Do you have evidence that one of your ancestors may have served as a postmaster for the Confederacy? Or perhaps you are lucky enough to have a letter that your Southern ancestor mailed during the Civil War and you want to know more about the Confederate Post Office?
You may be able to find some information on a postmaster ancestor in the surviving records of the Confederate Post Office Department. The records are located at the National Archives and at the Library of Congress. Records at the National Archives include:
- A register of accounts from 1864 to 1865 for Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. These include the name of the post office, county and state, and receipts. Accounts and receipts may contain names of interest.
- Confederate records on mail contracts and routes in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Mail contracts may contain names of interest.
Confederate Post Office Department records at the National Archives are part of the War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109. Records at the Library of Congress include:
- An Appointment Bureau list of post offices from 1861 to 1865 with the names of postmasters for Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
- A register of accounts for the quarter ending March 31, 1862, for Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and Texas. These records include the names of the postmasters.
- An Appointment Bureau list from 1861 to 1865 of postmasters appointed in Arkansas, Indian Territory, Louisiana and Texas. This record provides dates of appointment, bond and commission of the postmaster. It also gives the name of the previous postmaster and why he left. The record includes name of the county, sureties’ names and miscellaneous remarks.
- Journal and Orders of the postmaster general, which contains lists of hundreds of postmaster appointments in the summer of 1861.
- Letters sent by the Contract Bureau from 1861 to 1864 mainly to contractors and postmasters, which are indexed by recipient or post office name and provide details on mail service.
- Confederate records on mail contracts and routes in the states of Mississippi and Virginia.
Confederate postal records at the Library of Congress are in the Manuscript Division as part of the Records of the Confederate States of America and have been reproduced on microfilm. You may able to get the microfilm from your local library through interlibrary loan.
You also can find some Confederate Post Office records online at the Internet Archive, a digital library. Just enter “Confederate Post Office” in the search box.