It is sometimes frustrating – here I have all of these books and articles, and all of these online sources, and I cannot find the answers that I want. I guess that is why I write.
If you follow me on facebook, you know that in the past few weeks that I’ve been attempting to research the role, or presence, of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in North Carolina.
General information about the GAR is easy to come by. The organization was formed in 1866 in Illinois . By 1890, there were 409,000 members nationally. On the local level, the GAR established Posts, just like the Camps and Chapters of the United Confederate Veterans or the United Daughters of the Confederacy. You can learn a little more about the GAR here.
Overall, I have found eighteen GAR camps in North Carolina. They are:
Sedwick Post - Raleigh, NC
Jim Barlow Post - White Rock, NC
J. C. Abott Post - Wilmington, NC
Fletcher Post - Elizabeth City, NC
Beecher Post - New Bern, NC
Flusser Post - Washington, NC
Philip Sheridan Post - Hendersonville, NC
G. W. Gehagan Post - Marshall, NC
General Meade Post - Raleigh, NC
Hartranft Post - Charlotte, NC
Harrell Post - Edenton, NC
James Lake Post - Bryson City, NC
James J. McLane Post – Dwight, NC
General Terry Post – Plymouth, NC
W. P. Story Post – Murphy, NC
T. A. Lyons Post – New Bern, NC
Gen. Reynolds Post – Winton, NC
James G. Blaine Post Windsor, NC
I have been able to dig out some information about the North Carolina GAR. On May 29, 1869, the Sedgwick Post No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of North Carolina, decorated the graves of Union soldiers in the new National Cemetery in Raleigh.
Most of my information (so far) is related to the Post in Charlotte. It seems that when the Confederate Veteran organization in Charlotte held its Confederate Memorial Day observance on May 10, they usually invited the Hartranft Post to participate. And usually, the Hartranft Post lined up behind the Confederate Veterans as they paraded through the streets of Charlotte, toward Elmwood Cemetery. Once at the cemetery, the members of the GAR helped the Confederate Veterans decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers. In contrast, the Hartranft Post, every Federal Memorial Day, went to the National Cemetery in Salisbury to decorate the graves, and I could never find reference to their inviting any of the local Confederate Veteran groups to participate.
I have not really explored the other GAR Post in depth, but I do not believe that I will find many differences.
That leads me to these unanswered questions: when was the first GAR Post in North Carolina organized? How long did they continue to function? How many members did the North Carolina GAR have? If you have suggestions of where to look, I would appreciate it.