Sale 1238 — Civil War Special Mail Routes
Sale Date — Wednesday, 23 June, 2021
Category — Blockade-Run Mail
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE BLOCKADE-RUN COVER FROM SOUTH TO NORTH SENT VIA THE BERMUDA POST OFFICE. ONLY A SMALL QUANTITY OF BLOCKADE MAIL WAS ACTUALLY ROUTED THROUGH THE BERMUDA POST OFFICE.
Despite the high level of activity at Bermuda as a blockade-running port, only a small amount of mail actually transited through a Bermuda post office. The Special Routes census records only 13 covers with a Bermuda transit postmark.
In pencil on this cover, Amelia Barnett's child wrote, "Uncle Wm. captured June 15, 1864, near Petersburg, was pardoned & reached home Oct. 17", "Fort Delaware", "Aunt Eleanor", and "Left Fort Delaware for home Oct. 7, on Parole." Captain William Wheary was in command of William Hood's 3rd Battalion (known as Hood's Operatives). He was captured on June 15, 1864, outside of Petersburg.
Special Routes census no. BO-Ber-10. Ex Tucker and Ludington
EXTREMELY FINE GEM PAIR OF THE 10-CENT ENGRAVED ISSUE ON A PRISTINE INCOMING BLOCKADE-RUN COVER ENDORSED BY BERMUDA AGENT MAJOR NORMAN S. WALKER.
Major Norman S. Walker was the senior Confederate agent in Bermuda from February 1863 until June 27, 1864. The yellow fever epidemic caused him and his family to leave the island; his wife and children for England, and Major Walker to the Confederate States on government business. After an abandoned effort to establish Halifax as a principal port for blockade-running, Major Walker and his family traveled to Bermuda and eventually returned to England (source: Rev. William Parkes, "Per Walker: Major Norman S. Walker and Bermuda Blockade Mail", Confederate Philatelist, May-June 1982 and Jul.-Aug. 1982, Nos. 207-208).
Special Routes census no. BI-Ch-58
VERY FINE AND HISTORIC COVER MAILED FROM HAMILTON, BERMUDA, TO THE BLOCKADE-RUNNER BERMUDA AT ST. GEORGES, POSTMARKED ON THE DAY THE SHIP LEFT ON ITS ILL-FATED VOYAGE TO NASSAU, BAHAMAS.
The S.S. Bermuda, a 716-ton single-screw steamer owned by Fraser, Trenholm & Co., was the first vessel to run the Federal blockade on her initial voyage from England to Savannah in August-September 1861 under the command of Eugene L. Tessier. C. William Westendorff assumed command and was captain in February 1862 when the Bermuda left England with a load of cargo that included a large supply of C.S.A. 5c stamps printed by De La Rue, along with printing plates and materials. The U.S. government learned of this shipment and ordered the blockading fleet to capture the Bermuda. After sailing from St. Georges on April 22, 1862, bound for Nassau, the Bermuda was captured on April 27 by the U.S.S. Mercedita. The vessel and its cargo were brought to Philadelphia as prize, but the owners sued to recover. The United Sates Supreme Court decided in favor of the captors on the basis that a vessel flying a neutral flag and sailing between neutral ports could still be captured if the cargo it carried was contraband ultimately destined for a belligerent's port.
Ex T. Charlton Henry and Ludington. Accompanied by exhibit pages with information about the Bermuda and a manifest. Also accompanied by report of Supreme Court case
VERY FINE. A RARE BLOCKADE-RUN COVER FROM MOBILE, ALABAMA, TO HAVANA (CUBA), THE BAHAMAS AND LONDON. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED BLOCKADE-RUN COVER POSTMARKED AT HAVANA.
The enclosed letter from Vicksburg is from A. M. Smedes to George Gill Mouncey. Mr. Smedes states he is sending the letter to Mr. Muir to be read and forwarded to Mr. Mouncey. Very little blockade-run mail went through the port of Mobile Alabama, and all of it was carried to or from Havana. The Havana post office normally did not apply markings to mail bound for New York. This was carried by Royal Mail Steamship Company packet service to England and received the Havana postmark -- the only recorded example of outbound blockade-run mail postmarked at Havana
VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR BLOCKADE-RUN COVER ORIGINATING IN FLORIDA, MAILED TO CHARLESTON WITH THE 10-CENT DARK BLUE LITHOGRAPH AND THEN FORWARDED TO THE BAHAMAS ON A BLOCKADE-RUNNER, WHERE IT RECEIVED THE EXTREMELY RARE "BAHAMAS/SHIP LETTER" HANDSTAMP. A WONDERFUL COMBINATION OF RARE ELEMENTS AND ONE OF THE PREMIER BLOCKADE-RUN COVERS OF THE CIVIL WAR.
