U.S. # 4788
2013 46¢ Battle of Gettysburg
Civil War: 1863
In the summer of 1863, Robert E. Lee attempted a second invasion of the North. By taking the war to Union soil, he hoped to relieve pressure on Virginia’s farms during growing season. Victory in the North would also put pressure on Lincoln to negotiate a settlement or help the Confederacy forge a military alliance with England and France. As Lee’s army crossed the Potomac, Union General George Meade led his army north from Washington.
The armies met near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1. Fighting erupted, during which the Confederates drove the Union troops through the streets of Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill. Two days of fighting followed before Lee decided to attack the Union center on July 3, striking with artillery first and than an infantry charge led by General Pickett. The Union line was pierced, a feat known as the “High-water mark of the Confederacy” before being repulsed by the blistering artillery bombardment.
The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest ever fought in North America. Nearly 160,000 men took part, and almost a third became casualties. When the armies evacuated, leaving their wounded behind, the dead and wounded outnumbered the living 11 to 1. Lee had lost one third of his army at a time when the supply of new recruits had been nearly exhausted.
Designed by art director Phil Jordan, the Battle of Gettysburg stamp features the same format as previous issues in the series, including traditional artwork. It pictures an 1887 chromolithograph by Thure de Thulstrup, who worked for Harper’s Weekly.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: May 23, 2013
First Day City: Gettysburg, PA
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 Gettysburg stamp, along with the Battle of Vicksburg 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.