The U.S. Postal Service has issued a Civil War: 1863 Forever postal stamp. It was introduced on May 23 in Vicksburg, Miss., at the Vicksburg National Military Park and at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pa.
The Forever stamps are on sale nationwide at the 46-cent rate. The commemorative se-tenant stamp pair - two designs - is available in a pressure-sensitive adhesive souvenir sheet of 12 stamps at $5.52. Almost 11 million stamps have been printed.
The Civil War (1861-65), the most profound conflict in American history, claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers and brought vast changes to the country.
In 2013, the Postal Service continues its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war by issuing this souvenir sheet of The Civil War: 1863 stamps, featuring two stamp designs.
One stamp depicts the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle of the war, while the other depicts the Battle of Vicksburg, a complex Union campaign to gain control of the Mississippi River.
Art director Phil Jordan created the stamps using iconic images of the battles.
The Battle of Gettysburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1887 chromolithograph by Thure de Thulstrup (1848-1930), a Swedish-born artist who became an illustrator for Harper's Weekly after the Civil War.
The Battle of Vicksburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1863 lithograph by Currier & Ives titled "Admiral Porter's Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th, 1863."
The souvenir sheet includes comments on the war by: Abraham Lincoln; Clara Barton; Rufus R. Dawes, a Union soldier; and William Tunnard, a Confederate soldier. It also includes some of the lyrics of "Lorena," a popular Civil War song by Henry D. L. Webster and Joseph P. Webster.
Kathleen Swanson is a spokeswoman for U.S. Postal Service.