Sale 988 — The Steven C. Walske Collection of Civil War Special Routes
Sale Date — Thursday, 27 May, 2010
Category — Trans-Mississippi Routes: Private Express
AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE TYPE I LABEL, THE RAREST OF THE FOUR TYPES USED ON TRANS-MISSISSIPPI MAIL CARRIED BY E. H. CUSHING.
E. H. Cushing, publisher of the Houston Daily Telegraph, commenced his express service after New Orleans fell to Federal forces in April 1862. In an effort to improve communications between Texas regiments in the East and their relations at home, as well as secure safe lines for news transmission, Cushing established routes with pony riders and other means of conveyance necessary to cross the Federal lines. Cushing's agents affixed labels to the backs of envelopes carried by express. These were intended to inform patrons and advertise the service. Approximately 20 examples (of all varieties) are believed to exist. This type is much rarer than the larger labels.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 111). Ex Keeling
UNUSUALLY FINE CONDITION FOR A CUSHING TRANS-MISSISSIPPI EXPRESS COVER. THE LABEL IS THE LAST IN THE SERIES USED BY CUSHING.
This Cushing label with a Sep. 12, 1864, dateline reads: "The P.O. Department has notified us to discontinue these private expresses, as they interfere with its revenues. We shall accordingly send no more at present." and reporting news that "The French are in possession of Matamoros and Monterey."
Illustrated in Shenfield book (p. 70) and Special Routes (p. 118).
ONE OF EIGHT RECORDED COVERS WITH THE EDEY LABEL, OF WHICH HALF ARE AFFIXED TO THE BACKS. EDEY'S EXPRESS OPERATED BRIEFLY FROM JUNE UNTIL LATE OCTOBER 1862 -- THIS IS THE LATEST OF THE RECORDED COVERS.
Arthur H. Edey provided mail service between members of the 5th Regiment, Texas Volunteers, serving east of the Mississippi, and their correspondents back home. Our records contain eight examples of Edey's label, including a few heavily stained or defective covers. This cover was probably carried across the river near Shreveport. New Salem, Texas, is in Rusk County, west of Shreveport and north of Liberty. One other cover from the Jessie Bryan correspondence is known; it is identically addressed and bears a block of four 10c Die A for the 40c government Trans-Mississippi express rate, cancelled by the army field office target.
Ex Alex Hall
A RARE COVER FROM A CONFEDERATE PRISONER HELD AT ROCK ISLAND TO THE SECOND AUDITOR'S OFFICE IN RICHMOND -- SENT IN CARE OF SARGEANT W. U. BAYLESS, THE SUCCESSOR TO ARTHUR H. EDEY IN OPERATING EDEY'S TRANS-MISSISSIPPI EXPRESS.
Sgt. W. U. Bayless, agent for the 5th Texas Regiment, assisted Arthur H. Edey and became responsible for the express after Edey was captured and imprisoned at Elmira.
Described in the Confederate Philatelist (No. 188, pp. 35-38). Ex Everett, Felton and Corwin
VERY FINE. THIS IS ONE OF FOUR RECORDED COVERS CARRIED BY ONE OF THE ARKANSAS EXPRESSES, AND IT IS THE ONLY COVER WITH PROOF OF HANDLING BY BARKSDALE'S EXPRESS.
This cover was incorrectly described by us as an E. W. Black's Express cover in Sale 907 (lot 3049). After the sale it was reattributed to J. M. Barksdale at the C.S A. Authentication Service. Their findings were published in an article by Francis J. Crown Jr. ("A New Private Express Cover", Confederate Philatelist, Jul-Sep. 2007, No. 354). We will draw on that article for this catalogue entry.
The sender, Capt. Alexander E. Spence, served in Company B (Clark County Volunteers), 1st Arkansas Infantry. Spence was promoted to captain on January 20, 1863. The expressman, J. M. Barksdale, was enlisted on Aug. 4, 1861, at Crane Creek, Missouri, and served in Company H, 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles. He was wounded on Mar. 7, 1862, at Elk Horn Ark and discharged on Dec. 17, 1862.
The following is an excerpt from Mark Christ's book Getting Used to Being Shot At: The Spence Family Civil War Letters: "Noted Arkansas jurist Uriah M. Rose, on a trip to Richmond in his capacity as the official historiographer of the state's Confederate government, met Barksdale. He described the courier thus: 'I had for a companion during my journey across the Mississippi River a most worthy and agreeable person, whose name was Barksdale; a resident of the State of Mississippi, a private enlisted in the Southern Army, then detailed to carry letters back and forth across the Mississippi River for officers and soldiers in the field. He was a very excellent and a very sensible person, and had a perfect knowledge of every foot of the way. Every one was glad to see him coming, as they expected to receive letters by him from their friends and relatives who were in daily peril of their lives, or from loved ones at home. Every one on the road knew him, and, so kind and obliging was he in disposition, that everyone seemed to be his friend. He was probably thirty-five years old, was not highly educated, but had a sound judgment about men and things, joined with simple and agreeable manners.'"
The Barksdale Express began operating no later than the summer of 1863 and was still carrying mail in late 1864. Barksdale carried mail from Arkansas soldiers in Reynolds' Arkansas Brigade to Washington, Arkansas, where they were posted in the Confederate mail. The express charge for a letter to Arkansas (westbound) was $1.00, as noted on the cover offered here. Mail from Arkansas to the soldiers (eastbound) was apparently carried free.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 113). With 2006 C.S.A. certificate stating "genuine J. M. Barksdale private express usage."
ONLY FOUR COVERS ARE KNOWN THAT WERE CARRIED BY ONE OF THE ARKANSAS EXPRESS OPERATIONS ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. THIS IS THE ONLY ONE WITH A BLACK'S EXPRESS ENDORSEMENT.
Elias W. Black was a soldier in the 4th Arkansas Regiment who was discharged for disability in June 1862. He operated an express between Arkansas and McNair's Arkansas Brigade of the Army of Tennessee. He charged $1.00 on letters to Arkansas, but return letters were apparently free. He carried his westbound letters to Washington, Arkansas, where he sent them onward in the Confederate mails. Return letters to the Brigade were sent under cover to his attention at Hampton, Arkansas (see Stefan T. Jaronski, "Another Private Trans-Mississippi Express Service Uncovered", Confederate Philatelist, No. 241). Certain covers from the Spence correspondence previously thought to have been carried by E. W. Black are now attributed to Barksdale's Express (see lot 282).
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 114). Ex Telep and Everett
FINE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE "ONE-MAN EXPRESS" COVER CARRIED WESTWARD ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BY I. W. STURDIVANT AND PUT INTO THE MAILS IN MARSHALL, TEXAS.
Less than five covers carried by Sturdivant are reported, all of which travelled westward across the Mississippi River into Texas. The sender, Sgt. J. S. Foscue, joined the 7th Texas Infantry on Oct. 1, 1861, at Marshall, Texas.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 115). Ex Birkinbine