Startling news on the Civil War front:
LANSING MI, April 1, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michigan Auditor General announced today the discovery of a long-lost bank account that contains hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to advancing Michigan history.
At a press conference in a packed Capitol rotunda, Auditor General Terence McDervish revealed the existence of the "John E. Munster Michigan History Fund", a bank account opened in 1865 by a never-married Civil War veteran who deposited his wartime pay and dedicated it to Michigan commemorative activities relating to the Union's victory upon his death.
Since Munster's demise was never recorded, the account sat unnoticed for nearly a century and a half in the National Bank of Detroit. With accumulated interest, the value of the fund is now $999M.
"We appreciate NBD coming forward to alert us," McDervish said. "They knew it'd be hard to explain not mentioning the account once it hit the billion-dollar mark. Since we now know about it, and it's pretty big, all is forgiven."
Munster was a sergeant in the 13th Regiment of Michigan Cavalry, most notable for its service during Sherman's March to the Sea in late 1864. Historians surmise a significant portion of the original bank deposits may have derived from "liberating" valuable objects from plantation houses during the campaign and selling them for cash.
"We already sent captured Confederate flags back South years ago," said Department of History Arts & Letters press spokesperson Patrick Clark. "Since we won the War, it's only appropriate that the Munster Fund help underwrite Michigan's commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial over the next decade."
Officials in the Georgia State Government are said to be studying the matter before commenting.
APRIL 23d UPDATE: Apologies to all who read this post and did not catch the attempt at irony, the date of its posting (April 1st), and that certain aspects tried to give it away (eg National Bank of Detroit ceased to exist several years ago), for the tongue was firmly planted in the cheek.