VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE COVER POSTED AT MEMPHIS ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE CONFEDERATE POSTAL SYSTEM AND TREATED AS UNPAID ON ARRIVAL AT NEW ORLEANS.
Shenfield note on back "Never saw another". Ex Pratt
AN IMPORTANT LETTER FROM THE NASHVILLE POSTMASTER, PRESENTING A FINAL ACCOUNTING OF POSTAL RETURNS FROM APRIL 1 TO JUNE 12, 1861, THE LAST DAY OF SERVICE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
Tennessee's secession referendum was passed on May 6, 1861. The popular vote to secede took place on June 8. Although Tennessee was admitted into the Confederacy on May 16, it did officially enter until the ratification vote on June 24. The Nashville postmaster was caught between his oath to the Federal government and his new role as Confederate postmaster. The Federal postal authorities suspended mail service to Nashville on June 12. This letter pinpoints June 12 as the final date of McNish's returns to the Post Office Dept. in Washington. The letter reads:
"Accompanying this letter please find my returns from the 1st of April to 12th June 1861 of the Post Office Business of this City...[and referring to a balance due the U.S.] At some time when our unhappy difficulties are settled, I presume the amount will be honorably paid in a final settlement of accounts, between the two Governments..."
Accompanying this letter is a yellow cover from the Cleage correspondence, addressed to Athens Tenn., with blue "Nashville Ten. Jun. 27, 1861" circular datestamp and matching "Paid 5" handstamps. This cover shows the new Confederate rates used a few days after Tennessee's admission was ratified.