Patriotic Imagery: 1861-1880

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from Maine Historical Society

Liberty caps, red, white and blue stars and stripes; bald eagles, laurel wreaths, and woman signifying liberty all were popular iconography during the Civil War.

This colorful and patriotic imagery helped soldiers and others express political views and their hopes for the future of the Union.

Sutlers encamped with regiments sold letterhead and envelopes printed with general Union patriotic images or with imagery specific to a state or regiment. Much of the imagery had been used since the American Revolution to evoke American patriotism. Some, however, was altered to express a more partisan view of the Confederacy, or to make explicit statements about slavery or disunion.

After the war, the iconography continued on memorials of soldiers' service and publications, badges, and other articles of veterans' organizations, as well as in other printed material.