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Sale 988 — The Steven C. Walske Collection of Civil War Special Routes

Sale Date — Thursday, 27 May, 2010

Category — Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal Examiners

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
251
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 251, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersWilmington N.C. Provost Marshal, Wilmington N.C. Provost MarshalWilmington N.C. Provost Marshal. Folded letter datelined "Wilmington N.C. Oct. 26, 1863" from B. Duncan, Provost Marshal of Wilmington N.C., to the Secretary of War in Washington, requesting permission "for Mrs. J. Currie Burnett to come north by flag of truce to join her husband a federal soldier", entered U.S. mails with "Old Point Comfort Va. Nov. 5" circular datestamp, sent to Dead Letter Office as the Office of the Secretary of War did not accept unpaid letters, boldly-struck "Dead Letter Office Nov. 7, 1863" circular datestamp and "Unpaid" in circle in red, struck with "C.F. Macdonald/Acting Third Ass't PM Gen" handstamp and "Due 6", forwarded to the Secretary of War, approved on Nov. 9 with endorsement of "Assoc. Judge Adv." and returned to Duncan in Wilmington with crayon endorsement "Wilmington N.C. Mrs. Burnet/To come North by flag of truce.", pass signed in pencil "Maj Lurner?", all markings clearly struck, the cover is as fresh as the day it was written

EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF THE MOST SPECATCULAR ACROSS-THE-LINES COVERS EXTANT. A BEAUTIFUL COMBINATION OF POSTAL HISTORY AND CIVIL WAR HISTORY.

On rare occasions, an individual would receive a pass to cross the lines. Line-crossings required communication and cooperation between the warring parties, who were naturally suspicious of one another. The request enclosed in this cover explains: "Wilmington, North Carolina, Oct 26, 1863, Mrs. J. Carrie Burnett of Cincinnati Ohio, wife of a Federal soldier desires to procure a passport to return to her family in Ohio, with permission to go upon your Flag of Truce boat via Fortress Monroe. The permit forwarded to me will be handed to her. Respectfully, B. Duncan." (Duncan's censor mark appears on blockade-run covers -- see lot 350). The pass was granted on November 9 and returned by flag-of-truce to Wilmington. Mrs. Burnett then used it to board the flag-of-truce steamer to U.S.-controlled Fortress Monroe.

This cover is combines the essential ingredients of postal history -- extraordinary markings serving an unusual purpose -- with great Civil War history. It also helps us imagine the struggles of Mrs. Burnett and thousands of other civilian wives and mothers to reunite with their loved ones during the war.

Illustrated in Antrim (p. 194). Discussed and illustrated in Special Routes (p. 96, 177-178)

E. 4,000-5,000
8,000
252
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 252, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersDistrict of East Tennessee Provost Marshal, District of East Tennessee Provost MarshalDistrict of East Tennessee Provost Marshal. Inner envelope with original letter datelined "Loudon Tennessee Apr 30th 1864", sent from U.S.-controlled Loudon (near Knoxville) to C.S.A.-controlled Kingsport Tenn., censored with embossed "Provost Marshal General of East Tennessee" seal and manuscript "Ex LA Gratz Maj & aaag", C.S.A. postage paid by 10c Blue, Die A (11), uncancelled, the exchange point was Knoxville where Maj. Gratz was located, stamp with small edge faults from placement, light soiling and backflap partially split and reinforced

VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE EAST TENNESSEE PROVOST MARSHAL EMBOSSED SEAL. FEWER THAN FIVE EXAMPLES ARE KNOWN.

Provost marshals were military officers charged with the duties of making searches, seizures, and arrests, the custody of deserters and of prisoners of war, and the issuance of passes. Their duties also included the examination of letters to or from potentially disloyal persons. Two types of provost marshals were appointed during the Civil War. Each military district had a provost marshal whose duties were focused on maintaining order within the geographic confines of that district. In addition, each army had a provost marshal whose duties were more military in nature, such as taking temporary charge of captured prisoners and maintaining order in the army.

Virtually all examination of mail was performed by the district provost marshals. Both the U.S and C.S.A. district provost marshal organizations examined across-the-lines mail. In that context, they were responsible for P.O.W. mail, civilian flag-of-truce mail, blockade-run mail, and smuggled mail. A number of different manuscript provost marshal markings appear on through-the-lines covers as well as Union handstamped markings. The only district to use the rare embossed marking is the District of East Tennessee.

