Grand army of the republic. Dept. of Massachusetts.

Journals of the encampment proceedings of the Department of Massachusetts G.A.R. frm 1881 to 1887 inclusive online

. (page 10 of 64)
Online LibraryGrand army of the republic. Dept. of MassachusettsJournals of the encampment proceedings of the Department of Massachusetts G.A.R. frm 1881 to 1887 inclusive → online text (page 10 of 64)
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shall receive a transfer, good for a year from the date of its
issuance, and during that year he pays no dues, enjoys all the
privileges of every comrade who is paying, and if, at the end of
the year, he is not admitted to membership in anj' Post, he is
honorably discharged and during the year is subject for purposes
of discipline only to the Post giving the card. If a comrade
present such transfer to any other Post he has to accompany it
with an application, and if rejected by the Post his name has to
be forwarded to Department Headquarters, when, in point of
fact, if he is not admitted to membership in any other Post
prior to the expiration of the j^ear, he is honorably discharged.
Section 3, Article IV., Chapter I., provides the remedy for all the
trouble of the transfer system. That provides for an honorable
discharge ; any comrade in good standing can receive one by
asking and then can do just what he would have to do if he had
a transfer, make out a new application. He could be elected,
admitted without muster and renew his membership by renewing
his obligation. I trust this Encampment will coincide with my
views and instruct the delegates to amend Article IV., Chapter
I., by striking out the whole of Section 2.


In speaking of the Nfltion^l Encampment I stated I should
suggest something to the Convention concerning delegates. The
recently awakened interest in the Grand Army in the great States
of the West and their inc;'ease in membership makes it possible
in the near future for any National Encampment to contain a
majority of delegates who may by their votes keep the annual
meeting west of the Mississippi river, and can, if strong enough,
elect officers without any special regard for the interests of New
England. Massachusetts has always been a power in the
National Encampment because of the united front presented by
their delegation, which in many cases was supported by the dele-
gates from all the New England States. To keep that position
in the future it will be necessary to send a full delegation ; and.



as the ncKt Encampment is to be held at Denver. Col., twenty-
four hours' ride beyond Omaha, it is important that only those
deleo-ates are selected who will pledge themselves to go; and as
the Selection of our representatives is a matter that ought to be
carefully considered, I recommend that the committee usually
appointed l)e divided and suggest that two committees be selected,
viz., a committee of Hve to bring in a list of names for the
Council of Administration, and one of eleven to bring in a list ot
deleo-ates and nlternntes to the National P:ncampment. This will
divide the responsibilities and prevent members of the committee
from having a pressure brought to bear upon them from two
directions. ^ I trust the comrades will agree with me in this
matter to the end that proper representatives may be selected
who are sure to go and make the influence of our Department a
power for good in" our next National Encampment.


The sense of inward satisfaction I feel at the results of the
past year has induced me to give to the Encampment a brief
resuv'e of my labors, in which I have everywhere been met by
such loyal support and fraternal recognition that the cares of
official responsibilities and the duties of my office have been so
lio-htened and my efforts so encouraged that what was a duty
became a pleasure. I have been able to represent the Department
on eio-hty-ei^rht different occasions and as near as I compute from
my note-book, have met the comrades of more than one hundred
and ten Posts of this Department. 1 have represented the com-
rades of this State at Calais, Me., Philadelphia, Pa., and Balti-
more Md In our own Department I have attended twenty-tour
camp-fires, thirteen Grand Army fairs, eight anniversary dinners,
ortranized one Post and assisted at the organization or remstitn-
tio^u of four others, attended the dedication of the Colosseum at
Lynn and the dedication of three Grand Army halls, attended
six memorial services, delivered two Memorial Day addresses
and one special memorial address at Beverly, visited a meeting
of the Loyal Legion, attended eleven regimental reunions and
three balls given by Posts of this Department ; and at all these
gatherings I have endeavored to fitly represent the organization
which I have the honor to command.


