Library & Archives
Grand Army of the Republic. Department of New Jersey
Collection, 1871 - 1889, n.d.
Carla Z. Tobias
Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey
The Grand Army of the Republic, the national organization for Union veterans of the Civil War, was established in 1866. Any officer or enlisted man who had served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865 and had received an honorable discharge from the US Army, Navy or Marine Corps was eligible for membership.
Local chapters, known as "posts," were established in the decades following the war in communities throughout the nation. Several were established in Monmouth County. Posts were often named after prominent Civil War figures, or after local men who had lost their lives during the war. Post 63 in Freehold was named after Captain James W. Conover, Company D, 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers, who had been mortally wounded at the Battle of Monocacy, Maryland on July 9, 1864. Each post held regular monthly or bimonthly meetings and frequently participated in gatherings of local, national or patriotic importance. They also hosted social functions for their members. The GAR also held an annual national encampment, at which members from throughout the nation gathered. On Memorial Day, GAR members would decorate the graves of local veterans with flowers and flags. At their peak, from approximately 1870 to 1910, GAR posts were important organizations in communities across the country.
DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION
This collection consists of ephemera related to GAR posts established in Monmouth County, as well as in other towns in New Jersey. Found in this collection are rules and regulations of the GAR, invitations to reunions and other social functions, memoranda from the GAR national and state ("department") headquarters, post regulations and orders, and post by-laws. A full listing of materials can be found in the Item Descriptions below.
The items found in this collection provide an insight into the organization and activities of the GAR. They also serve to emphasize the importance that many Civil War veterans attached to their wartime service. Researchers will find this collection provides a useful introduction to the Grand Army of the Republic's activities in Monmouth County, particularly in Freehold. This artificial collection is open-ended and items will be added as they are acquired.
An excellent collection of material relating to GAR activities throughout New Jersey can be found in the New Jersey Collection of Rutgers University's Alexander Library in New Brunswick. For a complete list of the MCHA's Civil War holdings, see the librarian for a copy of the guide to the MCHA Civil War collections.
Number of items: 29, 1.5 inches
Folder 1. Department of New Jersey, 1871-1889, n.d. 12 items.
Miscellaneous items relating to the national, state and local GAR organizations including Rules and Regulations, Grand Army of the Republic, 1889, two copies of the Roster of the Department of New Jersey, GAR, 1883, an 1871 September 20, general order from GAR national headquarters in New York City announcing that GAR commander-in-chief Ambrose Burnside will be out of the country and that his duties will be carried out by a subordinate, an 1883 October 22, general order from the headquarters of the GAR Department of New Jersey in Jersey City announcing official visits by state headquarters staff members to the state's various GAR posts, a ticket to the GAR Department of New Jersey's fourth annual encampment, two cards advertising GAR cards and stationery for sale at the offices of the Monmouth Inquirer newspaper of Freehold (the paper was edited by GAR member and former colonel of the 29th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers, Edwin F. Applegate), two blank visiting cards with patriotic illustrations, along with a piece of stationery printed with a GAR emblem, and an invitation addressed to George W. Patterson, who had served during the Civil War with Company G, 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers, inviting him to a GAR sponsored reunion to be held in Newark on July 21, 1875.
Folder 2. Department of New Jersey, Capt. J.W. Conover Post No. 63 (Freehold), 1883-1884. 14 items.
Miscellaneous items relating to Freehold's GAR post including two tickets to the post's 1883 January 10 meeting where newly elected officers would be installed, two copies of a 1883 January 11 order from Post 63 Commander Edwin F. Applegate announcing uniform regulations, appointments and meeting times, an advertisement for a 1883 February 8 lecture on the Civil War, sponsored by Post 63, given by Princeton University professor, and former commander of the 2nd Regiment, New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry, Joseph Karge, an invitation to a 1883 February 14 Commander's Reception, a 1883 March 27 list of the commanders and staff of the GAR's Department of New Jersey, two copies of a list of Post 63 meetings for the period April 1883 to April 1884, a 1883 September 1 order from Post 63 Commander Edwin F. Applegate regarding the Department of New Jersey's annual encampment in Princeton, a 1883 November 8 order from Commander Applegate regarding the funeral of a post member, two copies of a notice announcing a Post 63 campfire to be held on 1883 November 14, and a copy of a 1884 May 24 order from Commander Applegate regarding Memorial Day activities.
Folder 3. Department of New Jersey, various posts, 1882-1883, 3 items.
Copies of the by-laws of General A.E. Shiras Post No. 26, Mount Holly, Vredenburgh Post No. 47, Manasquan, and Sumner Post No. 74, Jamesburg.
This page last updated 31 July 2008.