla warfare; stagecoach holdups, the struggle by Union Army officers to keep supply wagons rolling despite rebel cavalry raids into Missouri and a host of other civil war action. The volumes of the Official Record of the Rebellion list Missouri as the state with the third highest total of battles and skirmishes fought within its boundary lines. The OR records 1,162 such fights in Missouri. Only Virginia and Tennessee ranked higher.