Sale 779 — Civil War Postal History and Autographs

Sale Date — Wednesday, 10 July, 1996

Category — Civil War Naval Letters and Covers

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
522°
c
A Naval Letter Being Written as the News of Lee's Surrender Reaches Him. Remarkable four-page letter by H.M. Wells on board the "U.S. Monitor Onondaga," April 9th, on the James River, to Dr. Bela Stevens at the U.S. Insane Asylum. Wells writes (in part): "I was obliged to go to Richmond and see if the female portion of the community was suffering much - took about forty drops sevearl times with Genl. Weitzel in Jeff Davis' `shebang,' wiped my feet on Gov. smiths carpet, made pretty faces to some F.F.V. females, and found the moral status of Richmond society about that of New Orleans when we entered that city. Reports to day from there confirm my experience elsewhere, that woman becomes fearfully demoralized by war, and that good sescesh women, F.F.V.s in society, are the first to attend to all the little wants of Yankee officers. I need not tell you what you can better read in the papers about the city. Its glory and shame have passed with history, and it has become the mecca of America, judging from the crowds flocking there - wish you would visit me and we will take a `cuss-ory' view of this relic of Jeff-dom...Hold on a minute - there's a row - 10 o'clock P.M. We were just startled by heavy firing down the river and thought the `gorilliers' might be trying to raid it a little in the rear, but our dispatch boat brings the glorious news that Lee and his army have surrendered and everybody is giving vent to his joy through gunpowder. Surely the game is about up and you need not expect any more hard fighting. If you could only see the earthworks and fortifications about Richmond and Petersburg, you would agree with everybody that Grant has out-generaled Lee. Perhaps they will now send our vessel to Washington yard as she cannot go to sea. We may be neighbors yet!" etc. Accompanied by original envelope with well-centered 3c Rose (65) tied by bold segmented cork, matching "Old Point Comfort Va. Apr. 12" double-circle ds, Very Fine, very choice condition. With its risque comments on southern women, its original observations on the death of the Confederacy and its unique depiction of a writer recording at the moment it occurs a great moment in American history, this piece is the perfect climax to any collection of soldiers' letters - unquestionably one of the greatest such letters still in private hands

E. 1,500-2,000
1,500
523°
c
A Letter Rescued From the U.S.S. Housatonic. 1-page letter from Carrington P. Slade, headed "U.S. Steamer Housatonic off Charleston feb the [?] 1864," to his mother & father: "There is a great ram fever down here. We expect attack here every night by the rames. They started out last week one was coming out by Fort Sumter and one was coming out Beach Inlet she got half way out and she sprung a leak she went back after getting in by the battery she sunk and there is another one all ready to come out I was inside the bar last night on a boat to cut off relief from Fort Sumter but they did not come that night their boats was all busy getting off goods from a blockade runner which runashore under fort Moulter our ironclads has sunk the steamer." With 3c Rose (65) tied by segmented cork cancel on cover to Bristol R.I., "Old Point Comfort Va. Feb. 24" double-circle ds, large ms. endorsement at top: "Naval Letter, US Sloop Housatonic", opened at right, slightly affecting stamp, small waterstain at bottom, still Fine. On Feb 17th, the Housatonic, off Beach Inlet, was attacked by the Confederate submarine Hunley. As the ship did not sink immediately, two boats were filled with survivors and rescue work went on for several hours. Because of the Feb. 24th date in the postmark, it is quite possible this letter was still on board when the Housatonic went down. The date on the letter is frustratingly unclear - a "1" is certain, but the other number is either a sloppy "7" or a half-hearted "0". In addition there is a number "7" written on back of the envelope with this note nearby: "Mine was daited the 15/yourr was daited the 7/Abnr"; in any case, this is an important naval piece associated with the first successful submerged submarine attack in history

E. 1,000-1,500
1,600
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524°
c
Sale 779, Lot 524, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers"Ship's Letter/U.S. Steamer Saranac/ Panama Bay N.G." Endorsement on cover to Rush, Pa. from a U.S. marine aboard the Saranac. He writes (in part): "McClellan has finally waked up and commenced fighting on the plan he proved himself so successful in Western Virginia. I am glad to see matters taking so fair a turn, so glad I hardly know what to do with myself. I can tell you I am unspeakably happy to realize that the Union is not yet to be despaired of and that the lovers of the government are determined to push things to the last before secession and its unholy ends shall be successful against the best Republic that ever existed upon the face of the earth. You know that I have said that we should not be able to make proper resistance against the rebellion till a system of determined slaughter of rebels is agreed and acted upon, and now we behold a fulfillment of those very words. If the course of fighting instead of digging ditches is persevered in we shall soon be able to see the rbellion pretty well crushed. It requires action, determined, unflinching action, to put down so strong a foe, and the sooner we use the means the better it will be for everybody. Stonewall Jackson's raid into Maryland has at last given the people and the government a lesson that will prove very beneficial in the end, as it has forced them into the belief that nothing but an unmerciful onslaught upon the least appearance of `secesh' will give us a final victory." etc., cover with some edge flaws, Fine, exceptional content

E. 300-400
0
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525°
c
Sale 779, Lot 525, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers5c Blue (Local) (7). Two, large margins to touched, tied together by "Mobile Ala. Feb." double-circle ds to "Surgeon Jas. F. Harrison, C.S.N., Richmond" on grayish blue envelope, Very Fine. a former U.S. naval surgeon, Harrison served on the C.S.S. Patrick Henry in 1861-62

E. 100-150
95
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526°
c
Sale 779, Lot 526, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers10c Blue, Die A (11). Full to huge margins including bottom sheet margin, tied by "Statesville N.C." cds on lime green cover to the "Receiving Ship/Charleston,/S.Ca." This refers to the CSS Indian Chief, used as a receiving ship at Charleston. In addition, the ship supported local torpedo operations during 1863. The Indian Chief was burned by the Confederates prior to the evacuation of Charleston on Feb. 18, 1865; flap tear and small stain at bottom, Fine, very scarce address