When I first met with the Council of Administration and
explained to them my ideas of building up the Order and my
hopes for the coining^ year, I expressed the wish to all present
that they would use their own iudgment in visiting Posts, taking
upon themselves the full authority to officially visit any Post at
their convenience; and I urged the Senior and -lunior Vice-Com-


mautlers uot to feel under obligation to accompany me when I was
called, but rather to be prepared to represent me before Posts
whose invitations I should be obliged to decline. This suggestion
Ihey have carried out to the letter as their report to me will show.

Senior Vice-Commander Hart has accompanied me but six
times the past year, although he has made thirty-two otticial
visitations, having represented the Department Commander at
nine camp-fires, one monument dedication, one Colosseum dedi-
cation, four fairs, one picnic, one annual supper, attended the
National Encampment, visited and inspected four Posts, and
delivered three Memorial Day addresses.

Junior Vice-Commander Billings has made fifty-three official
visits to thirty-nine different Posts, in nine different counties of
the State, exclusive of marching with Plymouth County Conven-
tion at Marshfield ; or, in detail, he has both visited and inspected
six different Posts, performed two regular and two special instal-
lation services, attended three memorial services, ten camp-fires,
eight fairs, three anniversaries and five Norfolk County visita-
tions, and has in this work accompanied the Department Com-
mander on fifteen different occasions.

The members of the Council who were called upon to perform
certain duties did all they were asked to do. Comrade Sloane
inspected six Posts and visited ten others during the year.
Comrade Brown both visited and inspected four Posts, making
eight visitations in all. Comrade Parsons has made about
twenty visitations, beside attending to his inspection duty, and
assisted the Department Commander in organizing Post 1.52.


Assistant Adjutant-General Meech has assisted at the organi-
zation of six Posts, visited and inspected eighteen Posts, attended
sixteen fairs, camp-fires and missionary meetings, and organized
three Posts. He has travelled three thousand miles in carrying
out the missionary work of the Order.

Assistant Quartermaster Goodale has visited and inspected
ten Posts and attended to the various duties of his office, and.
but for a long and severe illness, would have devoted much more
time to the work of the Order, and has been at the post of duty
whenever ordered by the Department Commander.

Inspector William L. Baird has performed all the duties of
his office faithfully, as his report will show, and has always
manifested great interest in the upbuilding of the Order.

Comrade E. B. Loring of Post 15 was appointed as Judge
Advocate of this Department and served in that position until
December 6. During that time he inspected several Posts,
attended camp-fires, Grand Army of the Republic fairs, and
performed such other duties as were required in the discharge of
his office.


Judge Advocate Simpson has visited aud inspected five
Posts and attended the Department Commander on ionr oflicial
visitations, beside installing the otlicers of two Posts, making
sixteen tours of duty in all.

Chief Mustering Officer Munroe has assisted at the organiza-
tion of eight Posts, visited four Posts in the spring and inspected
fourteen Posts in the fall, attended three camp-lires, thjee fairs
and one misionary meeting. In addition to this duty he was
called by the Commander-in-Chief to Omaha to open National
Headquarters and assist the newly appointed Adjutant-General in
starting the new National administration for the coming year.
During his visit West he attended several large gatherings of the
Grand Army in that section of the country, and during the past
two months has rendered valuable service to the Department in
the capacity of acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


Early in the year I called together my staff and aides-de-
camp and the Council of Administration and laid before them a
plan of spring visitation to be oHicially made at the expense of
the aides-de-camp and other officers. I had the idea in view of
two official visitations, one in the early springtime, to get at the
condition of the several Posts, and thus, by reports to Headquar-
ters, show us where the weak points in our line were, so we could
attend to it at once ; and again, to have the same comrades
inspect the same Posts in the fall and note the loss or gain in
numbers, discipline or efficiency.

In this plan I was cordially supported by all, both elected
and appointed officers and aides-de-camp, but, owing to the time
taken in the selection of my aides, the work was delayed so that
but ninety-four Posts were visited and some of the Posts that
needed instruction and encouragement were neglected. But even
with the work partially done, I am more than satisfied wdth the
experiment, knowing that the spring visitation saved at least
three Posts to the Department who are now thriving aud prosper-
ous, and helped a number more over what soer-.ed to their, to be
a hard road and set their faces toward the r.:orniug.

