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July 18, 2023

25 Vintage Photos of Civil War Envelopes

During the Civil War, printed envelopes became popular early in the war, particularly in the Union. Hundreds of different images were used during the war to put a personal and political stamp on the stationery that was carrying news to and from the front.

Often the imagery on the envelopes featured patriotic poems and symbols, such as Lady Liberty and eagles. At other times they carried political cartoons and the likenesses of war generals and heroes. Still others were part of regimental stationery sets, which were emblazoned with a specific regiment’s name. They were often left black and white, but many were lithographically colored—and some even hand-colored—as well.

Publication of Civil War envelopes began as early as the mid-1850s, when north-south divisions began to take shape, but ended prior to the war’s conclusion because most believed that it was too indulgent and expensive to continue production in a time of war.

Here below is a set of vintage photos that shows printed envelopes during the Civil War.

Camp Scene

Eagle facing to the left hold and shield. Two flags going in left and right directions through the shield

Eagle flying toward the right with flag in its clutches

Flag flying on top of globe with inscriptions

Flag flying toward the right with cannon below pointed toward the left and smoking

Liberty female and seal

Luther C. Ladd with "Sixth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia" added to left edge

Man with hammer on flag staff with flag flying to the right

Multiple military items and 1861 prominently displayed on a sheet of paper

Numerous soldiers in close combat. Northern soldiers overtaking fortified position. One soldier is carrying a tattered American flag. Cannon has been fired by Confederates

Sailor that includes a flag, eagle, shield, and cannon balls

Seal with eagle and flag inside. With text ‘THE UNION FOREVER’ written in a flag font

Seal with signers of declaration of independence with scenery in background

Skull and crossbones

Solider sitting and facing left while smoking a pipe. Bayonet rifle sitting across solider's lap

State seal of Massachusetts with woman holding flag leaning on the seal

The devil showing Jefferson Davis the Confederate flag

Three women with U.S.A. inscribed on front

Woman and two small children. One child has ripped a flag draping the mother's bed

Woman facing left and holding a sword and flag

Woman on rock ledge with ship and flag in background

“Sumter First-Peace Afterwards”

Zouave soldier holding rifle

Zouave soldier holding rifle pointed to the left and flag waving to the right

Zouave soldier on small envelope


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