OCR Interpretation

The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, July 24, 1884, Image 1

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016187/1884-07-24/ed-1/seq-1/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

-IN I. O.I I
Opening of the Eighteenth Annual Encampment.
An Eloquent .Appeal for Justice
;to the Soldier.
Tlie Rapid Growth and Healthy
Gondition of the Order.
Gombadess A roar
ago, at the base of the
Eodky Mountains, upon whose snow-bound
crosis ninny of us thon looked for the first
time, we congratulated each other on the
gram& work of a notable year in the history of
tkeGwnd Army of the Republic
Attaining hy your suffrages Ibis high posi
tion, 1 folt deeply the great honor conferred,
end realizing to some degree the possibilities
of tlie future, I a6kcd that you would again
rally aroead tho standard of our National En
campment, so tbat it would represent" before j
my tona of ouTce closed 250,000 members!
How large such figures appeared to those
who had stood by the Grand Army in its days
of degression; yet we felt attainment possible,
and we parted, each to do his share toward
such results.
Now, iu the 18th annual session of our Na
tional Encampment, we meet in this beautiful
city o iha groat Northwest to again exchange
congratulations on the work more than realiz
ing the hopes of a year ago.
Because of the ability and zeal of the officers
of Posts and Departments, and by reason of
devoted labors of the individual comrades there
has boon added to our rolls over 74,009 mem
bers, and to-day our numbers exceed 253,000.
What an army this ! We rejoice that names
that will live In history as great leaders Grant
and Sherman and Sheridan, Uosccrans, LrOgan,
and Slocum, and hundreds who bravely led
corps, divisions, or brigades, and worthily won
and wore their stars are on the rolls of the
Gran 3 Armv to-dav. and as in davs of war
tho rant and file of a patriot army made the j
fame of our generals possible, so in these days j
of peace we rely confidently on our rank and
file, on the men who filled all positions from
drninmer boys to generals, and who are to-day
the busy, patriotic citizens, with a stronger
love for a country they were privileged to
serve, and who by their works have made our
association grand In numbers and influence as
well as in. name.
Wiiih gladdened heart, with every caconr- i
agemtnt for tlie ftiterc, let ns to-day devote
ourselves to worthily represent the Grand
Army of the Eepublic.
3Sie reports of the staff officers will show
fully tiic operations of their several Dopart
xnonl and I commend these to your careful
$51 of the officers have performed their
duties 5n a thorough and satisfactory manner,
pliJGSfeg to myself and with benefit to the
The Totems for the quarter ending June 30
are wmsBmxily incomplete, but gains reported
by .the Departments for the quarter makes the
total laeuiiMHshtp at that date 253,695.
On March 31, 1353, 32 Departments reported
2,$fS Pts and 146,183 members. On March
SI, 9S34, 36 Departments reported 4,323 Posts
and S83,S members, a gain iu these 12 moutlis
of faur Departments aud 1,748 Posts and 67,412
This embraced the last quarter of Comrade
Tan Darvoort's tomi, whon there was an un us
ually latga feacreasa.
iAM'tSie Provisional Dep&rtrnoats have been
formed Into permanent Doparxmauts, and a
roprx'seirifttiou from eaoh Is confidently ex
peciea at this Eucsmpmoat.
I cordially agree wiuh the Quartennaatcr
General that there Is no good reason for a fur
ther increase of funds at .National Headquar
ters. By the inpayment for the first time) of all
exprs oknrgss and a reduction in prices of
rnj.piias we iiae afforded gome relief to De
partments, Iwt a stiJl further reduction can be
Iu ouifieriH,g this matter you will take into
eeou;.'t the large numbers of blanks furaiHcd
without charge te Dejwrtjoeats sad the distri
bution of the Journal each year, a well as the 1
- w.--sary dcricul expenses required for the
gem ml businow of such au orgauinaiion.
The D(partaBH.tis generally are assenting
s;.eiise- of stated and systematic inspections,
&ttd thre it no work ik&t will pay better in
l,ouft rtulta. Hitherto, wholly, or in a large
i.griic, the expense have beett borne by indi
vidual tnewbfffir or collected from Potts, bat
1hs i unfair to tlie comrades who cheerfully
y(v? '.muc fti4 hkVar, and btitdouseme to Ports;
j; most aeeauig official visits being least
fct'it- to ay the t-rpwuiiofi.
An hiKjHjUu directed by Dajrlment Head
u :-.. aud al its expense it tbe trao plaa;
l Posts will iu nearly every case cheerfully
y i for the comfort and entortaimnottt of
it lorptKlor.
To Lityin this let tho National Escanip
saeiu iir,rd aJf peagible relief to the Depart
tut.r. and Him, direetly to Posts and membera,
officiai. viets.
At tic beginning of my term I knew it
wuil b- Juipast.is.lc for me U attempt any ri
vji'rywiib Oi record of CotsMMde Aran Der-voo-1.
or of Comxado, ilorrill and Waaler, who
iMTi.iiatlypit,.c.ied him, as to tile number
of titles traveiud o official duty, and I felt
)j.t thesr eaceUeut work would poartbly an
swer for awhiSa In bai direction.
