By Stuart McConnell
The Grand military of the Republic, the biggest of all Union military veterans' agencies, was once the main strong single-issue political foyer of the past due 19th century, securing enormous pensions for veterans and aiding to go with 5 postwar presidents from its personal club. To its participants, it was once additionally a mystery fraternal order, a resource of neighborhood charity, a supplier of leisure in small municipalities, and a patriotic association. utilizing GAR conference lawsuits, newspapers, songs, rule books, and native publish files, Stuart McConnell examines this influential veterans' organization throughout the years of its maximum strength.Beginning with a detailed examine the lads who joined the GAR in 3 localities—Philadelphia; Brockton, Massachusetts; and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin—McConnell is going directly to research the Union veterans' attitudes in the direction of their former accomplice enemies and towards a complete diversity of noncombatants whom the verterans referred to as "civilians": stay-at-home townsfolk, Mugwump penion reformers, freedmen, girls, and their very own little kids. within the GAR, McConnell sees a gaggle of veterans attempting to do something about questions in regards to the volume of society's legal responsibility to the bad and injured, where of battle stories in peacetime, and the which means of the "nation" and the individual's relation to it.McConnell aruges that, via the Nineties, the GAR was once clinging to a preservationist model of yank nationalism that many white, middle-class Northerners discovered congenial within the face of the social upheavals of that decade. In impression, he concludes, the nineteenth-century profession of the GAR is a research within the microcosm of a kingdom attempting to carry speedy to an older picture of itself within the face of huge social swap.
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Extra resources for Glorious contentment: the Grand Army of the Republic, 1865-1900
To be a "veteran" in the wake of the Grand Review was to be identified with words like nation, army, rank, order, and discipline. Yet in civilian life, there were other pulls on the ex-soldier's allegiance. "Veteran" was only one role among many. " To define what it meant to be a Union veteran, and to Page 15 explain that identity to nonveterans, would be the task of the largest and most influential of the new ex-soldiers' organizations, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The meaning of membership for the veterans who joined the GAR will be the first concern here.
1 Colonel Charles Wainwright of the First New York Light Artillery, an especially fastidious officer, borrowed another officer's sash for the parade and announced to his disappointed troops that "only the most soldierly in appearance" would be chosen to march in the review. M. every unit was to be organized into ranks and marched to its proper spot off the avenue, ready to wheel into the grand procession as it passed. , since a later start would have meant that part of the twenty-five-mile column would not have been able to pass the presidential reviewing stand near the White House and reach camps in Maryland and Virginia before nightfall.
5 The war had provided a paycheck, but also an interruption. As these men settled back into their hometowns or moved west to new places, the associations of wartime faded. Many of the earliest Union veterans' organizations remained limited to ex-officers, while the more broadly based Grand Army of the Republic experienced a precipitous drop in membership in the 1870s, reaching a low of 26,899 in 1876. ) disappeared. And among prominent veterans, the most notable characteristic of war memoirs in the 1870s was their absence.