December 2017

This Day in History… December 13, 1862

Battle of Fredericksburg 

Antigua #2538 pictures the fighting across the river.

On December 13, 1862, Union forces launched a bloody attack during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

In the fall of 1862, newly promoted Major General Ambrose Burnside developed a plan to take Fredericksburg as part of a larger campaign to capture Richmond. Setting out on November 15, 1862, they were immediately stalled by rain and muddy roads. But through sheer determination, they reached the north banks of the Rappahannock River on November 17.

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This Day in History… December 12, 1908

Issue of America’s Most Artistic Stamp

U.S. #E7 – Click on the image for more conditions and to order for your collection.

On December 12, 1908, the Post Office Department issued #E7, the 10¢ Helmet of Mercury Special Delivery stamp. Though unpopular at the time, many today consider it to be one of America’s most creative stamp designs.

Special Delivery service began on October 1, 1885, offering faster delivery for an extra cost. The original Special Delivery stamps were blue and larger than regular postage stamps so busy postal clerks could easily recognize them.

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This Day in History… December 11, 1972

Final Mission to the Moon 

U.S. #3189a pictures the Blue Marble photo taken during Apollo 17.

On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 became the last manned NASA mission to the Moon.

The final manned Saturn V launch, and the only night launch, Apollo 17 was delayed for nearly three hours due to a small technical error. Once the problem was identified and fixed, it launched at 12:33 am on December 7, 1972. About 500,000 people watched the nighttime launch from the ground and surrounding areas.

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This Day in History… December 10, 1997

Largest U.S. Postage Stamp

U.S. #3178 measures 3 inches across and 1.5 inches tall.

On December 10, 1997, the USPS issued its largest postage stamp, honoring the Mars Pathfinder.

NASA launched the Mars Pathfinder on December 4, 1996. The rover landed on Mars on July 4, 1997. Over the next few months, the rover moved across the Martian surface analyzing the planet’s atmosphere, climate, geology, and the composition of its rocks and soil. In all, it sent back 2.3 billion bits of data, 16,500 pictures, and took 8.5 million measurements. Pathfinder sent back its last data transmission on September 27, 1997.

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This Day in History… December 9, 1848

Birth of Joel Chandler Harris 

U.S. #980 was issued on Harris’ 100th birthday.

Author Joel Chandler Harris was born on December 9, 1848, in Eatonton, Georgia.

Harris never knew his father and was raised by his mother who worked as a seamstress and gardener to support herself.   She instilled Harris with a love of literature from a young age. He once said that, “My desire to write—to give expression to my thoughts—grew out of hearing my mother read The Vicar of Wakefield.”

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This Day in History… December 8, 1894

Birth of James Thurber 

U.S. #2862 pictures a 1929 self-portrait.

Cartoonist, author, and humorist James Grover Thurber was born on December 8, 1894, in Columbus, Ohio.

When he was a child, Thurber and his brother played a game of William Tell (shooting an apple off someone’s head), during which his brother accidentally shot him in the eye. He eventually went almost blind and was unable to play sports or join in other activities. Instead, he found he had a boundless creativity and enjoyed writing.

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