Tag Archives: Civil War Defenses of Washington

February and March 2017 New Stamps

Antietam National Battlefield is one of the sites with a new cancellation this month. Photo from 2015.

There were only two new stamps in February 2017, so as I get caught up, I’m going to combine them with the much more extensive list for March 2017.

Antietam National Battlefield:
Antietam National Cemetery | 150th Anniversary 1867-2007

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail | VA, TN, NC, SC

Katmai National Park & Preserve | Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Big Cypress National Preserve | Swamp Welcome Center

Sequoia National Park |

      • Foothills Visitor Center
      • Lodgepole Visitor Center
      • Giant Forest Museum

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park | Church Creek, MD

Civil War Defense of Washington | Fort Stevens

Rock Creek Park:
Rock Creek Nature Center & Planetarium | Washington, DC

MotorCities National Heritage Area | Greenfield Village

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail |

      • Great Falls, MT
      • Travelers Rest
Antietam National Battlefield marks the 150th Anniversary of the dedication of its National Cemetery with a new cancellation this month. Photo credit: National Parks Service, 2013

The one-day battle of Antietam is famously the single-deadliest day in US history.  Total dead, wounded, and missing among both the Union and Confederate forces was nearly 23,000.  Of those, some 3,600 died on the day of the battle, and another 4,000 died of their wounds shortly thereafter or else were confirmed as dead after initially being listed as missing.   These casualties were out of a total US population of 31.4 million in the 1860 Census just before the Civil War.  By comparison,  the current US population of 318 million is some ten times larger, and average daily deaths in the United States are approximately 6,700.

In the immediate aftermath of the battle, many of the casualties were buried in mass graves, or in inadequately shallow graves.  President Andrew Johnson visited Antietam for the dedication of the cemetery on the 5th anniversary of the battle on September 17, 1867.  The cemetery commemorates its 150th Anniversary this year.

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail marks the journey of some several hundred “overmountain men” to confront a force of British-commanded loyalist militia in South Carolina in 1780.  The men gathered at Abingdon, Virginia on September 23, 1780, and a day later at Sycamore Shoals, Tennessee before marching to confront the British-loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7th, 1780.  This new stamp replaces an existing Overmountain Victory Trail at Cowpens National Battlefield.  The Battle of Cowpens was a coda to the Overmountain Campaign, being fought three months later on January 17, 1781.  In this battle, a force of American regular soldiers and militia defeated a force of largely British regulars.  Although a few of the overmountain men also participated in this battle, many had returned home after the Battle of Kings Mountain, and one contingent of them arrived a day after the decisive victory for the Americans.

Although Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska is world-famous for viewing grizzly bears catching salmon near the waterfalls at Brooks Camp, the park was actually originally established in 1918 to protect the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.   The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was actually created only 6 years earlier during the simultaneous volcanic eruptions of the Mt. Katmai and Novarupta volcanoes.   When explorer Robert Griggs from the National Geographic Society reached the valley in 1916, it was still filled with fumaroles, or openings, in the volcanic ash releasing steam.  Although most of the fumaroles have stopped steaming, the volcanic landscape remains a popular attraction within the park; bus tours are offered regularly from Brooks Camp.

The Foothills Visitor Center for Sequoia National Park in Three Rivers, California is one of several locations with an updated cancellation. Photo credit: Bruce Johnson, 2009

The new stamp for Big Cypress National Preserve reflects the rebranding of the Ochopee Welcome Center, near the town of the same name on the west side of the park, to the Swamp Welcome Center.  Likewise, Sequoia National Park is simply replacing three of its existing stamps from being location-based to structure based.  Thus, the existing stamp for “Three Rivers, CA” is being replaced by one for the “Foothills Visitor Center.”   At Parkasaurus, we always prefer the location-based stamps to the structure-based stamps, so this is a disappointing move.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park is a relatively new addition to the National Park System, and is celebrating the grand opening of its new visitor center in partnership with the Maryland State Park Service.  The new facility is in the hamlet of Church Creek.

