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National Military Parks

National Military Parks protect significant conflict sites on American soil, and so most date to the Civil War. The preservation of battlefields, considered hallowed ground, began after Gettysburg by veterans who fought there. In 1890 Congress designated the nation’s first military park, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, administered by the War Department. Administration fell to the National Park Service in 1933.

Spanish-American War patriotic cover, 1898
Spanish-American War patriotic cover, 1898
Spanish-American War patriotic cover, 1898

Spanish-American War patriotic cover

During the Spanish-American War of 1898, the War Department created a mustering and training camp at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the site of significant Civil War battles. Trainees received mail via the camp’s temporary post office. In 1890, Chickamauga and Chattanooga became the world’s first federally protected battlefields.

5¢ Gettysburg stamp art
5¢ Gettysburg stamp art (Civil War Centennial Issue)
5¢ Gettysburg stamp art (Civil War Centennial Issue)

5¢ Gettysburg stamp art
(Civil War Centennial Issue)

More than 51,000 soldiers died or sustained life-threatening injuries at Gettysburg in July 1863. On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address and consecrated the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. A century later, the Post Office Department held a public competition to design a commemorative Gettysburg stamp.

Loan from United States Postal Service, Postmaster General's Collection

Union field artillery pieces at Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee.
Union field artillery pieces at Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee.
Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Carol M. Highsmith Archive
Union field artillery pieces at Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee.
Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Carol M. Highsmith Archive

Envelope showing Dwight D. Eisenhower metered free frank, 1964-1965
Dwight D. Eisenhower metered free frank, 1964-1965
Dwight D. Eisenhower metered free frank, 1964-1965

Dwight D. Eisenhower metered free frank

Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star Army general before he became president, retired to his Gettysburg farm in 1960. As a former president, he could send his mail postage free. A metered mail device printed his signature instead of a stamp. The National Park Service proclaimed Eisenhower’s home and farm a National Historic Site in 1969.