Arago: American Bicentennial Issue

American Bicentennial Issue

A pair of commemorative stamps honoring the 200th anniversary year of the Battle of Yorktown and the Battle of the Virginia Capes were issued October 16, 1981, at Yorktown, Virginia.

The stamps' designs were unveiled September 5 during ceremonies at Virginia Beach, Virginia. The designer was Cal Sacks of Westport, Connecticut, and the modeler was Clarence Holbert.

The Battle of the Virginia Capes was fought September 5, 1781, at sea between the French armada under the command of Admiral Comte de Grasse and the British fleet under Admiral Sir Thomas Graves. After a three-day engagement, the French fleet succeeded in returning to the Chesapeake Bay, thus denying access to the British fleet and causing its retreat to New York. The naval action off the Virginia Capes was a turning point in the Revolution because it sealed-off supplies and reinforcements from Lord Cornwallis. He needed both to defend Yorktown.

With aid by sea cut off, the American and French armies under Washington and Rochambeau laid siege to the British forces under Cornwallis, and the British surrendered on October 19, 1781. This was the final battle of the Revolutionary War.

The stamps were printed in the offset/intaglio process and issued in panes of fifty.


Postal Bulletin (September 10, 1981).

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