Not to be outdone by the U.S. Mint and its offering of Civil War commemorative quarters, the U.S. Postal Service will issue two Civil War commemorative stamps per year from 2011 through 2015. The first two stamps in the series will be available on April 12th, 2011, the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Update: For information on the 2012 stamps click here.
Appropriately enough, one stamp is a reproduction of a Currier and Ives lithograph of the firing on Fort Sumter in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina by Confederate forces on April 12th, 1861, the opening shots of the Civil War.
The other stamp is a reproduction of painting by artist Sidney King called “The Capture of Rickett’s Battery”, an event that occurred during the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas. This battle on July 21,1861 was the first large scale land engagement of the war, and swept away the notion held by many on both sides that it would be a quick war with few casualties.
Confederate forces captured the six gun artillery battery of Captain James B. Ricketts in fierce fighting on Henry Hill. The painting that is reproduced for the stamp can be seen at the Henry Hill Visitor Center at Manassas National Battlefield Park near Manassas, Virginia.