As part of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, the United States Mint will release quarters honoring Gettysburg National Military Park and Vicksburg National Military Park in 2011. The Gettysburg Quarter will be released on January 25th and the Vicksburg Quarter is set for release on August 29th. The America the Beautiful Quarters® Program is a 12-year program that will honor 56 national parks and other sites, with five quarters released each year. The program started in 2010.
The quarters have the usual portrait of George Washington on the front, with the battlefield park image on the back. The reverse side of the Gettysburg Quarter shows an image of the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument. This monument is located on the Union battle line on Cemetery Ridge. The 72nd Pennsylvania helped repel Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd, 1863, the final day of the three day Battle of Gettysburg.
The reverse side of the Vicksburg Quarter shows an image of the U.S.S. Cairo, an ironclad river gunboat that was sunk by an electrically detonated mine (or torpedo as it was called back in the 1860’s) during the Vicksburg Campaign. The U.S.S. Cairo was sunk in the Yazoo River near Vicksburg on December 12th, 1862, recovered in the 1960’s and partially restored. It is now on display at Vicksburg National Military Park. The image shows the Cairo on the river and ready for action.
For more on the U.S.S. Cairo during the Civil War, click here.