Confederate Postal History - 52nd Virginia Infantry - A Captured Cover Taken from the 69th New York Irish Brigade - Great Story!

Offered is a pre-addressed printed cover addressed to a Union soldier’s wife, Mrs. M. A. Smith, 127 East 35th Street New York.  The Union soldier was Marshall Smith, a 40 year old resident of New York City, who enlisted in Company K of the famous 69th New York Infantry, Irish Brigade on December 7th, 1864. 

The cover has been turned upside-down and addressed to a soldier’s wife in the 52nd Virginia Infantry, Mrs. Leetitra Byers, Parnassus, Augusta County, Virginia.  That soldier’s name is Robert G. Byers, a 21-year old farm hand from Augusta County, Virginia.  Byers enlisted on July 16th, 1861 at Staunton, Virginia into Company C. 

Now, for the detective work… when was this Union – turned Confederate, cover captured?  Since Smith did not enlist until December 7th, 1864, we know that it has to be after that.  SMITH WOULD DIE OF WOUNDS THAT HE RECEIVED AT THE BATTLE OF SKINNER’S FARM ON MARCH 28TH, 1865… so it has to be before that.  The 52nd Virginia and 69th New York both fought at Petersburg and Fort Stedman just prior to when Smith was wounded on March 25th.

Now, it gets really interesting!  Byers was wounded on March 25th also!  He received a severe wound in the left arm which had to be amputated.  Fortunately he survived.  The 52nd Virginia fought at Waynesboro, Virginia on March 15th, 1865, and then went on to Petersburg.  It is apparent therefore that our cover was “captured” between March 16th and the 24th of 1865.  Unfortunately we would know more if we had the letter from Byers that was enclosed.  Our cover which is in beautiful condition has been in several philatelic auctions over the years. 

The cover is a golden yellow measuring 2 ¾ x 4 ¾ inches.  It has a nice CS #12 Jeff Davis 10 cent dark blue stamp and an “Army of Northern Virginia” target cancellation.  In pencil at the bottom of the back cover, Brian Green (famous stamp authority) has “blessed it”.

If you enjoy great covers “that have a story”, this one is for you!  One last interesting fact… after the war our rebel Byers became a butcher… a one armed butcher!

#PC247 - Price $495