The 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter represented the fourth release of the America the Beautiful Quarters series for 2011 and the ninth release for the series overall. The site was selected to represent the state of Mississippi.
The Vicksburg Quarter features a surprising depiction of the U.S.S. Cairo on the Yazoo River. Rather than depicting a present day scene from the park or one of the many monuments present, the striking image of the ironclad gunboat is shown as it would have been seen when it was used by the Union Navy during the Civil War. The image was designed by Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
On the coin’s obverse is the the portrait of George Washington that used for all issues of the series. It was originally designed for the 1932 Washington Quarter, and used either in original or modified format for all circulating quarter dollars issued since.
The circulation release date for the Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter was August 29, 2011. The coins were distributed to the channels of circulation by Federal Reserve Banks and available within various numismatic products offered by the United States Mint. Finally, a five ounce silver bullion version was distributed through the US Mint’s network of authorized purchasers.
The circulation mintage for the Vicksburg Quarter reached a total of 64,200,000. This was broken down between 30,800,000 coins struck at Philadelphia and 33,400,000 coins struck at Denver.
About Vicksburg National Military Park
The Vicksburg National Military Park was established by Congress on February 21, 1899 to commemorative the siege and defense of Vicksburg. The park now includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 144 enplaced cannons, a restored Union gunboat, and 20 miles of reconstructed trenches. The park also includes the Vicksburg National Cemetery, which was established by Congress years earlier.
In the early wars of this country, it was often hard for the military to see that those who died in battle were given the honor and proper burial that they deserved. Especially in the Civil War, soldiers were usually hastily buried in the ground near the spot where they died. If it was possible, their fellow soldiers would try to mark the spot with stones or with wood that had been etched with their name.
In 1866, Congress agreed to declare one hundred and sixteen acres near Vicksburg Mississippi as a National Cemetery, and efforts got under way to exhume and recover the remains of those Union soldiers that had died in the Southeast during the Civil War.
Vicksburg is currently the largest National Cemetery in the country, and holds the remains of over 17,000 soldiers. Over seventy five percent of the graves at Vicksburg contain the remains of unidentified soldiers.
Vicksburg National Park Quarter Launch Ceremony
On August 30, 2011, United States Mint and National Park Service officials held a launch ceremony for the Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter. This was the ninth such release ceremony held during the course of the program.
Al Runnels, United States Mint Chief of Staff, was joined by Park Superintendent Michael Madell, Cultural Heritage Program Manager Sarah McCullough, and WLBT TV-3 reporter Walt Grayson for the public ceremony. Runnels said, “Today’s launch starts the journey of the Vicksburg National Military Park quarters as they pass from American hand to American hand, connecting America through coins.”
Following the ceremony, attendees were allowed to purchase rolls of the newly issued quarters at face value. Children aged 18 or younger were given a free quarter to commemorate the event.
On the previous evening the United States Mint had hosted a coin collector forum to discuss coin initiatives and programs.