J have, however, been able to attend Post or
Department meetings in Kew Hiimpsbire, Ver
mont. MasaaobuecUs, Sbode MaadC Counecti
cut, Jfew York, 3ow Jersey, Pennsylvania,
laryla8, IVaehington, Ohio, illohigaa, Wis
coBsin, Mlnaosota, Bliaois, Indiana, and Kcu-
Some of the Departments I was enabled to
Tifcit ifrreeor four limits in connection with my
bnsluafi aud at little cost to the Grand Army.
"W5hput a Fmgle exception my visits were
Mtautired esccediuzly pleasant by the kind
liest courtesies on the part of officers and corn-
grades of tho Posts or Departments.
Outside of these Department visits, I have
had tho great pleasure of meeting the National
Officers of tho Woman's Eelief Corps, and of
visiting with them that touching memorial of
Grand Army work, the Soldiers' Home, at Chel
sea, Mass.
On the 4th of July I was in attendance at
the unveiling of a Soldiers' and Sailors' Monu
ment in the city of Buffalo, and in the evening
was a guest at the banquet tendered by the la
dies of Buflalo to tho Department Encampment
of Kew York. The galleries of a large hall
were crowded with spectators, and the floor
space was covered with tables, where were
seated 1,300 comrades or their friends, waited
on by wives and daughters of leading citizens.
In all my experience I never witnessed a
grander spectacle than was there presented, and
never had more cause to feel proud of this
Grand Army. In thauking the ladies for tho
honor conferred on the Grand Army by their
presence and work, and congratulating the offi
cials and citizeus of the city of Buffalo on the
completion of the costly monument erected in
honor of our dead, I referred to the fact that
before this good work was accomplished, tho
Legislature of tho State, at the request of the
Graud Araiy, had provided by generous appro
priations for maintaining a Soldiers' Home, so
that our sick, destitute and unfortunate com
rades might be gathered from, their own poor
homes, or from the almshouses, and, as the
wards of a grateful people, spend their remain
ing days in peace and comfort, surrounded by
all that brotherly love or patriotic solicitude
could suggest and provide; assured'that when
the inevitable end should come, that their poor
battered bodies would receive the honors-of a
soldier's funeral, and they would not fill pare
of a pauper's grave.
And so, my comrades, I cay to you, here is
work for all other Departments of the Grand
Army. Let us take up as a rallying cry,
"Homes for ourhomdess," and we shall not call
on a patriotic people in vain.
We have issued 90,500 membership badges
during the year. The presentation of a badge
to the recruit in our impressive muster-in serv
ice has contributed largely to this result, and
the profit to Posts, Departments, and the Na
tional Encampment has aggregated largely for
all at a triiliug expense to any member.
There has been some newspaper criticism on
this head, to which it is doubtless my duty to
refer, though I am personally comforted by the
reflection that my predecessors have been fa
vored with the same solicitous attention. This
matter has, however, gone somewhat further
than the usual and now monotonous, ill-natured
fault-finding, and it is time to call a halt.
I have asked the committee of the National
Council to satisfy themselves in their own way,
and so that they could Bpeak with authority,
whether it is true that Comrades Hartranft,
Eobinson, Earnshaw, Wagner, Merrill, Tan
Dervoort and myself, as Commanders-in-Chief,
have willfully deceived, the Grand Army.
That committee will report to this Encamp
ment. If this critic is right in the statement that
we have palmed off on our comrades spurious
badges, then we all I more than the others
deserve your severest condemnation; if he has
willfully misstated the facts, he merits your
I should feel deeply humiliated if I thought it
necessary in this Encampment to meet insinua
tions affecting my honest conduct of this high
office. I have earned the right to demand from
all my comrades their fullest confidence in this
It lias been a serious matter to secure the
supply for cannon-metal badges. Wo had been
j exceedingly fortunate iu obtaining so much,
under all the circumstances ; but it was feared
that we should have to report to this Encamp
ment that we could do no more in this direc
tion. Official requests, made frequently during
other yeara, always met with tho same reply,
that the cannon metal was exhausted; Con
gress hod voted away much more than could be
We ascertained, however, that some of tho
associations to whom cannon had been donated
had not called for them, or were satisfied
when supplied with iron guns instead of
During this year I made other efforts, saw
for myself quite a number of rebel guns that
would just serve our purpose, and then finally,
throngh tbe good offices of Department Com
mander Alexander, of Washington, our request
for the sale to the Grand Army of ten thou
sand pounds of cannou motul for badges was
granted, and the necessary transfer will bo
completed in a Ehort time.
We are to have the privilege of selecting tho j
guns, so that all anxiety on this score is re
moved for four or five years, oven if the large
demand for bsdgos is maintained.
We are greatly indebted to the Honorable
Secretary of War, Eobert T. Lincoln, and the
Chief of Ordnance, Gen. Stephen V. Benet, for
liils valuable concession and privilege.
