Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


The American Civil War


Gordon Shepherd


The members of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society were treated to a fantastic display last Friday evening (18th) when member, Gordon Shepherd, presented his display on the subject of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865).

Immense research had been done and stamps, covers, postcards, and other ephemera (including a brief recording of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Speech) collected and written up to illustrate the many different incidents, battles and relevant aspects of this War between the Confederacy Army and the  Union Army.

Some Postage stamps issued by the Confederate States were shown – these were of very poor quality owing to the shortage of both paper and ink when supplies were withheld from the States by the Union.

There were covers for the First, Second and Third Battle of Bull Run; for "Defiant Washington"; for "Volatile Missouri"; for the "Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri", and many, many other battles with victories won by both sides. Native Americans were also drawn into the War – on both sides.

Another cover commemorated President Lincoln’s refusal to remove the 11 Southern State Stars from the Union Flag – with his stance of "The Spangled Banner Must be Upheld".

However the "Bonnie Blue Flag" was adopted as the unofficial Banner for the Southern States Independence and covers were issued for this!

Stamps and covers informed us that one Henry Morton Stanley fought with the Confederacy Army and was captured and imprisoned after the Battle of Shiloh.  It was after the War that he became a reporter on the New York Herald and went searching in Africa for Dr David Livingstone!

Scotland had its own part to play – or rather, Dundee – and had some stamps and covers issued to reflect the fact that in 1862 some 700 tons of Jute was sent to the Northern States to aid the War Effort.  Jute was essential for tents, sandbags, blankets, hammocks, and wagon covers. Flax and linen goods were also sent.

There were sheets displaying commemorative covers; for "The Women’s War Effort" – giving care to the wounded at home and in hospital; keeping homes ready for returning soldiers’; for the "War at Sea"; for the "Threat from Mexico".

More battles ensued; Charleston; Chattanooga, Tennessee, Fredericksburg, Brandy Station – all won by the Union Army. Pennsylvania was taken by the Confederates but then the Battle of Gettysburg was fought and it was the retreat of the Confederacy Army from there that proved to be the turning point of the War .

The Union Cavalry were victorious in driving the Confederate Army from Shenandoah Valley – and also in driving them from their capital city of Richmond.

Facing utter defeat, it was after the Battle of Appomattox that, on 9thApril, 1865, the Confederates made "unconditional surrender". The Union had won the war. All this was shown on different covers and stamps – and in listening to the brief recording of the Gettysburg speech.


In giving the Vote of Thanks, Alex Magowan said he could not, in a short time, do justice to such a wonderful display!  He indicated that it had given members a most enjoyable and educational evening.

Our next meeting in St Andrews Parish Church Hall, Avon Street, Hamilton, is on Friday, 1st  February, 2008 at 7:30pm when Bill McKinlay will present his display of material on ‘Belgium.’  

Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc will be very welcome to attend.