America's Ever-Changing MoneyMoney and Tokens of the Civil War (1861-1865)
$5 Demand Note (1861)
Congress initially authorized demand notes in 1861 as an emergency measure at the beginning of the Civil War. Not backed by silver or gold, these notes were the first federal paper money since the continental currency of the Revolutionary War. Demand notes came to be called greenbacks. This nickname — still used today to refer to currency — came from the green ink used to print the backs of these notes.