December 24, 1863 Cooper Shop Volunteer Saloon receipt, Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA- Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon $1.50 Christmas Eve 1863. A very colorful red, white, and blue handwritten change receipt issued by volunteer canteen service during the Civil War. The document features a U.S. flag bearing the name of the organization and orders payment to the bearer, stating, “this shall be your receipt.”
The city of Philadelphia was an important transportation hub for the Union Army during the Civil War. Thousands of soldiers passed through the city on their way south to Washington DC and Virginia by rail and to the East and Gulf coasts by sea; as well as the return trip home. In May of 1861, local businessman William M. Cooper and his business partner H.W. Pearce, owners of a manufacturing building that was conveniently located between the Delaware River docks and railroad connections, turned the building into a place serving food and drink to hungry troops passing though the city. The Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, as it was known, remained open throughout the rest of the war, serving hundreds of thousands .