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 13 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 13 of 64)
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have been cared for in the hospital ; sixty-one of the" number
were received direct from the city or town almshouse ; one hun-
dred and ten were native born ; forty-four of foreign birth ; one
hundred and thirtj'-nine served in the army, and twelve in the navy
during the war. Several of the inmates are over seventy years of
age, while the average of those who have been received is fifty-five

There are at the present time ninety-five comrades at the
Home. Twenty-three of the number are sick in the hospital and
need the constant attention of physician and nurse ; thirteen have
died and ten have been buried from the Home since its opening,
and this ma}^ seem to you, who hear me tonight, a large number,
and so it is. But when we consider that a large proportion of
these came from the poorhouse and were received with the seeds
of disease and death upon them, some of them even dying, we
cease to wonder.

Charles D. Hatch came to the Home December 29, sent by
the selectmen of Natick, from the poorhouse. He died January
1 , less than four days in the Home, but he died in the Home, and
the flag he fought to save sheltered him and he was content.

Patrick Dac}' came from the poor-farm at Raiusford's Island,
was but a short time in the Home and died January 7.

William Sanborn, from Lynn, died in great peace, exclaim-
ing that he was in heaven, and the angels were around him ; and
then placing his hand in that of the matron, said, "This is
indeed heaven and you are an angel," such was his joy to be in
such a Home with loving hands to care for him and tend him.

Bariah Williams coming from the New Bedford poorhouse,
says, " I am a man now, and not ashamed to look in the face of
my fellows ; I am in a Soldiers' Home now, and not in the poor-

Daniel Frederictou, an old sailor, aged seventy-one, with no
relatives or an}' one to care for him, came from an almshouse to
the Home, often exclaimed, " What a beautiful place I What a
home ! "

From the lips of others who have died have come expressions
of gratitude for the many comforts and blessings they had
received there. Another who has since died, said, after returning
from a visit to his friends, " I am so gl:id to return to this beauti-
ful spot; for this is truly my home." Five have been discharged
from the Home for drunkenness and disobedience of orders, so
that the trustees are determined that none but the true man and


soldier can receive slielter in the Home, nor retain it if lie be a
constant transgressor.

The method adopted by the trustees for admission to the
Home, and to guard against the imposition of the unworthy, is
this : Every applicant must be recommended by some one of the
trustees, and the application must receive the indorsement of the
board of aldermen of the city, or selectmen of the town, as well
as the officers of the Post of the Grand Army, if there be one.
The applicant then, before he is permanently received, is exam-
ined by the surgeon and the committee on permanent applica-
tions. So that the trustees and superintendent have great reason
to congratulate themselves that so few of those admitted have
proven themselves unworthy the care and attention bestowed upon
them. But in every instance where a mistake has been made
all have been ready to rectify them, and they have not been
allowed to continue. The inmates of the home are all uniformed
with the infantry pants, blouse and cap, and are provided with
everything to make them happy, even to the soldiers' greatest
luxur}', pipes and tobacco.

To every man is issued a clean towel every morning, and
he is expected to take a bath once each week. Each comrade
has a bed to himself, with springs and hair mattress to each
bed, with three good wholesome meals each day in the week.
The Home is open to visitors every day in the week except
Sundays, and the trustees would be pleased to have all who are
interested in the work it is doing visit it ; very many have
availed themselves of the privilege, so that on nearly every pleas-
ant day there are from ten to twenty visitors. Quite a number
of the Posts have spent an evening there, coming in a bod}' and
bringing with them music, vocal and instrumental, thus furnish-
ing amusement for the men, for which they are very grateful.
Among the Posts visiting have been Posts 11 and 149 of Charles-
town ; Posts 40 of Maiden, 35 of Chelsea and 5 of Lynn ; each
bringing something with them to cheer and comfort the men.

The Ladies' Aid Society have been of great benefit to the
Home. At the time of its opening they bought all the white
quilts for the beds, made the sheets, pillow-cases, and towels,
besides furnishing forty large quilts, providing the money for a
temporary stage and scenery, and completing a bookcase for the
books and reading matter that have been donated to the Home.

