This first pane of the series, to be issued annually through 2015 in double sided sheets of 12 stamps, depicts two stamp designs commemorating the beginning of the war in April 1861 at Fort Sumter and the first major battle of the war near Manassas, VA.
Art director, Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA, created the stamps using images of Civil War battles. The Fort Sumter stamp is a reproduction of a Currier & Ives lithograph, circa 1861, titled "Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor." The Bull Run stamp is a reproduction of a 1964 painting by Sidney E. King titled "The Capture of Rickett's Battery." The painting depicts fierce fighting on Henry Hill for an important Union artillery battery during the Battle of First Bull Run.
For the stamp pane's background image, Jordan used a photograph dated circa 1861 of a Union regiment assembled near Falls Church, VA.
The stamp pane includes comments on the war by Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, and Robert E. Lee. It also includes some of the lyrics used during the Civil War in "Johnny is Gone for a Soldier," a song dating back at least to the Revolutionary War.