US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born June 13: Winfield Scott

June 13, 2015 03:30 AM

Gen. Winfield Scott was born June 13, 1786, in Dinwiddie County, Va. Though he briefly studied law, he entered the United States Army, commissioned as a captain, in 1808. He served for more than 50 years, and was active in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

For his devotion to military discipline and dress, he was known as “Old Fuss and Feathers.”

Captured by the British during the War of 1812, he was released in a prisoner exchange and became a national hero for his successes in the ensuing battles. He was promoted to the rank of general in 1814.

Scott would lead forces during the Second Seminole War, and would command the 1836 forced relocation of the Cherokee nation as part of the disastrous “Trail of Tears.”

Scott also led campaigns in the 1846-48 Mexican-American War, and became the unsuccessful Whig Party candidate in the 1852 presidential election, losing to Democrat Franklin Pierce.

As the Civil War began, Scott was well into his seventies and his health was suffering. He helped to shape the Union strategy to weaken the Confederacy, but resigned Nov. 1, 1861. He died May 29, 1866.

The first stamp honoring Scott, a 24¢ issue in the 1870 definitive series (Scott 142) pays tribute to his storied military career with elements bordering the portrait. The U.S. Postal Service notes: “In the left lower corner appears a flag, loosely gathered around its staff, the muzzle end and part of the wheels of a piece of field artillery, and a pile of shells. In the right are three muskets stacked.”

Scott was later commemorated alongside Andrew Jackson on the 2¢ red in the 1936-37 Army Issue (Scott 786).