Illustrated in Harrison (p. 246) and Special Routes (p. 98)

E. 3,000-4,000
2,000
Back to Top
253
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 253, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersTullahoma Tenn, Tullahoma TennTullahoma Tenn. Light yellow flag-of-truce cover to Mt. Solon Va., clear strike of "Tullahoma Ten. Mar. 26, 1863" circular datestamp with "Paid 10" C.S.A. rate handstamp, manuscript "Per Flag of Truce", back of cover censored with "Approved by order of Major Gen'l Rosecrans, Wm. M. Miles, Pro. Marshal Genl.", some slight wear, otherwise Very Fine, a most unusual usage, in March 1863 Union Army of the Cumberland Commander Gen. William S. Rosecrans was in the middle of a six-month occupation of Murfreesboro to the Northwest of Tullahoma in preparation for the Tullahoma or Middle Tennessee campaign against the Confederate Army of the Tennessee and Gen. Braxton Bragg (June 24-July 3, 1863), Bragg was in a defensive position in and around Tullahoma, this cover was sent through the lines by flag-of-truce and censored by an army provost marshal, prepaid with cash and entered the C.S.A. postal system in Tullahoma

E. 1,000-1,500
550
Back to Top
254
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 254, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersNorfolk Va. Provost Marshal, Norfolk Va. Provost MarshalNorfolk Va. Provost Marshal. Yellow civilian flag-of-truce cover to Richmond, clearly struck "Approved/Chas. M. Weelden [sic]/Lt. Col. & Provost Marshal/District Va." four lines in ornamental rectangular frame handstamp (Ty. I), two 5c Blue, Stone 2 (4), each with ample margins to just touched, tied by "Richmond Va. Feb. 11" (1864) circular datestamp (Ty. 5, used May 1863 to Mar. 1865)

VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COMBINATION OF A SCARCE CENSOR MARKING WITH THE 5-CENT BLUE LITHOGRAPHED GENERAL ISSUE. A BEAUTIFUL FLAG-OF-TRUCE COVER.

This cover is the inner envelope of a flag-of-truce letter that was exchanged between Fortress Monroe and Richmond and put into the Richmond post office as an overpaid drop letter.

Illustrated in Antrim (p. 178), Shenfield (p. 37), Harrison (p. 249) and Special Routes (p. 99)

E. 2,000-3,000
2,100
Back to Top
255
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 255, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersNorfolk Va. Provost Marshal, Norfolk Va. Provost MarshalNorfolk Va. Provost Marshal. Civilian flag-of-truce cover from Norfolk Va. to Mosley Hall N.C., bearing two 5c Green, Stone 2 (1), one has large margins incl. top sheet margin, other cut in, tied by "Richmond Va. Aug. 24" (1864) circular datestamp, sender's "per Flag of Truce" endorsement and manuscript "Ex" examiner's mark, light but readable backstamp "APPROVED/July 31 1864/CHARLES M. WHELDEN,/Lieut. Col. & Pro. Marshal,/NORFOLK DIST., VA."%$ in truncated frame, slightly reduced at right and small backflap tear

FINE AND RARE CIVILIAN FLAG-OF-TRUCE COVER WITH A PROVOST MARSHAL CENSOR HANDSTAMP AND PRE-PAID C.S.A. POSTAGE.

The use of Confederate stamps on a southbound flag-of-truce cover is very unusual, and this is a very late use of the 5c Green Lithograph. Typically, such covers show a due marking for C.S.A. postage

E. 2,000-3,000
0
Back to Top
256
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 256, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersNorfolk Va. Provost Marshal, Norfolk Va. Provost MarshalNorfolk Va. Provost Marshal. Civilian flag-of-truce cover to Salisbury N.C., endorsed "Per flag of truce boat--", manuscript "Ex" examiner's mark and six lines in octagonal frame "Approved/Norfolk, Va./Sept. 1864/Horace T. Sanders,/Colonial & Provost Marshal/Dist. of Va.", handstamp lightly but legibly struck, ties 10c Blue, Die A (11), large margins, used with 3c Rose (65), bold "B" manuscript cancel, both stamps tied by "Richmond Va. Sep. 16" (1864) circular datestamp, faint toning at bottom, Very Fine, scarce and attractive mixed franking from Norfolk via Old Point Comfort and Richmond, from the Gordon correspondence, illustrated in Special Routes (p. 99)

E. 1,000-1,500
1,100
Back to Top
257
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 257, Flag-of-Truce Mail: Provost Marshal ExaminersFederal Provost Marshal Prison, Knoxville Tenn, Federal Provost Marshal Prison, Knoxville TennFederal Provost Marshal Prison, Knoxville Tenn. Brown prisoner-of-war cover from Union-controlled Knoxville to Louisville Ky., censored with manuscript Forwd. S.P. Carter Brig Genl. & PMG" and "L. A. Gratz aaag", 3c Rose (65) tied by target and "Knoxville Ten. Feb 1 '64" circular datestamp

VERY FINE. THIS IS THE ONLY COVER KNOWN FROM THE FEDERAL PROVOST MARSHAL PRISON IN KNOXVILLE.

Following the Fall 1863 Knoxville Campaign and the September 2, 1863, occupation of Knoxville by Federal forces, the former Confederate prison was taken over and used as a Provost Marshal Prison. Large numbers of citizen prisoners were held there during 1864. (Harrison p. 205). Samuel Powhatan Carter was a U.S. Navy officer who served in the Union Army as a brevet major general during the war and after the war became a rear admiral -- the first American officer to be awarded both ranks. After the occupation of Knoxville, he was also made Provost Marshal General of the Knoxville Division. Major L. A. Gratz served as examiner and acting assistant adjutant general. Harrison records only a single cover sent to the Knoxville Prison and this is the only one we record from the Prison.

E. 1,500-2,000
0
Back to Top
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