Sale 988 — The Steven C. Walske Collection of Civil War Special Routes
Sale Date — Thursday, 27 May, 2010
Category — Trans-Mississippi Routes: Government Express
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN OUTSTANDING EAST-TO-WEST TRANS-MISSISSIPPI EXPRESS COVER PAID AT THE 50-CENT "PREFERRED MAIL" RATE.
By May 1864, when this cover was mailed at Marion, Virginia, the Trans-Mississippi Express had been operating for seven months. Early advertisements announcing the 50c "Preferred Mail" rate were apparently still in circulation, as evidenced by the few recorded covers showing 50c prepayment.
The addressee, William Williston Heartsill, was one of the first Confederate soldiers to enlist, joining W. P. Lane's Texas Rangers. In 1862 his Texas unit moved into Arkansas as a cavalry unit and were soon overwhelmed by a Union force. Heartsill was taken prisoner and transported to a Federal prison camp. In April 1863, he and other members of Lane's Rangers were exchanged for Federal prisoners. The men joined Gen. Braxton Bragg's army in Tennessee and fought in the bloody battle of Chickamauga. Under Bragg the Texas men were split amongst various units and dismounted, presenting intolerable conditions for them, and resulting in the men disappearing from their units and walking from Tennessee back to Texas. Once reunited there, the unit was placed in charge of Camp Ford, a prison for Federal troops, at Tyler, Texas (the cover offered here was sent to Heartsill while he was at Camp Ford). In July 1864 the unit joined General E. Kirby Smith in Louisiana and spent the remainder of the war there and in Arkansas. The unit was disbanded on May 20, 1865. After the war, Heartsill sold groceries and saddles in Marshall, Texas. Heartsill published his Civil War diary Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army, which can be viewed on the Library of Congress website at http://lccn.loc.gov/a14002842 Illustrated
Illustratedin Krieger book (No. E22). Ex Seacrest