VERY FINE STRIKE OF THIS RARE EARLY EXPRESS MARKING, WHICH WAS USED ON MAIL CARRIED FREE OF CHARGE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND REGIMENTS GUARDING THE CAPITAL UNDER LINCOLN'S AUTHORITY DURING THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR.
The Adams Express "Free for the 7th Regiment" and "Free for the Regiment" markings were used briefly in April-May 1861 on mail carried free of charge between New York and regiments guarding the capital after Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the Southern rebellion. Only six examples of the "For the 7th Regiment" version are recorded (with and without period after "Hoey"). This example, without the period, follows the examples with the period in date of use.
The letter from Henry Sand's brother offered here contains fascinating content, including a reference to the special Adams express "That special messenger must have taken a long time to come here for it took three days longer than the other"; descriptions of Zouaves "Today the Firemen Zouaves leave for Washington...They are a very queer set of fellows. Their dress is a bluish grey flannel jacket & pantaloons, with a felt hat. Their cuffs & the edge of the coat are bound with red & blue. The pantaloons also have a stripe."; paraphrased editorial from the Herald "there are 300,000 men in the North who will fight just for the spoils, & spoils they are determined to have & that they will not be satisfied till they have a farm & a nigger apiece. Traitors beware!"; typical teenage enthusiasm over warfare "I understand that your sidearms are to be taken away on account of the many accidents, so you will have to dispatch rebels with your bayonet" and naive patriotism "Jeff. Davis seems to be in a pretty tight place now & he will be forced to give up soon. I never believed the Secessionists could stand the pressure long & am now & always was of the opinion that before the year was out every seceded state would be back in again in the Union. As there being 2 Confederacies I think it absurd."; a final prediction, typical of the prevailing Northern attitude prior to the humbling battlefield experience of Manassas, "If 18,000,000 freemen with plenty of money, can not whip 600,000 pennyless wretches, don't think we deserve the name of Americans (for the northerners are the real Americans, not the Southerners,"
For a detailed history of the Adams Express service to and from Washington D.C. during this time see Scott Trepel's article "Mail to and from the United States Forces Protecting the Capital in April-June 1861" (Chronicle 244, pp. 323-339). Ex Walske