1895 $5 Marshall
Issued: August 16, 1895
Issue Quantity: 26,965
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Watermark: Double line USPS
Color: Dark green
A limited quantity of $5 Marshall stamps printed on watermarked paper was issued on August 16, 1895. They were replaced by the $5 Series of 1902 stamp on June 5, 1903.
Many of the stamps were used to frank mail to Europe. Color is uniform throughout, suggesting the entire run of 26,965 were produced in one printing. Some 100 are known imperforate.
After the Spanish-American War, 1,100 U.S. #278 stamps were overprinted for use in the Philippines. Of them, 318 were destroyed – leaving just 782 overprinted stamps for collectors.
Why Watermarks Were Added in 1895
The United States printed stamps on watermarked paper from 1895 to 1915. The watermarks, consisting of the letters “USPS” (for United States Postal Service), were faint patterns impressed into the paper during its manufacture. Often only a single letter or a portion of a letter is found on a single stamp.
Since the special watermark paper may already have been ordered at the time of the “Chicago Counterfeits,” the Postal Department may have anticipated the possibility before it actually happened. Other nations had used watermarking earlier.
The “USPS” watermarks are in single line or double line letters. To see a watermark, put the stamp in a watermark tray and add a few drops of watermark fluid. The mark (or part of it) should show clearly, though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between single and double line watermarks.
The Chicago Counterfeits
The “Chicago Counterfeits,” as the scandal came to be known, was one of the few counterfeits in the history of U.S. postage stamps. The Post Office Department was made aware of the matter when Edward Lowry contacted Postal Inspector James Stuart. Lowry wanted to know if the Postal Department had any objection to his purchasing the 2¢ current issue at less than face value, as advertised in the Chicago Tribune. The ad read, “We have $115 U.S. two cent stamps which we cannot use here, will send them by express C.O.D. privilege of examination for $100. Canadian Novelty Supply Agency, Hamilton, Ontario, Can.” In essence, they were offering 5,750 stamps worth $115 for $100. The deal sounded suspicious to Inspector Stuart, and in cooperation with Lowry, had him send a request for the stamps.
At about the same time, Nathan Herman called the ad to the attention of U.S. Secret Service agent, Captain Thomas Porter, who joined forces with Inspector Stuart. The agents also had Herman write for a package of stamps. On April 8, 1895, the stamps, which Lowry and Herman had ordered, arrived at the Chicago office of the Wells Fargo Express Company. In addition, five other similar packages arrived, ordered by other people who had seen the ad. Interestingly enough, each of them had received the proper number of stamps. Over 40,000 stamps were confiscated that day!
Meanwhile, on April 6th, Captain Porter was notified that a Mrs. Lacy and her daughter, Tinsa McMillan, had some sort of printing operation set up in a back room of their apartment. When Porter, along with several agents and police officers, searched the apartment later that same evening, they found a copying camera, a perforating machine, copper printing plates, gummed paper, and other paraphernalia for producing stamps. Suspecting they were on the right track, he and Inspector Stuart traveled to Hamilton, Ontario, where they arrested Tinsa McMillan at the office of the Canadian Novelty Supply Company. As head of the organization, she had organized and directed the entire affair, and was sentenced to a year and a half in a reformatory.
A Mr. George Morrison was also arrested over a week later at his downtown Chicago office. A printing press was found there, but no other supplies. Apparently, the stamps were printed at his office and then shipped to Canada.
Seven months later, a Mr. Warren Thompson was arrested. The owner and editor of a magazine called Heart and Hand, he had assisted in making the stamps and was using them as postage on his periodical as a test to determine if the stamps would be discovered when passing through the mail. Thirty thousand more counterfeit stamps were confiscated, bringing the total up to over 70,000 confiscated stamps!
Washington Defeated At Brandywine
On September 11, 1777, George Washington’s forces lost the battle of Brandywine.
In August 1777, the British fleet sailed down the east coast from New Jersey to Maryland. They landed about 50 miles from the American capital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which they planned to capture.
Suspecting the British plans, General Washington positioned his forces between the two points, at Chadds Ford. He also had troops at several other nearby river crossings. Chadds Ford was the most direct route along the Brandywine River between Baltimore and Philadelphia, and Washington was sure that’s where the British would attack.
However, the British didn’t intend to attack the Americans at the center of their line. Instead, they set up a flanking maneuver and crossed the Brandywine Creek at points where Washington hadn’t stationed men.
About 5:30 a.m. on September 11, under the cover of fog, British troops approached unsuspecting Americans stationed on the Great Road near the creek. The first battle of the day was fought there on the ground of a Quaker meetinghouse that continued their service despite the action outside. The battle continued throughout the morning, with the British reaching the American right flank around 2 p.m.
Fortunately for the Americans, the British attack was slow, giving them time to position troops on high ground. Soon the Americans had no choice but to withdraw. Major General John Sullivan and his men counterattacked, allowing part of the American line to retreat. Though reinforcements helped to delay the British advance for about an hour, they too were eventually forced to retreat. The Americans had to leave their cannons behind as most of their artillery horses had been killed.
Several famous military men participated in the Battle of Brandywine. The Marquis de Lafayette was wounded during the retreat. Future president James Monroe assisted Lafayette’s physician because he spoke French. Henry Knox commanded the artillery while Anthony Wayne and Nathaniel Greene defended Chads Ford and Chads Ferry. During the retreat, Casimir Pulaski helped hold off the British forces. Other notable figures present at the battle included Alexander Hamilton, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, John Marshall, and Peter Muhlenberg.
The British attack ended at nightfall. A few small battles broke out in the coming days and the Americans then abandoned Philadelphia. The British occupied the city on September 26 and remained there until the following June.
According to legend, the Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment carried the unique Brandywine flag at the Battle of Brandywine. Referred to as a flag within a flag, the canton in the upper-left corner contained a 13-stripe and 13-star flag. The stars were arranged in three horizontal rows, and the top and bottom stripes were white. The remainder of the flag was red, perhaps a reflection of Washington’s own coat of arms.
See below for more stamps honoring notable figures from the Battle of Brandywine: