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Trading With The Enemy

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Stamps679 of 692Running Under the InfluenceA Ferry Tale
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Posted 4 years ago

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An article in the Bahamas Herald of September 12, 1863 exposed an illegal trade scheme that involved goods such as cotton and turpentine being exported from the CSA on blockade-runners to the Bahamas and being trans-shipped to the US. In the reverse direction, Colt revolvers, army shoes and blankets were exported from New York to Nassau and thence by blockade-runner to Charleston. The scheme included bribery payments of £500 per shipment made to custom-house officers at New York. One shipment from New York included 2,000 CSA velvet officer badges with the palmetto tree insignia of the state of South Carolina.

The article specifically identified the schooner Wild Pigeon as being employed on the Nassau to New York leg of this trade. The sloop yacht Rosalie was identified as having made seven trips on the Charleston to Nassau blockade-running leg and Captain William Ross Postell was indentified as her captain.

The cover below, addressed to the niece of Captain Postell, was carried on the schooner Rosalie on the Charleston to Nassau leg and then, as endorsed, on the Wild Pigeon for the Nassau to New York leg. The first leg is documented in a February 9, 1863 letter of addressee's father in Charleston that mentions: "I have written by William Ross (Postell) who in a yacht is about to run the blockade to Nassau. I enclosed your letter and handed to William on the 5th inst. He was ready to sail and was only waiting for a dark night and a high wind."

Posted by Richard Frajola

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