MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
POSTMARKS
STAMPS
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THE SIEGE OF PARIS, TWO MILLION LETTERS CARRIED OUT, NONE TAKEN IN, St. Vincent postal history
1870 cover to the Duc de Polignac, Paris, France but due the siege re-directed to the small hamlet of St. Jean du Cardonnay par Maromme, Seine Inferieure (near Rouen, 87 miles north west of Paris) with QV 4d yellow, 1/- indigo tied vertical "A10" with weak ST. VINCENT A/OC 10 70 despatch and both London Paid 31 OC 70 and Calais 1 NOV 70 transits, reverse with Paris Au Havre and Maromme 17 NOV 70 and Maromme 18 NOV 70 arrivals. During the Franco-Prussian War the French capital was surrounded by the Prussians and the Siege of Paris began SP 17 1870 and lasted until an Armistice was arranged on FE 28 1871. There were over two million mouths to feed in Paris as the number of armed forces and inhabitants had been swelled by an influx of foreigners, refugees and outsiders. French aeronauts quickly suggested to the postal authorities that balloons should be used to maintain communication with the provisonal government in Tours and beyond. 67 balloons took off from Paris during the siege of which 58 landed safely, more than two million pieces of mail were carried to places all over the world with prized items marked “Par Ballon Monte” existing to destinations as far as Mauritius, Hong Kong, and Japan. There was no mail by incoming balloon, and any incoming communication could only be received by carrier pigeon. Balloon “Neptune” is considered the first official flight on 23 SP 1870 and the last balloon, the 67th flight, was named “General Cambronne” honouring the general who during the battle of Waterloo screamed the word “Merde” at his British opponents.
The previous five letters (JU 25, JY 9, JY 25, AU 10, AU 25 1870) all reached the Duc of Polignac at his Paris address, obviously due to distance Polignac's estate writer in St. Vincent was unaware that Paris had become inaccessible.
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