Special Report

Civil War Artifacts in the Smithsonian

The museum collections house many items from the Civil War, including photographs, uniforms and personal diaries

Lincoln's Top Hat (National Museum of American History)

Confederate Wallpaper Cover, National Postal Museum

Confederate wallpaper cover
(National Postal Museum)

Wartime demands home-front resourcefulness, which can be seen in this envelope fashioned from wallpaper. “The blockade of ports early in the war was the main reason for this,” says researcher and Confederate postal historian Trish Kaufman. “The blockade prevented the importation of paper from the North and Europe. Consequently, Southerners used virtually anything where one side had enough space for an address. In this example, it was spare rolls of wallpaper—though not stripped from the walls, as has erroneously been declared in the past.”

by Jesse Rhodes


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