US resentment towards France over Gallic opposition to the Iraq War may still be lingering. On Monday, a traditional annual tribute to writer Edgar Allan Poe went ahead with a slight twist.

For the past 56 years, a mystery visitor has visited Poe's grave on his birthday at a small cemetery in Baltimore, and left some French Cognac and three roses in the middle of the night.

This year, however, the mysterious donor, who appeared just before 3am wearing a black hood, also included a note with the Cognac.

"The sacred memory of Poe and his final resting place is no place for French Cognac," read the note. "With great reluctance but for respect for family tradition, the Cognac is in place. The memory of Poe shall live evermore!"

French exports were damaged early last year when the country opposed the US's decision to go to war in Iraq.