His signature appears on collectible Confederate currency, and he designed several of the Confederacy"s coins. Elmore was a well educated native of Columbia, South Carolina. He received his education at South Carolina College.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, he moved to Montgomery, Alabama
Shortly after the creation of the Confederacy, President Jefferson Davis recommended Elmore as its first treasurer, a decision endorsed by the Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Memminger and ratified by the Provisional Confederate Congress.
He took office on March 6, 1861. In his official capacity, Elmore had to receive, count, keep, and disburse government funds in cooperation with the Congress and other agencies.
All requisitions drawn upon the national treasury had first to pass Elmore"s inspection before they could assume the form of executive warrants. Even a warrant approved by the Comptroller and sanctioned by the Memminger was subject to Elmore"s review before being paid.
Memminger resigned his post as Secretary of the Treasury on July 18, 1864, and was replaced by fellow South Carolinian George Trenholm.
However, Elmore initially stayed on as Treasurer under Trenholm. In August 1864, Elmore accused John M. Daniels, the controversial editor of the Richmond Examiner, of slandering him by accusing Elmore and Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin of gambling away government funds at a private club When no retraction was forthcoming from the newspaperman, Elmore demanded a duel.
The two opponents met on Belle Isle, and Elmore wounded Daniels with his first shot.
One sympathetic former soldier later wrote, "The result of this duel occasioned as many hearty congratulations among the true Confederates in Richmond as if it had been the announcement of a victory by General Lee over the Federal army."
Shortly afterward, Elmore resigned his position as Treasurer and was replaced by John North. Hendren on October 10, 1864.