U.S. # 4787
2013 46¢ Battle of Vicksburg
Civil War: 1863
Situated on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, Vicksburg was the key to controlling commerce on the waterway and possibly more important than New Orleans. From the start, Lincoln and Jefferson Davis understood the importance of the Mississippi town, and each sought to monopolize it.
In the spring of 1863, Davis sent Confederate General John C. Pemberton and 33,000 troops to defend the town. By the time Ulysses S. Grant arrived with a force 77,000 men strong, Pemberton had solidly reinforced its perimeter. After a series of assaults failed, Grant devised a 47-day siege that historians would label a classic.
The siege began on May 18, 1863. Artillery rained down on the town daily, forcing civilians into caves for protection. The “Gibraltar of the West” would soon be known as “Chimneyville,” because they were virtually the only structures left standing. More than 10,000 Confederate troops were incapacitated because of illness, wounds, or starvation. Dogs, cats, and rats were eaten when food and ammunition became depleted. On July 4, Pemberton surrendered.
Grant’s victory assured him of promotion, cut the Confederacy in half, gave the Union control of the Mississippi, and severed the South’s supply line. The Confederacy would never recover from the setbacks.
Designed by art director Phil Jordan, the Battle of Vicksburg stamp features the same format as previous issues in the series, including traditional artwork. It pictures an 1863 Currier and Ives lithograph titled Admiral Porter’s Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th, 1863.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: May 23, 2013
First Day City: Vicksburg, MS
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter USA Ltd.
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 72 in 6 panes of 12 (60 on one side, 12 on the other)
Perforation: Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 5,400,000 stamps
The Vicksburg stamp, along with the Battle of Gettysburg stamp, comprised the third set in a five-year series commemorating the Civil War’s major battles. Each year, two significant battles from 150 years prior were honored with sheets similar to this one. Each sheet includes a wartime photo, quotes, and recap of the year’s events.