American Civil War – The Anaconda Plan
By: Dan Ryterband

May 10 , 2022

Our most recent meeting of the New York Chapter USPCS took place on May 10, with Dan Ryterband speaking about his latest exhibit entitled “The American Civil War – The Anaconda Plan.” This incredible exhibit focused on Naval mail related to the Union blockade of Southern ports, whose objective was to crush the Confederacy. Using four frames of material, Dan walked us through the history of this famous strategy that eventually won the war.

Dan noted that the main goal of the Anaconda plan was to destroy the South’s economy by cutting off both imports and exports. The exhibit showed postal history related to the various blockade squadrons, including mail to and from many of the ships and their commanders.

For the North Atlantic blockading squadron, some of the key items included: handstamp marking of USS Steam Frigate Roanoke (one of two known); patriotic cover from the USS Minnesota; Boyd’s local stamp used on a ship cover; covers postmarked with the U.S. Ship 3 Cents marking (both oval and circle varieties); and an illustrated cover showing a 4-horse caravan for Adams Express, Burnside Expedition.

The South Atlantic blockading squadron included: several covers sent from the USS Housatonic, the first ship sunk by a submarine; and a cover with an illustration from the USS Mercedita, which also had “Ship’s Letter” printed in the UR corner.

Covers from the East Gulf and West Gulf squadrons included: USS Hartford (flag ship) and several covers sent from Ship Island, Mississippi (including both straight line and circular markings).

The exhibit ended with postal history of the Prize Courts, including revenue-stamped documents representing claims for prize money.