The first post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) formed in Decatur, Illinois, in 1866. From there the organization spread quickly, and by 1890, there were more than 400,000 members in over 7,000 posts across the U.S. The GAR was formed with the goal of Union Civil War veterans helping other veterans in need and based on the principles of fraternity, charity and loyalty.
GAR posts were set up on a local level, with each post enlisting veterans from a particular part of a city or town. This collection includes images of post descriptive books from the state of New York. The books are arranged by post number. The descriptive books include name; age; birthplace; current residence; occupation; date of entry into service (with rank, company, and regiment); final discharge date (with rank, company, and regiment); length of service; cause of discharge; date of entrance into the GAR; transfers, honorable discharge, dismissal, or suspension from post; whether wounded in the war, and remarks.
In addition to the Post Descriptive Books, you’ll also find circulars, notices of national encampments, war songs, order books, accounting materials, minutes, death and burial registers, and post rules.
The details found in the records of various GAR posts may give you some insights into your ancestor’s postwar activities, but pay special attention to enlistment and discharge dates and military affiliations during the Civil War. These details can help you to identify your ancestor in military records such as pensions and service records.