This cover combines numerous extremely rare elements. It is one of two recorded outgoing blockade-run covers from Florida (Walske census). It is one of fewer than five blockade-run covers with an outgoing Confederate postmark. The King's Ferry datestamp from a Collins device with double-line circle is rare in its own right, with only five known (Dr. Briggs census). The 10c Jefferson Lithograph stamp is one of two recorded used on a blockade cover. The address to the pilot of the blockade-runner Antonica and carriage on a different blockade-runner in the Calypso add historical interest. Finally, the "BAHAMAS/SHIP LETTER" handstamp is extremely rare on a blockade-run cover, with only two other examples recorded (one in the Walske collection and one offered in the following lot).
Special Routes census no. BO-Nas-15. Discussed in Linn's Stamp News (Nov. 17, 2003) when the cover was discovered in the Bahamas and sold on eBay. Illustrated in Steven Walske's Chronicle article about the blockade-runner Antonica (No. 262, p. 143). Illustrated in Florida Postal History During the Civil War (p. 112). With 2003 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE OUTBOUND BLOCKADE-RUN COVER TO NASSAU WITH THE "BAHAMAS/SHIP LETTER" TWO-LINE HANDSTAMP. ONE OF ONLY THREE RECORDED WITH THIS MARKING.
This cover comes from the same Bahamas find as the cover offered in the previous lot and also features a combination of rare elements, including Confederate postage on a blockade-run cover and the "BAHAMAS/SHIP LETTER" two-line handstamp, of which three are recorded on blockade covers.
Special Routes census no. BO-Nas-25. Referenced in Linn's Stamp News when the cover was discovered in the Bahamas and sold on eBay (Nov. 17, 2003). With 2003 P.F. certificate as "genuine" but incorrectly stating "sent to Petersburg Va. via Nassau." The cover originated in the C.S.A. and the sender simply addressed the cover to an individual of Petersburg Va. at Nassau. The cover was advertised at Nassau for the recipient and likely never went to Petersburg
FINE. A UNIQUE OUTBOUND BLOCKADE-RUN COVER FROM THE CONFEDERATE STATES TO CANADA VIA NASSAU AND NEW YORK, WITH THE "PAID AT BAHAMAS" CROWN-CIRCLE.
This cover is a remarkable and unique postal history artifact. It is addressed to Canada, a rare destination for Confederate mail of any kind. The forwarding agents in Wilmington used a blockade-runner to send the letter (no longer present) and cover to the Bahamas, but instead of enclosing them in another envelope, the forwarders used the original mailing envelope with a Confederate stamp postmarked at McDonough, Georgia. At Nassau the cover was prepaid 4 pence and handstamped with the "Paid at Bahamas" Crown-Circle, a marking recorded on only three blockade-run covers. Again, the same envelope was used to send the letter from Nassau to New York City. On arrival at the New York post office, the 6c debit datestamp was applied next to the "Paid at Bahamas" and 10c C.S.A. stamp. Think of the postal clerk who applied a U.S.-rated marking to an envelope bearing a Confederate stamp picturing Jefferson Davis, which was clearly a piece of mail that violated the ban on correspondence with the Confederate States. It is possible that the clerk or someone else realized this was illegal mail and sent it to the Dead Letter Office, because there is neither a U.S. marking indicating prepaid 10c postage to Canada nor Canadian markings indicating receipt. A red manuscript notation on back was probably applied at the Dead Letter Office.
Special Routes census no. BO-Nas-91
VERY FINE. THERE ARE ONLY FIVE RECORDED EXAMPLES OF BLOCKADE-RUN MAIL DIVERTED TO HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, DURING THE YELLOW FEVER EPIDEMIC IN BERMUDA.
The addressee, John Reuben Thompson (1823-73), was a publisher and poet of some renown. In 1860 he left the Southern Literary Messenger and for a short time served as editor of the Southern Field and Fireside in Augusta, Georgia. During the Civil War, Thompson spent several years in London and contributed articles to various journals. After the war he served as literary editor of William Cullen Bryant's New York Evening Post. His sister, Susan P. Quarles, wrote this letter.
This was carried on the Annie, departing Wilmington on September 6, 1864, arriving Halifax September 13. The captain of the Annie dropped it into mail in Halifax, picked up his ship fee, and the letter was rated "4" pence due (London later corrected rate to 1sh). The journey continued on the Cunarder Europa, departing Halifax on September 16 and arriving Liverpool September 26. The Annie was owned by Alexander Collie & Co. and active from February to November 1864, with 13 for 14 in successful trips. She ran aground and was captured coming out of Wilmington on November 1, 1864.
