The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a veterans organization formed in 1866. Membership consisted of honorably discharged Union soldiers, sailors and marines of the Civil War. This collection contains the biographical and military information on the members, business correspondence, and national and department encampments for the Captain Thomas Espy Post 153, Department of Pennsylvania. For more information on the collection or assistance with Civil War research please contact Diane Klinefelter, Curator, 412-276-3456, x9. A PDF of the Detailed Espy Finding Aid for the Manuscript Collection may be viewed online.
Eligibility to Membership. Soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, Navy, or Marine Corps and Revenue Cutter Service who served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865 in the war for the suppression of the rebellion and of such State regiments as were called into active service and subject to the orders of United States general offices, and having been honorably discharged therefrom after such service, shall be eligible to membership in the Grand Army of the Republic. (Grand Army Blue Book, 1912.) Names with an asterisk denote a Charter Member.
Transfer. Any comrade against whom no charges exist, and who has paid all dues, shall receive, upon verbal or written application to the Commander, a transfer card attested by the Adjutant. Upon presentation of it to any Post within one year from date of issue, he may be admitted in the manner prescribed. (Grand Army Blue Book, 1912.)All transfers are from within the Department of Pennsylvania unless otherwise noted. For a complete listing of known GAR posts in the United States, see the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War GAR Post Records Project index.
Each Post made semi-annual returns to the Department on the first of January and July. Included in those reports was a list of members dropped from the rolls due to death.
A popular example of a GAR post record that surfaced just before the turn of the century was known as the “Personal War Sketches.” As veterans gathered in their posts they delivered formally written narratives. The veteran either completed a pre-printed questionnaire or sat with the Post Historian and dictated his personal accounting of his participation in the war. Once completed these narratives were written in a ledger size leather-bound book. Many named friends in their company, provide details of wounds received, and the horrors of imprisonment.