Sale 1238 — Civil War Special Mail Routes
Sale Date — Wednesday, 23 June, 2021
Category — Covert Mail
VERY FINE. A CHOICE AND RARE LOUISIANA RELIEF COMMITTEE COVER WITH THE 2-CENT RED JACK PAYING DROP-LETTER POSTAGE.
On May 31, 1863, a group of expatriate New Orleans citizens in Mobile, Alabama, organized a committee to alleviate the suffering of poor citizens who remained in U.S.-occupied New Orleans. With the tacit concurrence of Federal authorities in New Orleans, the Louisiana Relief Committee at Mobile arranged to provide much-needed food and clothing and helped citizens leave New Orleans for the Confederate States. These trips between Mobile and New Orleans via Pascagoula ran along the Mississippi Sound and carried mail, which was not sanctioned by the Federal postal authorities. Jules C. Denis, C.S.A. provost marshal at Mobile, examined the southbound letters. These trips were also used to transmit flag-of-truce mail to and from Confederate prisoners being held in New Orleans. In this case, the letter was addressed in care of a local Mobile firm, and it was put into the mails as a drop letter.
Illustrated in Special Routes book (p. 171). Ex Everett. With 2003 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A UNIQUE MIXED-FRANKING COVER FROM NEW ORLEANS TO MOBILE, CARRIED EITHER BY THE LOUISIANA RELIEF COMMITTEE OR BY FLAG-OF-TRUCE.
On May 31, 1863, a group of expatriate New Orleans citizens in Mobile, Alabama, organized a committee to alleviate the suffering of poor citizens who remained in U.S.-occupied New Orleans. With the tacit concurrence of Federal authorities in New Orleans, the Louisiana Relief Committee at Mobile arranged to provide much-needed food and clothing and helped citizens leave New Orleans for the Confederate States. These trips between Mobile and New Orleans via Pascagoula ran along the Mississippi Sound and carried mail, which was not sanctioned by the Federal postal authorities. Jules C. Denis, C.S.A. provost marshal at Mobile, examined the southbound letters. These trips were also used to transmit flag-of-truce mail to and from Confederate prisoners being held in New Orleans.
This cover can be dated to September 1863, based on the death of James Henry Caldwell, who was the father of the recipient, Edward H. Caldwell. This was the period that the Louisiana Relief Committee was in operation and carrying mail from New Orleans to Mobile, although this cover does not have the typical endorsement of such letters. The recipient's father, James H. Caldwell, was known as the "Father of Gas and Light" in New Orleans, and Edward was president of the Mobile Gas Light and Coke Company in Mobile.
Another cover definitely carried by the Louisiana Relief Committee is also addressed to Edward Caldwell (Sale 1043, lot 2603). This dual franking, which might have been applied simultaneously or in succession, was sufficient to pay either U.S. or C.S.A. postage, or both. However, after censoring by the U.S. Provost Marshal, it was evidently delivered to Edward Caldwell without the involvement of either government's post offices.
Ex Corwin. With 2002 P.F. certificate stating "genuine" but declining opinion as to what the cover "represents" (the censor marking and biographical information explain the usage)
VERY FINE. AN IMPORTANT POSTAL ARTIFACT OF THE CIVIL WAR, BEING THE ONLY RECORDED COVER CARRIED BY THE LOUISIANA RELIEF COMMITTEE OUT OF NEW ORLEANS AND THEN TO A DESTINATION WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
This remarkable cover combines three extraordinary aspects of postal communication during the Civil War. To start, it is an extremely rare example of mail clearly identifiable as originating from a Confederate prisoner held at 21 Rampart Street prison in New Orleans. Second, it was carried from New Orleans to Mobile on a Louisiana Relief Committee trip. Third, it was carried west across the Mississippi River, which was controlled by Federal naval forces, and entered the C.S.A. postal system at Shreveport, Louisiana.
