This page last updated: 10 July 2000


::: First Period of Soldier Mail :::

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Prior to annexation, regular UPU postage rates applied to mail from Hawaii. Thus, a letter cost 5 per half ounce, whether it was sent from a soldier or anyone else. To alleviate any burden to the visiting troops, Hawaii paid their postage. Troops were invited into the chambers of the legislature, the YMCA and other places to write their letters. On June 2, 1898, regular postage stamps were used but someone thought of the largely useless Foreign Office stamps and used them to frank the soldiers' letters. We thus find the Official Stamps on covers sending letters home from the troops. Four troop expeditions stopped at Honolulu prior to annexation. In addition to expedition mail, a United States patrol gunboat, the USS Bennington, was on station at Honolulu until June 16 when she was relieved by USS Mohican, a wooden hull screw sloop, in turn relieved by USS Philadelphia, a cruiser class ship, on August 3. Mail from expedition troop and sailors aboard the ships on station made up the First Period soldier mail. Still another source of sailor mail were the naval escorts for the troopships.

Hono 2Jun98

Postmarked June 2, 1898, at Honolulu and franked with an ordinary 5 Hawaiian postage stamp. Troops in the first expedition were the Volunteer Infantry troops from Oregon and California, plus regular Army on board the troop ships City of Peking, Australia and City of Sydney. They arrived ashore on June 2, 1900 and left in the morning of June 4. USS Charleston was the escort ship for this expedition.

Hono 3Jun98

Postmarked June 3, 1898. This double weight letter was collected from the House of Representatives and franked with the 10 Foreign Office stamp. Mail from the first expedition was collected from writing rooms and postmarked as late as June 9.

Hono 8Jun98 - Annex Hawaii

Back of cover postmarked June 8, 1898

At a writing room used by Oregon Volunteers covers were back-stamped with the ANNEX HAWAII legend. Only five examples of this legend are recorded. The legend reads:

Foreign postage paid by citizens of Honolulu, American Stamps
will be good only after you
ANNEX HAWAII

Hono 9Jun98

Postmarked June 9, 1898 with the regular Honolulu postmark and also stamped with the Foreign Office circular stamp. The foreign office stamp is found on two covers, both with the date missing.

Hono 28Jun98 wrapper

Postmarked June 28, 1898, from an officer in the second expedition, consisting of the China, Zealandia, Senator and Colon. USS Monterey and the collier Brutus were escorts. Second expedition troops were from the Colorado, Pennsylvania and Nebraska Infantry Volunteers, the Utah Artillery and regular Army. Second expedition mail is postmarked June 23, 1898 to June 28. This newspaper wrapper paid the ordinary 2 rate for a newspaper, franked with the foreign office 2 stamp.

Hono 28Jun98 Senate

Collected from the Senate Chamber and postmarked June 28, 1898. The manuscript inscription below the Senate corner card merely identifies the sender. Until annexation, U. S. regulations requiring soldier mail to be endorsed by a designated officer had no force in Hawaii.

Hono 12Jul98

Postmarked July 12, 1898 from a soldier in the third expedition. The third expedition arrived July 5, 6 and 7 and left July 8 and consisted of troop ships Ohio, Indiana, Morgan City and Valencia. Newport, the flagship of the 3rd U. S. Artillery arrived and left in the same time frame but was unattached to the expedition. USS Monadnock also passed through at the same time, arriving July 3 and sailing July 13. Troops in the third expedition were Volunteer Infantrymen from Wyoming, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho and Nebraska, the Astor Battery of New York Volunteers, the 3rd U.S. Artillery, H & K Batteries and regular Army Infantry. Some mail from the third expedition was sent to Tacoma on the Warrimoo. The rest was sent to San Francisco. Third expedition mail was postmarked July 6, 1898 to July 12.

Hono 10Aug98 full flag

Postmarked August 10, 1898, from the Fourth expedition. These troop ships were spread out, with the first arriving July 23 and the last on August 6. They also left at different times. The ships were Peru and Puebla (July 23) Pennsylvania (July 28), Rio de Janeiro (July 30) and St. Paul (August 6). Troops were U. S. Cavalry, Infantry and Artillery and Volunteer Infantrymen from North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, California, South Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado. Fourth expedition mail was postmarked July 26, 1898 to August 10, the last date noted in the First Period of Soldier Mail.

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