1860

Nov 6
Lincoln elected



Dec 20
South Carolina secedes



1861

Jan 9
Mississippi secedes





Jan 10
Florida secedes



Jan 11
Alabama secedes






Jan 19
Georgia secedes








Jan 26
Louisiana secedes





Feb 4
Provisional Confederate Congress convenes



Feb 8
Provisional Constitution approved

Feb 9
Jefferson Davis elected provisional President



Feb 18
Jefferson Davis inuagurated




Feb 21
CSA Post Office instituted


Feb 23
Texas voters approve secession


Mar 4
Lincoln inaugurated

Mar 6
John Reagan appointed Postmaster General

Mar 9
First Issue of CSA Notes authorized



Apr 12
Bombardment of Fort Sumter begins


Apr 15
Lincoln declares an insurrection exists


Apr 17
Virginia secedes


May 6
Arkansas secedes


May 13
Proclamation Creating the Confederate Post Office issued









May 14
England recognizes Confederate belligerency









May 16
Second Issue of notes authorized









May 20
North Carolina secedes









May 24
CSA Congress votes to move capital to Richmond
















June 1
North-South mail ceases

Mints officially close













June 8
Tennessee voters approve secession















July 16
CSA Capital moves to Richmond

July 21
Battle of First Bull Run



August 3
CSA Congress authorizes additional $1,000,000 in notes

August 10
Battle of Wilson's Creek

August 19
Third issue of CSA notes authorized

August 27-28
Forts Clark and Hatteras, North Carolina taken by Union forces



Confederate Stamps

1861      1862      1863      1864

Initially, the United States Post Office Department continued to operate within the seceded states, and US postage stamps were in use. Indeed, in his Inauguration Address, Lincoln promised:

"...The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union."

Covers bearing date of usage between the date a state seceded and the date of its admission to the Confederacy are termed "Independent State Usage".


USA Star Die cancelled at Friars Point, Miss CDS January 22 (1861) -- Independent State Usage for Mississippi. Note that while Mississippi had already seceeded, Louisiana had not.

Covers dated after the date of admission through May 31, 1861 are referred to as "Confederate State Usage".


USA #25 cancelled at Columbia, SC CDS April 7 (1861)
Confederate State Usage

The Confederate Post Office was instituted on February 21, 1861, and assumed reponsibility for postal service in the seceded states on June 1, 1861. In all, 8,535 of the 28,586 post offices in the United States were to come under Confederate control.

John Henninger Reagan of Texas was appointed Postmaster General on March 6, 1861.


John H. Reagan (1818-1905)
Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America

John H. Reagan was a lawyer, a farmer, a judge, and served in the Texas State House of Representatives prior to the Civil War.

On May 13, 1861 John Reagan issued a proclamation creating the Post Office Department of the Confederate States of America:

From the Library of Congress: Proclamation creating the Confederate Post Office


The Confederacy also established new postal rates to replace the 3 cent standard postage rate used in the United States:

5 cents per 1/2 oz under 500 miles
10 cents per 1/2 oz over 500 miles
2 cents drop letters and circulars

"Drop Letters" were letters that were "dropped" at a post office for the addressee to pick up at the same post office. "Circulars" were printed business documents or newspapers sent with either a wrapper or in an unsealed envelope.




Postmaster General John H. Reagan and sought assistance from southern-sympathizers in the U.S. Post Office Department, trying not just to bring employees from the Federal system into his, but also all that they could bring in the way of maps, reports, forms and plans that would build and strengthen the new service.

On June 1, 1861, postal service between the warring North and South was suspended. Since Confederate stamps were not yet available, postmasters had three alternatives:
  • Manuscript markings to indicate paid postage
  • Handstamps to indicate date and paid rate
  • Local provisional stamps or pre-paid envelopes.
The Postmaster Provisional Stamps were not authorized by Richmond, however the Confederate Post Office permitted them as long as they were used only at the location where they were issued.


New Orleans provisional 2 cents red


New Orleans provisional 2 cents blue


New Orleans provisional 5 cents brown
The New Orleans provisionals were engraved on wood and printed by John V. Childs of New Orleans, on the order of Postmaster John L. Riddell. The first appeared in June 1861.

Handstamp PAID 5 Petersburg, Virginia July 13, 1861

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