The Baltimore Encampment ordered a re
print of all decisions of tho Commander-in-Chief
and Judge Advocates-General. Such a
work was prepared by Judge Advocaic-Goneral
Carnahan, but through some oversight only
three hundred copies were printed.
Oa ascertaining this fact, I asked Comrade
Canuiitan to take charge of issuing a new
edition, and he suggested adding to each opin
ion the Eection of the Enlos and Eegulations
referred to, and tlie form of court-martial,
which was accordingly done, and the work as
completed !s of great value to every officer of
tlie Grand Army. It will save much corre
spondence, and enable Com. aanders to pass at
onoe ou the many points incorporated in this
Ten thousand copies were printed, under con
ttact, and copies issued, without charge, to all
Posts and Departments.
Comrade Carnahau is entitled to thanks for
Itis courtesy and attention, and for the ablo
manner iu which he discharged a laborious
tffffV. '
Thd following decisions were made after con
sultation with the Judge Advoculo-Gcneral. A
number of inquiries were addressed direct to
the Commander-in-Chief or "Judge Advocalo
Gonoral, and returned to the writers with no
tice to present the questions to their Dcpatt
zce&t headquarters :
I. Is tho Surgeon of a Board of Enrollment
cligiblo to membership in the G. A E.?
Answered, jvb. The position of Surgeon of a
Board of Enrollment was purely a civil one;
the holder thereof was not mustered into tho
active military service of tho United States.
II. Case. A comrado joins tho Grand Army
under an alias, having no papers to show that
ho enlisted or served under this name. What
is his position in the G. A. It.?
Decided. That application for membership
must be in tho real name of the applicant. An
applicaut who obtains admission to the G. A. E.
under an assumed name practices a deception
that may probably be made tho subject of
charges and specifications.
HI. Case. An applicant for membership on
transfer was rejected.
(a). Should his transfer card be returned ?
(&). Should the fact of cuch rejection bo in
dorsed thereon ?
(c). Can he apply to another Post without
the consent of the Post rejecting him?
(d). If not so admitted is he honorably dis
charged at the end of 12 months, notwithstand
ing tho rejection?
(c). If not honorably discharged, what is
his relation to the G. A. E.?
Decided. That the rulo governing the rejec
tion of applications for membership does not
apply to applications on transfer. Therefore,
the card is to be returned to tho applicant
without indorsement. He can apply to auy
other Post or Posts without consent of tho one
rejecting him, but this fact is necessarily shown
07i Ms application. If not admitted to a Post
within 12 months from date of transfer, the
comrade stands honorably discharged from the
Order, notwithstanding the fact of previous
IV. Case. Under tho By-Laws of a Post,
one-third of the dues were transferred each
quarter to a relief fund, to bo disbursed by a
Board of Eelief, tho Post Quartermaster being
Secretary, and a Treasurer being elected by tho
On motion to eo transfer $100, the Post Com
mander decided the motion out of order, as
contrary to tho Eules and Eegulations, which
made the Quartermaster custodian of the funds
of the Post.
His decision was appealed from, and was sus
tained by the Post.
An appeal was then forwarded to these Head
quarters. Decided. That the Quartermaster is the law
ful custodian of the Post funds, and no By-Law
can be held as valid which diverts those funds
from his hands to the custody of another. The
decision of the Post Commander and of the Post
is sustained.
V. Is an applicant who enlisted in Sept.,
1SG5, eligible to membership in the G. A. E.,
under the ruling of the Supreme Court that
the war of. the rebellion did not close until
Aug. 20, 1SG6?
Answered, Ko. Tho Eules and Eegulations
require an applicant to have served in tlie war
for the suppression of the rebellion between
April 12, 1SG1, and April 9, 1865. Our rules
were so amended to meet the decision of the
Supreme Court referred to.
VI. Has a comrade who has been honorably
discharged from the Order a right to visit a
Post whilst in session?
Decided. He has not.
Tlie committee appointed at tho last En
campment toEecure the establishment, by the
Government, of a" Soldiers' Home west of the
Mississippi, have performed their duty with
great success, and will report in detail to this
The establishment of a Home in that largo
section is a most excellent project; but the
great value of this measure is that it enlarges
the present system, which provides only for
those disabled in the service. The committee
placed in this bill the provisions that all honorably-discharged
soldiers and sailors of the
war of the rebellion who, by reason of old age
or disease, are incapable of earning a living
shall be entitled to all the benefits of tho
Home, whether the disability was incurred in
the service or not.
As Congress ha3 also in this bill Tccognized
the justice of admitting ex-sailors and marines
to the benefits of this Home, I recommend that
the Encampment memorialize Congress in favor
of the modification of the existing statutes, so
as to admit our comrades of the Navy to equal
privileges in all the Homes.
Comparatively a small number of our sailor
comradeshavc joined the Grand Army. Lately,
however, especially since the formation of
Naval Post, No. 400, in Philadelphia, composed
exclusively of men who served in the Navy,
there has been an increased interest in this
class. They now realize that the Grand Army
gives hearty welcome to all who on sea or land
fought under the flag of tho Union.