The Civil War Defenses of Washington is a partnership program that connects related sites around the greater Washington, DC area that are variously under the jurisdiction of the superintendents of National Capital Parks, Rock Creek Park, or the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  Fort Stevens Park is located just a half mile from Rock Creek Park in the northern portions of the District of Columbia, and so is managed by the Superintendent of Rock Creek Park.  Fort Stevens is notable because during Confederate General Jubal Early’s 1864 raid on Washington, it became the only time in history than an American President came under enemy fire while in his role as Commander-in-Chief.  This stamp will be kept at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, along with the replacement stamp for the Nature Center, which includes the words “and Planetarium” for the first time.

Cotswold Cottage is one of the historic buildings at The Henry Ford Museum’s Greenfield Village.  Photo credit: Michael Barera [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0),  via Wikimedia Commons
The Motorcities National Heritage Area is centered around the history of the automobile industry in southeast Michigan.  Greenfield Village is a living history attraction that is part of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Finally, there are two replacement stamps for locations along the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail in Montana.   The Great Falls of the Missouri River were a major obstacle for Lewis & Clark and their Corps of Discovery.  Today, dams and development projects along the Missouri River have deprived the namesake of the town of Great Falls, Montana much of its grandeur, but there is still a good Lewis & Clark interpretive center in town.   Meanwhile,  Traveler’s Rest State Park near Lolo, Montana preserves the only known archeological remains of an actual encampment by the Corps of Discovery.   Lewis and Clark encamped here in September 1805 before embarking on the difficult crossing of the Lolo Pass.  They then camped here a second time in June 1806, before splitting into two separate exploration parties for the return route home.   The two parties would reunite some two and a half months later in North Dakota to take advantage of the swift currents of the Missouri River for the return trip back to civilization.

With these new additions, Parkasaurus calculates that there are now 2,148 active stamp cancellations to collect.  There are 2,039 of these if you exclude special stamps for anniversaries and special events.

The final shot this month is a present-day view of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park & Preserve. Photo credit: National Park Service
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November and December New Stamps

The Hanford B Reactor in Washington is one of three sites comprising the brand new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The Hanford B Reactor in Washington is one of three sites comprising the brand new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Photo credit: NPS.gov

I wasn’t able to get a new stamps post out last month, so here are the new additions reported by Eastern National for both November and December, starting with the new stamps for the actual Units of the National Park System:

Manhattan Project NHP | Los Alamos, NM

Manhattan Project NHP | Oak Ridge, TN

Manhattan Project NHP | Hanford, WA

Potomac Heritage NST | Rock Creek Park, DC

Lowell NHP | Guard Locks / Francis Gate

National Parks of Southern West Virginia | West Virginia

The big news this month is the official addition of Manhattan Project National Historical Park to the National Park System, bringing the total number of national parks to 409.  This new national park will be unique in having three separate locations, scattered almost clear across the country from each other.  In Oak Ridge, Tennessee  the park will include the research facilities that were used to pioneer the process of uranium enrichment.  They can currently be visited from June through August on a regular weekday tour offered at noon daily by the American Museum of Science and Energy.   In Hanford, Washington the park includes numerous historic buildings associated with the top secret Manhattan Project.  The most notable of these is the Hanford B Reactor that produced the material for the first atomic bomb, and which can be visited as part of a four hour tour offerred regularly from April to September.   Finally, the sites in Los Alamos, New Mexico include historic buildings associated with the design and assembly of both the Trinity test site bomb, as well as the “Little Boy” bomb that was ultimately dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

The Civil War Defenses Trail passes through Rock Creek Park and connects to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
The Civil War Defenses Trail passes through Rock Creek Park and connects to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.  This segment of the trail is from the Fort DeRussy Unit near the Rock Creek Park Nature Center.  Photo from 2013.

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail has added a new stamp for Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, which is itself its own national park.   Surprisingly, Rock Creek Park isn’t particularly close to the Potomac River, located about two miles away at its closest point.  However, the Civil War Defenses of Washington Trail, which passes through Rock Creek Park, is a connecting trail to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.  The addition of this cancellation gives the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail a whopping 46 cancellations along the trail network.

