Grand Army of the Republic Feed

Koerner House, June 6, 2015

 

Garry Ladd, Bob Mohrman, Dave Wildumuth, John Fulton, and John McKee presented a living history display at the Koerner House in Belleville, IL.

Koerner was a journalist, lawyer, politician, judge, and statesman in Illinois and Germany and a Colonel of the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and served as a pall bearer for Lincoln's funeral.

The house was built in 1849 and is currently being restored.

Most of the artifacts presented here are from the 50 year collection of Robert Mohrman

- See more at: http://www.heckercamp443.us/#sthash.7F4qopFi.dpuf


America’s First National Veterans Organization — The Grand Army of the Republic

Tumblr_mw4pko3adR1rwjpnyo3_r2_540
America’s First National Veterans Organization — The Grand Army of the Republic

Today there are countless fraternities and organizations, both private sponsored and government run, for veterans and their families.  But before the Civil War there really were no national level organizations for veterans.  In 1866 the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was found by Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, who was an army surgeon during the war.  Originally the GAR was founded as a fraternity for Union Civil War veterans.  However as the organization grew it became more involved in politics.  Soon the GAR became a veterans advocacy group, lobbying for veterans benefits, equal pensions for black Civil War veterans, and sponsoring candidates for political office.

The GAR was a national organization, but divided into state departments and local posts.  Members typically wore military style uniforms while the organization operated on a quasi military chain of command (post commander, commander-in-chief) Today most veterans organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, use the exact same model.  Annually the GAR would hold a National Encampment, as well a state and local reunions. At its height in 1890, the GAR was composed of over 490,000 members. This included one woman, Sarah Emma Edmonds, who had fought in the war disguised as a man.  In response to the popularity of the GAR, Confederate veterans also formed their own group, the Unite Confederate Veterans.

Because the GAR was made up of Civil War veterans only, the organization shrank over the decades as veterans passed away.  The GAR was officially disbanded when the last member, and last surviving Civil War veteran Albert Woolson passed away in 1956.

Although the GAR disbanded over 60 years ago, its legacy still lives on.  One idea created by the GAR was to mark veterans graves with a special bronze marker.  Union Civil War veterans graves are marked with the symbol of the GAR (a five pointed star).  Today the tradition of marking veterans graves from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan serves as a final legacy of the GAR.

From Tumblr


The Grand Army of the Republic: founded April 6, 1866

GAR
From The Arlington National Cemetery on Face Book

Today I remember...

Today we remember the first Veterans Service Organization, the "Grand Army of the Republic" (G.A.R.), which was founded on, April 6, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois. 

It was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army (U.S. Army), Union Navy (U.S. Navy), Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces. Linking men through their experience of the war, the G.A.R. became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, helping to make Memorial Day a national holiday, and lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions. 

At its peak membership in 1890, G.A.R. had more than 490,000 members. 

It was dissolved in 1956, when its last member died and is succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. 

The Sons of Union Veterans, hold an annual Decoration Day/Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery. Who are you remembering today?

 


America’s First National Veterans Organiztion —- The Grand Army of the Republic

Tumblr_mw4pko3adR1rwjpnyo2_r1_500
Today there are countless fraternities and organizations, both private sponsored and government run, for veterans and their families.  But before the Civil War there really were no national level organizations for veterans.  In 1866 the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was found by Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, who was an army surgeon during the war.  Originally the GAR was founded as a fraternity for Union Civil War veterans.  However as the organization grew it became more involved in politics.  Soon the GAR became a veterans advocacy group, lobbying for veterans benefits, equal pensions for black Civil War veterans, and sponsoring candidates for political office.

The GAR was a national organization, but divided into state departments and local posts.  Members typically wore military style uniforms while the organization operated on a quasi military chain of command (post commander, commander-in-chief) Today most veterans organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, use the exact same model.  Annually the GAR would hold a National Encampment, as well a state and local reunions. At its height in 1890, the GAR was composed of over 490,000 members. This included one woman, Sarah Emma Edmonds, who had fought in the war disguised as a man.  In response to the popularity of the GAR, Confederate veterans also formed their own group, the Unite Confederate Veterans.

Because the GAR was made up of Civil War veterans only, the organization shrank over the decades as veterans passed away.  The GAR was officially disbanded when the last member, and last surviving Civil War veteran Albert Woolson passed away in 1956.

Although the GAR disbanded over 60 years ago, its legacy still lives on.  One idea created by the GAR was to mark veterans graves with a special bronze marker.  Union Civil War veterans graves are marked with the symbol of the GAR (a five pointed star).  Today the traditional of marking veterans graves from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan serves as a final legacy of the GAR.

From Peashooter85 on Tumblr

City funds look at scaled-down GAR Hall restoration

Dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls
The Grand Army of Republic Hall after major exterior renovations in Downtown Aurora on Sep. 27, 2013. | Mike Mantucca / For Sun-Times Media

 

BY STEPHANIE LULAY slulay@stmedianetwork.com

AURORA — It’s the city’s historic restoration that “has lasted longer than the Civil War itself,” Alderman Bob O’Connor joked this week.

The shuttered Grand Army of the Republic Hall, a historic monument in the heart of downtown, has been closed to the public since the mid-1990s. And since 1996, Aurora Public Art Commission officials have either been restoring, or fundraising to restore, the rock-faced, ashlar laid limestone building at 23 E. Downer Place.

It’s a massive and slow-moving process, but developments have Rena Church, executive director of the public art commission, hopeful that Aurorans will see the GAR’s doors open in the next few years.