I was asked during the year to assist in tho
project of raising funds for the establishment
in Virginia and North Caroliua of Homes for
Confederate veterans. Believing this to be
outside the line of my authority, and that I
had no right to commit the Grand Army in any
matter not in the lino of our declared ohjects,
I could only say that tho proposition would
have to go before' the National Encampment.
I deemed it a duty to call personally on tho
National Officers of the Woman's Belief Corps
in Boston, to ask if there was any service which
wo could render in the prosecution of their
work. I also met ou Hovcral occasions their
efficient western organizer, Mrs. Kate B.J Sher
wood, S. V. P., and in all these interviews was
"deeply impressed with the fact that they had
in themselves the ability and resources to carry
out the details of organization, and that what
they most needed from us was tho expression
of our hearty appreciation of their work and
of sympathy in their objects.
They are now much further advanced in
organization in this one year than the Grand
Army was in the eame time.
Comrades who "doubted the wiEdom of onr
taking auy action last year will soon see that
this Woman's- Belief Corps is to be our Grand
Army Eese'rve, ready to respond for efficient
help in all onr eocial and charitable work.
No ono can more" heartily appreciate than
myself tho duties imposed upon Posts in our
work of charity, and wo can rely on that being
always foremost in our objects ; but I am deeply
impressed with this thought, that as wo grow
older, and as our ranks shall become thinned,
we shall be drawn moro closely together. We
Bluill cultivate the fraternal features of tho
organization moro and more, and hero again
the loyal women arc to bo our efficient helpers;
our wives and daughters and other friends are
to enjoy with us tho pleasures that mean so
much to ourselves these meetings and Ec
unions of men. who fought under the old flag
nearly a quarter of a coulury ago.
And iu this connection I rejoice in the. do.
Telopmcnt of a strong desire among cur Posts
to haye
that shall ho distinctivo marks in town, or city
of tho Grand Army, and contribute to tho
pleasure of our members. Wc sing most heartily
with Comrade Parker, of Lynn, "We are tho
Boys," and when iu the words of his song wo
add, " who marched and fought in '61," wc are
forced to admit that time is having some effect,
and that wo no longer climb to the top story of
a high building ns readily as beforo the war.
And so the old Post halls are being" abandoned,
and in their place rooms of easy access are be
ing provided and adorned with flags and guid
ons and all that can please the eye and add to
our comforts.
I could name a score of Posts whoso efforts
and success in this direction may seem marvel
ous, but their achievements aro within the
compass of the majority of Posts, in a greater
or less degree.
I would most earnestly recommend that at
stated intervals the citizens generally of the
community in which each Post is located bo
invited to attend Camp-fires or open meetings,
and that every effort should be made not only
to entertain them pleasantly, but to keep fresh
in their miud3 tho memory of the services
which the veterans rendered in their defense.
A new generation is growing up who without
your tuition can have no proper conception of
the magnitude of tho strugglo or tho vital im
portance of the issues involved.
I trust no Post of the Grand Army will
countenance the holding of picnics or Camp
fires on the Sabbath. There have been in
stances of such that have brought disgrace ou
the Grand Army, and all of them are injurious
in their tendency.
At the last Encampment the following was
Jiesolvcd, That ire bail with pleasure all organi
zations having for their object the perpetuity of
the principles which are dear to us, and we recog
nize in the Sons of Veterans of the United States of
America one that is entitled to the confidence and
support of the comrades of the Graud-Ariny of the
When this resolution was presented to tho
Encampment I looked on it as general in its
character and applicable to any of the organi
zations embraced in the term Sons of Veterans,
and remained under this impression for some
months, or until the-publication of correspond
ence between a comrade interested in that
work and the chairman of the committee.
I then learned that the intention was to
positively recognize one branch styled as the
"Sons of Veterans of the United States of
America" to the exclusion of the other known
simply as "Sons of Veterans."
If any statement explaining this difference
in their titles was juade to the Encampment it
escaped my observation and that of quite a
number of members with whom I have con
verseta. and being satisfied that there is a very
general misapprehension of the effect of the
resolution, it is well that you should now
understand the distinction then and there made.
In the constitution of the branch recognized
by this resolution the following defines
Sec. 1. First Class. The sons, not less than
or honorably
TrtfttVncf ivlift
served in the Unionvvrmy or Navy during tho
civil war of 1SG1-18CG, shall be eligible to mem
bership in the First Class; also,' upon attain
ing the prescribed age, the eldest lineal male
descendants of deceased members of the First
Class, and if there are no descendants, male or
female, then tho male heirs of such deceased
membera in the collateral branches of their
families in tho order of genealogical succession
according to the rules of descent.-
Sec. 2. Second Class. The eldest sons of liv
ing members of the First Class, not less than
eighteen years of age, shall be eligible to mem
bership in the Second Class, and upon the death
of a member of the First Class, through whom
eligibility is derived, a member of" the Second
Clas3 shall become a member of the First Class.