They hold their monthly meetings at the Home and have a
committee who visit the home weekly, arrange for the Sunday
service, and provide very many articles of luxury and comfort to
the comrades in the hospital. Keligious services have been held
at least once every Sabbath since the opening of the Home.

Of the physical condition of the men, but few of them are
able to perform manual labor; indeed, at times since winter


began, it has been difficult to find those who could attend to the
necessary labor around the premises.

Thirty-two of those who are at the Home to-day, quite one
third, are suffering from paralysis in some form, so that the idea
held by some when the institution was first opened, that the
inmates might after they became well established produce some-
thing by their labor, has proven a delusive one, and experience
has thus far taught that as the Home continues, the men admitted
will be less able to care for themselves and more in need of the
assistance of others.

The location of the Home aud the fact of its being built for
a summer lesidence or hotel were by some thought at the time of
its purchase to be an unfortunate situation for winter quarters.
How often the observation was made that those who were obliged
to occupy the Home in winter would certainly suffer from cold !
The experience has been that with burning considerably less than
one ton of coal per day, aud with an average of about eight
pounds of steam, and at times barely enough pressure to force
the steam through the pipes, the difficulty, if any, has been to
keep it cool enough, even though the mercury on the outside was
near the point of zero, and this with the use of but two boilers
and the third one standing idle. The expense of running the
Home, including salaries aud all necessarj' expenses, as well as
clothing the men, amounts to $3.30 per man per week, — or
$176.60 per year, — comparing, as we think, exceedingly favor-
ably with other institutions of the State. Some donations are still
coming in from friends of the Home, for which the trustees are very
grateful and return to them their sincere thanks. The market-men
in Faneuil Hall Market sent the inmates a grand Thanksgiving din-
ner, which made their hearts glad for that day and others which
followed ; again the trustees are in receipt of a check through
Post 30 of Cambridge, from J Warren Merrill, Esq., of that
city, for -f 1000, all of which are received with many thanks from
the comrades of the Home and the Board of Trustees. Thus I
have given you a brief statement of facts in regard to the Home
and its managemeut, and in my opinion no mistake was made by
the trustees in the selection of a superintendent and matron.
They are the right parties in the right place. So that the Home
is now in good working condition, while the trustees have still on
hand, after paying all expenses to date, the sum of 1240.00.
But this will not always last, and it behooves the friends of the
Home to look around and ask the question. From what source
shall come our future supplies?

In regard to this, Commander and comrades, I have faith ;
faith in the justness of our cause ; faith to believe in a Christian
public, that these men shall never be returned to a pauper's home ;
faith in the business men of our beloved State ; faith in you, —


you men and comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic; —
faith in the legislature of our good old Commonwealth that the
men who saved the nation in its emergency shall be sheltered in
this Home and cared for, — this "beautiful home," prepared bv
the ladies and gentlemen of the State and Grand Army of the
Republic, — so that these beloved comrades of ours, many of
them maimed and disfigured for life, shall as they pass away, one
after another, never to return to us, shower blessings of peace
and good will upon every cheerful giver. And when their poor
mutilated bodies shall be carried from the Home wrapped in the
flag of our country, and each be laid away by tender hands beside
his fellows, then shall we, his comrades who are left behind, sing
together the anthem of peace to Him who hath redeemed us ; to
Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, and the whole
angelic hosts shall take up the refrain amid their loud hosannas,
and point to earth and say, These men saved the nation ! This
is the nation's gratitude !

Yours in Fraternit}'^, Charity and Loyalty,




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

Geo. H. Patch, Department Commander.

Comrade : I have the honor to submit the following as the
Report of the Medical Director of this Department for the past
j'ear. I may be pardoned, I believe, for availing myself of the
earliest opportunity these opening lines afford to return my most
sincere and grateful thanks for the exceptionally kind and con-
siderate manner in which the distinguished honor which this
Encampment two years ago conferred upon me was again given
me a year since, when severe illness prevented my presence.

The assurances of fraternal regard and sympathy then so
delightfully expressed have been, and I trust will ever be, incen-
tives to increased fidelity and love.