E. 250-350
250
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527°
c
Sale 779, Lot 527, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers10c Greenish Blue, Die A (11c). Tied by "Amelia Va. Nov. 15" cds on homemade buff cover to Lt. James McC Baker, commander of the C.S.S. Huntsville at Mobile, Fine, signed Brian Green. Designed as an ironclad, though only partially armored, the Hunstville guarded the waters around Mobile. She was sunk on Apr. 12, 1865 during the evacuation of Mobile

E. 200-250
0
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528°
c
10c Blue, Die B (12). Large margins, rich color, tied by partial blue Petersburg, Va. cds on cover with pink lining, to Surgeon James Harrison "C.S. Navy Richmond Va.", Fine

E. 75-100
85
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529°
c
Sale 779, Lot 529, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers10c Blue, Die B (12). Cut to shape, pen-cancelled, on small cover with ms. "Locust Hill N.C. Jany. 21st" and addressed to "Lieut. Charles I. Graves - CSN/School Ship `Patrick Henry'/Richmond/Va.", docketing indicates this was received on board Feb. 3, 1885" contemporary waterstaining at left, still Fine, very rare. Among its many activities, Patrick Henry was present during the battle of Hampton Roads and fired long range at the Monitor as it maneuvered against the Viriginia. It also served as the Confederate States Naval Academy in Oct. 1863. She was burned by the Confederates when Richmond was evacuated. Lt. Graves and others from the Patrick Henry acted as escort to Mrs. Jefferson Davis and guard for Confederate treasure

E. 300-400
0
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530°
c
Sale 779, Lot 530, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers20c Green (13). Large margins incl. left sheet margin, tied by "Lexington Va. May 10" cds on turned cover to Lafayette Adair, aboard "C.S. Steamer Beaufort/Box 149/James river fleet", inside with 10c Blue, Die A (11) tied by Richmond cds, to Samuel Adair, cover with edge wear and toning, stamp with sheet margin partly torn away just into stamp - this most likely occured in transit, still Fine and a very desirable usage - naval related examples of the 20c Green are very rare

E. 600-800
0
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531°
c
Sale 779, Lot 531, Civil War Naval Letters and Covers20c Green, Diagonal Half Used as 10c (13c). Top right half with large margins, well tied by "Marion C.H. S.C. Dec. 20" cds on cover to Society Hill with corner card, "Commandant's Office/Naval Station", docketing indicates this was sent by a E.J. Means, box charge in ms. at top, last name of address removed (Allston), cover with scattered insect erosion not affecting stamp or corner card but which has been reinforced by rebacking the inside of the cover - professionally restored, this would be an outstanding item; quite possibly the only naval-related bisect known

2,250
0
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532°
c
Sale 779, Lot 532, Civil War Naval Letters and CoversCSS Nansemond. Hand-carried cover, marked "Official" on addressed to "Lieut: Comdg:/J.H. Rochelle C.S.N./Steamer `Nansemond'" A former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, Rochelle served on a number of Confederate ships. He was commander of the Nansemond in 1862-63, as part of the James River squad, Very Fine and rare

E. 150-200
140
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533°
c
Confederate Covers with Naval Addresses. Three, includes large cover with No. 12 tied by Tarboro N.C. cds and mailed to "Pay Master John de Bree, C.N./Chief of Office Provisions & Clothing/Navy Department/Richmond" with note on back, "To be examined" and "Naval Construction/Carpenters & others"; turned cover front with No. 12s, to Surgeon Arthur Lynch aboard CSS Palmetto State an ironclad ram at Charleston (other side addressed by Lynch to his wife; No. 11 from Charleston, Nov. 23, 1864 to Marine Lt. Henry Graves on CSS Savannah at Savannah; last stamp faulty, other covers with some faults, Good-Fine, rare group

E. 300-400
300
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534°
 
John Ericsson. Naval inventor and engineer, best remembered for building the Monitor, ALS, 1 page (8 x 10 in.), dated June 4, 1858, to John B. Nitabu: "After much reflection I advice you t put off, for the prsent, the consturction of the intended large caloric boat - I need not say that I give this advise reluctantly, but in view of the important bearing which this boat will exercise in regard to the introduction of our new motor and the possibility of our adapting a form of engine not altogether calculated to recommend and inspire confidence in the caloric engine, I request that yo will stop the work that we may have the advantage of fully testing the large engines we are now building before we commence others of still greater power." Large signatue, Very Fine

E. 750-1,000
0
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535
 
James P. McKinstry. Commander in the Blockade Squadron. ALS, 1 page, dated May 15, 1866 to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, regarding a security leak (i.e. the ship's destination) and his efforts "to prevent if possible any further reports." Docketing in Welles' hand on back, Fine

E. 100-125
0
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536
 
[Union Navy]. Collection of four letters from James Payne, 1861-62, letters headed the Gunboat Albatross, U.S.S. Congress, U.S.S. Ohio, and Fort Ellsworth. First letter with handsome naval letterhead, "The Pride of the Nation." Payne tells of the 15-gun salute given to Genl. McClellan and tells of his fear that the Merrimac would attack the U.S. Congress. He gives his impression of the taking of Fort Macon and the townspoeples' reaction: "The troops of Burnside have got possession of the town 0 they marched into it in the night and in the morning when the inhabitants turned out they were quite surprised to find our pickets sttioned in town but did not seem to dislike it much." Lot includes three post-war documents concerning Payne's pension, war letters with original envelopes (stamps removed), Fine lot

E. 300-400
150
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