Sec. 3. Third Class. The eldest sons of liv
ing members of the Second Class, not less than
eighteen years of age, shall be eligible to mem
bership in the Third Class, and upon the death
or advancement to the First Class of a member
of tho Second Class, through whom eligibility
is derived, a member of tho Third Class shall
become a member ofiho Second Class.
And in the " Sons of Veterans " tho Camp
officers are Captain, Lieutenant, etc.
The Division (or Department) officers, Colo
nel, etc., after regimental formation.
The Grand Divisions aro Commander, Lieu-teuant-Commander,
etc., with rank of Major
General to Lieutenant-Colonel.
The Commandery-in-Chief with Commander-in-Chief,
etc., as in our National Eucampment.
There is provision made for conferring
" Brevet Eank " for special services.
The following is presented by tho "Sons of
Veterans " :
Sec. 1. Lineal male descendants above the
ago of sixteen years, of deceased or honorably
discharged Eoldiers, .sailors, or mariues, who
served in the Union, Army during tho war of
the Eebellion, Fi'ovided, that they or their fa
thers have never borne arms against the United
States, shall be eligible to membership.
I am at a loss about making any recommend
ation, and deem it preferable to call on some
of the comrades who have been specially en
gaged in this work for a full explanation, so
that the Encampment may direct what is best
to be done. I feel sure, however, that if tho
Graud Army is to assume other relationship to
the Sons of Veterans, U. S. A., we should in
sist on tho complete abrogation of the many
high-sounding titles that have been distributed
with lavish profusion, and that they should bo
required to wear a uniform that will not be
confounded with that of tho G. A. E.
In closing this part of the report I ought not
to omit mention of tho devoted and unselfish
labors in perfecting tho organization of the
Sons (the U. S. A. branch) by our comrades, I.
S. Bangs and W. E. W. Boss.
In General Orders, No. 4, it was announced
that over 200,000 applications for pensions
were on file awaiting evidence from claim
ants; thousands of theso wero delayed in
settlement by inability of applicants to
ascertain tho addresses of their officers or
comrades, and as a means of aiding theso, the
Commissioner of Pensions, Comrade Dudley,
requested tho holp of tho Grand Army, by our
furnishing, on caids issued for tho purpose, tho
name and address of each comrade, with his
compan3T, or reghnsnj;, or vessel.
Theso, arranged by regiments and States,
would make a directory valuable for such a
purpose, and largo numbers of our Posts re
sponded promptly tothe request made in this
General Order, but' many others failed to
realize the importances of tho work, and have
not yet made auy returns.
I am informed fliat up to July 9, tho ad
dresses of 12,438 comrades had been furnished
in 1,953 cases, and ' tlie requests for addresses
have steadily increased sinco publication wa3
made of this fact, and quite a number of cases
havo been settled through these names.
I trust that each Department or Post officer
present will realize the good that may ensue to
many deserving comrades by our early com
pleting this work, and I believe it will prove
to bo a good plan to furnish all our Tosts with
extra cards, so that the names of all recruits
for this year can bo added.
Whatever the Grand Army can do or suggest
to hasten tho settlement of all just claims ought
to bo done heartily and speedily.
In October last several telegrams wero re
ceived from Peusacola, appealing for aid for
sufferers by yellow fever. We were not ablo
to obtain particulars except that their neces
sities wero pressing. Knowing that the Grand
Army Posts wero weak in numbers, but that
there was quite a number of the soldiers who had
located at the navy yard, I issued a call for help
in General Orders, No. 2.
Tlie response was the contribution of the sum
of over $3,G00, moro than could bo possibly
needed, unless the disease spread to many other
points where we had Posts. After eendiug
several drafts for $100 each, and failing to learn
definitely of the actual needs for further help,
I instituted inquiries and became satisfied that
wo had there done all that was necessary. Ac
cordingly contributors wero notified they could
receive their pro rata of tho moneys subscribed,
on demand, the balance not called for to bo re
served as a special relief fund. This was for
tunate, as when disastrous floods swept away
tho homes of many of our comrades we were
ablo to respond immediately to calls for help,
and so sent money to Ohio, Kentucky and West
Virginia. Money was also sent to Pittsburg,
simply as a return of sums contributed to the
yellow fever fund by them aud which could be
of immediate service to sufferers by the floods 4
in that section.
I also tendered assistance to the Department
of Indiana, but received tho reply that they
would rely altogether on. the help of their own
I here make the suggestion that a Depart
ment in need of assistance in any public ca
lamity, ought not to call on the other Depart
ments except through National Headquarters.
We had money enough on hand to give all
needful assistance to the weaker Departments,
and as tho Commander-in-Chief can in most
cases make close investigation into the neces
sities for such help, it ought to be distinctly
understood, should any similar misfortunes oc
cur, that relief will be sent only through these
The balance of the relief fund should now bo
invested at interest in saleable bonds of small
denominations, to he used exclusively for gen
eral relief.
