VERY FINE. EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF CONFEDERATE USAGE INTO LOUISVILLE AFTER TERMINATION OF POSTAL RELATIONS. SOUTHERN USE OF UNITED STATES POSTAGE NOT RECOGNIZED.
Postmaster General Blair's May 27 order to stop all mail from the North to disloyal Southern states was less explicit in dealing with mail from the South to loyal states. With the suspension of government mail exchange between Louisville and Nashville on or about June 8, the express companies assumed the primary role in carrying letters across the lines (until such service was outlawed on August 26). This letter was sent on June 13 from the Confederate post office at Farnham, Virginia, and it somehow reached Louisville, probably on or about June 15. The 3c embossed stamp was considered contraband by the Federals, so the letter was treated as unpaid and marked "Due 3". On or just after June 25 the Louisville post office began using the "Southern Letter Unpaid" handstamp.
The accompanying 1988 C.S.A. certificate states "Genuine through-the-lines envelope. Cannot be qualified as a Southern Letter Unpaid." The absence of those three words, "Southern Letter Unpaid", is merely a matter of semantics, for this most certainly is an example of the U.S. post office refusing to recognize postage on a letter originating from a seceded state
FINE AND RARE EXAMPLE OF "SOUTHERN LETTER UNPAID" MARKING ON A COVER ADDRESSED TO KENTUCKY.
By Postmaster General Blair's order of May 27, mail service to disloyal Southern states was discontinued. On or about June 8, mail exchange between Louisville and Nashville was also banned. In early and mid-June, however, a large quantity of mail from the South reached Louisville for delivery to correspondents in the North. However, Federal government postage stamps affixed in the South were regarded as contraband and were refused as prepayment.
On June 24 Dr. J. J. Speed, the postmaster at Louisville was advised to forward letters from the South to the loyal states after removing postage. With approximately 5,000 such letters accumulating at Louisville by this date, Postmaster Speed employed a more practical means of invalidating postage by creating the "Southern Letter Unpaid" handstamp.
Immediately after receiving instructions from Washington to forward mail, the Louisville post office began marking letters. Some of these have circular datestamps (Jun. 27, 28 and 29 being the most common dates), while others have no Louisville datestamp, such as the example offered here. Given the June 8 origin date, this mail probably arrived at Louisville soon after termination of regular mail from Nashville. It was probably among the first to be forwarded after June 24.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN UNUSUAL "SOUTHERN LETTER UNPAID" COVER, POSTED FROM A CONFEDERATE POST OFFICE WITHOUT ANY INDICATION OF THE ORIGIN OR PREPAID RATE - SIMPLY SENT "PAID".
According to Scott Gallagher's exhibit write-up, the "Paid" on this cover was applied at Tawboro N.C. (deduced from other covers in the correspondence). The lack of a town datestamp or C.S.A. rate and the sender's attempt to direct this mail via Memphis suggests a deliberate effort to circumvent the Federal suspension of postal relations with the South.
With 1988 P.F. certificate