America's Ever-Changing MoneyMoney and Tokens of the Civil War (1861-1865)
$1 Legal Tender (1862)
In 1862 Congress began issuing legal tender notes, also called U.S. notes, to finance the war. Legal tender notes, as their name implies, could be used to pay all debts, public and private (except for customs duties). They were also nicknamed greenbacks. America’s first $1 bill featured an engraving of Salmon P. Chase, President Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, who was responsible for the words “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins. The $10 legal tender note, however, featured Lincoln’s portrait, as did the $10 demand note. This is the only time U.S. currency honored a President during his term of office.