I take pleasure in reporting that during the
year The National Tribune, of Washington,
D. C, has sent out over two hundred and fifty
blank applications for charters for Posts, iu re
sponse to requests of its readers. Most of these
apVlictf&teSwero returned duly filled up to the
various Departments; but 5G applications, with
the fees, were returned through tho office of
The Tribune and by them properly for
warded. The work done by this and the other soldier
papers in disseminating information relative to
the Grand Army has been of great value to our
From several sources I have received com
plaints of improper references in political meet
ings or the public press to the Grand Army of
the Eepublic ; and I have been asked to inter
fere in some way, and prevent if possible any
harm being done to our organization by thus
associating us with any political movement.
I answered to the effect lb at wo had provided
in our laws in terms that no one need misun
derstand :
No officer or comrade of the Grand Army of the
Eepublic shall in any manner use thi3 organization
for partizan purposcs,and no discussion of partisan
questions shall be permitted at any of its meetings,
n or ahal 1 any nomination for political ofiice be made.
AiiT. XI, Chap. V.
I further stated that any comrade so offend
ing would be brought to account. There is no
evidence that this rule has been violated.
We all understand the necessity of guarding
against the introduction of political questions,
which would most surely divide us ; but be
yond providing in such plain terms and having
it known that we purpose carrying out the law,
we cannot go.
We cannot be responsible for every indiscreet
utterance in conventions or on the stump. Tho
Grand Army is a general term, often used when
it can have no application to our association,
and we cannot muzzle every speaker or sup
press the reporter. Let it ho understood, too,
that we have not surrendered all rights as citi
zens because we are members of the Grand
Army. Wc havo a right to go to church, as
others have, or stay at home. We have a right
to attend political meetings, take part in them,
and, as a nominee, be the subject of the plaudits
of ono side the abuse of the other. All theso
things we may do as citizens, but not in any way
because of membership in the Grand Army.
Thero is one point on which a word of cau
tion may be proper. Each comrade may wear
his Grand Army badge when and where ho
pleases, but I submit that the wearing of tho
badge at any political meeting i3 in bad tasto.
Let each one, therefore, refrain from this.
The association of men of all shades of polit
ical belief in our Encampments and Posts, in
all our Eeunions, as to-day, proves to all who
have eyes aud ears, that this Grand Army is
not in any manner a political organization.
In accordance with a resolution adopted at
tho last session of tho National Encampment,
Comrades George S. Morrill, Lo.uis Wagner,
Paul Van Dervoort, Surgeon-General Ames,
and Charles H. Grosvenor were appointed a
Committee on Pensions.
Comrade James Tanner was afterwards ap
pointed to fill a vacancy caused by the resigna
tion of Comrade Ames.
Tho Eucampment gavo no special instruc
tions to this committee, but had taken action
upon one important proposition that asking
for " a pension of $3 a month to all honorably
discharged soldiers of the Union array who aro
not now drawing a pension ; " upon which tho
Committee on Ecsolutions mado an adverse
report, aud which Tcport tho Encampment sus
tained. This positivo action bound the Com
mittco on Pensions, and should have been
Tespected by all Posts of the Grand Army.
Your committee, as the representative of
over 200,000 men, was met by tho most
perplexing and momentous questions. How
to select from proposed legislation that
which would do tho greatest good, and on
which thero was a probability of securing favorable-action
by Congress, was a problem
which demanded their most careful considera
tion, and I think they solved it wisely and
I shall enlargo here only upon one feature of
the report of tho committee that demanding
that soldiers and sailors who aro now disabled
aud depeudent on others, or who are 65 years
of age, should be pensioned without having to
prove that such disability was the tcsuIc of
Tho passage of such a bill would have at
once settled thousands of cases pending before
the Pension Office, would havo directly aided
the-Posta who are largely caring for this class,
aud would havo prevented many a good sol
dier from goiug to the almshouse; but because
the committee declined to demand an equal
pension for the able-bodied soldier it has been
bitterly assailed.
Men who havo never been called on to repre
sent auy one in your councils, assume the right
to be tho judges of what tho committee ought
to havo done, and to defame comrades who
have spent years in your service. On this per
sonal consideration I need not dwell, for these
attacks sink into insignificance beside the in
jury inflicted on those whose interests we are
solemnly pledged to guard namely, such of
our former comrades-in-arms as need help and
protection, and the widows and orphans of
those who have fallen.
The committee represented the Grand Army;
if ic or I have done wrong wc are here to an
swer. But that must be decided by you, and
by you alone.
Unwisely giving ear to opinions and counsels
proceeding from no recognized authority, over
a thousand Posts are recorded as favoring
House bill No. G163, which roads:
Be it enacted, etc.. That al! officers, soldiers, and
sailors vrho served in tho Army, Navy, or Marine
Corjw of the United States for a period not less
than CO days, between March 4, 1SGI, nnl July 1,
1SG5, and who were honorably discharged there
from, ahull receive a pension of cS per month dur
injj the remainder of their Uvea. This act shall
take effect from its paisase.
