Army of the Republic in Michigan
The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was the first truly national
veterans organization in the country. Membership was limited to
veterans of the American Civil War who served as soldiers, sailors
or marines during 1861-1865.
The structure included the National Organization, State level
organizations known as Departments and local units known as Posts.
All members belonged to a Post. The Post usually met twice a month.
Delegates represented the Post at annual meetings of the Department
known as Encampments. The Department Encampment elected delegates
to attend the annual National Encampments.
seeking membership completed applications stating their background
and military service. Upon acceptance this information was recorded
in a Post Descriptive Book. Financial records, including payment
of dues and other related information were kept. Many Posts purchased,
or were presented, large bound volumes known as Memorial Books.
A page was provided for each member and contained personal background
information and the reminiscences of the member about his military
service and his closest friends in the service and obituary comments
upon his death. Minute Books contain the history of the actions
and activities of the Post.
All of the above noted materials are “one of a kind” records.
The Post was not required to file copies of this material elsewhere.
Each Post filed Quarterly Reports (later semi-annual, and finally
annual reports) of new members, suspensions, drops, transfers and
deaths of their members. The Department copies of these reports
are found at the State of Michigan Archives. Department headquarters
were located in the Capitol Building in Lansing from 1897 to 1956.
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is the heir and successor
organization to the Grand Army of the Republic. We are chartered
by Act of Congress and are one of the five Allied Orders of the
Grand Army of the Republic.
Among the charges given to us by the GAR was that we were to preserve
and make available, for research, the records of their Order and
information on all who served during the Civil War. In this fashion
we would keep alive the memory of the sacrifices they made to secure
the future of the country and keep green their memory in the eyes
of the nation.
GAR RECORDS PROJECT
Among the key objectives of this committee is to do a complete
county by county search for materials of the type described.
The results of this activity will lead to the development of a
definitive list, by Post, of the surviving records by type, their
location and information on a contact person for research purposes.
It is hoped that whenever possible that we will be allowed to
make copies of these “one of a kind” materials to assure that the
contents of the records are not lost. Copies can then be placed
in several locations for preservation. There is no way that these
materials could be reconstructed if the originals are lost.
We need to create awareness that in those instances where the
holders of these records decide to dispose of them, that they call
us first. They need to know that someone is interested in maintaining
this important portrait of our history for future generations.
Anyone having information on the location of GAR records, or questions
about the project are asked to contact the Chairman:
Gary L. Gibson, PDC
G.A.R. Records Officer
Department of Michigan, SUVCW
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Grand Army of the Republic Links