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First Day Covers

are envelopes containing commemorative stamps, appropriate postmarks and

artwork depicting the topic.

Find instructions to make
your own FDC with the
April 12th Ft. Sumter
stamp at
First Day Cover
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Abraham Lincoln
One cent stamp issued on
Feb. 12, 1959
his 150th birthday

Abraham Lincoln Stamp


Civil War Unit

Clara Barton

Harriet Tubman

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Thirteenth Amendment
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FDC Image Stamp




On April 12th, the U.S. will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the firing on Ft. Sumter. As was done in 1961, there will be speeches, reenactments and a new stamp issued by the Post Office. The 2011 Ft. Sumter stamp will be a reproduction of a Currier & Ives lithograph, circa 1861, titled “Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor.”

(click image for a free lesson)

As students, we are taught the causes leading up to this event. Some teachers believing that slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, may begin the timeline with the first boatload of Africans brought to Jamestown in 1619 or the 3/5ths Compromise in 1787. Other teachers may emphasize state’s rights as the cause starting with President Jackson’s Nullification Crisis.

Using the artwork on this 1961 first day cover, ask students to draw in what caused the war as the roots of the tree. The artwork may also help students “see” the war. The trunk of the Civil War Centennial tree marks the years and serves as the Mason & Dixon line with Union victories on the left and Confederate victories on the right. Assign students to make a travel brochure visiting historic Civil War sites for 2011 to 2015.

Union Veterens First Day Cover
Confederate Veterans First Day Cover
(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)

Both Union and Confederate soldiers held reunions after the war. The Grand Army of the Republic, 1866-1949 and the United Confederate Veterans, 1889-1951 provided for widows and orphans of former Confederate soldiers, cared for disabled former soldiers, preserved relics and records of the service of its members. The 2011 Bull Run stamp is a reproduction of a 1964 painting depicting the fierce fighting during the Battle of First Bull Run. Since we still disagree as to the cause of the war, and even to the name of the battles, Bull Run or Manassas, maybe we could learn from the 1911 Peace Jubilee that was held on the 50th anniversary of the battles, in the town of Manassas. Over 10,000 people came to listen to the stories told by the approximate one thousand Confederate and Union soldiers who had come not just to shake hands, but to rid the nation of the scars left from the war and build a lasting peace. Our nation still strives to reach their goals.



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