The U.S. Postal Service has announced the designs for its 2013 Civil War commemorative stamps. During the 2011-2015 Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Post Office is issuing two stamps each year commemorating significant events in the war that occurred 150 years ago from the year of the stamp’s issue. In 2011,the stamps commemorated the first shots of the war fired at Fort Sumter, and the first large battle of the war at First Bull Run. In 2012, one stamp commemorated the passing of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip by the Federal fleet and the subsequent capture of New Orleans while the second honored the Battle of Antietam.
For 2013, the stamps commemorate the Vicksburg Campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Vicksburg Campaign was a lengthy one that began in 1862 and ended with the Confederate surrender of that Mississippi city on July 4th, 1863. The Vicksburg stamp features a Currier and Ives lithograph of the April 16th passing of the city’s batteries by Admiral David Porter’s fleet of gunboats and transports. After several failed attempts at capturing this important Mississippi River garrison, General Ulysses S. Grant marched his army south on the western side of the river. Porter’s fleet successfully passed Vicksburg’s defenses and later ferried the ground troops across the river to the Mississippi side, and Grant launched his final, successful land campaign.
This is the third year in a row that a Currier and Ives lithograph was used in one of the stamps. Both the Fort Sumter and the Forts Jackson and St. Phillips stamps featured Currier and Ives artwork.
The Gettysburg stamp is based on a chromolithograph by the Swedish born artist Thure de Thulstrup depicting the assault popularly known as Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd, 1863, the final day of the three day battle. The Union Second Corps under General Winfield Scott Hancock is pictured defending against the charge. Thulstup is another repeat artist in the series; his lithograph of the Battle of Antietam was used in that 2012 stamp.
As of this writing, the date of release of this year’s stamps has not been announced. I’ll update this post when that information is available.
Update 2/10/2013: The 2013 Civil War commemorative stamps first day of issue will be May 23rd in Vicksburg, Mississippi and Gettysburg Pennsylvania.