VERY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING AND VERY EARLY COVERT THROUGH-THE-LINES COVER FROM THE UNION BLOCKADE OF PENSACOLA, CARRIED THROUGH CONFEDERATE FLORIDA AND MAILED FROM THE STILL-OPERATING U.S. POST OFFICE IN MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA.
This is a rare and very early covert through-the-lines use as well as a Confederate post office use of U.S. postage. It was facilitated by Warrington postmaster W. H. Lamberton and posted at Montgomery Ala., as the U.S. post offices at Pensacola and Warrington had both been closed by Jan. 29, 1861. Shortly after this was sent, any assistance for the Union blockade ships, including correspondence going north, was strictly forbidden by General Braxton Bragg in a General Order dated March 18, 1861.
Accompanied by a Feb. 17, 1860 postmarked 3c Nesbitt entire from Warrington Fla. to Cincinnati from the same correspondence, with letter enclosure datelined "On Shore. Warrington Navy Yard." Also accompanied by an article from The Confederate Philatelist (Oct.-Dec. 2012) describing this correspondence.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF THE EARLIEST RECORDED COMBINATIONS OF CONFEDERATE AND UNITED STATES POSTAGE ON A FLAG-OF-TRUCE COVER. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED FLORIDA USE OF THE SHORT-LIVED CIVILIAN FLAG-OF-TRUCE SYSTEM FOR CONFEDERATE LETTERS SENT NORTH.
As discussed in the Walske-Trepel Special Routes book (pp. 89-90), in January 1862 Confederate newspapers announced a post office-sponsored northbound civilian flag-of-truce mail service via Norfolk. In this case the cover entered the mails at Bay Port Fla. and was pre-paid for the 10c over-500 miles rate to Norfolk. It was then franked with the 3c U.S. stamp at the exchange point and sent north via Fortress Monroe and the Old Point Comfort post office. None of the ten recorded letters using this service received a Norfolk postmark. Starting in mid-February 1862, shortly after this cover was exchanged, the Union ended this practice by diverting such mail to the Dead Letter Office. Among the ten recorded examples of this service, this is the only recorded Florida use. This is also one of only three recorded Bay Port Fla. Confederate postal markings
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONLY KNOWN NORTH-TO-SOUTH FLAG-OF-TRUCE COVER AND LETTER TO A UNION PRISONER-OF-WAR AT ANDERSONVILLE, EXCHANGED THROUGH JACKSONVILLE AND LAKE CITY, FLORIDA, AND CENSORED BY THE NOTORIOUS CAPTAIN HENRY WIRZ.
The Andersonville prison, officially known as Camp Sumter, was the largest Confederate military prison during the Civil War and the most dreaded by Union soldiers. On March 27, 1864, Captain Henry Wirz assumed command of the stockade. By the end of the war, 12,913 of the approximately 45,000 Union prisoners held there had died, mostly from starvation and disease. After the war, Wirz was charged with conspiracy and murder by Federal authorities. His trial was held in the Capitol building in Washington and presided over by Union General Lew Wallace. A number of former prisoners testified on conditions at Andersonville, many accusing Wirz of specific acts of cruelty (some of these accounts were later called into question by historians as exaggerated or false). The court also heard from Confederate officers and considered official correspondence from captured Confederate records. Wirz presented evidence that he pleaded to Confederate authorities to obtain more food and maintained that he tried to improve the conditions for the prisoners. Wirz was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. On November 10, 1865, he was hanged in Washington at the site of the current Supreme Court building -- the only Confederate official to be tried, convicted and executed for war crimes resulting from the Civil War.
This is the only recorded North-to-South cover exchanged through Union-occupied Jacksonville and Confederate Lake City, Florida. This route for mail to Andersonville is also singularly represented by this cover. The enclosed letter specifically refers to instructions the writer received to send mail through assistant adjutant general Robinson in Jacksonville, which would be sent via flag-of-truce to Col. Noble, who was the highest ranking Union officer held at Andersonville.
Accompanied by an article on this cover by John. L Kimbrough with a transcription of the letter
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARING MIXED-FRANKING COVER FROM FORT DELAWARE TO FLORIDA VIA OLD POINT COMFORT AND RICHMOND. A BEAUTIFUL PRISONER'S FLAG-OF-TRUCE COVER TO A SCARCE DESTINATION.
This is from the same correspondence as the cover offered in lot 2184. In the case of the other, it was destined for Centreville and sent in an outer cover to Old Point Comfort, which was discarded before exchange