Collect Rosenthal Regimental Civil War Covers

By Bill Weiss

A series of oversize envelopes with Regimental designs were produced by the L.N. Rosenthal Lithographic Company of Philadelphia, with designs of various Army Camps depicted on the backs of the covers. These attractive and rare designs are highly prized by collectors of Civil War Patriotic Cover collectors. They are especially rare postally used, and one contention is that they really were not produced for public use, rather were presentation pieces to ranking officers in the Potomac Army, and their non-typical large size tends to bear that opinion out.

Artist Max Rosenthal was born in Russian Poland in 1833. In 1847 he went to Paris where he studied lithography, and art. He made the the chromo-litho plates for what is believed to be the first illustrated book by this process in the United States. He designed and executed the illustrations for various works, and during the Civil War followed the Army of the Potomac, and drew every camp, up to the Battle of Gettysburg. It is said that he was the official illustrator of the Army of the Potomac. Apparently, some of these designs were used on these covers. He continued to do illustrations at least through the 1880s and possibly later. It is claimed that Max and Linis Rosenthal were the most famous Jewish Lithographers.

Along with the illustrated envelopes, matching lettersheets were also produced. This fact seems to indicate the intent to have these envelopes and writing paper be put to use, rather than just as presentation items. Because of their large size, they are often found in poor condition, even unused.

Our book "THE CATALOG OF UNION CIVIL WAR PATRIOTIC COVERS", published in 1995, listed 56 different designs of Rosenthal Regimentals found either on envelopes or lettersheets, or both. It is presumed that if a design exists on a lettersheet, that it also surely exists on an envelope, and vice versa. By 2006 we are aware of at least 9 additional designs, for a current total of 65 different. We would be pleased to hear from anyone who can add to the list.

An alphabetical list of these camps follows;
1. Camp ABERCROMBIE, 169th Regt. N.Y.S. Vols., etc.
2. Fort ALEXANDER, 18th Regt. Me. Vols., etc.
3. Camp BARCLY, Meriden Hill D.C., etc.;
4. Camp BLISS, Upton's Hill, Va, etc.
5. Camp BRIGHTWOOD, 2nd Rhode Island, etc.
6. Camp BRIGHTWOOD, Col. Henry Briggs, etc.
7. Camp BRIGHTWOOD, D.C., 36th Regt. N.Y.V., etc.
8. Camp BRIGHTWOOD, Col. N.H. Davis, etc.
9. Camp BROOKE, near Washington, D.C., etc.
10. Camp CASEY, Meridian Hill, etc.
11. Camp CASEY, 87th. Regt. N.Y.S.V., etc.
12. Camp CASEY, Col. J.I.McCarty, etc.
13. Camp CASEY, 33rd Mass., etc.
14. Camp CHASE, 7th Regt. R.I. Vols., etc.
15. Camp CHASE, VA, 11th Regt. N.H. Vols., etc.
16. Camp CHASE, 13th Regt. N.H. Vols., etc.
17. Camp CHASE, 21st Regt. Conn. Vols, etc.
18. Camp CHASE, 37th Regt. Mass. Vols, etc.
19. Camp CHASE, 147th Regt. N.Y.S.V., etc.
20. Camp CHASE, 157th Regt. N.Y. Vols., etc.
21. Camp CLAASSEN, 9th Regt. NY, etc.
22. Camp 19th Regt. CONNECTICUT Vols., etc.
23. Camp DAVIES, near Upton, Va, etc.
24. Camp DAVIS, Ringgold Regt., etc.
25. Headquarters 76th Regt. N.Y.S.V. Camp DOUBLEDAY, etc.
26. Camp FENTON, D.C. 9th Regt. N.Y. Cavalry, etc.
27. Camp FORNET, etc.,
28. Camp Near FORT ETHAN ALLEN, etc.
29. Camp Near FT. LYON, etc.
30. Camp of 143rd Penna. Vols. near FORT SLOCUM, etc.
31. Camp FOSTER, etc.,
32. Camp HICKS, etc.
33. Cantonment HICKS, etc.
34. Camp HILL HOUSE, etc.
35. Camp ILLINOIS, etc.
36. Camp of INSTRUCTION, 2nd Regt. Berdan's U.S. Sharp Shooters, etc.
37. Camp of INSTRUCTION, Berden's U.S. Sharp Shooters, etc.
38. Camp JERSEY, etc.
39. Camp KENDALL GREEN, etc.
40. Camp KNOX, etc.
41. Camp LESLEY, etc.
42. Camp McNEAL, etc.
43. Camp MIDDLETON, etc.
44. 5th. Regt. N. Jersey Volunteers, Camp on MERIDIAN HILL, etc.
45. Camp 11th. Regt. Rhode Island Vols, MINERS HILL, VA, etc.
46. Camp MONMOUTH, etc.
47. Camp MORRIS, etc.
48. Camp OBSERVATION, etc.
49. Camp PALMER, etc.,
50. Fort PENNSYLVANIA, etc.
51. Camp PRESCOTT SMITH, etc.
52. Camp of SECOND MASS., etc.
53. Camp SEMINARY, VA, etc.
54. Camp SEWARD, 22nd Regt. Me. V., etc.
55. Camp SEWARD, 136th Regt. N.Y. Vols., etc.
56. Camp SEWARD, 170th N.Y.V., etc.
57. Camp TOM CASEY, etc.
58. Camp VERMONT, etc.
59. Camp UNION, etc.
60. Camp WISEWELL, etc.
61. Capt. Gillen, Duffy, McManus, etc.
62. Camp of the 98th Regiment P.V., etc.
63. Camp of the 131st Regt. PA. VOLS, etc.
64. New York State Volunteers, First German Rifle Regt.
65. UNKNOWN Camp (no identification at bottom).
Obviously, most or all of the description imprints are herewith abbreviated to save space.