Confederate free-franked Civil War cover recalls a doomed Missouri cavalry unit

Following Spink Shreves' success with their sale themed on the Civil War and the anniversary of Fort Sumpter, Schuyler Rumsey stamp auctioneers is preparing a sale with an impressive variety of material related to the Confederacy, with the well-developed Monroe collection at its heart.

Some of the interesting pieces on offer include free franks (ie stampless covers endorsed for postage by the signature of a notable person).

For example, there is a soldier's letter from Colonel Robert McCulloch, CSA, Commanding Officer, 2nd Regiment, Missouri Cavalry with endorsement at top left, postmarked "Holly Springs, Miss./Oct. 30" (1862).

There is a circular date stamp with pencil manuscript. A portion of the flap has been replaced and a small mended tear appears at the top, but it is generally very fine and rare, and featured in an Apr-June 2008 article of the Confederate Philatelist (pictured in Monroe Book, pg. 45).

The regiment was organized at Springfield, Missouri, during the fall of 1861. The cavalry unit fought at the battle of Iuka (September 19, 1862) and continued to fight in Mississippi as well as Alabama and Tennessee. Covers from Missouri Confederate units are uncommon and prized by collectors.

Colonel McCulloch free frank cover
Colonel McCulloch's free frank cover

In Missouri, the conflicts of unconditional Unionists, conservative Unionists, and Secessionists produced unusual turbulence and governmental confusion. Civil war soon resulted in the state, culminating in the battles of Wilson Creek (August 10, 1861) and Pea Ridge (March 6-8, 1862), in which the Missouri Secessionists were severely defeated.

Although Unionist forces gained possession of the state, neighbourhood war, bushwhacking, sniping and guerrilla fighting became rampant in Missouri. To combat the disorder, portions of the state were placed under martial law.

Military courts were kept busy with cases of civilians tried for bridge burning, tearing up railway and telegraph lines, and like offenses. The division of sentiment in Missouri is illustrated by the fact that 109,000 men were furnished to the Union army while 30,000 fought for the Confederacy.

The cover is estimated at $1,000-1,500 in the sale which takes place on April 28 in San Franscisco, California. It makes an interesting contrast with the Union soldier's 'shirt collar cover' sold at Spink Shreves. 

Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today or download our free Collectors News app for your iPhone



Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock