U.S. Colored Troops will be honored with a series of commemorative stamps to be released Wednesday in Petersburg, West Virginia.
The Civil War 1864 Forever Stamp depicting the siege at Petersburg, VA and the dedication will take place just yards from the site of an underground explosion that took place 150 years ago July 30 that created a huge depression in the earth that led to the battle being named “Battle of the Crater.” Confederates — enraged by the sight of black soldiers — killed many soldiers trapped in the crater attempting to surrender.
As the most wrenching chapter in American history, the Civil War claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers and brought vast changes to the country. The Postal Service continues its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war by issuing a souvenir sheet of two stamp designs for 2014.
One stamp depicts the 22nd United States Colored Troops engaged in the June 15-18, 1864, assault on Petersburg, VA, at the beginning of the Petersburg Campaign. The other stamp depicts Admiral David G. Farragut’s fleet at the Battle of Mobile Bay (AL) on Aug. 5, 1864. A dedication ceremony also is taking place in Mobile July 30.
Art director Phil Jordan created the stamps using iconic images of the battles. The Petersburg Campaign stamp is a reproduction of a painting, dated 1892, by J. André Castaigne (painting courtesy of the West Point Museum, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY). The Battle of Mobile Bay stamp is a reproduction of a painting by Julian Oliver Davidson, published ca. 1886 by Louis Prang & Co.
For the background image on the souvenir sheet, Jordan used a photograph of Battery A, 2nd U.S. Colored Artillery (Light), Department of the Cumberland, 1864 (photograph courtesy of the Chicago History Museum). The souvenir sheet includes comments on the war by Ulysses S. Grant, Jeremiah Tate, Harrie Webster and Howell Cobb. It also includes some of the lyrics from the Negro spiritual “O Mary, Don’t You Weep.”