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Address of the Department Commander.

Headquarters Department of the Potomac,
Grand Army Republic,

Washington, D. C, February 5, [906.
To the Thirty Eighth Annual Encampment.

Comrades: To the highly honorable and responsible position of De-
partment Commander I was chosen one year ago by the unanimous
vote of the encampment. I think I then fully realized the dignity and
honor of the position, but did not fully understand the labor involved.
I have at all times endeavored to do my best, but whatever of success
I have had is due to the cordial support of all my comrades.

Membership.

The members in good standing December 31, 1905, number 2,26s, a
net loss of 67 during the year. The loss by death was 103; conspicuous
among the deceased were Senior Vice-Commander Elect Estes and Judge
Advocate Scott whose virtues and services were commemorated in special
orders- Our losses accentuate the need of vigor in recruiting. Much can
be done in this regard by earnest, persistent, and tactful efforts. Every
comrade should endeavor to secure one new or transferred member.
My own success in recently getting five members, and promises from two
more men, for my own Post emboldens me to urge upon each comrade
the opportunities I believe are before him. Our numbers ought not to
diminish during the next few years. It may be that small Posts should
consolidate or disband and thus form larger and stronger Posts which
would prove more attractive recruiting stations. But the best we can
do, "passing away" is being written on the pages of history of our order;
we should not, however, beat a "retreat" nor admit defeat. Every noble
and praiseworthy sentiment calls upon us to "close up" and "get ready
for inspection."

Employment Committee.

One of t he most important and perplexing matters we deal with is the
work of this Committee. Comrade Entrikin the Chairman, has been most
earnest in his work and the members most faithful. I have myself taken
up 95 cases apart from those handled by the Senior Vice-Commander.
To these I have given much thought and labor, but success has been
meagre. What I have done is a part of the Committee's report, where
it belongs.

New appointments or even reinstatements of comrades or widows will



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be difficult to procure in the future, but department officials are kindly
disposed towards the retention of comrades.

The cordiality with which I have been received by all officers of the
Government, speaks well for the standing of the Department and has
mitigated the diasppointments I have met with. Our thanks are especially
due to Hon. Wm. Loeb, Jr., Secretary to the President ; to our comrade Hon.
J. T- McCardy, auditor for the Post Office Department; and to Messrs.
Ludlow and Lyman of the Treasury Department.

Past Department officers have always responded to all calls and Past
Commander Kimball has been especially helpful.

Relief Committee.

The work of this Committee requires a combination of patience, kindness,
firmness, tact and painstaking. In the hands of such a body of men
presided over by such a comrade as our Junior Vice-Commander, we may
have unbounded confidence in the proper conduct of its affairs.

Department Expenses.

At the last Encampment a committee was authorized to take this
subject into consideration; their findings are well worth your serious
attention. At the last meeting of the Council of Administration it was
voted to recommend that the salaries of the Asst. Adjt. General and Asst.
Q. M. General be each reduced $50.00, making the compensation $175.00
and $125.00 respectively. The salaries of these officers are now too
small, but retrenchment somewhere is a necessity, as the present income
does not meet expenses.

Amendment to Civil Service Rules.

In compliance with a resolution of the 37th Encampment (vide p. 59,
journal) the Dept. Commander, the two Vice-Commanders and the Asst.
Adj. General called on the President to secure exemption from examina-
tion for Ex. Soldiers who were recommended by their chiefs for promotion ,
to the grade of clerk-copyist

The matter was referred to the Civil Service Commission and returned
with the decision, which the President approved, that " the only safe rule is to
restrict the veteran preference, where the Statute places it, to original
entrance into the service."

Attendance at Funeral?.

At the request of the Post Commanders a petition was presented to the
President asking that per diem, men in the Government service be allowed
to attend funerals without loss of pay when officially detailed. This
privilege was secured in the Govt. Printing office, and is hoped for in



. the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It was ascertained that in
■v some of the Departments, men on annual salary were not excused,
and at my request Comrade Robt. Aiton, Judge Advocate, took up the
matter to secure uniformity if possible. After a careful and painstaking
- investigation it was found that this privilege is generally held by Depart-
ment officers to be a gratuity "without warrant of Law." The Judge
Advocate reported that to press the matter farther would imperil the
privileges we now have, and fully concurring in this opinion I was com-
pelled to drop the matter.

Stephenson Memorial Fund.

At the Denver Encampment I pledged this Department for $100 to-
wards this praiseworthy object. The Asst. Q. M. General has already
forwarded $125.00 of which that generous Comrade, Past Commander
John McElroy gave $25.00. Potomac Post No. 11 contributed an addi-
tional $15.00 making $140.00 sent from this Department this year.

Ladies Patriotic Organizations.

The Woman's Relief Corps, the special auxiliary of the G. A. R., the
Legion of Loyal Women, the Ladies of the G. A. R. and the Daughters
of Veterans are all organizations meriting our heartiest commend-
ation. They should be aided and encouraged and thus made effective
in their grand aim. I desire to especially commend the latter order.
Every comrade having daughters should do his best to induce them to
join this patriotic band of young women. "The Daughters of the
Confederacy" are very numerous and enthusiastic in our midst. The
daughters of the men who saved the nation from disintegration
and the flag from spoliation should be more so.

Sons of Veterans.

