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