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 during the Civil War, 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.
Ex Walske. With 2010 P.F. certificate. Illustrated in Antrim (p. 194). Discussed and illustrated in Special Routes (p. 96, 177-178)