Capt. Enoch Knight's letter to Col. George F. Shepley about the 12th Maine Infantry, which was being formed in the fall of 1861, is decorated with an American flag and a liberty cap.
The liberty or Phrygian cap was used as a symbol of liberty in the American and French revolutions.
It was especially meaningful as a Union symbol during the Civil War as it originated as a cap given to Roman slaves when they were freed. Added to the top of the pole of the American flag, it served as a double message of liberty and union.
Enoch Knight of Bridgton was captain of Co. D of the 12th Maine. A lawyer, he enlisted in November 1861 at age 27 and served until August 1863.
Sgt. James E. Mitchell wrote frequently to Persis Blanchard of Cumberland. The graphic printed on the stationery he used for a letter sent from Relay House, Maryland, identifies his regiment and state, and also includes three American flags, a soldier, tents and the U.S. Capitol.
An accompanying envelope bore another common theme of patriotic imagery: "onward."
"Ned" Mitchell of Yarmouth served in Co. C of the 10th Maine Infantry, and then in its replacement unit, the 29th Maine.
Here Mitchell used decorated letterhead with an image of a soldier holding an 1861 American flag, while standing on a 1776 flag with 13 stars.
The dates 1776 and 1861also appear, marking the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the war.
His envelope, with an image of George Washington, continued the theme.
Mitchell wrote to Persis Blanchard of Cumberland about Thanksgiving and the ill effects of inexperienced soldiers – including those in the 5th and 13th Maine regiments.
Julia Muzzy of Bangor began a small scrapbook of patriotic images in 1862 and added to it throughout the war.
Muzzy, who married Henry D. Fuller of Corinth, a 2nd lieutenant in Co. B of the 1st Maine Cavalry, after the war, was about 15 years old when she started the book.
Her title page is written in red and blue ink, a further indication of her patriotic feelings.
Most of the images pasted on the pages appear to be cut from letterhead -- often used by soldiers. Some are images from magazines or newspapers.
Muzzy also pasted in text, probably from newspapers, that supported her images.
She seems to have kept the book of images throughout the war, as the nature of the images and the messages change toward the end of the book to indicate Union victory.
A figure holding an American flag stands over what appears to be a burning landscape. The image, which evokes the concept of Union victory over the fires of disunion.
John P. Sheahan of Dennysville, who wrote the letter, was a private in Co. K of the 1st Maine Cavalry until March 1864, when he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 31st Maine Infantry.
Pvt. Cyrus Libby of Co. A of the 5th Maine Infantry used stationery decorated with a woman – a common classical symbol of liberty –– holding an American flag and wearing flag-inspired clothing and a liberty cap. The text under the image refers to the liberty brought by the American Revolution.
Libby, who enlisted at age 19 in June 1861, wrote to a friend, George Patrick of Gorham, about the Battle of Bull Run, "I never saw so much fun in all of my life."
The United States Military Record for Co. B of the 10th Maine – known as the Portland Mechanic Blues – displays classical symbols, along with more specific Civil War images. Peace is on the left – a group relaxing in a country setting, a classical woman with a cornucopia of plenty, and a pleasure steamboat all suggest the benefits of peace.
At right are symbols of war, including an encampment, a battle scene and war ships. The large image in the center is a liberty figure holding laurel – peace – and a shield of war.
The memorial record lists members of the company and details about their service, as well as general information about the regiment. Such memorials were common after the war.
Pvt. Daniel W. Brown to mother on arrival in Washington, 1862
Item 79914 info
Maine Historical Society
"Union" – the United States remaining together as one country – was the primary theme of the North during much of the war.
The letterhead with the names of states as leaves of trees expresses that theme.
Daniel Webster "Web" Brown of Baldwin, who wrote the letter, was 23 when he enlisted as a private in Co. A of the 17th Maine Infantry in August 1862. He was promoted to corporal and remained in the regiment until June 1865.
Pvt. John E. Stewart of Co. G of the 6th Maine Infantry wrote frequently to his future wife, "Friend Samantha" Leighton and to his family.
This Stewart letterhead also stresses the importance of the union of the states. The outer edge of the shield contains names of the states. The sentiment "The Union for Ever" is clear.
Women have symbolized patriotism, justice, and liberty since the classical era of Greece and Rome. Here, the stars-and-stripes-clad woman, pointing forward, is rolling "Onward to Victory."
Calvin Titcomb of Kingsbury, who wrote this letter, was a member of Co. H of the 22nd Maine Infantry. He enlisted as a private and was promoted to corporal. He died of disease at Baton Rouge on March 28, 1863.
A woman in more classical attire wears a liberty cap, which originated as an emblem of emancipation for Roman slaves, and carries a shield.
John E. Stewart, of Columbia, in Washington County, who wrote the letter, served in Co. G of the 6th Maine.
Pvt. Eben Calderwood's letter to his wife, Mary, in Vinalhaven is printed with the Maine State Seal, a solider looking away from the state to a soldiers' encampment, and an American eagle, showing war in the service patriotism to the state and nation.
Calderwood was 39 years old when he joined Co. H of the 21st Maine Regiment in October 1862. He died in Louisiana in May 1863, leaving behind his wife and five children.
The letterhead Stewart used, "Rebel Medicine," is explicit in its war sentiment.
Pvt. John E. Stewart of Columbia served in Co. G of the 6th Maine Infantry. He was 23 when he enlisted in July 1861 and served until August 1864.
Pvt. John Stewart on McLellan, Lincoln visit, Virginia, 1861
Item 81176 info
Maine Historical Society
Pvt. John E. Stewart of Co. G of the 6th Maine Infantry often chose illustrated letterhead for his correspondence to his future wife, "Friend Samantha" Leighton and to his family.
This is among the letterhead that stresses the importance of the union of the states.
Here the word "Union" is in stars and stripes. The other imagery is the American seal, the eagle with talons holding symbols of peace and of war and the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" –– or "one from many."
Like many of the popular soldiers' memorials available after the war, this one is a standard format into which information about a particular company is printed.
War scenes dominate the top of the memorial, with peace at the bottom. The eagle and the stars and stripes shield at the top invoke the Union as do the draped flags at the bottom. Lady Liberty is at left; blind justice at right.
Co H. was mustered into service Aug. 21, 1862 by Capt. Charles G. Bartlett at Bangor. It began as the 18th Maine, then was transferred into the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Jan 1, 1863.
The memorial shows names of members of the regiment and specifies which died during the war.
This slideshow contains 15 items