VERY FINE. ONE OF TWO RECORDED COVERS CARRIED BY THE COMMERCIAL EXPRESS COMPANY FROM THEIR OFFICE IN BAGDAD , MEXICO.
The most comprehensive article on the Commercial Express Co. was published by Larry Ballantyne in The Penny Post (Oct. 2009). The Ballantyne census lists 13 covers, of which two were handled by the Bagdad office and have very similar markings. The Commercial Express operated from July 1864 to February 1866, with routes between New York and New Orleans, and between New Orleans, Texas and Mexico.
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE POST-APPOMATTOX COVER FROM A CONFEDERATE PRISONER TO WEST-CENTRAL ALABAMA, WHERE MAIL SERVICE WAS NOT YET FUNCTIONING IN THE AFTERMATH OF WAR.
This cover from William E. Pearson (Assistant Surgeon in the Co. F, 1st Regt., Tennessee Infantry.), a prisoner at Johnsons Island, was intended to go to Vicksburg and from there by flag-of-truce to Clinton or Jackson, Mississippi. However, by May 1865, the C.S.A. postal system had collapsed, and this cover was either stopped at or returned to Nashville. It was marked "Mails Suspended", then presumably returned to the sender in another envelope. This cover is rare in two respects: first, the flag-of-truce exchange point at Vicksburg is very unusual, and, second, the "Mails Suspended" marking is rarely seen on prisoners' mail.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 11).
FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE POST-APPOMATTOX COVER FROM A CONFEDERATE PRISONER TO EASTERN ALABAMA, WHERE MAIL SERVICE WAS NOT YET FUNCTIONING IN THE AFTERMATH OF WAR.
This cover from Lt. J. B. Mitchell (Co. B, 34th Regt. Alabama Infantry), a prisoner at Johnsons Island, is unusual in that the prisoner did not use the customary "Flag of Truce" endorsement, but indicated an intended route to eastern Alabama "via Mobile & Montgomery". However, by May 1865, the C.S.A. postal system had collapsed, and this cover was either stopped at or returned to Nashville. It was marked "Mails Suspended", then presumably returned to the sender in another envelope.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 11). Ex Kilbourne
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE LATEST USE OF A CONFEDERATE STAMP ON COVER, POSTMARKED JUNE 7, 1865, AT MARSHALL, TEXAS, AND ADDRESSED TO UNION GENERAL FRANCIS J. HERRON.
After the surrender of the Confederate armies under Lee and Johnston, the Trans-Mississippi Department refused to surrender and continued fighting. The last land battle of the Civil War-- the Battle of Palmito Ranch -- was fought May 12-13, 1865, on Texas soil (it was a Confederate victory). On May 26, Confederate Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, acting on Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith's behalf, met with Union officers in New Orleans to arrange the surrender of Smith's force under terms similar to Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Smith reluctantly agreed and officially laid down his arms at Galveston on June 2. As the Confederate army in Texas was dismantled, the situation in Texas deteriorated rapidly, with looting occurring in several cities and a collapse of general order. Marshall, Texas, where the Trans-Mississippi Department of the C.S.A. Post Office was headquartered under Dr. James H. Starr, was occupied by U.S. forces on June 17, 1865. This cover was postmarked at Marshall on June 7 during the turmoil that followed Smith's surrender.
The use of Confederate and U.S. stamps on the same cover presents several intriguing questions. How did the U.S. stamp reach Marshall, Texas? Who addressed the cover and was it stamped to satisfy both sides of the conflict as it reached its conclusion? What was the nature of this correspondence?
The addressee was Major General Francis J. Herron, who led U.S. forces into Texas towards the end of the war. In March 1865, he was assigned to the command of the Northern Division of Louisiana. In May 1865, General Herron met with Confederate Lieutenant Generals Buckner, Sterling Price, and Brent, at the mouth of the Red River, and negotiated the surrender of Smith's Trans-Mississippi Army. General Herron dropped anchor in Shreveport on June 7, 1865 (New York Times, Jul. 9, 1865). At Shreveport General Herron supervised the formal surrender of over sixty thousand men, with their arms, artillery, and other war material. He remained there until all Confederate troops were paroled and sent home, and he established garrisons throughout Texas, Northern Louisiana, and the Indian Territory. In July 1865, General Herron was appointed on a commission with General Harney and others to negotiate new treaties with the Indian tribes. In 1865 he resigned his commissions as Major General and Indian commissioner.
Ex Shenfield and Grant. With 1973 P.F. and 1996 C.S.A. certificates.