Five-Year Civil War Sesquicentennial Stamps Series Continues

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.


The Battle of Vicksburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1863 lithograph by Currier & Ives titled “Admiral Porter’s Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th, 1863.” The Battle of Gettysburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1887 chromolithograph by Thure de Thulstrup (1848-1930), a Swedish-born artist who became an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly after the Civil War. Thulstrup’s work was one of a series of popular prints commissioned in the 1880s by Boston publisher Louis Prang & Co. to commemorate the Civil War.

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.)

CivilWar1863-Forever-pane-BGv1The 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, 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.

are being issued as Forever® stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.

New Civil War Stamps to be Issued Tomorrow

The year 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of not only the largest battle of the Civil War (Gettysburg) but also the longest and most complex military campaign of the conflict (Vicksburg). Tomorrow we’ll be on the site of both battles to officially unveil the new .

CivilWar1863-Forever-Block-v2The stamps will be dedicated at at two ceremonies. The first will take place at 10 a.m. CDT in the USS Cairo Museum at Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The other will take place at 11 a.m. EDT in the visitor center at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Please come join us!

USPS Commemoration of War of 1812 Continues in 2013

This year we are proud to continue our commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with a stamp on the Battle of Lake Erie. This critical battle produced an American naval hero, Oliver Hazard Perry, and gave us the famous line, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

For the stamp art, we’ve selected William Henry Powell’s famous painting, Battle of Lake Erie. The oil-on-canvas painting, completed in 1873, was commissioned by the U.S. Congress and placed at the head of the east stairway in the Senate wing of the Capitol. It depicts Oliver Hazard Perry in the small boat he used to transfer from his ruined flagship, the Lawrence, to the Niagara.


Courtesy U.S. Senate Collection.

The War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie stamp will be issued in September as a Forever® stamp in sheets of 20 self-adhesive stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.)

USPS Encourages Writing Letters to Service Members

With Veterans Day just around the corner, USPS is encouraging Americans to salute the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the U.S. military by using the new Purple Heart Medal Forever stamp issued in early September.

“The Postal Service helps families stay connected to their loved ones who defend our country,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Service members look forward to letters from home. When springing into action, letters from home are not left behind on a cot or at the bottom of a duffle bag. Those letters are tucked safely in pockets. They’re kept close to their heart—and they’re pulled out and read again and again.”

Mail sent to service members at Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomat Post Office (DPO) addresses is mailed at the domestic rather than international price. As a domestic stamp, the Purple Heart Medal Forever stamp is good for mailing one-ounce cards and letters addressed to individuals at these locations. Using the current First-Class one-ounce letter price, the stamp can also be applied to mailing packages.

Available nationwide in sheets of 20, the stamps can be purchased online at or by calling 800-STAMP-24 ().

Second only to the Pentagon in hiring veterans, the U.S. Postal Service employs more than 108,000 former service men and women—comprising nearly one in five employees in its career workforce. Today, almost 1,000 dedicated postal employees continue to serve in an active duty status.