[Various locations, including Philadelphia, New York, Salem, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and others. 1861-1865]. 119 unused postal covers, all but one of them illustrated, almost all printed in color or hand-colored. Generally minimal wear. Ranging from very good to near fine condition. Item #WRCAM56082
An interesting and substantial grouping of Civil War-era patriotic covers, encompassing a wide variety of themes devoted to the Union cause. A great number of Union officers are celebrated here, among them are eight examples depicting General McClellan, three of Gen. Fremont, and a pair featuring Gen. Rosecrans the "Hero of the West." There are also numerous regimental leaders, including Edward Dickinson Baker, Commodore Silas H. Stringham, Lt. John T, Greble, Gen. Wool (printed with a map of the seat of war in Missouri), Col. E.D. Baker, Col. H.E. Paine of the Wisconsin Volunteers, Col. Max Friedman of the Cameron Dragoons, and many others. There are also pictorial covers of Gen. Sherman's Headquarters at Hilton Head; a pair depicting Fort Sumter; four depicting Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati; one of the Battle Monument in Baltimore; and one featuring Benton Barracks in St. Louis. Three examples are practically bird's-eye views of Baltimore, one a general view, another from the perspective of Federal Hill, and the third from Fort McHenry.
A common visual theme is the use of symbolic iconography of the United States. Numerous examples depict women standing proudly with the American flag, and are evocative of Columbia, the personification of the United States. One depicts a woman serving with the "Home Guard" and decked out in a dress resembling the flag. Another example shows a "Daughter of the Regiment." Yet another is titled, "The Ladies' Envelope" and features Columbia with an American flag-style shield. There are also a plethora of examples featuring the flag itself. One example prints a "History of Our Flag" beginning with its endorsement by Congress on June 14, 1777. One prints the flag next to a warning reading, "If Any One Attempts to Haul Down the American Flag, Shoot Him on the Spot."
The American Eagle features prominently here as well. In one example, the great bird is tearing apart a Rebel flag with his beak. In another, the eagle holds a banner in his mouth reading, "Beware" while confronted with a disjointed hand labeled "Jeff. Davis" holding eight snakes labeled with the names of the Confederate states, an interesting twist on the famous severed snake image featured in the Revolutionary-era "join or die" illustration.
Also, a handful of the covers display the type of twisted gallows humor (sometimes literally) to be expected from patriotic covers. One of these shows Jefferson Davis hanging from a tree; the text around his lifeless body reads, "Southern Eagle Jeff. Davis in Suspense Long May He Wave." A similar example shows Davis hanging from a gallows; the caption reads, "Jeff. Davis, 'President' of Traitors, Robbers, and Pirates; the Nero of the 19th century. On the Last 'Platform' of the Southern Confeder- ass-y." Yet another cover, not gallows humor but featuring Jefferson Davis, depicts him as a fox holding two geese, one labeled Tennessee and the other Virginia, above a caption reading "Jeff. Davis on a Scouting Expedition."
A particularly-colorful example depicts a proud Union soldier defending Washington, D.C. The soldier holds fast to an American flag as a cannon fires beneath his feet, with the Capitol building in the background. Other examples celebrate the New York State Volunteer Militia, the Pennsylvania Volunteers, the Quartermaster Department of the Anderson Zouaves, the Monitor, the naval battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack, Sherman's Flying Artillery, the text of the Army Hymn, "Jeff. Davis' Doom," various political cartoon-style illustrations, and many more.
A significant collection of one of the more ephemeral and visually significant artifacts of life in the North during the Civil War.