May 2019

This Day in History… May 13, 1862

Robert Smalls Steals Confederate Ship

US #683 was issued for the 250th anniversary of the establishment of Charleston. Click image to order.

On May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave aboard the CSS Planter, stole the Confederate ship and turned it over to Union forces.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery on April 5, 1839, in Beaufort, South Carolina.  When he was 12 he was sent to Charleston to work as a laborer for $1 a week.  While we worked a variety of jobs there, he discovered a love of the sea and was able to find work on the docks and wharves in Charleston.

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This Day in History… May 12, 1984

Louisiana World Exposition

US #2086 was issued a day before the expo opened. Click image to order.

On May 12, 1984, the Louisiana World Exposition opened its gates.

Classified as a “special category fair” by the International Bureau of Expositions in Paris, France, the exposition covered 84 acres of land in a former railroad yard.  Its theme was “The World of Rivers: Fresh Water as a Source of Life.”

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This Day in History… May 11, 1863

First International Postal Conference

US #C66 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the conference. Click image to order.

On May 11, 1863, representatives from 15 nations met in Paris to discuss postal issues.  That first International Postal Conference would eventually lead to the creation of the Universal Postal Union.

Up until this time, mail between nations had been regulated by a number of different agreements that were binding only to signing members.  At one point, Germany had 17 postal agreements, France had 16, Belgium had 15, and the United Kingdom had 12.  Plus, some nations used different weight measurements – the US and UK used ounces while France used grams.  This made it especially difficult to calculate the postage rates as a letter traveled through different countries.

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This Day in History… May 10, 1775

The capture of Fort Ticonderoga

US #1071 pictures a map of the fort, Ethan Allen, and artillery. Click image to order.

On May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold led a small colonial militia to capture Fort Ticonderoga from the British.

Fort Ticonderoga has been nicknamed “The Key to a Continent.”  The fort earned this name due to its strategic location on Lake Champlain in New York; it controlled the water route from Lake Champlain to Lake George.  In Colonial days, almost everything had to move by water.  So this route was essential for any invading force coming into the colonies from Canada.  The French built the fort in 1755 but lost it to the British during the French and Indian War.

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This Day in History… May 9, 1939

Philatelic Truck Begins its Journey

Item #M396 – Mint Philatelic Truck souvenir sheet with gum. Click image to order.

On May 9, 1939, the Philatelic Truck departed the White House on a cross-country journey to introduce thousands of Americans to the exciting world of stamps.

The Philatelic Truck was the brainchild of stamp-collector President Franklin Roosevelt.  He ordered the traveling exhibit to show Americans how stamps were made.  The first public mention of the truck was in an August 1938 article in The New York Sun that stated the truck’s purpose was to “stimulate interest in stamp collecting among the youth of the country.”

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This Day in History… May 8, 1864

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Antigua and Barbuda #2538c pictures the fighting at Spotsylvania.

On May 8, 1864, the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House began.

On May 7, the Union Army realized they could not win the Battle of the Wilderness, so Ulysses S. Grant turned his forces southeast to the crossroads at Spotsylvania Court House, hoping to get between the Confederate Army and Richmond.

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Posted in May 2019, This Day in History | 3 Comments