EXTREMELY FINE. A REMARKABLE COVER, POSTMARKED ON THE FIRST FULL DAY OF NORTH CAROLINA'S 7-DAY INDEPENDENT STATEHOOD AND CARRIED THROUGH RICHMOND ON MAY 23, THE LAST DAY THE MAIL ROUTE BETWEEN RICHMOND AND WASHINGTON D.C. REMAINED OPEN.
Northbound mail from the eastern Confederate States to the U.S. was normally carried via Richmond and Washington D.C. until May 23, 1861. The Federal military occupation of Alexandria, Virginia, closed this route on the evening of May 23, so northbound mail was diverted to the C.S.A. Dead Letter Office at Richmond from May 24 until June 1. The May 21 origin date in New Bern N.C. indicates transit through Richmond on May 23, the last day the route remained open. The addressee was the wife of Benjamin S. Hedrick, who was appointed 1st Assistant Examiner in the U.S. Patent Office on Apr. 10, 1861 (service record accompanies).
Illustrated in Confederate Philatelist (Jan.-Feb. 1994, pp. 29-30) and Special Routes book (p. 3). Ex Walske
VERY FINE. A REMARKABLE USE OF THE EXTREMELY RARE "ILLEGAL STAMP" MARKING APPLIED AT NEW ORLEANS. THIS COVER ORIGINATED FROM EX-CONFEDERATE GENERAL WALTER H. STEVENS' WIFE IN VERA CRUZ AFTER THE WAR.
Based on the docketing, this undoubtedly originated from the wife of Confederate General Walter H. Stevens. After the Civil War, Stevens went to Mexico, where he was superintendent and engineer for the Mexican Imperial Railroad, a railroad line planned by Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico to run between Vera Cruz and Mexico City. Stevens died of yellow fever at Vera Cruz on November 12, 1867. This was mailed either in December 1866, before he died, or in 1867, shortly after his death. The notation "Politeness of Col. Geo. H. Sweet" refers to Colonel George Henry Sweet, the former Confederate officer who commanded Camp Ford prison camp in Texas and toured Mexico in 1866 after the war.
Ex Haas and Dr. Brandon. With 1971 P.F. certificate