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Sale 801 — Confederate States

Sale Date — Tuesday, 9 June, 1998

Category — Thru-the-Lines Usage

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
15
c
Sale Number 801, Lot Number 15, Thru-the-Lines UsagePontotoc Miss. Jun. 8 (1861), Pontotoc Miss. Jun. 8 (1861)Pontotoc Miss. Jun. 8 (1861). Circular datestamp and ms. "Paid 5 cts" C.S.A. rate on 3c Red Star Die entire to Henry White, New Haven Conn., with original enclosures - a letter and bill of exhange - the former datelined Pontotoc, Jun. 7, 1861, from a Stephen Daggett, who instructs his correspondent to "Request your post master to send your reply direct to the Louisville Ky. distributing Post office & it will probably reach me."

A VERY FINE AND EARLY THRU-THE-LINES COVER FROM CONFEDERATE MISSISSIPPI TO CONNECTICUT VIA LOUISVILLE.

The suspension of Federal mail service to the South was ordered on May 27, 1861, and the Confederate postal system was inaugurated on June 1. During the first week of June there was considerable disruption in mail service, and, with the complete termination of mail between Louisville and Nashville on June 8 (or 10), post offices were no longer permitted to carry mail across the lines. The express companies filled the void.

This cover from Pontotoc, mailed on June 8, was correctly prepaid to Nashville, probably arriving there on the following day, June 9. Whether this cover slipped into the Federal mails at Louisville or was carried by an early thru-the-lines express, we cannot say. If carried by express, it might have been enclosed in an outer envelope for mailing at Louisville. If sent to Connecticut in the regular mails, it is possible that Louisville allowed some mail to go through without marking letters unpaid.

A clue to the routing may lie in the sender's instructions to direct a reply to the Louisville distributing office and "it will probably reach me." In a remarkable stroke of luck, we found Henry White's reply cover in the Frank J. Engel sale catalogue (H. R. Harmer, May 17, 1976, lot 2700 - see Figure A opposite). As instructed by Stephen Daggett, Mr. White addressed his envelope "Via Louisville Ky. D.P.O.", but it was stopped in transit and sent to the Dead Leter Office on July 22.

Ex Roser

E. 1,500-2,000
1,100
16
c
"Turner's Point Texas, June 19th". Ms. pmk. on blue folded letter datelined "Kaufman County Texas June 15th 1861" from a young man eager to join the Confederate army to his cousin at Clifton Mills in Breckinridge County in northwestern Kentucky, no indication of C.S.A. rate or prepaid postage, blue "Paducah Ky." double-circle datestamp struck on three different days - Aug. 29, 30 and Sep. 3, 1861 - matching "Due 3" in oval, one strike crossed out, a second strike at upper right, minor wear along folds expertly reinforced

A REMARKABLE THRU-THE-LINES COVER FROM TEXAS, POSTMARKED AT PADUCAH ON THE EVE OF THE CONFEDERATE INVASION OF KENTUCKY AND THREE DAYS PRIOR TO FEDERAL OCCUPATION UNDER ULYSSES S. GRANT.

Kaufman County, Texas, lies just east of Dallas. Four days after the letter's June 15 dateline, it was postmarked at Turner's Point, also in Kaufman County. The letter made its way to the Mississippi River, probably by a courier, then it was carried up river to Paducah, Kentucky.

Although Kentucky remained neutral at this time, Paducah had strong pro-Southern elements. This letter was postmarked first on August 29, then again on August 30, and finally a third time on September 3, the day Confederate forces moved on Hickman and Columbus, Kentucky, which effectively ended the state's neutrality policy.

On the morning of September 6, some 4,000 Confederate troops moved from Columbus toward Paducah with the intention of taking this key river port. However, Ulysses S. Grant entered Paducah that morning with a small detachment of troops and proclaimed Federal control. The Confederates were unaware of their superior strength and turned back from Paducah after hearing of Grant's occupation. To reassure citizens who were predominantly pro-Southern and deeply suspicious of the Union army's presence, Grant issued an eloquent proclamation that earned him the people's confidence and his superior's praise.

Looking at the markings on this cover - in particular, the absence of a "Due 10" at Turner's Point and the multiple datestamps and "Due" markings at Paducah - one wonders if the postmasters in the sending and receiving offices equivocated between the U.S. and C.S.A. rates while Kentucky's fate was uncertain.

