Sale 275

The Dr. John L. Robertson Collection
of U.S.-B.N.A. Cross-Border Postal History

Civil War Usages to and from British North America
Lot Photo Description
Lot 132

Canada 1859, 10¢ deep red purple (17e), gorgeous striking color and sharp detailed impression, pulled perforation at top, tied by "Port Robinson U.C. DE 9 1859" double arc d.s. in red on envelope to "Capt. John Brown, Charlestown, Jefferson County, Virginia U.S." endorsed "in haste" at top left corner, backstamped "St. Catherines U.C.", Very Fine and a remarkable historical usage. SG 33b.
Estimate 2,000 - 3,000


Provenance: Caspary

Addressed to Captain John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame, it is not surprising that mail should be sent to him from Canada as in the spring of 1858 this famous abolitionist had held a convention in Chatham, C.W. to adopt a provisional constitution for the U.S. He seized the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry with 18 of his followers on October 16, 1859. John Brown was defeated two days later and committed to prison at Charlestown, Va. He was tried for treason, found guilty and hanged on December 2, 1859. Though "sent in haste" this letter was actually mailed one week after his execution.

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Lot 133

Canada 1859, 10¢ brown (17b), trivial vertical bend at far right, tied by barred grid on 1865 envelope to "Dr. J.B. Hunter, Asst. Surgeon 60th Ind. Vols, Thibodeaux, Defenses of New Orleans, Depart. of the Gulf, La.", showing "Toronto U.C./JA 30 1865" single arc origin d.s. adjacent, docketed "Recd. at Fort Gaines Ala. Mch 6" at lower left, Very Fine. SG 36.
Estimate 500 - 750
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Lot 134

Canada Unfranked envelope to Charleston, South Carolina, with original letter (split in places) datelined "Lake Side Canada West, August 5th 1863" showing "New York Paid 3 cts/Aug 11" c.d.s. in red, the cover having been carried privately to New York City where it was placed in the post and then probably sent to either the Bryantown or Charlotte Hill P.O. in Maryland where Confederate mail carriers would take it across the river forwarding to Richmond via Port Royal, unusual routing, contents refer to horrors of war and difficulty in sending private letter to the South.
Estimate 200 - 250
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Lot 135

U.S. 1864 Blockade Mail via Halifax, enclosure datelined Camp Price, July 22, 1864, probably by messenger out of Wilmington, NC via Bermuda to Halifax, Nova Scotia and back to Portsmouth, VA, Halifax "cts 10" handstamp and "Halifax Au 29, 1864"; Very Fine.
Estimate 3,000 - 4,000


Letter states "My dear sister, we have a good opportunity of sending letters to our Northern friends, so I will write again though my letters here before have never reached you. I have sent two by way of Nassau and one by Flag of Truce…" The letter continues with dialogue concerning the family being split by the war. The enclosure offers of fascinating view into the life of a soldier's wife, living a half mile from camp and corresponding with her sister in the North.

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Lot 136

Confederacy "Approved/ by command/ Brig. Genl. Ripley/ B.H. Read/ Adj.", notation on flap of a blockade cover to Canada, this being a mourning envelope from the Irving correspondence to Drummondville, Canada from Cordesville, South Carolina, clear albino (uninked) strike of "Nassau Paid 11 Jy. 63" c.d.s. on face, opened at sides for display and mounted on paper, Fine and rare.
Estimate 2,000 - 3,000

Accompanying this cover is a Oct. 19, 1862 letter from the same correspondence, which notes, "a friend from these parts, on her way north, under a flag of truce, has kindly offered to take letters for us." The letter also mentions the writer's brother, John Irving, an artist who at the time was attending court "in the capacity of Confederate States marshal." A portrait painter in Charleston at the start of the war, he moved to New York City in 1866 and died there in 1877h.

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Lot 137

Confederacy Confederate Blockade Mail to Canada, brown envelope from South Carolina to a Mrs. Irving from her daughter, addressed to "Drummondville, Niagara Falls Canada" clear "Nassau Paid 11 Jy. 63" c.d.s. in red, reverse with Halifax and Montreal Sp. 16 postmarks, important original enclosure datelined "Cordesville June 20th `63"; cover opened at top with piece out at upper right and mended, Fine and very rare.
Estimate 2,000 - 3,000

Despite the numerous surviving blockade cover, little mail to British North America appears to have survived. The letter accompanying this cover is lengthy and well written and provides excellent details: "Our blockade runners are becoming more & more expert, every day & I trust this sent to Nassau may have better luck- indeed- for 2 of our vessels taken now, 6 arrive safely at their destination, but it is not so easy for them to come in as to go out & a number of fine ships have been seized lately, laden with government stores, ammunition &c.- those bringing merchandise to private individuals are more successful, but, alas, these goods, when offered in our market, are so enormously high that we, of moderate means, have no thought of coping with the unheard of blockade prices- we may struggle along with such clothes as we already have but our negroes are condemned to be naked, unless we cut up our carpets & blankets to supply them, which must be done next winter, if no relief offers other ways- the situation of our country is truly pitiable. Oh, Heaven, grant us peace!" etc.

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