Civil War

1961 4¢ Civil War Centennial: Firing on Fort Sumter
January 9, 1861

First Shots of the Civil War?

On January 9, 1861, Southern rebels fired on an American ship attempting to resupply Fort Sumter.  Some consider these to be the opening shots of the Civil War.

Read Article
1987 25¢ Bicentenary Statehood: South Carolina
December 20, 1860

South Carolina Secedes from the Union 

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. Within months they were followed by 10 other states, forming the Confederate States of America, sparking the Civil War.

Read Article
1940 5¢ Louisa May Alcott
November 29, 1832

Birth of Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. A prolific author of more than 270 works, she’s most well-known for her novel, Little Women.

Read Article
1958 4¢ Fort Duquesne
November 25, 1758

Capture of Fort Duquesne

On November 25, 1758, British and Colonial American forces successfully took over Fort Duquesne from the French.  This came near the end of several years of fighting in the French and Indian Wars.

Read Article
1864 10¢ Sanitary Fair stamp, rose
October 27, 1863

First Major Sanitary Fair

On October 27, 1863, the first major Sanitary Fair was held to raise money during the Civil War.  Special stamps were produced and sold at these fairs, which were not valid for use outside of the fairs.

Read Article
1963 5¢ West Virginia Statehood
October 24, 1861

West Virgina Votes to Secede from Virginia

On October 24, 1861, the people of West Virginia voted to secede from the Confederate state of Virginia. They would achieve statehood less than tow years later.

Read Article
2001 34¢ Thanksgiving
October 3, 1789

Thanksgiving Day Proclamations

On October 3, 1789 and 1863, two sitting presidents called on Americans to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving in November.

Read Article
2004 37¢ USS Constellation
September 7, 1797

First USS Constellation Launched 

Ordered by a Congressional Act in 1794, the first American ship to be christened the Constellation was launched on September 7, 1797.  It was the first ship commissioned into the United States Navy; the first put to sea; and the first to fight, defeat, and capture an enemy vessel.

Read Article
1958 4¢ Lincoln-Douglas Debates
August 21, 1858

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

On August 21, 1858, Abraham Lincoln participated in the first of seven debates against Stephen Douglas.  Part of a race for an Illinois seat in the US Senate, they became known as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates or the Great Debates of 1858.

Read Article

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!