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Grand Army of the Republic (1866-1949)



Founded in Decatur, Illinois on April 6, 1866 by Benjamin F. Stephenson, membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Revenue Cutter Service who had served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865. The community level organization was called a “Post” and each was numbered consecutivelly within each department. Post Commanders were elected as were the Junior and Senior Vice Commanders and the members of Council. The official body of the Department was the annual Encampment, which was presided over by the elected Department Commander, Senior and Junior Vice Commanders and the Council. Encampments were elaborate multi-day events which often included camping out, formal dinners and memorial events.National Encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic were presided over by a Commander-in-Chief who was elected in political events which rivaled national political party conventions. The GAR founded soldiers’ homes, was active in relief work and in pension legislation. In 1868, Commander-in-Chief John A. Logan issued General Order No. 11 calling for all Departments and Posts to set aside the 30th of May as a day for remembering the sacrifices of fallen comrades, thereby beginning the celebration of Memorial Day. The final Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic was held in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1949 and the last member, Albert Woolson, died in 1956 at the age of 109 years.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Grand Army of the Republic, Post 56, New Hampshire meeting minutes

Identifier: 003298
Codex 003298
Date(s): 1884-02-23 to 1888-06-27

Meeting minutes of the Grand Army of the Republic, Post 56, New Hampshire by Captain L.D. Gore.

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