When the American Bank Note Company and the Post Office Department began their collaboration on the 1890-1893 Issue, only ten different denominations were required. The need for an 8-cent stamp arose when the registered mail fee was lowered from ten to eight cents on January 1, 1893.
William Tecumseh Sherman, who succeeded Ulysses S. Grant as commander of the U.S. army in 1869 and was a legendary Union general of the American Civil War, was chosen as the subject for the last stamp of the 1890-1893 Issue. He had outlived Grant by five years, dying on Valentines Day 1891. Now his stamp, released on March 21, 1893, would have the distinction of being the only stamp of the issue not released in 1890. Sherman was the only person born in the nineteenth century who would see a stamp series on which he would eventually be portrayed.
The stamp was often used to pay the registered mail fee; otherwise, in combination with other denominations, it might have been used to fulfill higher rates. Approximately 12,087,800 stamps were printed by the American Bank Note Company of this 8-cent issue.