US Postal Service Forever Stamps 2012

Second Set of Civil War Sesquicentennial Stamps Issued

Today the U.S. Postal Service issued the second of an annual series of Forever stamps that pay tribute to one of the most searing, traumatic and consequential events in our nation’s history: the American Civil War. There are ten philatelic products available for this stamp issue.

The dedicated stamps, The Civil War: 1862, remember the Battle of New Orleans, the first significant achievement of the U.S. Navy in the war, and the Battle of Antietam, which marked the bloodiest day of the war.

The American Civil War engulfed the nation from 1861 to 1865 and profoundly changed the country, bringing an end to slavery and transforming the social life of the South and the economic life of the nation.

“These stamps help us pause to remember a period in our history that had a profound impact on our country for many years to come. A major achievement of the United States Navy during the war, the Battle of New Orleans placed the Confederacy’s most vital port in Union hands. As a result, Southern trade, finance, and shipbuilding were greatly disrupted. Five months later came the bloodiest single day of the Civil War — and in fact, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history — the Battle of Antietam”

–Dean Granholm, vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations.

The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the National WW II Museum in New Orleans.

Antietam Forever Stamp 1862

Antietam Forever Stamp 1862

Also speaking at the unveiling were Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, U.S. House of Representatives; William M. Detweiler, consultant for military and veterans affairs; Timothy Pickles, military film producer and director; and Bruno Tristan, district manager, U.S. Postal Service.

Art director Phil Jordan created the stamps using images of Civil War battles. The Battle of New Orleans stamp 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 Fort Jackson and Fort St. Phillip on the way to New Orleans.

The Battle of Antietam stamp is a reproduction of an 1887 painting by Thure de Thulstrup. The painting was one of a series of popular prints commissioned in the 1880s by Boston publisher Louis Prang & Co. to commemorate the Civil War.

New Orleans Forever Stamp 1862

New Orleans Forever Stamp 1862

For the stamp pane’s background image, Jordan used a photograph of Union soldiers in the vicinity of Fair Oaks, VA, circa June 1862.

The stamp pane includes comments on the war by David G. Farragut, James C. Steele, Walt Whitman, and the New York Times. It also includes some of Charles Carroll Sawyer’s lyrics from the popular 1862 song “Weeping, Sad and Lonely,” or “When This Cruel War Is Over” (music composed by Henry Tucker).

Civil War Mail Service

Mail was a treasured link among Civil War camps, battlefields and home. Recognizing its importance to morale, both northern and southern armies assigned personnel to collect, distribute and deliver soldiers’ mail. Wagons and tents served as traveling Post Offices.

Download this news release (PDF) for additional information.

Postal Service Commitment to Veterans

While the Postal Service does not maintain records on the thousands of Civil War veterans who worked for the Post Office Department, today’s Postal Service stands proud as the nation’s largest civilian employer of veterans. More than one-fifth of the Postal Service’s half-million career employees are veterans.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue-Postmark

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at a local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

The Civil War: 1862 Stamp
PO Box 50336
New Orleans, LA 70150-0036

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by June 24, 2012.

How to Order First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items post­marked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog, online at, or by calling 800-782-6724.

Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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