Thursday, December 5, 2013
Civil War Veterans-- Part 1: Grand Army of the Republic
The Civil War produced 2 million veterans on both sides. The 1890 census showed 1,034,073 Union veterans still living and 432,6000 Confederate. When the war ended, the thousands returning home faced dim employment prospects, civilian indifference and many had the additional lingering aspects of wounds and diseases. Some 13.9% of Union and 20% of the Confederate veterans suffered from wounds.
THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC (GAR)
Founded in 1866, it eventually grew to over 400,000 members and probably the most powerful political lobby of the Gilded Age. The organization helped bring about the Arrears Act of 1879 which doubled pension expenditures in less than two years.
The Dependent Pension Act of 1890, created a service pension system. The number of Union pensioners, including some women, reached a peak of 969,711 in 1901.
In 1874, Congress mandated preference for disabled veterans in federal hiring. New York and Kansas enacted general veteran preference laws.Twelve state Soldiers' Homes opened between 1879 and 1888.
Quite the Active Organization. --Old Secesh