The City of Aurora is aiming to kick about $75,000 in funding to hire Arris Architects and Planners, a Plainfield firm, to map out the next steps of the interior restoration project. The plan will give the city a better idea of what a partial, less expensive restoration of the Gothic Revival-style building would look like.

“It will give us a road map,” Church said of the plans. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Continue reading "City funds look at scaled-down GAR Hall restoration" »


Grand Army of the Republic flags from museum collection destroyed

 

Jason Clayworth, The Des Moines Register

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa has destroyed eight flags in its museum collection from a Civil War organization after they were damaged by excessive amounts of mold and sewage.

"It's unbelievable," said Pat Palmersheim, a Vietnam veteran and former director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs. "I can't believe someone would let that happen."

The flags apparently were from the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of veterans who served in the Civil War.

The flags were roughly 12 inches in length and width and believed to be from the early 1900s, possibly used as graveside memorials.

The mold and sewer damage to the flags occurred more than 25 years ago before the state moved its historical museum collections from the basement of the Ola Babcock Miller Building into its current location in Des Moines, officials said.

Continue reading "Grand Army of the Republic flags from museum collection destroyed" »


Civil War Veteran, Pennsylvania, 1935

01-memorial-day-civil-war-vet-shoeshine-kids_67796_600x450
Civil War Veteran, Pennsylvania, 1935, To have had a seat at the foot of this man…

The Civil War proved divisive long after the last drop of blood was shed. By 1890 all of the northern states celebrated the holiday at the end of May, but southerners honored their dead on different dates until after World War I—when the holiday lost its connection to Civil War soldiers only and became a way to honor all military lives lost.

The Civil War veteran above wears the cap of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—the largest Union veterans’ organization—founded in 1866. The number on his cap signals that his post was 139, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

This prize-winning amateur photograph from the 1935 Newspaper National Snapshot Awards was taken by Mrs. Nathan Klein of Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The note on the back reads: “Old soldier talking to bootblacks.”

Credit to —Johnna Rizzo

From The Civil War Parlor

Source National Geographic


Oakwood Confederate Cemetery Dedication, May 30, 1895

  C88a4100-f59b-404b-af63-37c17bd36b89photo from Waymark

Belleville Weekly Advocate 24 May, 1895; article on the 29th State Encampment, Department of Illinois Grand Army of the Republic.

"Whereas, considerable excitement prevails throught the country over the proposed dedication of a monument erected in the memory of Confederate dead in Oakwoods Cemetery, Chicago, on Memorial Day; therefore be it: Resolved, That while we recognize the possible technical right of ex-Confederates in their proposed action, this Department nevertheless condemns the taste that selected a day sacred to the memory of the men who died for the preservation of our Union and would deprecate the attendance of members of the Grand Army of the Republic, or any Post of the Grand Army, at the dedication of a monument commemorating the lost cause."

 By Jon Stacy Col. Frederich K. Hecker Camp #433 (SUVCW)

Civil War Vets

 

  • Tumblr_mkoufmtLQc1rd3evlo1_500
  • Tumblr_mkoufmtLQc1rd3evlo2_500
Tumblr_mkoufmtLQc1rd3evlo2_500

 

Captain Montgomery G. Cooper and Union Civil War Vets

 

For many veterans, their participation in the Civil War was the most important period of their lives. As they aged, many joined veterans’ organizations, where they could meet with old friends and share memories of their service. The two main veterans’ organizations were the United Confederate Veterans (U.C.V.) for southern veterans, and the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) for veterans of the Union army. Annual reunions and parades were among the popular events held by these groups, who were active mainly between the 1890s and 1920s.

This December 1877 column from the National Tribune, a veterans’ publication, illustrates the troubling perception of memories fading – not the memories of those who fought and bled for Union, but those of the citizenry in general:

The events of the war, and the men of the war, are fast fading from the public attention. Its history is growing to be an “Old, Old Story.” Public interest is weakening day by day. The memory of march, and camp, and battle-field, of the long and manly endurance, of the superb and uncomplaining courage, of the mass of sacrifice that redeemed the Nation, is fast dying out. Those who rejoice in the liberty and peace secured by the soldier’s suffering and privation, accept the benefits, but deny or forget the benefactor.

Reflections such as these were typical; veterans seized the initiative and launched a number of campaigns to ensure that what they saw happening was corrected. Sources: Cosmic America and the National Tribune,http://www.museumoffloridahistory.com/exhibits/permanent/civilwar/20.cfm

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr


Civil War veterans formed groups, attended reunions

Civil-war-reunion
Dan Fleming: Newark Advocate

Remembering our veterans became a high priority nationwide at the end of the Civil War. Veterans wanting to share their experiences formed many types of groups.

Largest was the Grand Army of the Republic, which began in Decatur, Ill., in 1866. It reached a peak membership of 400,000 by 1890. The nine Licking County chapters were formed between 1881 and 1884. It was a fraternal organization that had considerable political clout for elections and lobbying causes, founded on the principles of "Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty." The GAR dissolved nationally in 1956.

It was the GAR that first officially proclaimed the Memorial Day holiday -- originally called Decoration Day -- on May 5, 1868, although many from North and South already had been decorating graves of soldiers. Newark's first Memorial Day coincided with the first reunion of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on May 30, 1878. That was a grand event, attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes and generals, including James A. Garfield and William T. Sherman.

Continue reading "Civil War veterans formed groups, attended reunions" »