Ex Walske. See Walske's article "Tales of the Civil War Blockade: Disruption from a Deadly Virus" for a detailed discussion of the yellow fever impact on blockade mail (Chronicle 267, pp. 269-277). With 1977 C.S.A. certificate
FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE BLOCKADE-RUN COVER FROM MEXICO TO CONFEDERATE TEXAS VIA HAVANA AND GALVESTON.
This cover was carried on RMSP Solent, departing Vera Cruz December 2, 1864, and arriving at Havana December 6; then probably on blockade-runner Triton from Havana to Galveston. The Triton was active August 1863 to January 1865, 2 for 2 trips.
Special Routes census no. BI-Gv-5. Ex Walske
EXTREMELY FINE AND RARE CENSORED OUTBOUND BLOCKADE-RUN COVER TO ENGLAND.
The letter that was contained in this envelope (number 17, which no longer accompanies) is datelined "Charleston 23 Sep. 1863" from Cornelius L. Burckmyer. Carried on blockade-runner General Beauregard, dep. Wilmington Sep. 30, 1863, arr. Nassau Oct. 4; held by agent until next New York steamer departure; carried on Cunarder Corsica, dep. Nassau Oct. 26, arr. New York Oct. 31; then Cunarder Scotia, dep. New York Nov. 4, arr. Queenstown Nov. 13; forwarded to France by Fraser Trenholm & Co. outside of mails and received at Tours Nov. 18 (according to correspondence history). The General Beauregard was purchased in Oct. 1862 by Fraser Trenholm & Co.; active Feb. to Dec. 1863, 16 for 17 in successful trips; Captain Louis Coxetter was a famed Confederate privateer and blockade-runner; chased ashore and destroyed by U.S.S. Howquah at Wilmington on Dec. 11, 1863.
Special Order 156 requiring censorship of blockade-run mail took effect Aug. 11, 1863, at Charleston and Sep. 1, 1863, at Wilmington.
Illustrated in Special Routes book (p. 121, census no. BO-Nas-45). Ex Birkinbine and Walske
VERY FINE. A COLORFUL AND RARE PREPAID BLOCKADE-RUN COVER TO GERMANY.
This was carried on the blockade-runner Margaret & Jessie from Wilmington on September 10, 1863, arriving Nassau September 14; by Cunard Branch line from Nassau to New York City; and on the Cunarder China, departing October 7, arriving Liverpool October 16.
Special Routes census no. BO-Nas-38
VERY FINE AND SCARCE BLOCKADE-RUN COVER FROM LIVERPOOL TO RICHMOND WITH THE SAUNDERS & SON NASSAU FORWARDER'S HANDSTAMP.
This was carried from Nassau on the blockade-runner Gertrude, which was active from February 1863 to April 1864. She was 2 for 3 in successful trips and was captured by U.S.S. Vanderbilt (flagship of the Flying Squadron) on April 16, 1863, near the Bahamas.
Special Routes census no. BI-Ch-24. Ex Kilbourne. With 1979 C.S.A. certificate
FINE AND SCARCE INCOMING BLOCKADE-RUN COVER THROUGH CHARLESTON WITH A CHOICE STRIKE OF THE ADDERLEY NASSAU HANDSTAMP.
John Fraser & Co. was the London affiliate of Fraser Trenholm & Co., while Henry Adderley & Co. was their Nassau agent. This cover nicely ties together all three entities. The Leopard made eight successful trips for Fraser Trenholm before she ran aground and was burned while trying to enter Charleston on April 12, 1863.
Illustrated in Special Routes book (p. 122, census no. BI-Ch-5). Ex Walske
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE INBOUND BLOCKADE-RUN COVER. VERY FEW ARE KNOWN WITH A CONFEDERATE STAMP PREPAYING THE INTERNAL RATE.
This was carried from Nassau on the blockade-runner Pet, arriving at Wilmington on October 21, 1863.
Special Routes census no. BI-Wm-32. Ex Myers. With 1975 C.S.A. certificate
FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE INCOMING BLOCKADE-RUN COVER FRANKED WITH THE CONFEDERATE STATES 20-CENT GENERAL ISSUE FOR DOUBLE-WEIGHT FORWARDING POSTAGE TO AUGUSTA.
This letter is addressed care of Major Benjamin Franklin Ficklin, who helped start the Pony Express and was in charge of war supply for the Confederacy (and who also purchased Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in 1864 before it was confiscated at the end of the war). Ficklin presumably paid the 6c in-port ship rate, then addressed the letter to Augusta and applied the 20c stamp for double-rate postage. This is one of only two blockade-run covers with a 20c General Issue stamp listed in the Special Routes census (both forwarded uses, this no. BI-WM-96).
Illustrated in Shenfield book on p. 57. Ex Everett and Walske.