The Civil War in Missouri

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Deck of Union Playing Cards

ca. 1861-1865
MHM Collections

In between combat, marching, mess, drill, and sleep, Civil War soldiers had plenty of idle time to fill. They would occupy their time with leisure activities such as singing, writing letters, attending religious services, and playing games. These Union playing cards feature patriotic and military symbols and images in red, white, and blue. Some of the more popular games that would have been played with these cards are two-card monte and faro, a bank game more commonly called “Bucking the Tiger.”