"Adams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Aug. 12, 1861", clear strike of circular datestamp on 3¢ Red on Buff Star Die entire (U27) to New York City, 3¢ Dull Red, Type III (26) cancelled by blue grid with matching "Louisville Ky. Aug. 13, 1861" circular datestamp, receipt docketing of August 15, 1861, at left
Very Fine example of mail carried from the South to the North across the lines, after the regular transmission of mail along pre-war postal routes was suspended. This is also an unusual combination of a 3¢ adhesive and a 3¢ entire on this type of mail. The 3¢ adhesive was probably affixed by the Adams office in Louisville to avoid having the prepaid postage rejected as Southern contraband.
Ex Stephen D. Brown, Lawrence L. Shenfield and Robert W. Wiseman. Special Routes census no. N-AD-64.
EXTREMELY FINE. A RARE PRECURSOR EXPRESS COMPANY COVER FROM NEW ORLEANS TO JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, CARRIED BY ADAMS EXPRESS OUTSIDE THE MAILS BEFORE JUNE 1, 1861, ENTIRELY WITHIN THE STATES IN REBELLION.
In the early months of 1861, express companies began carrying mail in anticipation of service disruptions. The Adams New Orleans marking is rare, and this beautiful cover is an extremely rare example of Adams mail carried between New Orleans and another seceded state -- the typical use is on mail to New York City or other states in the Union.
Illustrated in Chase book (p. 318). Ex Chase, Knapp, Emerson, Shenfield and Richey. With 1999 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A LIKELY UNIQUE USE OF THE RARE ADAMS EXPRESS MEMPHIS DATESTAMP ON A PATRIOTIC COVER.
Shortly after the Confederacy was formed on February 4, 1861, the private freight express companies began carrying mail. Soon after June 1, 1861, newspapers published the first advertisements for thru-the-lines express service after the Federal government suspended the mails to seceded states. Tennessee seceded on June 8, 1861, 12 days before this cover was sent. It likely originated in Memphis and was handed directly to the Adams office in that city. This is the only use of the Adams Memphis marking on a Confederate Patriotic cover we have encountered
FINE AND RARE EXAMPLE OF CENSORSHIP BY THE ADAMS EXPRESS AGENT OF CIVILIAN MAIL BETWEEN SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN CORRESPONDENTS.
This interesting pro-Confederate letter opens with comments on reported unreliability of American Letter Express and difficulty sending letters. The writer also describes watching the Battle of First Manassas. The last portion of the letter has been censored by being crossed out with squiggles and writing in a different pen (some ink bleed-thru to front). The writer's reaction to the censorship is expressed in the letter offered in the following lot.
The opening of mail, for censorship and espionage purposes, was a sore point with the civilian population. This reference to Adams Express opening and censoring mail is a significant contemporary account.
Walske-Trepel Cenus no. N-AD-66. Ex Gallagher. With 2005 C.S.A. certificate
VERY FINE AND RARE THROUGH-THE-LINES EXPRESS COVER BEARING POSTAGE OF THE 1861 ISSUE. THIS WAS POSSIBLE FOR ONLY A FEW DAYS IN LATE AUGUST, 1861. ALSO AN OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT OF FRUSTRATION OVER CENSORSHIP OF CIVILIAN MAIL.
This letter was posted on August 22, four days before the August 26 prohibition of thru-the-lines express mail. Through-the-lines express covers bearing 1861 Issue stamps are very rare as there was less than a one-week window from the date of issue to the prohibition. The Walske-Trepel census records only three such covers with 1861 Issue stamps.
Walske-Trepel Cenus no. N-AX-12. Ex Knapp, MacBride, Roser and Gallagher
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COMBINATION OF ADAMS EXPRESS NEW YORK AND AUGUSTA OFFICE MARKINGS, BOTH CLEARLY STRUCK ON THE OBVERSE OF A COVER FOR ACROSS-THE-LINES EXPRESS SERVICE TO NORTH CAROLINA.
Only a few covers are recorded with this combination of Adams office markings and at least one of the others has the large New York oval handstamp struck on the back (ex Brandon). This cover was sent during the early period when Adams southbound mail was not postmarked at Louisville or Nashville. In this case, it was carried in the Adams network to Augusta and entered the C.S.A. mails there.
The Adams New York oval handstamp is extremely rare, and collectors should be aware that a number of clever fakes were handled by John A. Fox, which have only recently been properly identified. Genuine strikes are much rarer than the auction record would indicate.
Special Routes Census No. S-AD-10. With 1997 C.S.A. certificate
VERY FINE. AN IMPORTANT ADAMS EXPRESS COMPANY COVER SENT DURING THE TRANSITION FROM THE PRECURSOR PERIOD TO ADVERTISED ACROSS-THE-LINES SERVICE IN MID-JUNE 1861. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF CIVIL WAR EXPRESS MAIL DIVERTED TO THE UNITED STATES DEAD LETTER OFFICE.
On June 15, 1861, the American Letter Express Co. was the first to advertise its across-the-lines service. On June 22 the Adams Express Co. and M. D. Whiteside advertised their competing express services. Express covers carried across the lines by Adams prior to the first advertisements are evidence that service pre-dated the announced commencement date. These are known as Precursor express covers (see Special Route, Chapter 3).
This cover is a remarkable use of Adams across-the-lines service right at the transition from the Precursor period to advertised service. It was mailed from Nashville on June 15 and datestamped by the Nashville post office and by Adams Nashville office on the same day. This is one full week before the June 22 commencement date advertised by Adams. Obviously, Adams was moving letters between Louisville and Nashville earlier than announced in their North-South express ads, and one of the letter enclosures in this cover mentions using Adams due to the interruption of regular mails. Another example from this transitional period is the cover addressed to Louisville with the Adams Vicksburgh, Mississippi, office oval dated June 11 (lot 58 in this sale).
On the cover offered here, the 5c C.S.A. postage was paid in Nashville, but the U.S. 3c entire was considered invalid by the U.S. post office once it entered the mails (at Louisville or possibly further north). At this early date, there must have been some confusion about how to prepay U.S. postage once the letter crossed the lines. In this case, it was determined to be unpaid and sent to the U.S. Dead Letter Office. It was marked "Due 3 cts" and released July 16 (the date of the U.S. Dead Letter Office oval). The Special Routes book describes this cover as the only recorded example of an express cover that was diverted to the U.S. Dead Letter office (pages 36-37).
The enclosures in this cover were written by a Mr. E. Holcomb and Ginie Warren (daughter of the addressee, Hannah L. Warren). Holcomb states "If you do not get any further letters from our dear Ginie shortly, don't be uneasy. So much information is sent to our enemies by private letters to friends, falling into the hands of treacherous agents & postmasters, that our government has resolved to stop mails between here & the North altogether, untill we shall have given Lincolns Hessians two or three more whippings..." Ginie, who decided to remain in the South, mentions that "all letters coming from the South are sent to the dead letter office" and informs her mother that "We must take advantage of Adams Express and send them through with an increase of twenty five cents postage on the original three..." In closing Ginie proclaims, "I would rather remain in the South and take the fate of the South... I love my home too, my native state is the dearest spot on earth, but the South is the land of my adoption."
Illustrated in Special Routes (page 36), Census No. N-AD-1. Ex Boshwit