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Sale 1106 — 2015 Rarities of the World

Sale Date — Thursday, 25 June, 2015

Category — Civil War Flag-of-Truce

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
3099
c
Sale Number 1106, Lot Number 3099, Civil War Flag-of-TruceWilmington N.C. Provost Marshal, Wilmington N.C. Provost MarshalWilmington N.C. Provost Marshal. Folded letter datelined "Wilmington N.C. Oct. 26, 1863" from B. Duncan, Provost Marshal of Wilmington N.C., to the Secretary of War in Washington, requesting permission "for Mrs. J. Currie Burnett to come north by flag of truce to join her husband a federal soldier", entered U.S. mails with "Old Point Comfort Va. Nov. 5" circular datestamp, sent to Dead Letter Office as the Office of the Secretary of War did not accept unpaid letters, boldly-struck "Dead Letter Office Nov. 7, 1863" circular datestamp and "Unpaid" in circle in red, struck with "C.F. Macdonald/Acting Third Ass't PM Gen" handstamp and "Due 6", forwarded to the Secretary of War, approved on Nov. 9 with endorsement of "Assoc. Judge Adv." and returned to Duncan in Wilmington with crayon endorsement "Wilmington N.C. Mrs. Burnet/To come North by flag of truce.", pass signed in pencil "Maj Lurner?", all markings clearly struck, the cover is as fresh as the day it was written

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)

E. 5,000-7,500
16,000
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