Two of the most important events of the Civil War were memorialized on Forever® stamps yesterday at the sites where these conflicts took place—Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
This issuance is the third in a five-year series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The sheet of 12 stamps includes two stamp designs: one depicting the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle of the war, and one depicting the Battle of Vicksburg, a complex Union campaign to gain control of the Mississippi River. (USPS began the Civil War Sesquicentennial series in 2011 with the issuance of the Fort Sumter and Battle of Bull Run Forever stamps. Last year, we issued stamps memorializing the Battles of Antietam and New Orleans.)
The background image on the 1863 souvenir sheet is a photograph taken by Mathew Brady shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg of captured Confederate soldiers, who reportedly posed for Brady on Seminary Ridge. The souvenir sheet includes comments on the war by Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, Rufus R. Dawes (a Union soldier), and William Tunnard (a Confederate soldier). It also includes some of the lyrics of “Lorena,” a popular Civil War song by Henry D. L. Webster and Joseph P. Webster. The stamp series was designed by art director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, Virginia.
“Unquestionably, the Civil War was a horrific four years for our country. There was nothing ‘civil’ about it, and the devastation inflicted on the country as a result was on a scale that is hard to fully comprehend,” said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Vice Chairman James Bilbray in dedicating the Vicksburg stamp in the city where his great, great grandfather, a member of the Sixth Alabama Infantry Battalion, died during the siege.
Joining Bilbray in dedicating the stamps at the USS Cairo Museum were Vicksburg National Military Park Superintendent Michael Madell, author and Louisiana State University Associate Professor of History Gary Joiner, and award-winning broadcaster Walt Grayson.
“Today, we are humbled by the opportunity to dedicate this new stamp honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice so our country could be whole and we could all prosper,” said Gettysburg College alumnus and U.S. Postal Service Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President Jeff Williamson at the Gettysburg dedication ceremony. “In issuing these stamps, it is our fervent hope that it will help to strengthen what President Abraham Lincoln called the American people’s ‘mystic chords of memory’ that stretch ‘from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land.’”
Joining Williamson in dedicating the stamps at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitors Center were Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site Superintendent Bob Kirby, Gettysburg Mayor William Troxell, College of Gettysburg President Janet Morgan Riggs, and Gettysburg Foundation President Joanne Hanley.
To obtain the obtain first-day-of-issue postmark for your collection, purchase stamps at a local Post Office, online at usps.com/stamps, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. Affix the stamps to envelopes of your choice, address the envelopes to yourself or others, and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
Civil War: 1863 Stamp (Vicksburg, MS)
3415 Pemberton Blvd.
Vicksburg, MS 39180-9998
Civil War: 1863 Stamp (Gettysburg, PA)
115 Buford Avenue
Gettysburg, PA 17325-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, USPS will return the envelopes through the mail. While the first 50 postmarks are free, there is a five-cent charge per postmark beyond that. All orders must be postmarked by July 23, 2013.
The Civil War: 1863 stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.