The sender, C.S.A. Lt. Col. Paul Lynch Lee, was a member of the 15th Arkansas Regiment. He enlisted on Oct. 22, 1861, at his home town of Camden, Arkansas and was promoted to Colonel one year later. Col. Lee was captured on Feb. 6, 1862, at Fort Henry, Tennessee, and sent to the U.S. military prison at Alton, Illinois, then to Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 28, 1862. He was transferred to Fort Warren, Massachusetts, on April 8, 1862, then to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, on July 31, 1862, where he was exchanged. The Port Hudson Hospital Ledger dated May 27, 1863, lists Col. Lee with a wound in his leg. While hospitalized, Col. Lee struck a private with his crutches and was charged with conduct unbecoming an officer. We do not know the outcome of the incident, but Col. Lee returned to battle and was captured again on July 9, 1863, at Port Hudson, Louisiana. He and 403 other C.S.A. officers were sent to New Orleans. Col. Lee was imprisoned at the Customs House in New Orleans from July 16 to Sep. 16, 1863. On Sep. 17 he was moved to 21 Rampart Street, where he stayed until early October. Col. Lee was transferred to Fort Columbus in New York Harbor, then to Johnson's Island, Point Lookout and Fort Delaware. He was released on June 13, 1865.
After this cover reached the Louisiana Relief Committee in Mobile, it was stamped and bundled with letters bound for points west of the Mississippi, then sent to the eastern terminus of the government trans-Mississippi mails at Meridien, Mississippi. Once the courier carried the mail across the river, the letters were unbundled and postmarked at the western terminus at Shreveport, Louisiana, and from there this cover traveled by rail to Camden, Arkansas.
Illustrated in Special Routes book (p. 79). Ex Kohlhepp (see his article on this cover in Confederate Philatelist, Sep.-Oct. 1980, No. 197), Birkinbine and Walske. With 1976 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COVER FROM THE WELL-KNOWN REYNES CORRESPONDENCE -- SENT BY COVERT MEANS FROM FEDERAL-OCCUPIED NEW ORLEANS.
The sender of this cover used covert means to carry mail from Federal-occupied New Orleans to the Confederate Provost Marshal at Demopolis, where the letter entered the mails and 10c postage was charged to a box account. The best-known examples of covert mail from New Orleans are the Louisiana Relief Committee covers. This is an excellent example of additional means residents of New Orleans found to communicate with other parts of the Cofederacy.
Ex Dr. Skinner and Dr. Brandon.
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COVER SMUGGLED OUT OF FEDERAL-OCCUPIED NEW ORLEANS AND PLACED INTO THE CONFEDERATE MAILS AT SUMMIT, MISSISSIPPI.
The manuscript "from Orleans" notation applied at the Summit post offices indicates that the postmaster was aware of the letter's origin and familiar with the practice of smuggling mail out of New Orleans where Confederate sympathizers were under the governance of the U.S. military. Because of its location on the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad, the town of Summit, Mississippi, was an exchange point for through-the-lines mail to and from the western Confederacy. The U.S. stamp was affixed in New Orleans, but it served no purpose in the Confederate mail system.
VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE COVERT MAIL COVER, SENT FROM BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY, DURING THE BRIEF OCCUPATION BY CONFEDERATE FORCES UNDER GENERAL BRAGG (SEPTEMBER 23 THROUGH OCTOBER 3, 1862) AND CARRIED BY PRIVATE COURIER TO THE MORRISTOWN, TENNESSEE, POST OFFICE WHERE IT ENTERED THE CONFEDERATE MAILS.
Generals Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith led the 1862 Confederate invasion of Kentucky that began in August. Bragg's forces withdrew to Bardstown, Kentucky, and occupied the city from September 23 through October 3. This cover originated at a field post office in Bardstown and was carried by a private courier to Morristown, Tennessee, where it was placed into the regular mails for Canton, Mississippi. The use of a 10c Rose Lithograph on a cover originating in Kentucky adds to its great rarity.
Ex Gallagher. With 1998 P.F. certificate