SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID.
Blue two-line handstamp with matching "Louisville Ky. Jun. 29" (1861)
double-circle datestamp and "DUE 3" straightline handstamp on La Grange
Synodical College's Sigma Chi Fraternity corner card cover to Delaware
O. (Ohio Wesleyan University), bold "Union City Tennessee" negative letters
in large circle handstamp, ms. "Jul. 9" date, slightly reduced at
VERY FINE. A MAGNIFICENT SOUTHERN LETTER UNPAID COVER WITH THE
DISTINCTIVE UNION CITY TENNESSEE NEGATIVE HANDSTAMP AND CORNER CARD OF THE
SHORT-LIVED LA GRANGE SYNODICAL COLLEGE. ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE
BOSHWIT COLLECTION AND OF CONFEDERATE POSTAL HISTORY.
Walske's recently published analysis of mail service at the onset of the
Civil War provides new information about circumstances surrounding the use
of the coveted "Southern Letter Unpaid" marking. Postmaster General Blair's
May 27 suspension order prohibited post offices from forwarding southbound
mail to disloyal Southern states. However, northbound mail continued to be
sent via Louisville. Through June 6, northbound mails were forwarded to
Louisville from Memphis or Nashville. From June 7 through 12, only the
Nashville post office forwarded mail to Louisville, and Louisville
continued to forward mail north. With the resignation of W. D. McNish as
Nashville's Federal postmaster on June 12, "Louisville held the mails still
being sent north by the discontinued post office at Nashville. This held
mail later became the well-known 'Southern Letter Unpaid' mail"
United States postage stamps affixed in the South (and
entires used from the South) were regarded as contraband and were refused
as prepayment. On June 24, Dr. J. J. Speed, the postmaster at Louisville,
was advised to forward letters from the South to the loyal states after
removing postage. With approximately 5,000 such letters accumulating
at Louisville by this date, Postmaster Speed employed a more practical
means of invalidating postage by creating the "Southern Letter Unpaid"
Immediately after receiving instructions from Washington to
forward the held mail, the Louisville post office began marking letters.
Some of these have circular datestamps (June 27, 28 and 29 being the most
common dates), while others have no Louisville datestamp. The Louisiana
office continued to use the June 29 datestamp until the end of the Southern
Letter Unpaid period on July 12.
This cover is unusual in that it was
posted from Union City, Tennessee, without stamps or any notation of
postage paid (U.S. or Confederate). The presence of a corner card on a
Southern Letter Unpaid cover is also extremely unusual. The Chi Mu Society
was a fraternal organization (Sigma Chi) at La Grange Synodical College,
which was founded in 1857, but closed in 1861 due to the Civil War. It was
used as a storage facility by the occupying Union army.
Shenfield book (p. 8). Ex Emerson.
SOLD for $22,000.00
Will close during Public Auction