I am not a collector of this kind of thing, but there seems to be a fair amount of this kind of Civil War envelopes. They are very attractive and I am not sure why more people do not collect them. As far as I know these graphic envelopes served no real purpose other than a show of patriotism. This kind of thing was common in wars after the Civil War.
Postmarked Washington, DC, this envelope from LoC's collection is addressed to a Rossville, NY wife and mother. Understandably missing from History's pages, we hear nothing of her- just this envelope and a census or two. Any envelope postmarked ' Washington, DC ', to her, could have been from...
There are a few threads that have more information on them. You can see more on the Library of Congress website. It's interesting to go track down some of the names they're addressed to? You never know what you'll find.
Had no idea they're items people collect. Cool stuff!
Came back to this thread because it's a good place to snag the experts.
Last night ( while looking for something else ) came across an 1862 article about the ' new ' letter-envelopes. I remember something like this, where you write on one side, fold the whole thing up and it's an envelope? This was a kind of announcement that letter-envelopes were available to purchase and use. Emphasis was on corresponding with soldiers- these were also printed with those patriotic images we see on envelopes.
Any of the LoC collection or any other include one of these? Never saw one ( that I know of ).
The envelope that no family wanted to receive during the American Civil War was called the "mourning cover". It was edged in black all the way around the front and back cover with the flaps on the back also edged in black. This was sent to notify a family that there was a death involving one of their son`s during the war. The sympathy or condolence letter enclosed with-in would also be edged in black, written on what was known as "mourning stationery".
My 4th Great Grandfather was mailed one from Pensacola, Florida, addressed to him and postmarked on 20 May 1862, just 10 days after the fall of Pensacola. He had 3 son`s who were there at that time, my 3rd Great Grandfather who served and fought with the 2nd Regiment Alabama Cavalry and two of his younger brothers who served with the 29th Regiment Alabama Infantry. My two 3rd Great Granduncles had just arrived from Pensacola to Pollard, Alabama when the letter was postmarked and my 3rd Great Grandfather was still scouting and skirmishing around Pensacola. So the letter could have been written and mailed from any of the three and used that envelope.
After Pensacola was evacuated and fell to Federal forces on 10 May 1862, the Confederate postmaster there evacuated with the Confederate army north towards Pollard, Alabama, and took his postmarking device with him. He serviced Confederate army mail for only a short period of time, from mid to late May 1862, on the evacuation route which was along Mill Road from Pensacola north to Pollard, Alabama.
I am sure that my 4th Great Grandparent`s almost passed out when they first saw the "mourning cover" (black edged envelope) as they would have certainly thought that one of their son`s had been killed and that they were being notified of his death. However, none of the boys had been killed or died at this time so this was probably the only envelope that one of them could find during all of the chaos and confusion created by the evacuation and destruction of Pensacola and wanted to write home to let their parents know that they had evacuated safely, giving them their new camp location where letters could be delivered to them in the future.
Many families were not so fortunate, and their "mourning covers" carried dreadful news from the front regarding the death of one of their beloved family members.
Follow the link below for more information on postage stamps and the postal history of the Confederate States showing various types of covers used during the Civil War, to include a small piece on "mourning covers" a little more than half way down the page.