U.S. # 4981
2015 49¢ Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse
Civil War: 1865
Robert E. Lee’s situation was grim in April 1865. He commanded an army of just 60,000 starving men against a well-nourished Union force of 100,000. Lee lost half of those troops in a single week at the battles of Five Forks, Petersburg, and Sailor’s Creek. And two of his sons – both officers in the Confederate Army – were missing in action.
But Lee’s biggest challenge was Ulysses Grant, whose army had cut off his escape and encircled the Confederate troops at Virginia’s Appomattox Court House. Rather than destroy his army and sacrifice the lives of his men needlessly, Lee decided to surrender on April 9, 1865.
The surrender documents were signed in the afternoon. Grant ordered his men to refrain from celebrating and allowed the Confederates to return to their homes with their swords, horses, and mules in exchange for laying down their arms. As about 28,000 Southern soldiers passed by and stacked their guns, they were saluted by the Union troops.
Although some skirmishing continued, other Confederate generals soon surrendered their armies. Grant’s leniency at Appomattox helped establish a mood of forgiveness and reconciliation, putting an end to the nation’s long nightmare.
Designed by art director Phil Jordan, the Appomattox Court House stamp features the same format as previous issues in the series, including traditional artwork. The stamp pictures an 1895 painting by Thomas Nast titled Peace in Union.
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: 5,400,000 stamps
The Appomattox stamp, along with the Five Forks stamp, comprised the final 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.
This was the second U.S. stamp to honor Appomattox, the other being U.S. #1182.