VERY FINE. A RARE AND SIGNIFICANT CONFEDERATE MILITARY EXPRESS COVER FROM ARIZONA AFTER INVASION BY SIBLEY’S ARMY OF NEW MEXICO.
In late 1861 Gen. Sibley ordered Col. James Reily—a prominent Texas attorney, diplomat, military officer and former U.S. Minister to Russia (1841-44) -- to proceed south on a diplomatic mission to obtain the cooperation of Mexican authorities in Chihuahua to supply the Confederate army. Col. Reily departed Camp Cottonwood on December 25. Camp Willow Bar was in existence for only one week in late December -- the regiment marched to Mesilla under Reily’s appointed successor, Maj. Henry Raguet, on December 27. The official military express cover offered here was intended for the commanding officer of the 4th Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers. However, because Gen. Sibley’s adjutant, Maj. Alexander Jackson, did not know who would replace Col. Reily after he left for Chihuahua, this cover is addressed simply to the “Commanding Officer.” Another cover in our recent sale of the Brikinbine collection (Sale 1189, lot 1085) is addressed to Major Raguet. Both date from late December 1861 and followed the regiment from Camp Cottonwood to Camp Willow Bar. Maj. Raguet was commander for only about one week, making these covers very rare.