Did you know that in August USPS will issue the first in a new series of stamps commemorating the War of 1812? The first stamp in the series features the oldest known painting of the most famous ship of the war, USS Constitution.
The painting, by Michele Felice Cornè, circa 1803, is considered to be the most accurate contemporary depiction of the ship, which acquired the nickname “Old Ironsides” during a victorious battle at the beginning of the war. In 2009, the majestic frigate, now docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts, was officially designated as “America’s Ship of State.”
Although known as the War of 1812, the conflict with Great Britain—which began on this day—actually lasted two-and-a-half years! Many Americans at the time viewed the conflict as the nation’s “Second War of Independence.” Today, however, the War of 1812 is sometimes called “the forgotten conflict.”
Yet much about the war is notable, including the stunning successes of Old Ironsides, the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, the burning of the White House in August 1814, the defense of Fort McHenry the following month (which inspired Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner”), and Andrew Jackson’s lopsided victory over the British at New Orleans in January 1815. Although the young republic barely escaped defeat, disunion, and bankruptcy, it survived the conflict and in the crucible of war forged a national identity.
The first stamp in the War of 1812 series will be issued August 18 at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts. The original painting used for the stamp will be on display at the event. Visit the USS Constitution Museum for more information about the ceremony, which is free and open to the public. To read more about the stamp, visit Beyond the Perf.