Nov 6
Lincoln elected

Dec 20
South Carolina secedes


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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