It is good public policy on the part of the
Government to treat with liberality those
whose valor alone prevented its overthrow,
.and the precedent for service-pensions was es
tablished by the Government in pensioning
"the'survivors'of the Ecvolutionary war aud of
thewar of 1812 on the grnuud of servicesolely.
It ha3 been proposed, to pension the veterans
of the Mexican war, and doubtless ultimately.
in pursuance of this same policy, and when the
necessities for such a course have become press
ing, all survivors of the Union army and navy
who took part in the suppression of the rebel
lion will be placed on the pension rolls.
This would, no doubt, preserve and strength
en thefeeliugsof patriotism ; but I submit that
it does not become those who are suffering from
no disability and aro able to earn a living;
those of us whose proud boast it has always
been that in rallying to the defense of our
.beloved country we were animated by patri
otic motives solely, to demand service pensions
so long as any of our comrades are in actual
need, by reason of old age or physical disability,
and not in receipt of a pension.
When this Government shall have fulfilled
all its contract obligations to the soldiers and
sailors of the late war, and when nowhere in
all this land is seen a veteran bogging bread or
eking out a miserable existence in some county
almshonse, then, and not till then.should those
of us who are still in the enjoyment of health
and strength, and aro not dependent upon
others for support, present claims for pension
on the ground. Sjuiply of service.
It is my own judgment that the influence of
the Grand Army should be exerted asa unit to
secure the fulfillment by Congress of the actual
contract obligations of the Government to it3
soldiers and sailors, to wit:
1st. Their right to a pension from date of
honorable discharge because of disability, with
out regard to the time of filing claims.
2d. Their right to such proportions of bounty
promised by the Government as the length of
their service entitled them to receive when
honorably discharged for disability before'the
expiration of service.
3d. Their right (having "borne the battle"
aud received an hoaorable discharge) to pen
sion if they are now or shall hereafter become
disabled from any cause not the result of their
own gross carelessness, disreputable conduct or
vicious habits, and are dependent on their own
labor for support, together with adequate pro
vision for widows and orphans and dependent
parents, ss well as the abolishment of the rule
requiring proof of physical soundness at en
listment. 4th. The right of survivors of Confederate
prisons to special remuneration because of the
extreme cruelties and danger of death by dis
ease and starvation to which they were sub
jected, contrary to the usages of modern war
fare; the Government having adopted the
policy of suspending the exchange of prison
ers for the purpose of depleting the Confeder
ate armies and thereby sooner ending the war.
To meet these obligations as rapidly as its
resources will permit is clearly the duty of the
Nation, and as such settlements mnst necessa
rily extend over a series of years, their fulfill
ment need not add in the slightest degree to
the burdens of tho tax-payers, of which class
our veterans form no inconsiderable part, but
will simply insure the devotion of a part of the
surplus revenues to the payment of honest
debts long over due.
There is yet another side of this question.
Measuring fully my words, I place npon John
A. Andrews Post, No. 15, of Boston, upon Posts
or comrades who have knowingly sustained
that Post in this action the responsibility of
having impeded and stopped just legislation
for the soldier.
I lay upon them tho full responsibility of
depriving the widows and children of our dead
comrades of the increase of pensions which the
whole Nation would have gladly approved.
Their efforts to bolster up their own schemes
by attacking the Committee on Pensions and
its work, divided our forces and rendered our
influence naught.
It is for you to say whether Posts may array
themselves against the will of the Order, as
expressed by its representatives in this Na
tional Encampment, and whether the legisla
tion proposed by yon, after mature deliberation
and discussion, shall fail because individual
members or subordinate Posts, without oppor
tunity to judge tho question in all its bearings,
set up their opinions in opposition to the con
clusions reached by yon. 1 have no doubt of
the verdict. You will show to Use world that
you havo deserved well of your country; that
the same exalted patriotism that inspired your
ardor from 1S61 to 1SG5 stirs your breasts to
day, and you will assert that the American
soldier does not stand before his countrymen
as a pauper and a mendicant.
For vears this Grand Army existed sur
rounded in gloom. We have lived down the
"doubtera, aud now stand in the strong sunlight
of public confidence. The warm hearts of a
grateful people are with us. Inspired by right
motives, pleading a just cause, our Union would
bo irresistible.
We are enjoying in a land we helped to save
a companionship made sacred by common suf
ferings and sacrifices. We have shaken hands
on line of battle, knowing it might be for the
last time ou earth ; wo havo pressed the brows
of comrades who lay cold in death, and wo
have sent to their dear ones words that wrung
our hearts whilst they told a mother she was
bereft of a sou or a wife that she was widowed.
No ether organization on earth can lay claim
to such glorious and precious memories.
Lctu3 keep this brotherhood together on tho
highest plane of citizenship, and prove to the
people, North and South, that the Graud Army
of the Eepublic is worthy their confidence, that
it is doing a work demanded by the strongest;
claims of huniauity, aud that its objects are- in
accord with tho purest principles of patriotism.
Slajf Jieports en 2d page.
Second Annual Gon?antion of the
National- Order.
A History of the Oriigi&a and
Growth of thei Ovdexr.
