By 1862, it was apparent that the US Civil War would be a longer war than anyone had thought or hoped. Coinage disappeared from circulation in both the USA and the CSA. While the CSA quickly curtailed minting coins in favor of paper money, the USA continued minting coins and applied other techniques (to be explored in the future) to satisfy the demand for small change.
One coin that continued to be minted starting in 1851 was the three cent silver coin. This was in alignment with the cost of a first class postage stamp at the time which was its motivation. It was a tiny coin, about the size of a mid size persons index fingernail. It would ultimately be replaced by the 3 cent nickel after the Civil War with the 3c denomination being discontinued later in the 19th century.