MEN AND WOMEN OF
GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND MEN MARCHED THROUGH THE STREETS.
At the close of the Civil War, there were over a million men in the Union armies. Nearly two and a half million had served under the Stars and Stripes during the four long years of warfare, of whom three hundred and fifty-nine thousand had died. It was essential that those still in the service should disband and retire to civilian life. This was effected after a grand parade of the armies of the Potomac, the Tennessee, and of Georgia, on May 22 and 24, 1865, when one hundred and fifty thousand men and women marched through the wide avenues of Washington in review before the President and the commanding generals. From the glare and glory, the power and prestige of the soldier's career, they went into the obscurity of the peaceful pursuits of American citizenship, and in a few short months the vast armies of the United States had disappeared.
We must not forget the Women, Blacks, Indians, Europeans, Canadians and the French all fought shoulder to shoulder for their beliefs. We seem to forget them.
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, US Marines and US Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War. Founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, it was dissolved in 1956 when its last member died. Linking men through their experience of the war, the GAR became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, lobbying the US Congress to establish veterans' pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. Its peak membership, at more than 400,000, was in 1890; a high point of Civil War commemorative ceremonies. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), composed of male descendants of Union veterans.
THIS PAGE IS DEDICATEDTOTHE MEN AND WOMEN NOT ONLY TO THE NORTH, BUT ALSO TO THE SOUTH WHO FOUGHT LIVED AND DIED IN THE BATTLE FIELDS AND P.O.W. CAMPS AND MANY OF THEM WERE MY RELATIVES.
I SALUTE THEM ALL
WOMEN CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS?
How did they do it?
One of the best-documented female soldiers is Sarah Edmonds. She was a Union soldier and worked during the Civil War as a nurse.
Honestly, the lore is that the physical exams were not rigorous at all. If you had enough teeth in your head and could hold a musket, you were fine. The funny thing is, in this scenario, a lot of women didn’t seem any less manly than, for example, the teenage boys who were enlisting. At the time, I believe the Union had an official cutoff age of 18 for soldiers, but that was often flouted and people often lied. They had a lot of young guys and their voices hadn’t changed and their faces were smooth. The Confederacy never actually established an age requirement. So [women] bound their breasts if they had to, and just kind of layered on clothes, wore loose clothing, cut their hair short and rubbed dirt on their faces. They also kind of kept to themselves. The evidence that survived often describes them as aloof. Keeping to themselves certainly helped maintain the secret.
There is an estimated of about 250 women who did.
When the women were found out, did it provoke an uproar?