The fall inspections were much more satisfactory ; as I am
happy to state, the report of the Department Inspector will show
that for the first ti:r.e in the history of this Department every
Post has been officially inspected. In selecting my aides-de-camp
I invariably sought present or past Post Commanders, whenever
such were found in the locality from which I desired to select an
aide. I selected twenty-eight, in order that I might get from that
number a corps of active workers who would carry out my ideas
to the letter. Contrary to my expectations, all but two have
proven loyal to the core and performed gallant service ; and the


two referred to were, from causes entirely beyond their control,
obliged to abstain from night work, but their hearts were in it,
though their bodies were absent. By the efforts of my aides-de-
camp I have been greatlj^ assisted and in justice to them I desire
to give you a brief rhume of their work.

Comrade Counig visited and inspected seven Posts and
attended three camp-fires. Comrade Pitman has inspected three
Posts, besides making several visitations to camp-fires and fairs.
Comrade Fellows has visited and inspected two Posts and
visited four other Posts, and attended the National Encampment,
a camp-fire and a dedicatory service. Comrade Philip Creasey
has accompanied the Department Commander on eight different
occasions, beside visitiug and inspecting five Posts. Comrade
Newhall has visited and inspected three Posts and made four
other official visits. Comrade Gross has attended twent}' gath-
erings, including his work of visitation and inspection. Com-
rade Atwood has visited and inspected six Posts, beside attend-
ing other Grand Arm}' of the Republic gatherings. Comrade
Wheatou has visited and inspected eight Posts, besides two other
visits during the j'ear. Comrade Teele has made six official visits
and inspections, and attended one memorial service and two camp-
fires. Comrade Pierce has visited and inspected eight Posts,
installed the officers of one Post and attended three camp-fires.
Comrade Remington has visited and inspected three Posts and
attended four camp-fires. Comrade Sa.w3'er visited and inspected
nine Posts and attended seven camp-fires, and installed the offi-
cers of two Posts. Comrade Elwell visited eight Posts, inspected
six, attended nine camp-fires, two picnics and one dedication.
Comrade Cushing has officially visited four Posts, inspected six,
visited with the Department Commander twelve Posts, assisted
in organizing a new Post, and attended the National Encamp-
ment. Comrade Cook has visited seven Posts. Comrade Thomas
has inspected four Posts and attended five other gatherings
of the Grand Army. Comrade Hodges has visited four Posts
and inspected five, beside attending two other meetings of
the Grand Army of the Republic. Conuade Lindsey has visited
four Posts, inspected six and installed the officers of three Posts,
attended eight meetings of Posts and three camp-fires. Comrade
Black has visited and inspected four Posts, attended three camp-
fires and two Grand Army of the Republic fairs. Comrade
Gibbs visited in the spring ten Posts and inspected them in the
fall, attended two camp-fires, the opening of two fairs, delivered
one Memorial Day address, and did special duty at Posts 86 and
98, in closing up their work after they voted to disband. Com-
rade Frost has visited and inspected four Posts and attended
several camp-fires and other Grand Army gatherings. Comrade
M. B. Palmer attended several camp-fires, installed the officers


of one Post and visited a number of Posts in the northern part
of Middlesex County, and did a grand work in instituting memo-
rial services in a town where the day had never before been

This work of the elected aud appointed officers, though done
willingly, has often been i)erformed at some personal sacrifice
and no inconsiderable expense ; and as the system of frequent
visitation seems to be the imperative rule for the future, and as
I am to step down into the ranks again, I desire to speak plainl}'
to the comrades and give them my views on the matter. To
those who may succeed me that may be the possessors of plenty
of this world's goods, the burden may not fall heavily upon them ;
but unless the Encampment can select such comi-ades to serve
them aud thus bar out the worthy but poor comrade who ma^-
possess the needed qualifications for high oflicial position, the
burden will still be hard to bear.

