During the first seven weeks of the Civil War, the US Post Office still delivered mail from the seceded states. Mail that was postmarked after the date of a state’s admission into the Confederacy through May 31, 1861, and bearing US (Union) postage is deemed to represent 'Confederate State Usage of U.S. Stamps'. i.e., Confederate covers franked with Union stamps. After this time, private express companies still managed to carry the mail across enemy lines. The three major express companies in operation throughout the south were Adams Express, American Letter Express, and Whiteside's Express. They had been operating freely for approximately two months when the U.S. Post Office ordered an end to such traffic, effective August 26, 1861. Mail destined to states that were not among their own unions now had to be sent by Flag of Truce, although some express companies still continued to run their mail operations illegally. Mail was also smuggled in and out by blockade-running ships—which, however, were often captured or destroyed by Union ships on blockade patrol. Because Confederate post offices existed for only a few years and official and informal records of them are lacking, relatively little is known about their operations in many regions of the South. Existing data has been studied by several experts in the field, who have reconstructed an account of their existence and operation largely from surviving Confederate covers (stamped-addressed envelopes), and by researchers specializing in advanced studies of Confederate philately, notably Colonel Harvey E. Sheppard, United States Army, Fort Hood, Texas; the late Van Dyk MacBride, Newark, New Jersey; George N. Malpass, St. Petersburg, Florida; Earl Antrim, Nampa, Idaho; David Kohn, Washington, D. C., and a few others, each contributing material in the concerted effort to create an overall account of Confederate postal history.
Read more about this topic: Postage Stamps And Postal History Of The Confederate States
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