Due regard to military proprieties and my own deep sense
of obligation compel me to acknowledge here also that most
generous advocacy of the delegates of this Department in the
last National Encampment, the result of which places me in an
anomalous position, that of appearing as the Medical Director of
this Department, while honored with the ollice of Surgeon-Gen-
eral. The resignation of the former oflice, promptly forwarded,


having at the hands of yourself and the Council been dealt with
in that same generous kindness so long and so freely shown me,
nothing has remained for me but to continue to occupy in name,
at least, the position of Chief Medical Officer of this Department.

The abolition of Form "F" by the National Encampment
has reduced the routine duties of the medical staff to the mini-
mum, and were it not that the Surgeons of Posts and the Medical
Director found a range of fraternal opportunity outside the line
now prescribed by regulations, their offices might be discon-
tinued except as it may be desirable to meet military form.

I can but count it matter for great regret that something of
the business-like zeal of these later days in the Grand Army had
not fallen upon its earlier years, and that that care for full rec-
ords and complete returns which now marks us had not been
maintained, especially in the Medical Department. It is not too
much to say to assert that had the present exactness of the Adju-
tant-General's office been observed in the medical records of
Posts and Departments from the early days of organization, they
would have become and would today be simply invaluable.

The opportunity is past, and can only serve now as a mentor
to those of us who may live to see another war, and growing out
of it the same experiences that have arisen from this, to impress
upon those who, coming after us, shall have its conduct, the
necessity of preserving with minute care every record of the
soldier's life. I have, however, to express the hope that it may
be thought worth while to call the attention of Post Commanders
and Adiutants and Surgeons to the opportunity that still exists
to save very much that may yet be of value by the most complete
bringing up possible of their records and the authenticated his-
tory of comrades for future reference. It has occurred to me that
whenever the descriptive list of a comrade is filled out in a Post
it might be of great value for the comrade to present all his
official military papers, proving the record the list becomes, and
that in such case it would be of lasting value if the Adjutant
against each such record should certify, on oath, that he had
made this record from original official papers seen by him.

It is a most distinguished mark of honor and of the confi-
dence reposed in the Grand Army that its records and the testi-
mony of its officers are recorded as evidence in the adjudication
of pension and similar claims as are no other, but it goes without
saying that the more full and accurate its records, the sounder
and surer will the exercise of that confidence be.

I have intimated that the Post Surgeons and Medical Director
are not without occupation, although their prescribed duties have
been somewhat lessened. The large-hearted, active Surgeon of a
Post, especially if he be — as I believe, when at all possible, he
always should be — a physician, is, nine cases in ten, the com-


rade to whose ears comes first the kuowledge of want or woe. I
am satisfied that it would be well if the Post Surgeon were always
a member of the Relief Committee.

To him, even before the spiritual adviser, are the suffering
and distress among comrades confided ; and it is, I believe, a
rule that those delicate confidences that are intrusted to no other
are made his perhaps because of the facts that it is seen that to
his eye much is apparent otherwise hidden, and that from his
advice relief must often come. It thus happens that in that
work of charity, which is so great and so fundamental a part of
our Order, the Surgeon becomes, by the logic of events, a prime
factor, an invaluable aid, and it is to him that, in matters of
State and military aid, of pensions, and of the matters of burial,
comrades and their families naturally so often turn.

I believe I should be borne out by the solid testimon}^ of
Post Surgeons and Medical Directors in all the Departments in
the assertion that in the work attendant on the settlement of
pensions they have numerous and multiform calls for their best
endeavors in aid of the pension cases of comrades or their
widows and orphans, and from their usual relations of more or
less influence with those in authorit}^, they are, I believe, able to
render material assistance. My own experience leads me to infer
that the medical staff of the Grand Army has thus been able
to do, and is today doing, a work for the deserving soldier not
easily equalled otherwise, and of equal value with the more defi-
nite duty assigned it by rules and regulations. No officers are
less likely to be deceived, and hence none are more valuable in
doing that proper work of guarding the government against fraud
and wrong-doing. The Grand Army owes it to itself to aid the
government in preventing all impositions upon it in its endeavor
to do justice and meet its obligations to its defenders. I am
clearly of the opinion that the government has made no mistake
in what seems its large provisions for disabled soldiers and

