MORRISTOWN — Currently on display in the center hall of Macculloch Hall, visitors can view a selection of American Civil War patriotic covers. These envelopes bear patriotic illustrations and messages and provide an unusual insight into a turbulent and fascinating period of American history. The designs reflect patriotism and the sentimentalities and realities of a soldier’s life in war with documentation of great battles, tributes to heroes, or biting satires on opposing views. These images still communicate more than a century later, a sense of the great depth of feeling engendered by our nation’s most bloody conflict.
After the attack by Confederate forces on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, hundreds of such envelopes were quickly issued by many printers bearing flag, eagle, liberty and shield designs; all the forerunners of more sophisticated designs that were produced later during the war. New Jersey residents also used these patriotic covers in their correspondence as a popular means of displaying patriotic ideals. But New Jersey, primarily an agrarian state with a low-density population, had one of the smallest numbers of such covers to survive the era.
This display of Civil War history precedes the next exhibit at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, and will remain on display until Wednesday Nov. 23. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum will partner with the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee (NJCWSC) to present the major exhibit, “Gone for a Soldier: Jerseymen in the Civil War” from Nov. 6 to July 1, 2012.
Until now, many of the stories of the major contributions of Jerseymen to the Civil War effort have remained untold. “Gone for a Soldier” will make a major contribution toward telling these stories. The exhibit will bring together for the first time about 200 objects from the Civil War from nearly 30 museums, historical societies, and private collections.
To celebrate this historic exhibit the Museum will host an exclusive ticketed preview event on Nov. 5. The preview will feature intimate tours of the exhibit given by members of the NJCWSC and elegant hors d’oeuvres. Tickets to this event are limited, and are available through the museum’s website at www.maccullochhall.org.
Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves the history of the Macculloch-Miller families, the Morris area community, and the legacy of its founder W. Parsons Todd through its historic site, collections, exhibits, and educational and cultural programs. It is located in the heart of Morristown’s National Historic District. The museum is open to tour the house and view exhibits on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. The last tickets for admission are sold at 3 p.m. For information, call the Museum weekdays at 1-973-538-2404 or visit www.maccullochhall.org.
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