Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America (Civil War America)

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Of course, disabled veterans were more problematic since it was often assumed they could not perform as well as an able-bodied employee. One famous example was a series of left-handed penmanship contests offered by newspaperman William Oland Bourne , designed in part to prove that amputees could make good employees. Nice penmanship or not, most disabled veterans required the support of the federal government in the form of a pension at some point in their post-war lives. The federal pension program, created in and updated periodically until , defined disability as the inability to perform manual labor — meaning that in order to get what many soldiers believed was a fair payment, they had to swear that they could no longer work.

Yet, late 19 th century Americans believed that labor and masculinity were critically enmeshed; only women, children, people of color, and the unworthy poor were dependent on others for their survival. This put Civil War veterans — supposedly the best men America had to offer — in a difficult position: in order to get their pension, they needed to fashion themselves as utterly disabled, which meant risking their masculinity. But if they clung to their manhood, whether that meant continuing to work, reluctance to describe their suffering, or admit their reliance on others, they could be denied a pension.

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Some veterans found ways to create some gray area in this black-and-white system. Rowland Ward, whose facial wounds were photographed numerous times by the Army Medical Museum , testified to the Pension Bureau that he could not work, but his obituary describes him as a life-long farmer and newspaper reports show that he owned a substantial amount of property in western New York State. Either way, of course, it meant he needed to create a narrative of helplessness in order to earn the pension he believed he deserved.

Work was just one of the problems that disabled veterans encountered when they mustered out. Sometimes they used alcohol, even laudanum and opium, to help them cope with pain, frustration, and war trauma. Others lived in asylums. The GAR initially grew and prospered as a de facto political arm of the Republican Party during the heated political contests of the Reconstruction Era. The commemoration of Union Army and Navy veterans, black and white, immediately became entwined with partisan politics.

Black veterans, who enthusiastically embraced the message of equality, shunned black veterans' organizations in preference for racially inclusive and integrated groups.

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But when the Republican Party's commitment to reform in the South gradually decreased, the GAR's mission became ill-defined and the organization floundered. The GAR almost disappeared in the early s, and many state-centered divisions, named "departments", and local posts ceased to exist.

In his General Order No. Logan declared May 30 to be Memorial Day also referred to for many years as "Decoration Day" , calling upon the GAR membership to make the May 30 observance an annual occurrence. Although not the first time war graves had been decorated, Logan's order effectively established "Memorial Day" as the day upon which Americans now pay tribute to all their war casualties, missing-in-action, and deceased veterans. As decades passed, similarly inspired commemorations also spread across the South as " Confederate Memorial Day " or " Confederate Decoration Day ", usually in April, led by organizations of Southern soldiers in the parallel United Confederate Veterans.

In the s, the Union veterans' organization revived under new leadership that provided a platform for renewed growth, by advocating Federal pensions for veterans.

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Confederate veterans organized their commemorative lives in much the same way, with local and state organizations and reunions beginning in the s, and national encampments held annually after the formation of United Confederate Veterans. But Union veterans seemed more put out by the most overt symbol of reconciliation: the campaign by some Grand Army of the Republic leaders and state politicians to return Confederate battle flags to southern states. After returning home, soldiers often found a gulf forming between themselves and nonveterans, who did not experience the same horrors of war. Library of Congress Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Civil War Trust. Open Preview See a Problem?

As the organization revived, black veterans joined in significant numbers and organized local posts. The national organization, however, failed to press the case for similar pensions for black soldiers. Most black troops never received any pension or remuneration for wounds incurred during their Civil War service. The GAR was organized into "Departments" at the state level and "Posts" at the community level, and military-style uniforms were worn by its members.

There were posts in every state in the U. The G.

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Among the most stirring sights in Gilded Age America were the periodic assemblages of Civil War veterans. They gathered, often in uniform, to commemorate. Sing Not War: The Lives of Union & Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America (Civil War America) [James Marten] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. After the Civil War, white Confederate and Union army veterans .

Grant , and ending with the 25th, William McKinley. Hayes , James A. The sole post-war Democratic president was Grover Cleveland , the 22nd and 24th chief executive. For a time, candidates could not get Republican presidential or congressional nominations without the endorsement of the GAR veterans voting bloc. With membership strictly limited to "veterans of the late unpleasantness," the GAR encouraged the formation of Allied Orders to aid them in various works. Although an overwhelmingly male organization, the GAR is known to have had at least two women who were members.

Kady was admitted as a member in to Elias Howe Jr.


Post 3, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In , she collected affidavits from former comrades in an effort to petition for a veteran's pension which she received in July Edmonds was only a member for a brief period as she died September 5, ; however she was given a funeral with military honors when she was reburied in Houston in The GAR reached its largest enrollment in , with , members [6]. It held an annual "National Encampment" every year from to Interesting anecdotes from the war were told around the many campfires at these reunions and compiled in a book of campfire "chats", including descriptions of the festivities at the encampments in Minneapolis, Providence, ME and San Francisco.

There are physical memorials to the Grand Army of the Republic in numerous communities throughout the United States. Route 6 is known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway for its entire length. The Commemoration of the American Civil War on postage stamps began during the conflict by both sides. In , the Grand Army of the Republic was commemorated on a stamp. Postal Service printed a virtually identical stamp for the final reunion of the United Confederate Veterans.

The posts were made up of local veterans, many of whom participated in local civic events.

As the posts were formed, they were assigned to the home Department of the National Commander-in-chief of the year that they were chartered. As Civil War veterans died or were no longer able to participate in GAR activities, posts consolidated or were disbanded. Despite having very little actual battle experience during his brief military career, cut short by the loss of his leg, Adam Trask's father Cyrus joins the GAR and assumes the stature of "a great man" through his involvement with the organization.

At the height of the GAR's influence in Washington, he brags to his son:.

I wonder if you know how much influence I really have. I can throw the Grand Army at any candidate like a sock. Even the President likes to know what I think about public matters. I can get senators defeated and I can pick appointments like apples.

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I can make men and I can destroy men. Do you know that? Later in the book, references are made to the graves of GAR members in California in order to emphasize the passage of time. In Ward Moore 's alternate history novel Bring the Jubilee , the Confederates won the Civil War and became a major world power while the rump United States was reduced to an impoverished dependence.

Dr. James Marten

The Grand Army of the Republic is the name of a nationalistic organization working to restore the United States to its former glory through acts of sabotage and terrorism. John Alexander Logan , John Frederick Hartranft , John Peter Shindel Gobin , The Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic was a significant organization, itself. The original objectives of the organization included promotion of patriotism and loyalty to the Union, and participation in community service, especially for the aid of our Veterans and their dependents.

As original Union veterans of the G. The Loyal Ladies League was established in as an auxiliary to the G. Its president in was Mrs. Ethel M.

Silk Flags and Cold Steel The Piedmont Civil War in North Carolina The Civil War in North Carolina V

Irish, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the U. For other uses, see Grand Army of the Republic disambiguation. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Ambrose Burnside , Paul Vandervoort , John S. Kountz , Wilmon W.