As it is generall}^ understood that the visits of Department
officers are for the benefit of the Post visited, I ask the comrades
to take into careful consideration the question of necessary
expense and loss of time incurred by visitations. Every earnest
comrade can cheerfully and safely give what time is needed, but
the legitimate expenses of travel and hotel bills should, in my
judgment, be borne by the Post who may feel the need of the
Commander and his Staff. This will lift the burden from the
individual aud place it upon the Post and it will not be felt by
the mass of men as in the single case. With the adoption of this
idea and a fair distribution of elected and appointed officers, no
public gathering of the Grand Army^ ought to be held without a
Department representative present, if such be the wish of the
Post, although I am led to believe many successful meetings may
be held with good results and no such officer be present.


Having arrived at the full maturity of our manhood as an
organization and realized even the fondest anticipations of the
projectors of the Grand Army, we now ought to look calmly into
the future and in our health and power devise ways and means
not only to add to our lease of life, but to lighten the burdens
of our later years, when, by reason of feebleness and lack of
numbers, we may not present so strong a front as today. We
have been fraternal all these years, through prosperity and
adversity, through good report and evil report, and need indulge
in no regrets for the past. "W'e have been loyal to our principles
as we were to our country and its flag. And we have been chari-
table, yes, too much so, in my judgment. I am fully aware
that the second clause in the objects of the Grand Army distiucth'
states: " To assist such former comrades in arms as need help


and protection and to extend needfnl aid to tlie widows and
orphans of those who liave fallen," and I believe to refnse to
assist any such worthy person would certainly violate the spirit
of our Order ; but 1 wish the word " deserving " could be inserted

The Grand Army of the Republic has been in existence
sixteen years ; it has outlived ridicule, contumely, attacks of
enemies and false charges, and has steadily progressed to its
present condition of prosperity and power. And all these years
thousands of dollars raised by our labor and enterprise have been
expended by our relief committees, to whom? Those who stood
shoulder to shoulder in the work of maintaining and perfecting
our organization ? By no means ; the record of all our Posts
will show that the soldiers outside our ranks have received by far
the larger portion of it.

Far be it from me to condemn the record of the past or to
take one jot or tittle from that charity that has been so universal.
But we stand strong today ; we command the respect and confi-
dence of the citizens of our State ; and while there are no doubt
satisfactory reasons existing in the minds of many ex-S( Idlers
that may prevent them from being with us, as they were of us in
the past, ye't to my mind no good reason can exist that will allow
them to see us bearing the heat and burden of the day and then
expect us to aid them when in distress. If the organization is
not good enough for them lo join, it should be too good for them
to receive assistance from. I believe the time has come when
each Post ought to set aside a small per cent of their charity fund
from which to assist outside soldiers, and devote the balance to
the cai'e and protection of " deserving" soldiers; and that word
should include only members of the Order in good standing.
The consideration of the question of charity has caused me to
give some thought and attention to the future charities of the
Order and how the veterans of the Grand Army are to receive
the care and attention that age and decrepitude call for.

The remedy is in our own hands, tait it must be applied ere
we lose our numbers and with them our power. If we can cut
off promiscuous assistance to soldiers not members of the Order
and devote our energies to creating a large relief fund, that,
properly invested, would yield a handsome income, then in the
later years of our organization or further in the future, when a
few white-haired veterans represent our Order, the result of our
labors and theirs, if they are with us today, may enable them to
live in happiness and contentment and, removed far from the
visitations of poverty, prepare themselves for the glories of the
unknown future. Some ^of our Posts have already adopted this
idea with good results, but I believe that even this method may
be improved on. The fact that a Post has a fund, whether in


the bauds of trustees or of the Post Quartermaster, is sometimes
of itself a disturbing element. Many Posts have within their
ranks a certain number of good comrades who have influence,
but who would not be good financiers and might, if permitted,
expend a fund legitimately but not carefully. This would not be
any serious disadvantage if the fund could be recreated ; but if it
was invested to secure old age against poverty, its expenditure
would be disastrous to the interests of expectant beneficiaries.
This may be averted by investing funds in real estate in growing
localities and, having purchased, make it impossible to ever sell
it again. The income will be small at first, but lease it for the
erection of buildings thereon and the ground rent, adjusted to
keep pace with added valuation, would yield an income that in
twenty years would be actually surprising. This plan might be
carried out in many of our cities and growing towns and by
entailing the property to our descendants, lay the foundation for
the comfort if not competence of our children. There is a great
need of some action on our part in creating now, in our vigor, a
revenue for the days of our decrepitude ; for, unlike other chari-
table organizations, ours has no specified system of benefits and,
if it had, we shall soon have no one to work to create the money
necessary to carry on a system of charity.

