Revolutionary War Ship Mail Letters

Revolutionary War ship letter from Bordeaux France, via Cape Fear to Boston

vf example of a Revolutionary War ship letter from Bordeaux France, via Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Boston, Massachusetts. the 10d rate includes the 2d ship fee, plus 8d for the inland rate to Boston.

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Revolutionary War ship letter

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1782 Revolutionary War Ship letter Bordeaux, France to Boston, Massachusetts

(Please note: This letter has been sold. Please check my Biblio website for Revolutionary War ship letters.)

This is a very unusual Revolutionary War Ship mail letter, written by John Bondfield in Bordeaux, France, to the famous merchant William Vernon, of Newport, Rhode Island, but living in Boston, Massachusetts. The letter is dated January, 26, 1782. The letter is rated as forw'd 10, and was sent using the rates of 1781, which were restored to the 1775 rates in October of 1781. The rate breaks down as follows: 16gr=2d for the ship fee, with an additional 2dwt 16gr= 8d for the distance of 200-300 miles. the total adds up to 10d, which is marked on the address panel. The letter was carried into Cape Fear, North Carolina, by ship, and then by inland mail to Boston.

The letter to Vernon regards business, and the unavailability of ports to use during the war: “our intercourse with your parts of America is so contracted that we are deprived from sending any of the many objects we have suitable for your consumption. The state vessels all tend to Brest, La'Orient, and Nantes, and the merchantmen are either bound to Bilboa or Nantes, that for 2 or 3 years. We have had a single vessel for your port.....We have little prospect of peace here...”

This Revolutionary War ship letter clearly outlines the problems merchants were having in send goods to America during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about mail during this time period and another ship letter example, please see the Colonial ship mail letters page on this website.

The letter is from the collection of Cal Hahn, and his notes accompany the letter.

My main area of concentration is from the 1740's to 1820, with emphasis on the war periods, and early ship letters to the United States. Please click on the links below to view my postal history offerings, or contact me directly at . Thanks very much for your interest.

Please visit my online Biblio store to view Revolutionary War, ship letters and other history items for sale, including soldier's letters and stampless folded letters, covering the mid 18th century to early 19th century periods in US history:

For sale on Biblio: Revolutionary War ship letter

Revolutionary War postal history on offer at Biblio

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I am a life member of the APS, and a registered dealer member. American Philatelic Society

Thanks for visiting. —Brad Sheff


P.O. Box 246  |  Northfield, Vermont 05663  |  802-485-8239