E. 1,500-2,000
1,800
Back to Top
17
c
Dead Letter Office P.O. Dept. No. - July 15, 1861. Large bold oval datestamp with "DUE 3 cts" straightline, 3c Dull Red (26) tied by "Carlisle Ky. Jun. 10" circular datestamp on cover to Confederate Governor of Texas, Thomas Lubbock, at Houston, sender's routing "Via Nashville Ten.", attempted thru-the-lines mailing from Kentucky to Texas, D.L.O. identifies sender at left "Thos. S. Morgan, Carlisle, Kentucky", 3c minor corner crease

VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE NORTHERN DEAD LETTER OFFICE MARKING APPLIED TO SOUTHBOUND MAIL AFTER SUSPENSION OF MAILS. ONE OF TWO RECORDED WITH THE LARGE OVAL DATESTAMP ON MAIL ORIGINATING IN KENTUCKY.

After Postmaster General Blair's May 27 order prohibiting mail from the North to disloyal Southern States, the mails between Louisville and Nashville continued briefly until ordered stopped on or soon after June 8 (see Brooks American Letter Express Company, p. 16). This cover was sent by Thomas S. Morgan, later a captain in the Confederate army, to the Confederate Governor of Texas, but it was stopped - probably at Louisville - and sent to the Washington D.C. Dead Letter Office. The envelope was opened to identify the sender, then it was returned to him postage due.

Thomas S. Morgan was not related to John Hunt Morgan, the celebrated Confederate raider, but he is mentioned on page 193 of Rebel Raider by James A. Ramage (1986, The University Press of Kentucky). Thomas S. Morgan's sister, Lucy Dorsey, visited him in a prison hospital at Camp Chase one day prior to John Hunt Morgan's escape. Days later she wrote to her grandfather and used words suggesting a coded message of hope for Morgan's safe journey home. As the historian Ramage observes, "There is no proof that Lucy aided the escape, but she may have delivered messages or money through her brother, who was not one of the escapees."

In our Sale 795, we sold a similar D.L.O. cover from Kentucky for $3,500 hammer. At the time our records contained only that example.

E. 2,000-3,000
2,400
Back to Top
18
c
3c Dull Red (26). Grid cancel, matching "Elizabethtown Ky. Jun. 17" (1861) cds on cover to Confederate States, Chief Appointment Bureau, P.O. Dept., Richmond Va., ms. "Due 10" C.S.A. rate, Very Fine and extremely rare cover sent from a pro-Confederate in middle Kentucky - probably a petition for appointment as postmaster - and correctly prepaid with 3c U.S. rate; it travelled thru the lines despite Federal prohibition against mail to Southern States, but was treated as unpaid on arrival at Confederate post office (essentially a "Northern Letter Unpaid" cover)

E. 750-1,000
500
Back to Top
19
c
3c Dull Red (26). Torn at left when separated, tied by grid, "Glasgow Ky. Jun. 24(?)" (1861) double-circle ds on cover to Dardanelle Ark., attempted use of U.S. stamp, blue "5" C.S.A. rate handstamp applied at Nashville, re-rated "Due 10" on arrival in Arkansas for distance over 500 miles, Very Fine and fascinating cover - the sender prepaid the 3c U.S. rate (technically correct in Kentucky) but mail to Southern States thru Nashville had been stopped by Federals on or about June 8; this cover made it thru, but was rated with Confederate postage due at Nashville and Monticello Ark. ("Northern Letter Unpaid")

E. 750-1,000
0
Back to Top
20
c
DUE 5. Bold straightline C.S.A. rate in oval applied on arrival at Marion Ky. on buff cover, 3c Rose (65) cancelled by blue grid, matching "Louisville Ky. Jan. 18, 1862" double-circle ds, stamp has minor gum stains, slightly reduced at top (small piece of flap missing), otherwise Very Fine, one of two known examples of this remarkable usage (the other offered in the following lot): Marion was in Crittenden County, an area occupied by Nathan Bedford Forrest's troops - this cover from Louisville travelled thru Federal mails but was marked "Due 5" for Confederate postage upon receipt at Marion - illustrated in Dietz

E. 1,000-1,500
750
Back to Top
21
c
DUE 5. Bold straightline C.S.A. rate in oval applied on arrival at Marion Ky. on buff cover, 3c Rose (65) tied by blue grid, matching "Louisville Ky. Jan. 26, 1862" double-circle ds, stamp has s.e., slightly reduced at right and faint stain along top edge, Fine, the second of two known examples of this remarkable usage (the offered in the previous lot), ex MacBride, Roser

E. 750-1,000
500
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