H4404.1C

Prints of G.A.R. Parade in Oakland, Cal. Col. John S. Dumser's Grand Army of the Republic momento The GAR held two National Encampments in the Bay Area. The 1886 meeting in San Francisco formalized May 30 as the official date of the Memorial Day holiday. The1894 meeting was held in Oakland. (From the New Columbia Encyclopedia) The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was established by Civil War veterans of the Union army and navy. The first post was formed in 1866 in Illinois, and at the first encampment later that year ten states and the District of Columbia were represented. By 1890, there were 400,000 members. The members sought to strengthen the bonds of comradeship. They secured the adoption of Memorial Day to honor the memory of their fallen comrades. They gave aid to soldiers' widows and orphans and handicapped veterans. And they fought for increases in veterans' pensions and other benefits. Auxiliary societies associated with the GAR were the Sons of Veterans (1881), the Women's' Relief Corps (1883), and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (1886). A separate veterans organization formed, the United Confederate Veterans, but its membership (less than 50,000 at its peak) never approached that of the GAR, With the coming of the 20th century, the GAR declined rapidly in numbers and influence. The 83rd, and last, encampment was held in Indianapolis in 1949 with 6 of the 16 surviving members in attendance. The last member of the GAR died in 1956.

Used: John S. Dumser ~ colonel | Grand Army of the Republic

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