Lowell National Historical Park preserves the story of the Industrial Revolution in a historic mill town outside of Boston.  In recent years, several other national parks telling the story of the Industrial Revolution have been established, most of which have cited the success of Lowell NHP as a model.  One of the remarkable features about Lowell NHP is the system of canals that were established to connect water from the Merrimack River to the various factories and cotton mills in the town.   The Guard Locks at the Francis Gate are at the NPS-managed lockhouse along one of those canals, and this stamp replaces an existing stamp at that location.

The New River comprises one of the three National Parks of Southern West Virginia. This photo is from a time of especially high water levels in 2004.
The New River comprises one of the three National Parks of Southern West Virginia. This photo is from a time of especially high water levels in 2004.

Finally, the National Parks of Southern West Virginia is a new group and re-branding of the New River Gorge National River, the Gauley River National Recreation Area, and the Bluestone National Scenic River.  All thee of these river-based national parks are located within a fifty-mile stretch of each other, about 30-60 miles east of Charleston, West Virginia.  The centerpiece of the three parks is the New River Gorge National River, which contains most of the visitor facilities and the must-see scenic landmarks, as well as great whitewater rafting for all skill levels.  The Gauley River National Recreation Area is designated downstream of the Summersville Dam.  It is famed for its dam-release days in the fall, when the release of water from the dam produces some of the most-challenging whitewater east of the Mississippi River in the United States.   Finally, the Bluestone National Scenic River is a completely undeveloped stretch of river that has been left largely in its natural state.

These three national rivers have always been managed by a single Superintendent.  However, there’s long been concern that the designations national river and national scenic river and national recreation area don’t always strongly suggest national park or National Park Service to the casual visitor or tourist.  The hope is that the rebranding as National Parks of Southern West Viginia will bring more attention to the fact that these rivers, particularly the New River Gorge, are part the U.S. National Park System.

The Santa Fe Trail Marker in the Plaza de Santa Fe, located just outside the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Three new stamps were issued here this month.
The Santa Fe Trail Marker in the Plaza de Santa Fe, located just outside the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Three new stamps were issued here this month.  Photo from 2010.

In addition to the above stamps, a few stamps have also been released for National Park Service partnership programs.

Mississippi Delta NHA | Delta Blues Museum

Pacific Northwest NST | Sedro-Wooley, WA

Pacific Northwest NST | Whitefish, MT

Old Spanish NHT | Palace of the Governors, NM

Old Spanish NHT | New Mexico History Museum, NM

Santa Fe NHT | New Mexico History Museum, NM

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area includes 18 counties in northwest Mississippi.  This area of Mississippi is, of course, most famous for being the home of the musical style known as the blues.  The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi is Mississippi’s oldest music museum, and tells the story of how the blues originated in northwest Mississippi’s cultural landscape.

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is a relatively new National Scenic Trail, having just been designated in 2009.  The trail’s designated route extends from Olympic National Park in Washington to Glacier National Park in Montana.  These are its first Passport stamps, and will be at the headquarters of the Trail’s non-profit partner association in the town of Sedro-Woolley, Washington and at the offices of the Montana Wilderness Association in the town of Whitefish, Montana.

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail and Santa Fe National Historic Trail commemorate 19th Century trading routes with New Mexico, to California and to the United States, respectively.  The Palace of the Governors was originally built for Spain’s administration of New Mexico in Santa Fe, and is now part of the New Mexico State History Museum, the main building of which is located next door.  The Santa Fe Trail had previously already been issued a stamp for the Palace of the Governors, so now both Trails have both stamps.

This month’s additions mean that there now 1,985 active Passport cancellations to collect.  Excluding special event and anniversary cancellations, there are 1,887 cancellations available.

A parting shot of the New River Gorge National River in the National Parks of Southern West Virginia. Photo credit: NPS.gov
A parting shot of the New River Gorge National River in the National Parks of Southern West Virginia. Photo credit: NPS.gov
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