Friday, March 30, 2012

New Orleans and Antietam

Continuing its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Postal Service is issuing a souvenir sheet of two stamp designs in April.

One stamp depicts the Battle of New Orleans, which was marked on April 24, 1862, by the heroics of Flag Officer David G. Farragut, soon to become the U.S. Navy’s first full admiral. It is a reproduction of an 1862 colored lithograph by Currier & Ives titled “The Splendid Naval Triumph on the Mississippi, April 24th, 1862.” It depicts Admiral David G. Farragut’s fleet passing Forts Jackson and St. Phillip on the way toward New Orleans.

The other stamp depicts the Battle of Antietam, the invasion of the North by Confederate General Robert E. Lee that resulted in the bloodiest day of the war on September 17, 1862. It is a reproduction of an 1887 painting by Thure de Thulstrup, and one of a series of popular prints commissioned in the 1880s by Boston publisher Louis Prang & Co. to commemorate the Civil War.

The background image on the souvenir sheet is a photograph of Union soldiers in the vicinity of Fair Oaks, Virginia, circa June 1862. It also includes comments on the war by David G. Farragut, James C. Steele, Walt Whitman, and the New York Times, along with some of Charles Carroll Sawyer’s lyrics from the popular 1862 song “Weeping, Sad and Lonely,” or “When This Cruel War Is Over."

The Civil War (1861-1865) claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers. The stamp series will run through 2015.

What other Civil War items do you have in your collection? Comment here.

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