U.S. # 4980-81
2015 49¢ Civil War: 1865
Civil War Sesquicentennial
The spring of 1865 was a desperate time for the Confederacy. Rebel troops and civilians alike were next to starvation, desertions grew, and much of the South lay in ruins. Seeing an opportunity to crush Lee’s weakened army, Ulysses S. Grant launched his Appomattox Campaign.
Grant began a siege of Petersburg, Virginia, in the spring of 1864. Located south of Richmond, the city was strategically important as the Confederacy’s transportation hub.
On April 1, 1865, Grant’s men attacked Lee’s at a crossroads named Five Forks. The battle would be known as the Confederacy’s Waterloo – a defeat from which they could not recover.
Lee’s army moved quickly, hoping to unite with Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee. With Grant in pursuit, the cities of Petersburg and Richmond fell. On April 4, Lee’s army paused to resupply. But there was little to scavenge in the Virginia countryside, and the day’s delay allowed Grant’s men to begin surrounding the Southern army.
After a brief battle at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered his army to Grant. The mutual respect and willingness to reconcile shown by the two generals helped set the tone for the nation, which reunited after four years of civil war.
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: April 9, 2015
First Day City: Appomattox, VA – the site of the Confederate surrender
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset printed in double-sided sheets of 72 with six panes of 12 per sheet
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 10,800,000 stamps
Designed by art director Phil Jordan, the 2015 Civil War stamps feature the same format as previous issues in the series, including traditional artwork. The Battle of Five Forks stamp pictures an 1885 painting by French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux. The Appomattox Court House stamp shows an 1895 painting by Thomas Nast titled Peace in Union.
These stamps were the fifth and final 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.