A FINE AND RARE COVER FROM A UNION PRISONER HELD IN A CONFEDERATE PRISON CAMP IN TEXAS, CARRIED BY THE SHREVEPORT-NEW ORLEANS FLAG-OF-TRUCE ROUTE. FEWER THAN TEN COVERS FROM CAMP FORD ARE KNOWN.
The Federal occupation of Baton Rouge on May 12, 1862, left the U.S. in control of southeastern Louisiana. The close proximity of U.S. and C.S.A. forces in Louisiana led to flag-of-truce prisoner and P.O.W. mail exchanges in 1863 to 1865. The principal exchange point was along the Mississippi River between U.S.-controlled Red River Landing and C.S.A.-controlled Simmesport. Most of the northbound mail has manuscript examined markings by Major Hyllested, Provost Marshal General of Texas at Houston, or, in the case of this cover, by Major Szymanski, Assistant Agent of Exchange for the Trans-Mississippi Department at Shreveport, Louisiana. The few surviving northbound covers are inner envelopes from C.S.A. prisons which were routed via Shreveport, Simmesport and Red River Landing to enter the U.S. mails at New Orleans. Camp Ford in Tyler was close to Shreveport, just over the Texas line. This cover was examined in Shreveport and exchanged by the C.S.A. flag-of-truce steamer Countless at Red River Landing around March 15, 1865. It was posted at New Orleans on March 17.
Illustrated in Harrison (p. 68, lists only five covers known) and Special Routes (p. 243)