|Figure 1 -- Beauregard, Fla., Oct 24th manuscript postmark with pen cancelled 10c Blue Lithograph on cover to Attapulgus, Ga.|
In the January-February 1992 issue of The Confederate Philatelist (1), I wrote an article on the known example of a Bartow, Florida Confederate cover (Fig. 2). The story of the Confederate post offices of Beauregard and Bartow Florida is closely related despite those towns being
several hundred miles apart. Until recently there has been no recorded usage from Beauregard and only records of the National Archives in Washington have yielded any information on the post office establishment, contracted mail routes and postmaster William P. Boroum.
There are several Confederate patriotic covers with variations of the slogan "I go to illustrate Georgia - Bartow" which refers to a statement made by Francis S. Bartow, a Georgia secessionist who argued with Georgia Governor Joe Brown over arms for the Oglethorpe Light Infantry militia company he was organizing. Two months later on July 21, 1861, Captain Bartow was killed at the Battle of First Manassas at Bull Run and as he lay dying uttered the words "They've killed me boys, but never give up the field." This phrase also became a slogan for other Confederate patriotic covers as well as a rallying cry for the troops. An extensive article on Captain Bartow was written by Everett K. Cooper in the March-April 1988 issue of The Confederate Philatelist (2).
Nearly every state in the Confederacy rushed to establish a "Bartow" post office out of respect for Francis Bartow. The State of Florida was perhaps a little too hasty and established two different Bartow post offices, one in Jackson County in Northern Florida and a second one in Polk County. The Jackson County Bartow post office was established on September 25, 1861, with William P. Boroum as postmaster. This was a newly established post office, not previously a Union post office. There is a single Confederate cover confirming this Bartow post office in Jackson County. This is a letter with a 5c Green Lithopgraoph cancelled by an ATLANTA/Ga. JAN 30 1862 postmark and mailed to Bartow, Jackson County, Florida, presently in the Edward Joyce collection (Fig. 3). The notation of Jackson County may have been an effort to avoid the letter being missent to Polk County.
|Figure 2 --Bartow, Fla., Aug 17th manuscript postmark with pen-cancelled Type I A&D to Cork, Fla..|
The Polk County Bartow post office was established as a new post office with William P. Brown as postmaster. The town had previously been known as Peas Creek with mail handled at Fort Meade or Alafia. The exact date of establishment of the Polk County post office is unclear with one source mentioning as early as July 1861, and another documenting a letter datelined from Peas Creek, February 15, 1862. Unfortunately there is no envelope to confirm the actual postmark of this letter. The "Register of Accounts Current of Post Offices in the State of Florida, 1862" for the quarter ending March 31, 1862 lists the post office as Bartow, Polk County, with W. P. Brown as postmaster. The accounts show letter postage $9.87, newspaper, pamphlet, circular, book postage $.91, compensation of Postmaster $6.55, balance due Confederate States $4.23, amount of cancelled postage stamps and stamped envelopes $.30. Thus there is evidence that during late 1861 and the first quarter of 1862 there were two different Bartow post offices functioning (albeit with minimal activity).
This confusion was rectified with the name change of the Jackson County Bartow post office to Beauregard sometime in 1862. The cover in Fig. 1 is the known example recorded from Beauregard. It has a manuscript postmark of Beauregard Fla, Oct 24th, with a pen cancelled #2 with usage to Attapulgus, Ga. How the mail was handled at the Beauregard post office is unclear. There is no record of any mail routes specifically mentioning Beauregard as a town serviced on any of the postal routes of Confederate Florida detailed in three separate 1992 articles by Stefan T. Jaronski in The Confederate Philatelist (3). There is, however, in the records in the National Archives (4) a written pen notation "Beauregard, Jackson County, Fla." at the top of a mail contract for Route 1538, Marianna Fla to Campbellton and back twice a week, offered on 15 May 1863 to Thomas L. Bevis for $28'5 per annum. It is likely that Beauregard was located somewhere between Marianna and Campbellton. Jaronski recorded in his article that this route 1538 had been in service in 1861 with J. Y. Register of Geneva, Ala. as contractor, re-let to J. Daniel on November 11, 1861, advertised in 1862, and that Thomas L. Bevis, of Beauregard, was actually awarded the contract on July 2, 1863 for $285 per year.
|Figure 3 -- ATLANTA/Ga. JAN 30 1862 postmark tied 5c Green Lithograph use to Bartow, Jackson Co., Florida.|
A copy of the contract offered on May 15th shows that it was not certified or signed by the Beauregard postmaster Boroum and a subsequent letter from Boroum to George Offutt, Chief of the Contract Bureau may shed some light (5).
To Geo Offutt
Chief of Contract Bureau
After inquiry & information received I have good reason to believe that the sureties are perfectly sufficient but as I am a con .... (line missing from letter) .... the contracts under Oath of office I have returned them blank accompanied by this statement hoping, however, that this notification will be satisfactory. Mr. JM Bates one of the sureties is said to be "worth eight or ten thousand dollars or more." I would consider the sureties (Alfred Bevis & JM Bates) quite sufficient to make good all the causalities & mismanagement that is likely to occur on that route (route 1538) but I can not sign certificate under Oath of Office.
The contractor (Mr. John Bevis) for Route No 1535 from Marianna Fla by Bellevue Fla to Bainbridge Ga has failed, so far, to fix his contract for want of proper sureties & probably will fail altogether. We consider it now an utter failure. We have had no mail on that route today or since Saturday.
Wm. P Boroum PM
at Beauregard, Aug 3rd 1863
This additional Route 1535, Marianna to Bainbridge, Ga. via Bellevue, Monday, Wednesday and Friday may well have also serviced Beauregard since Boroum mentioned that his office had no mail for several days. Jaronski notes that a contract for Route 1535 was awarded to J. H. Bevis of Beauregard on June 2, 1863 for $700 per annum and that service must have been unsatisfactory since the contract was transferred to D. L. Findley of Marianna on November 24, 1863 at $2450 per annum. Perhaps Boroum's letter of August 3rd was a stimulus to change the contractor and that the route required a much higher compensation to be properly serviced.
With all the Bevis family members residing in Beauregard and involved with mail contracts and as sureties, it is a wonder why the town wasn't named Bevis instead of Beauregard when it was changed from Bartow. Could it have been an effort to honor yet another Confederate officer, General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard who had led the Confederates in victory at 1st Manassas and where Bartow had been killed?
1. Briggs, Deane R. "Bartow, Florida", The Confederate Philatelist Yol. 37 NO.1 Whole 265 (1992), pp.7-9.
2. Cooper, Everett K. "I Go To Illustrate Georgia - Bartow", The Confederate Philatelist Yol. xx No. x Whole xxx (1988), pp.72-73.
3. Jaronski, Stefan T. "The Postal Routes Of Confederate Florida Part 2", The Confederate PhilatelistYol. 37 NO.2 Whole 266 (1992), pp. 68-69.
4. Confederate States Post Office, Contract Bureau, Mail Contracts 1861-1864, Record Group 109, Chapter Xl, Yol. 8, p.74, National Archives, Washington DC.
5. Letter copied by Kevin Hooper at the National Archives.
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