Civil War- Mobile Bay Stamp
1:24 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Battle of Mobile Bay--"Stamp on History"

Alabama Public Radio has been looking back at key events of the War Between the States in and around Alabama. Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. Over the past week, there have been reenactments, news stories and even a stamp dedication by the U.S. Postal Service.

Nearly four hundred people crowded into the History Museum of Mobile to be a part of a special ceremony, including U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. He was the keynote speaker at the unveiling of a new Forever stamp commemorating the Battle of Mobile Bay. He says deciding on what becomes a stamp is done by a group listening to the people...

“We have what is called the citizens stamp advisory committee made up of citizens from all over the US and every year we get about 20 thousand recommendations for stamps and some of them are about the civil war and they go through and determine what is historically significant and relevant and that is where they come from.”

Reginald Capers is the postmaster for Mobile. He says it is a pretty big deal to have all of this happening in his city...

“The battle of mobile bay is huge, it’s the 150th anniversary, it’s very unique to have a first day issue stamp in general and to have one in the city of mobile, which we petitioned for, and we’re excited about that.”

He says have someone like Donahoe show up doesn't hurt either...

  “To have the Postmaster general to come down and unveil the stamp here in the city it brings a lot of attention, national attention to the city and it’s a great thing, for the gulf coast and Mobile County”

Among the crowd are Julia Hinson and her daughter Virginia Meador. They are descendants of Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan, the man charged with defending Mobile Bay from Union naval forces. Hinson says it is a little overwhelming to see so many people interested in something her family has a close personal tie to.

“I'm just shocked at what a big deal this has become, with the postmaster general being here from Washington that's really an honor and the whole deal is just a bigger event than I thought it would be.”

Meador agrees with her mother...

     “I think it’s incredible, it really is. It says a lot about our city and the people here at the museum that they were able to put together such a fabulous event for such a historical occasion.”

The stamp is a reproduction of a painting by Julian Oliver Davidson and features the Union naval forces entering the mouth of Mobile Bay as the guns of Fort Morgan fire into them. Hinson does playfully state there is one little problem with it...

“Well it’s a beautiful stamp first of all, the painting is very, very lovely...HOWEVER, they have certainly glorified Farragut which is not exactly what we would have liked but other than that it is wonderful...”

Farragut, of course is Admiral David Farragut who defeated Hinson's ancestor in the battle. Hinson and Meador go on to say all the recognition they've received has been a little overwhelming...

“It really has been nice, they were very nice, we're just two nobodies but they treated us very well. It’s been thrilling really, I just never anticipated, gracious, but it is fun.”

As people line up to meet the Postmaster General, another news outfit is making the rounds...

“My name is Jay Bigalke senior editor digital media for Linn Stamp News, today is very exciting for me personally, and I’ve now attended a first day of issue ceremony in 46 states.”

He says the historical stamps tend to bring out a lot of local collectors...

“History is a huge thing, it’s interesting to watch and see the locals interact with a new stamp that marks a very momentous occasion in American history.”

Bigalke says, as an avid collector he is impressed with the look of the new stamp...

“The stamp itself is a very powerful painting, it’s nice they increased the size of the stamp a little more than they normally do, it shows much more detail in the stamp design and the bright colors contrast very well with the gray background.”

Along with all the reenactments, history lessons and historical markers, this stamp is just one more way the Battle of Mobile Bay will be remembered by Mobilians and many others for years to come.