1995 32¢ Monitor and Virginia
Issue Date: June 29, 1995
City: Gettysburg, PA
Quantity: 15,000,000 panes of 20
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
The release of the 20 Civil War stamps marked the most extensive effort in the history of the U.S. Postal Service to review and verify the historical accuracy of stamp subjects. Each of the 16 individuals and four battles featured were chosen from a master list of 50 subjects, which included Presidents, generals, major battles, rank-and-file soldiers, women, African and Native Americans, and abolitionists. The goal of the U.S.P.S. was to show the wide variety of people who participated in the Civil War.
Monitor and Virginia
At the start of the Civil War, the Union not only possessed the pre-war Navy, but also the industry capable of meeting wartime demands, placing it in a position to gain the upper hand in naval warfare. But this position was seriously challenged when the Confederate Virginia sailed into Hampton Roads.
In an effort to construct a Navy, the Confederates had raised the Merrimack, a sunken Federal ship. Covering the wooden ship with iron plates, they renamed it the Virginia. Sailing into Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862, the Virginia easily destroyed two Union warships and grounded three others, raising Confederate hopes of breaking the Union blockade. The following day when the Virginia returned to finish the job however, she was met by the ironclad Monitor.
The first battle in history between armored ships, that clash between the Virginia and the Monitor changed the course of naval warfare. After four hours of fighting neither ship was able to gain the upper hand. The Monitor however, proved to be the superior vessel, and eventually a large ironclad fleet was modeled after her. Interestingly, many of the Monitor’s features, including the revolving gun turret, were invented by John Ericsson, who is commemorated on a 1926 5¢ stamp.