Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Key West Union Blockade Letter written aboard the U. S. Steamer Huntsville. Three pages, 8" x 10", on blue paper, Key West, July 24, 1862, regarding the recent capture of Confederate blockade runners. "We are just in Port with 2 prizes towing astern, one a Str [Steamer] which ran out of Secesh land as also the Sch [Schooner]. On the Str is some 250 Bales of cotton 225 being Sea Island Cotton very valuable (worth in English markets $1.25 per pound)." He continues his story by relaying the events of an additional capture the month before: "We were cruising some 17 @ 18 days & during that time participated in the capture of & capturing ourselves 4 prizes...I sent...a short a/c of our doings to the NY Times (Delta)." Also included is a transmittal envelope postmarked June 14. Smoothed folds are toned; ink has bled-through slightly on the first and second page. Folds are weak and separating at the intersections with minor loss of paper on the last page, but not affecting the text. This letter is filled with great content on naval activity during the war.

    More Information:

    The Huntsville also participated in the capture of the Confederate blockade runner Reliance: "In capturing the Reliance...we did a big thing for she was commanded by a Mr. W. G. Gladding of Savannah a former Lt in USN...He is smart & a great Blockade runner well known to our Navy & thru the South. I expect we will receive much attention for this affair & the 'H' will here after be put on pleasant duty."

    The author is also witness to the exodus of people from that city after its fall: "I boarded the Str Marion this am was aggravating to see the fair sex all...was from N. O...and these...ladies & people leaving Dixie for more comfortable quarters North." "I enclose a Confed Shinplaster which I got from Secesh he hadn't seen a 5 [cent] piece & I hadn't seen a 5 [cent] shinplaster so we exchanged." Shinplasters were a form of paper currency representing low denominations and used in places where metal coinage was rare. Unfortunately, the shinplaster is not included with this letter.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 339

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 4 days left to consign to the 2018 July 24 East Hampton Real Estate Signature Auction - !

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 May 11 Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 May 11 Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $1,140,582