Sale 1263 — The George J. Kramer Collection of U.S. & C.S.A. Telegraph Covers
Sale Date — Wednesday, 28 September, 2022
Category — Civil War -- Confederate States
VERY FINE. A HISTORIC CONFEDERATE TELEGRAM SIGNED BY BOTH GENERALS ROBERT E. LEE AND P.G.T. BEAUREGARD AND INVOLVING OR REFERENCING FOUR OTHER CONFEDERATE GENERALS AND TWO UNION GENERALS.
This telegram is a relay of a message from General Braxton Bragg to General P.G.T. Beauregard in December 1864, during General William T. Sherman's "March to the Sea". The message concerns the activities of the Union 14th Corps and U.S. Generals Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the C.S.A. President) and Hugh J. Kilpatrick. General Beauregard was in or near Charlestown at this time. General Lee reviewed this message at some point during its journey and signed it at top. Copies were sent to Confederate Generals Hardee and Jones. This is an exceptional piece of Civil War and telegraph history.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE AND WONDERFUL COMBINATION OF THE AMERICAN TELEGRAPH CO. CORNER CARD AND THE SCARCE ADAMS EXPRESS AUGUSTA HANDSTAMP -- REPRESENTING ON ONE COVER TWO COMPANIES WHOSE OPERATIONS WERE TAKEN OVER BY SOUTHERN INTERESTS AT THE START OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Southern Express took over the equipment and offices of Adams in April 1861. However, the Adams devices were used into September and October 1861 before the Southern Express handstamps became widely available. American Telegraph Co.'s assets were taken over by Southern Telegraph Co. after the May 1861 Act and subsequent order by Postmaster General Reagan. Stocks of embossed corner cards on hand continued to be used.
Special Routes census no. SOU-11. Illustrated in Confederate Philatelist (No. 311, p. 175).
FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE USE OF THE 2-CENT LITHOGRAPH ISSUE ON A TELEGRAM DELIVERED LOCALLY IN CANTON, MISSISSIPPI.
Confederate telegrams are extremely scarce, particularly with the 2c Lithographed or Engraved issues. It is not clear why the straightline month differs from the dateline on the telegram offered here and on the 2c Engraved telegram offered in lot 90. This is the only 2c Lithograph on a telegram we have encountered and was described as "unique" in the Kramer exhibit.
With 2009 C.S.A. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. AN INCREDIBLY RARE USE OF THE 2-CENT ENGRAVED ISSUE ON A TELEGRAM DELIVERED LOCALLY IN CANTON, MISSISSIPPI.
Confederate telegrams are extremely scarce, particularly with the 2c Lithographed or Engraved issues. It is not clear why the straightline month differs from the dateline on the telegram offered here and on the 2c Lithographed telegram offered in lot 86. This is one of only two 2c No. 8 uses on a telegram we have encountered. The other is ex Keeling, Dr. Brandon, Born and Ryterband (last offered in Sale 1196, lot 1023).
VERY FINE. AN EXCEPTIONAL CONFEDERATE TELEGRAPH COVER AND TELEGRAM FROM GENERAL GEORGE E. PICKETT, SENT TO HIS AIDE-DE-CAMP ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE "BERMUDA HUNDRED" FEDERAL ATTACKS NEAR RICHMOND BY UNION GENERAL BENJAMIN F. "SPOONS" BUTLER. THIS IS ALSO THE ONLY COMPLETE COVER AND TELEGRAM OF THE RICHMOND AND DANVILLE RAILROAD TELEGRAPH.
General Pickett sent this telegram to his aide-de-camp, Captain Edward R. Baird, at the start of the campaigns against Richmond by General Benjamin Franklin Butler. He orders Captain Baird back to Petersburg given the impending conflict. From Wikipedia -- "In the spring of 1864, the Army of the James (Union) was directed to land at Bermuda Hundred on the James River, south of Richmond, and from there attack Petersburg. This would sever the rail links supplying Richmond, and force the Confederates to abandon the city. In spite of (General) Grant's low opinion of (General) Butler's military skills, he was given command of the operation. Butler's force landed on 5 May (the date Pickett's telegram was sent), when Petersburg was almost undefended, but Butler hesitated. While he dithered, the Confederates assembled a substantial force under General P. G. T. Beauregard (including forces under his subordinate General Pickett, who was in charge of troops around Petersburg). On 13 May, Butler's advance toward Richmond was repulsed. On 16 May, the Confederates drove Butler's force back to Bermuda Hundred, "bottling up" the Federals in a loop of the James River. Both sides entrenched; the Federal troops were safe but impotent, and Beauregard sent most of his troops as reinforcements to Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Despite this fiasco, Butler remained in command of the Army of the James."
This is a historic telegram and cover relating to the Bermuda Hundred operations and General Pickett's involvement. This is also the only recorded complete cover and telegram enclosure recorded by Kramer for the Richmond and Danville Railroad Telegraph. It is not clear why the telegram message needed to be mailed to Drakes Branch, but the fact that it was, with a General Issue stamp, adds greatly to the postal history appeal of this lot.
Illustrated in Confederate Philatelist (No. 311, p. 176).