If this envelope ever carried a letter in it, the letter is long gone but it may have been sent solely for the purpose of transmitting the two pages ripped from the gospel of St. Matthew in the New Testament which were “picked up at Manassas April 1, 1862”—perhaps as a relic of the Battle of Bull Run.
The envelop was addressed to “Mrs. George L. Schuyler of Dobb’s Ferry” on the eastern bank of the Hudson River in Westchester county, New York. The wife of George Lee Schuyler (1811-1890) was Eliza (Hamilton) Schuyler (1811-1863). The note on the envelope was followed with the initials “M. M. H.” which I have concluded belonged to Mary Morris Hamilton (1818-1877), a younger sister of Eliza Schuyler. The sisters were very close—so close in fact that after Eliza died in December 1863, Mary became the second wife of her brother-in-law, George. Mary was a granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton.
The note on the envelop implies to me that the relic was picked up on the battlefield on 1 April 1862 which would have been some 9 months after the battle of First Bull Run and some five months before the battle of Second Bull Run. During the April 1862 timeframe the battlefield would have been under Union occupation and available to sightseers and relic hunters from the North.
George and Eliza (Hamilton) Schuyler had at least three children, one of whom was Brevet Major Philip George Schuyler (1836-1906), another was Louisa Lee Schuyler (1837-1926) who was the corresponding secretary of the Women’s Central Association of Relief in New York City during the Civil War, and Georgiana Schuyler (841-1923) who also participated in the soldiers’ aid societies during the war—particularly the US Sanitary Commission.
See also—1864: Mary Morris Hamilton to Henry Boyton Smith on Spared & Shared 13
The Testament Pages