That they have started the wheels of industry, distributed
means to men needing only this help to help themselves, and
brought comfort to the widow and orphan, and calmed the dying
hours of many a stricken veteran, every village and hamlet can
testify. With a surplus revenue of one hundred and fifty million
dollars a year, with its paper certificates at par with gold, with
its revenues rolling higher and higher all over the land, from the
fast developing resources of a country first saved, and then made
great by the earnest purpose, fidelity and thrift of its citizen
soldiers, I do not fear that the liberality of the government has
done or will do harm. The Commissioner of Pensions rightfully
expects the Grand Army to aid him, both in rightfully establish-
ing the claims of those the country has provided for, and in


preventing the designs of those who have no desert. The action
of the National Encampment in aid of the speedy and equitable
adjudication of pensiuns has already borne abundant fruit. That
this Department has been able, by its double representation upon
the committee in charge thereof, to add something to the result,
I believe is a matter of congratulation. With the hope that the
largest Fraternity, Charity and Loyalt}^ may continue for the
future, as for the past, to mark the history of this Department,
with the most sincere concern for the well-being of all its com-
rades, and with the greatest esteem for yourself, and my cordial
acknowledgment of your many acts of kindness to me through-
out our entire official and personal intercourse, I am
Faithfully yours in F., C. and L.,

Medical Director.


Headquarters Dept. of Mass., G.A.R. ,
Boston, Jan. 21), 1883.
Comrades: The Council of Administration, in submitting their
report to the Convention, find but little to add to the very inter-
esting address of the Commander and the concise reports of the
several Department officers. They will, however, report that
they have, during the year, held four meetings, and attended to
all the duties assigned them. They have, with the assistance of
the pei'sonal Staff of the Commander, twice visited the Posts
of the Department, and, as far as possible, become acquainted
with the conditions of the Order in the different sections of the
Department ; and it is certainly pleasing to all to find that there
is much enthusiasm and a strong determination among all the
comrades to promote the welfare of our organization.

During the year there have been 10 new Posts organized,
and its membership increased hy an addition of 2,161 comrades,
making a total of 12,413 members.

In addition to our other duties, the Council have audited the
accounts of the Assistant Adjutant-General and the Assistant
Quartermaster-General, and report that the books are correctly
and systematically kept, and the Department, financiall}'^, is in a
healthy condition.

At the last report there was a cash balance on hand of
S33.17. There has been received during the year, from all
sources, $6,078.94; and there has been expended, as per vouch-
ers, *5,813.86; leaving a balance, Dec. 31, 1882, of 8298.25.

The Council have no recommendations to suggest, but feel it
their duty to tender to you, Commander, and the members of



3'oiii' orticial and personal Staff, our grateful acknowledgments for
the uniform courtesy manifested towards us during the year just

All of which we most respectfully submit.


Council of Administration.

The reports of all the Department officers having been pre-
sented, it was voted, on motion of Comrade F. H. Buff urn of
Post 139, that the reports be accepted and placed on file, and
that the recommendations in the address of the Department Com-
mander, and the reports of the several officers and the Council of
Administration be referred to a special committee of five, to be
appointed by the Commander ; and the following committee was
appointed, viz. : —

F. H. Buffum of Post 130, Geo. W. Powers of Post 15,
A. C. Belcher of Post 32, J. Frank Dalton of Post 34, C. H.
Tracy of Post 103.

Comrade Meehau of Post 7 moved that a committee of
eleven be appointed to report a list for Council of Administration.
[Carried ]

Comrade John S. Beck of Post 6G moved a reconsideration
of the above vote. After some discussion, the motion was carried
by the following vote: Yeas 145, Nays 104.

Medical Director Azel Ames, Jr., then moved that a com-
mittee of eleven be appointed by the Commander to report a list
of Delegates and Alternates to National Encampment, and a com-
mittee of five to report a list to serve on Council of Administra-
tion. The motion was adopted, and the Commander appointed
the following committees : —


Azel Ames, Jr.
Geo. S. Merrill
John L. Parker
.James O. Smith
Frank McGraw
B. S. Lovell .

