1936 1¢ Washington & Green
Army and Navy
Issue Date: December 15, 1936
First City: Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 105,196,150
First in a five-stamp series honoring Army heroes. Pictured are Revolutionary War Generals George Washington and Nathanael Greene, plus Mount Vernon.
Army & Navy Issue
On December 15, 1936, the first of 10 stamps in the Army/Navy Set was issued.
The idea for a set of stamps honoring America’s military heroes wasn’t a new one. Years earlier, President Theodore Roosevelt had suggested such a series of stamps, but nothing was done during his term.
|Click on any of these images to find more conditions and First Day Covers for your collection.
Then, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. An avid stamp collector since childhood, he pushed for the creation of more stamps and often submitted his own design and topic suggestions. Among those suggestions was the Army and Navy Commemorative Series. It honors notable military leaders from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish American War. Five stamps honor the Army and five honor the Navy.
The first stamps in the series were issued on December 15, 1936. US #785 pictures George Washington, Nathanael Greene, and Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. Also issued on that day, #790 pictures Navy heroes John Paul Jones, John Barry, and their ships the Bonhomme Richard and the Lexington.
The second pair of stamps was issued one month later, on January 15, 1937. The Army stamp pictures Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott, and Jackson’s home, the Hermitage. The Navy issue pictures Stephen Decatur and Thomas MacDonough with a contemporary warship.
The third set of stamps was issued on February 18, 1937. The Army stamp honors three Civil War generals – William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and Philip Sheridan. The Navy stamp pictures adopted brothers David Farragut and David Porter. It also lists each man’s most notable ship – the USS Hartford and the USS Powhatan, and pictures a warship from the era.
The fourth set was issued on March 23, 1937. The Army stamp was the most controversial in the series as it pictured Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Lee’s birthplace, Strafford Hall. When it was first announced, a rumor had spread that the stamp would also picture Jefferson Davis. After it was issued, Southerners protested the stamp because Lee only had two stars (instead of three), even though it was a simple mistake because of a design change. The Navy stamp issued on that day pictured three heroes of the Spanish-American War – Admirals William Sampson, George Dewey, and Winfield Schley.
Issued on May 26, 1937, the fifth set was quite different from all the earlier issues. They were the only stamps in the set to not honor specific military men, rather, they honored each branch’s respective military academy. They were also the first stamps in the set not issued in Washington, DC. They were issued at each academy. The Army stamp pictures the US Military Academy at West Point and includes the school motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” The other stamp honors the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It pictures the school seal and two midshipmen – one in the uniform from the school’s early days, and one from the time the stamp was issued.
|Want the complete set of Army-Navy stamps? Click here to order.
Nathanael Greene (1742-1786)
American Revolutionary War General
Born in Potowomut (Warwick), Rhode Island, Greene was raised in a Quaker family. He was later expelled from the Quaker church, which opposes war. From 1770-72, and in 1775, he served with the Rhode Island legislature. In 1774, when trouble with Great Britain became imminent, he organized the Kentish Guards, a military group. A stiff knee prevented Greene from serving as an officer, but he did serve in the ranks.
After the Battle of Lexington, the Kentish Guards set out to aid the Boston patriots, but were recalled by Rhode Island’s loyalist governor. However, Greene and three others continued on to Boston. Greene took part in the siege of Boston. By 1776, he had achieved the rank of major general, commanding the army of occupation in Boston.
Greene fought at the historic battles of Trenton, Brandywine, and Germantown, and served with General George Washington during the winter at Valley Forge. In 1778, he became the quartermaster general, but resigned in 1880 due to unfair political investigations of the quartermaster department.
In December 1780, Greene replaced the command of General Horatio Alger Gates after the defeat at Camden, South Carolina. Greene’s leadership marked a turning point in the war in the South. The Continental Army inflicted heavy casualties against the British at the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina in March 1781. By the end of the year, Greene’s forces had pushed the British back to Charleston and Savannah.
The state of Georgia granted Greene a plantation near Savannah for his service during the American Revolution. In 1870, Rhode Island placed a statue of Greene in the U.S. Capitol.