The Civil War, lasting from 1861 through 1865, was a trying time for the United States. The young nation was threatened to be torn apart forever at its very seams, and for a time it all but did. While the Union ultimately prevailed, the economy suffered mightily during the period of southern rebellion. Many hoarded even small change, and this caused a crippling coin shortage that pushed the United States to issuing so-called Fractional Currency, or paper currency with face values of less than $1.
These notes were produced in five major issues, with the Fifth Issue printed from February 26, 1874 to February 15, 1876. The notes printed in the Fifth Issue include only the 10-cent, 25-cent, and 50-cent denominations, with each denomination bearing a different design.