. . Post 12

James Cuthbert .

. Post 19


S. M. Weale . .

" 23


G. T. Fisher . .



0. H. Ingalls

" 60


Wm. H. Wade .

. " 133




Dennis Meeban . . Post 7 S. A. Cusbing, Jr. . Post 68
Joseph Gregory . . " 82 J.B.Lamb ... "10
Horace J. Gray . . " 30

Comrade J. G. B. Adams moved that Commander Lineban
of Post 15 be granted leave to present resolutions, whicb were
read by the Assistant Adjutant-General, and tbat they be referred
to the Committee on Resolutions, when the same shall have been

Comrade Chas. B. Fox of Post 68 moved that when we
adjourn it be to meet at Tremont Temple at 9 o'clock, Tuesday,
January 30.

Commander-in-Chief Paul Van Dervoort of Omaha, Neb.,
being introduced, made an eloquent address. Remarks were also
made by Junior Vice-Commander-in-Chief I. S. Bangs, Water-
ville, Maine; Adjutant-General Frank E. Brown, Omaha, Neb. ;
and Comrade Williams, Past Judge Advocate, Department of
Ohio. The Commander appointed the following Committee on
Resolutions : —

Dennis Linehan of Post 15 ; J. G. B. Adams of Post 5 ; H.
T. Holmes of Post 35 ; Philip Creasey of Post 49 ; E. P. Morton
of Post 61.

No other business being presented, the Encampment adjourned
at 10.55 P.M. until 9 o'clock, January 30.

Tremont Temple, 9 a.m., Boston, Jan. 30, 1883.

The hour to which the Encampment adjourned having arrived.
Commander Patch called to order, and after prayer by Depart-
ment Chaplain Lee the Encampment was declared open for busi-
ness, and the roll was called for

communications from posts.
Comrade John S. Beck of Post 66 offered a resolution.
[Referred to Committee on Resolutions.]




The Assistant Adjutant-Genei-al reported for the Committee
on Credentials as follows : —

Number of comrades entitled to seats in this Encampment 437

Number of comrades present 383

Divided as follows : —

Department officers 15

Past Department officers 5

Post Commanders 130

Delegates 233



Comrade Chas. B. Fox of Post 68 moved that an informal
ballot for Department Commander be taken at 10 o'clock and a
formal ballot at 11 o'clock. Comrade J. H. Quinn of Post 42
moved to amend as follows : The informal ballot to take effect at
once and the formal ballot at 10.30. [Carried.]

Assistant Quartermaster-General Geo. L. Goodale of Post
66 moved that a committee of five be appointed to receive, sort
and count votes for Department Commander. The following
committee was appointed : —

Geo. L. Goodale of Post 66 ; C. O. Fellows of Post 35 ; J.
H. Quinn of Post 42 ; C. B. Fox of Post 68 ; W. C. Pomeroy of
Post 86.

Proceeded to ballot.

Whole number of votes cast
Necessary for a choice . . . .
Henry M. Phillips, Post 16, had
Wm. H. Hart, " 35, "
George S. Evans, " 30, "
Wm. M. Olin, " 26, "
Geo. L. Goodale, " 66, "









Comrade A. N. Sampson of Post 113 moved that the vote
on time for formal ballot be extended. Commander Chas. F.
King of Post 139 moved the ballot be taken in fifteen minutes.


J. Frank Daltou moved to substitute for the above to take formal
ballot at once. [Carried.]

Nominations being in order, Comrade J. W. Hersey of Post
16 presented the name of Henry M. Phillips of Post 16, Spring-
field ; Comrade F. H. Buffum of Post 139 presented the name of
Senior Vice-Commander Wm. H. Hart of Post 35, Chelsea ; Com-
rade E. G. W. Cartwright of Post 47, Haverhill, nominated
Comrade Geo. S. Evans of Post 30, Cambridge, seconded b}'
Comrade Thos. H. Hill of Post 33, Woburn.

On motion of Comrade Dennis Meehan of Post 7, Boston, it
was voted that the Assistant Adjutant-General call the roll, and

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 13 of 64)