With these facts before us, it will at once be seen that the
future of the Grand Army must be a future of work and not of
idleness, and you and I, comrades must be the workers. We
must work to increase the membership, hoping to secure the aid
of every soldier worthy to join our ranks ; work to increase the
system and efficiency of our Posts and our Department ; work
to inculcate harmony in our ranks, to cement still more closely
the tie of that Fraternity that has thus far marked our career as
comrades ; work to create means of assistance for needy and
suffering comrades and their principles and apply the principle of
equal and exact justice in its distribution; work to renew in the
minds of the people of today that sentiment of loyalty that made
our republic a possibility ; work to teach our children the inesti-
mable value of liberty and the blessings of free institutions which
we, by our efforts and in the providence of God, saved from
disruption and transmitted unsullied to those who shall succeed us.

When I accepted this position from your hands, with my
heart filled with pride and gratitude for the confidence reposed in
me, and realizing the responsibility placed upon me, I said at
that time: " The example set by my predecessor will be a stimu-
lus for untiring exertion and I trust that, when at the close of'the
year I return to you the stewardship you this day have confided
to my keeping, our ranks will have gained many recruits, our
charities become more beneficent, and the banner of our Depart-
ment, unsullied as it has been in the past, shall be held higher


than ever iu the national cohimns of our Order and still in letter
and spirit symbolize those grand principles that make us better
soldiers and more loyal citizens." The work of the year is
accomplished, its record is made up, and in a few hours more my
stewardship will pass to other hands, whom you shall elect to
receive it. That the work of my hands has not been all I could
ask I do not hesitate to say ; that it has been productive of better
results than I dared even hope, I am proud to acknowledge. But
with all the personal satisfaction I feel comes the tender and
grateful remembrance of cordial and loyal support from every
comrade iu the Department, without which any effort of miue
would have been unavailing ; and I hope that when I yield up to
my successor the responsibilities of the office, I may be spared
many years of activit}' and usefulness in the ranks from which
your suffrages called me. And iu conclusion let me invoke you
to give to those comrades you shall place in official position that
same support that has made the past year of our life in the Grand
Army so successful. AVith that prayer upon my lips, I await the
further pleasure of the Encampment.


Headquarters Dept. of Mass., G.A.R.,
Boston, Jan. 29, 1883.

Department Commander and Comrades: I have the houor to
present herewith my Seventh Annual Report, covering the doings
at Department Headquarters for the year 1882.

Number of Posts, Dec. 31, 1881 137

" Comrades reported same date 10,252

" Posts, Dec. 31, 1882 ........ 148

" Comrades reported same date 12,413

A clear gain during the year of 2,161

The foregoing gain, by quarters, is shown by the quarterly
reports to be as follows, viz. : —

First quarter 606

Second quarter 760

Third quarter 394

Fourth quarter 401

The following changes have taken place in the membership
of the Department duriug the year : —


Number of comrades gained by muster .... 2,364

" " ' transfer .... 228

*" " '• reinstatement . . 1,452

Total number gained 4,044

Number of comrades lost by death 125

" " " honorable discharge . 37

" " '•' transfer . . . . 251

'' " " suspension . . . 1,437
"■ "• '• dishonorable discharge, none

" " '• disbanding of Posts . ;')3

Total loss 1,883

Excess of gains over losses 2,101

Number of rejections during the year .... 60

Online LibraryGrand army of the republic. Dept. of MassachusettsJournals of the encampment proceedings of the Department of Massachusetts G.A.R. frm 1881 to 1887 inclusive → online text (page 10 of 64)