Newnan, Georgia to Columbia, Georgia: 1861. Envelope or Cover. This one-page letter is datelined “Newnan April 11th 1861”. It is enclosed in a 3-cent U.S. postal envelope (Scott U10) with a circular Newnan Georgia postmark dated April 12th. Minor wear to the envelope with light toning to the letter. Short (1”) split beginning along one of the letters mailing folds.
This letter was written on the day before the Civil War began, and in closing Burmhead advises: “lots of war news this morning I should not be surprised to here of a fight in Charleston harbor in the morning.”
Burmhead was accurate in his prediction. On Thursday, 11 April (the day this letter was written) three Confederate officers visited Major Anderson, the commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, to present him with a demand to surrender. They waited for hours while Anderson considered his options. At about 3:00 am on the 12th (the day this letter was posted), Anderson informed the confederates that his garrison would remain and fight. At 4:30 am on the 12th, the Civil War began when Lieutenant Henry S. Farley, commanding a Confederate artillery battery of two 10-inch siege mortars on James Island lobbed the first shell into the fort.
Burmhead also cautions Bell, “don’t let the negroes and mules want for food. . ..”. Very good. Item #009443
Southern mail using prohibited U.S. postal stationery after a state had declared its independence from the Union or had joined the Confederacy is scarce. Georgia seceded from the United States on January 19th, 1861 and officially joined the Confederacy on February 4th.