Has anyone else noticed that the stamps released thus far by the United States Postal Service reflect a clear bias? Perhaps it should come as no surprise that an agency of the federal government would favor the United States during the Civil War. Next month the USPS’s Forever stamp marking the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg will be released. It is based on Thure de Thulstrup’s 1887 chromolithograph and once again depicts the Union line as opposed to the more popular Confederate perspective on July 3.
With the Future of Civil War History conference right around the corner it should come as no surprise that I’ve had Gettysburg on my mind. I am also looking forward to a return visit in June for the annual Civil War Institute, which will focus on the battle of Gettysburg. With the 150th anniversary just a few months away you would think that publishers would want to cash in on the general public’s interest in this specific battle. It goes without saying that no other Civil War battle looms larger in the nation’s collective memory.
Those of you in the Richmond area should make it a point to check out Ray Carver’s one-man show, “Gettysburg 1963” which will premier at the Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church on Saturday February 23. I was invited to participate in a panel discussion following the show, but the organizer didn’t realize that I no longer live in Virginia. It’s times like these that I really miss the Old Dominion. There is just so much going on in the Richmond area alone.
Word came today that the National Park Service will begin demolition of the old Cyclorama building at Gettysburg. It was just a matter of time. I never had a real problem with it being there, though I admit it was sort of an eyesore. I also have no problem with removing it for that reason, but what I have little patience for is that in doing so we are returning the battlefield to its 1863 appearance. That is little more than a comforting fiction. If that were the case we would remove all the monuments as well.