The G.A.R.

The Grand Army of the Republic

Progenitor of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Founded in Decatur, Illinois on April 6, 1866, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) consisted of Union Veterans of the Civil War, joined together at first for camaraderie, and later for political power. By 1890 their membership had risen to nearly 410,000 veterans.

Membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Revenue Cutter Service who had served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865.

The community level of the organization was called a “Post” and each was numbered consecutively within each Department (generally a particular state). Most Posts also had a name and the rules for naming Posts included the requirement that the honored person be deceased and that no two Posts within the same Department could have the same name. The National organization was run by the elected “Commandery-in-Chief.”

The GAR founded soldiers’ homes, and was active in relief work and pension legislation. Five members were elected President of the United States and, for a time, it was impossible to be nominated on the Republican ticket without the endorsement of the GAR voting block.

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 meeting 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.

Department of California and Nevada

The GAR’s Department of California and Nevada was organized on February 21, 1868. Eventually there were nearly 200 individual posts throughout the Department. While the last National Encampment was held in 1949, the Department of California and Nevada continued to hold their annual Department Encampments into the 1950s.

The last member of the Department, William Allen Magee of Company M, 12th Ohio Cavalry, died in Long Beach, California on January 23, 1953 at the age of 106 years.

Following is a list of GAR Posts within the area covered by the Gen. George Wright Camp No. 22, SUVCW. Not all of these Posts would have existed simultaneously:

Amador County

Jackson Post No. 14 of Jackson

Champion Hill Post No. 100 of Plymouth

 Calaveras County

 Ione City Post No. 20 of Ione

Mokelumne Hill Post No. 21 of Mokelumne Hill

Missionary Ridge Post No. 128 of Ione

Chickamauga Post No. 149 of Burson

Colusa County

 Gen. John F. Miller Post No. 110 of Colusa

Williamsburg Post No. 116 of Williams

El Dorado County, California

 Thomas Post No. 18 of Placerville

Placerville Post No. 108 of Placerville

Placer County, California

 Auburn Post No. 13 of Auburn

Col. E. D. Baker Post No. 71 of Newcastle

Gen. Berry Post No. 85 of Truckee

Belmont Post No. 101 of Auburn

Gen. A. H. Terry Post No. 173 of Rocklin

Sacramento County

 Sumner Post No. 3 of Sacramento

Warren Post No. 54 of Sacramento

Fair Oaks Post No. 120 of Sacramento

Franklin Post No. 147 of Galt

San Joaquin County

Rawlins Post No. 6 [or No. 9 or No. 23] of Stockton

Hartford Post No. 155 of Lodi

Yolo County

 W. H. Seward Post No. 65 of Woodland

Col. A. W. Preston No. 114 of Winters

Yuba County

 Marysville Post No. 7 of Marysville

Corinth Post No. 80 of Marysville