Noble Words in Farvor of Ad
mitting All Loyal Women.
Manbcrs of the rational Belief Ctrs G$tmtion.
I bid you welcome to this our firat annual
meeting, and I trust every delegate, will realfea
tho importance of the occasion and give her
utmost attention to the work devolving; upon
us. Almost strangers to each other, w aro
still called upon to unite in the earnest work
of the honr; to so perfect the work we have
taken up that the grandest results for the
veterans we have pledged onnsaivos toaM and
sustain maybe obtained, and mk em? organi
zation worthy the indoEsensena ol eoaade3
of the Grand Army.
When by your suffrage you one year ago
placed tho ofiice of National President ia my
charge, I told yoa I had no words of thanks to
return for the honor yon had conferred upoa
me. Realizing fully tho responsibility of tho
office; knowing somewhat the demands that
would bo made upon my ability; aware of
"breakers ahead," I felt like a straage pilot
removed from the safe harbor I knew well and.
placed in a strange port without chart or map,
with only a compass to guide me. And to suc
cessfully put out of this strange harbor into
the open sea, where only tho most perfect
ships can sail, do you wonder I thought only
of the responsibility;
To-day I return t yon to thank you, not
alone for the position, but that yoa have, by
your assistance and active co-operation, made
the record of the past year one to bo proud of
a success, indeed, far exceeding the high antici
pation of onr most sanguine friends.
Onr compass, pointing to Work, Faith, and
Love the trinity of the Woman's Belief Corps
which has wrought this measura-full af the
heart-work of women, commends itself to your
favorable consideration.
My desire has been, In my address, to giva
you the history of the Woman's Belief Corps,
but I cannot properly do so in the shorfc space
of time I may occupy dnring this session.
The date of the first membaraiifp I' exanot
ascertain; stiH, while there arc doubts of tho
membership of Mother Eve, immediately fol
lowing her were members-of the Belief Corpse
Dnring the war, while onr fathers, husbands,
sons, brothers and lovers went forth at onr
country's call to battle for her In her hour of
dire distress, the mothers, wives,, sisters, daugh
ters and loyal women also went forth to organ
ize "Christian. Commissions," "Sanitary Com
missions," and other relief societies, to render
such assistance as so well merits the title of
In every cifcyr town and hamlet thay were
found, ministering .by their loving: care 4& tho
soldiers in our hospitals; forwarding stores;
that in a great measure rendered the work of
relief to the wounded more successful; writing:
letters containing words of encouragement to
the soldier, who, passing through hoers of
anxiety, trial, suffering and discocragecieBt hi
the field, hailed these messages as those who
had exhausted their own strength aad looked
in this hour to have their hands upheld. How
powerful the influence! Who can measure the
power of woman's pen in our lata war? Ifc
must, indeed, be counted with that of tho
sword ; they can only be valued fcegeiatsc
This sacred duty bouad them together with,
ties of friendship akin to those born of eamp,
march and battle.
And when onr soldiers had aceowBlishetl their
work, returned to their homes, laid down
their arms, turned over to the State authori
ties their precious flags, soiled, de&eed, but
how dear to the veteran! and. became private
citizens, tho Eelief Corps was not mastered eat.
From camp to home, from soldier to citizen
was a long leap. Many fell by the wayside, tho
years of war telling: upon them. Wiihoufc em
ployment, home, or means of support, their
condition would have been sad indeed, if
woman again had not taken up the work and
established temporary homes. Added to tfcesa
wero the widows and children of onr Nation's
Dead," hundreds in helpless coadiUoo, with
no claim, save upon theso who had pledged
themselves to care for the widowed and fether
less, and this duty to cherish and protect sneh
fell npon the loyal women of our land. Homes
were provided for the fetherlesg with the as
sistance of thsso who had watehed the saerifica
of their protectors on many a iar-ofT field of
" The love of woman for the seidiex was tho
crowning glory of the war," said he Past Commander-in-Chief.
I trust our resord will provo
as bright in onr care for their orphans.
Searching the records of the G. A. E. I find
that as early as 1370, at the fourth aaaual Con
vention, reference was made to the work of
woman in connection with tho charity work of
the Order. Statements were i&ade that there
seemed to be a general desire that some grade
should be established to acknowledge their
service, also stating that in several Depart
ments the "Clara Barton" degree had already
bQen established. This was recommended by
F. A. Starring Inspector-General. On resolu
tion of Comrade Emory, of Massachusetts, a
committee was appointed to consider the advis
ability of the same. Again at the filth annual
Convention was tho subject taken up, and a
prospectus presented, looking to the establish
ment of a permanent organization of kin to
soldiers interested in tho cause.
At the seventh Encampment the establish
ment of" Clara Barton" degree was diieusscd,
but not recommended when referred t eom
During this time the ladies had noS i&cn
silent. All over our land " Ladies? League,"
'Loyal Ladies," "Relief Corps," and other
auxiliaries were established, all working in tha
interest of the soldier and rendering valu
able assistance to tho comrades in their wori

xml | txt