Sale 988 — The Steven C. Walske Collection of Civil War Special Routes
Sale Date — Thursday, 27 May, 2010
Category — Northbound Mail via Memphis and Paducah Mail Route
AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF MAIL THAT WAS CARRIED ON THE SECONDARY MAIL ROUTE AFTER ALL OTHER ROUTES BETWEEN THE NORTH AND SOUTH WERE SUSPENDED.
The secondary mail route operated on the Memphis and Paducah Railroad, linking western Tennessee and western Kentucky. This route was not suspended until August 30, but very little mail was carried on it. In this case the Missouri post offices did not assess U.S. postage, possibly out of sympathy to correspondents in the Confederacy.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 18). With 1989 P.F. certificate
A REMARKABLE ACROSS-THE-LINES COVER FROM TEXAS, POSTMARKED AT PADUCAH ON THE EVE OF THE CONFEDERATE INVASION OF KENTUCKY AND THREE DAYS PRIOR TO FEDERAL OCCUPATION UNDER ULYSSES S. GRANT.
Kaufman County, Texas, lies just east of Dallas. Four days after the letter's June 15 dateline, it was postmarked at Turner's Point, also in Kaufman County. The letter made its way to the Mississippi River, probably by a courier, then it was carried up river to Paducah, Kentucky.
Although Kentucky remained neutral at this time, Paducah had strong pro-Southern elements, and its post office was closed by U.S. authorities on August 30. This letter was postmarked first on August 29, then again on August 30, and finally a third time on September 3, the day Confederate forces moved on Hickman and Columbus, Kentucky, which effectively ended the state's neutrality policy.
On the morning of September 6, some 4,000 Confederate troops moved from Columbus toward Paducah with the intention of taking this key river port. However, Ulysses S. Grant entered Paducah that morning with a small detachment of troops and proclaimed Federal control. The Confederates were unaware of their own superior strength and turned back from Paducah after hearing of Grant's occupation. To reassure citizens who were predominantly pro-Southern and deeply suspicious of the Union army's presence, Grant issued an eloquent proclamation that earned him the people's confidence and his superior's praise.
This cover was carried on the Memphis and Paducah Railroad, linking western Tennessee and western Kentucky. This route was not suspended until August 30. Very little mail was carried on this route, and very few covers survive.
Illustrated in Special Routes (p. 18). Ex Gallagher