The United States Post Office
produced these stamped envelopes from 1887 to 1894. The
envelope colors included white, amber, buff, blue, and manila. The two
cent embossed stamp on the envelope had 3 varieties, the rarest of
these was the 2 cent green on a blue envelope - Scott #U308.
That stamped envelope is easily identified, as it is the only one of
the three varieties where the bust points between the third and forth
notches of the interior oval. The other two varieties of the 2 cent
green embossed stamp with blue envelope,
(Scott #U314 and #U321)
are a little more difficult to tell apart, especially when the
identifying marks are covered by a killer cancel such as on the cover
above. However, I was able to determine that this stamp had 1
vertical bar at the corner of Washington's mouth and also that
the top of the head was not as rounded as in
which was enough to identify this cover as Scott #314.
(Scott #321 has two bars at corner
of mouth and two bars for the ear. Also the head is more rounded than
||The cover has a Newport,
Rhode Island cancel of October 12, 1891. There is also a
Newburgh, NY receiving backstamp on the reverse. I believe the
Bureau of Pensions
originally sent the enclosed form letter to Newport, RI and that
it was forwarded by Samuel
Honey to Newburgh, NY. I'm
not sure why it was originally sent to Newport, however
the sailor who is being asked to give further information
concerning the eligibility of
(or his widow)
to receive a pension was born in Newport and perhaps the Bureau
thought he was still living there. At the top left of the
letter, the phrase, "Widow No. 5122" is written
above Daniel's name. So it appears that Davis is deceased and it
is his widow who is applying for the pension. The form has the
words "claiment in the army"
crossed out and "Sailor in
the Navy" handwritten over
The Return address on the cover
is for Samuel R. Honey. Samuel Robertson Honey was born
in England in 1842. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War
and served as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from
1887 to 1888. He was a member of the Democratic National Committee
from Rhode Island from 1888 to 1896. He served as the Mayor of
Newport in 1891 and 1892 and was a member of the Rhode
Island State House of Representatives in 1893 and 1894. He
died on February 17, 1927. I'm not sure what his tie-in was with the
Bureau of Pensions, I could not find any reference in that capacity.
In 1891 he was serving as the Mayor of Newport and perhaps a clerk in
his office used the official stationary to forward this form to
White's new address.
The Cover was sent to
Newburgh, New York which is located on the Hudson River,
8 1/2 miles north of West Point, however William White
is listed on the form letter as living in Cornwall which
was located 3 miles south of Newburgh.
William J. White
is listed on the 1864 muster for the USS Hartford as an
Ordinary Seaman. He enlisted for 3 years on June 16,
1861 at Providence, Rhode Island. He served on board the USS
North Carolina before reporting to the Hartford. He was
born in Newport, Rhode Island, and was 29 years of age in 1861. Prior
to enlisting his occupation was listed as a carpenter. He had blue
eyes, light brown hair and was dark complexioned.
Daniel O. Davis
is listed on the USS Hartford's muster as a Landsman.
He enlisted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 10, 1862 and
transferred from the USS Princeton. He was born in
Philadelphia and was 29 years old. His former occupation was listed as
laborer. He had hazel eyes, black hair and a dark complexion.
were new sailors who had just joined the ship and were in training to
become seamen. An Ordinary Seaman was a sailor with
basic training skills, but who was not fully trained in all aspects of
seamanship. The next step in rank was Able Seaman or a
sailor who was conversant with all of the skills required of a sailor.
The USS Hartford
was rated as a Screw Sloop. She was 225 feet in length overall,
carried 42 guns and displaced 2,900 tons. She carried a crew of 310
officers and enlisted sailors and was capable of speeds up to 13.5 kts.
She was built by Harrison Loring at Boston,
Massachusetts in 1859.
The USS Hartford
was Admiral Farragut's flagship at the Battle of
Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. It was during this battle that
Admiral Farragut gave the well known and famous command, "Damn
The Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead." It can be assumed that both
White and Davis were serving on board during this time.
NOTE: The Torpedoes
referred to were not torpedoes as we use the term today, but rather
anchored mines in the harbor.