This noble organization of patriotic young men, our "Kinsmen accord-
to the flesh" and our natural successors, thoroughly imbued with the
patriotic spirit of their sires, is most worthy of our earnest and cordial
support. They are loyal to the core to us and the principles we main-
tained, and their aims are to unselfishly perpetuate the memory of their
fathers' deeds and to uphold the flag you saved by your valor. No com-
rade who has sons should fail to do all in his power to induce them to
join this order that the memory of our deeds may not perish from the
land. Steps should be taken in the near future to bring these young
men into closer touch with our Memorial Day and Relief Committees that
they may be qualified to supplement and soon take up our work.

Spanish War Veterans.
This most worthy and patriotic order, our younger "brothers in arms,"



is in hearty accord with this Department. They are entitled to our warm-
est praise for their patriotic ardor and their helpfulness on all occa-
sions when we unite our efforts.

Between these two noble bands of young patriots there should be no
unfair nor unworthy rivalries. "There is glory enough," and work
enough, "to go all around," and they should vie with each other in honor-
ing our flag and country.

Soldiers and Sailors Temporary Home.
No more beneficent institution exists among us. The Board of Mana-
gers, the Superintendent, and the Chaplain are untiring in their devotion to
its interests. The annual visitation of the Department officers was very
delightful and emphasised former causes for congratulation, but the
need of better accommodations was keenly felt. The bills now pending
before Congress for the purchase of a new home should be aided by all
the influence individual and organized we can exert. The Lecture by
Bishop McCabe in the interest of the Home was a great success.

Escort to the President, March 4, 1905.

The securing of this privilege, so highly prized by this Department, had
engaged my attention even before my installation, and Commander
Hart generously co-operated with me in my efforts.

Although some opposition was encountered, the President did not
hesitate to grant this great honor to his "Comrades" of the Civil and
Spanish Wars, and both Departments turned out in large numbers and
with our magnificent Old Guard made a fine showing. The Spanish War
men co-operated nobly with us and the occasion was one to be remembered
with gratitude and pride.

Memorial Day.

The Soldiers "Holy Day" was fittingly and beautifully observed at
all the cemeteries in our jurisdiction.

The Sunday service at the Metropolitan M. E. Church was an inspiring
occasion and Dr. Frank M. Bristol delivered a most stirring and eloquent
address to a large and enthusiastic audience. The services at the 13
cemeteries were all dignified, chaste and impressive. At Arlington,
always the center of attraction, the services at the Tomb of the Unknown
by the Department officers efficiently aided by the Ladies' Organizations,
were impressive; the Orations of Senator J. B. Foraker and Chaplain C. C.
Pierce, U. S. A., and the poem of Comrade DeWitt C. Sprague, were
replete with lofty and inspiring thoughts clothed in choice language. The
music of the Marine Band evoked great praise and the singing of Com-
rade George H. Lillibridge was, as always, a marked feature. The Span-
ish War veterans furnished our guard and in every way co-operated with
us. Too much stress cannot be placed upon a proper observance of
this day. Attention is being called to this outside our Order. Genl.



Moore commanding the Department of California in a General Order calls
for a recognition of the sacred character of the day.

Gov. Durbin of Indiana, late Col. of the 161st Ind. Vols., Spanish War,
in a proclamation called upon the people to observe the day as a solemn
and holy day, to refrain from picnics, excursions and such amuse-
ments and attend memorial services.

Our order should in every way foster this spirit.

The contributions for our memorial fund fell $41.67 short of last year
but the expenses were $57.57 less, leaving a balance of $2,759.82, $15.90
more than the balance of 1905, in the hands of the Treasurer. With
the approval of the Council of Administration I recommend that 70c. per
capita be paid to the relief funds of the Posts, $300.00 be paid to the Span-
ish War veterans and the balance of $872.22 be transferred to the De-
partment Relief Fund. The increased amount for Department relief is
based upon my own knowledge and the judgment of our highly esteemed
junior Vice-Commander Thomas H. Martin, and the increase to the
Spanish War comrades is equitable.

Too much praise cannot be given to Past Commander George H. Slaybaugh
and his efficient co-workers on the Finance Committee for their zeal and
fidelity. Past Commander Hart was especially helpful in raising $250.00
among business men. I believe others could help greatly among this class.
All the subcommittees were efficient and faithful.

On motion of Past Commander Faunce, the Memorial Committee pass-
ed the following resolution and recommended its adoption by the Encamp-
ment. Under the head of Memorial Committee, Article VII, of the By-
Laws add, "The Department Commander is empowered to appoint the
various sub-committees of the Memorial Executive Committee as soon after
his installation as he may deem expedient."

Col. Frank Hume of this city, formerly a Confederate soldier, appeared
before the committee and in a most patriotic spirit suggested that Con-
gress be memorialized to donate obsolete ordnance and make an appropria-
tion for casting a mammoth bell to be placed at Arlington to be tolled at
soldiers' funerals. Col. Hume himself offered a generous contribution in
aid of the work. The committee appointed to consider the matter
expressed their high appreciation of the patriotic spirit of Col. Hume and
approved the scheme, but feared it might interfere with other plans
more necessary at the time. No further action was taken.

The need of a new ampitheatre at Arlington is recognized by all, but
the Committee to further that object has, by its unanimous voice, decided
to allow the matter to rest this year, lest it interfere with the greater
need of the Temporary Home.

Flag Day.
The proper observance of this day gives opportunity for the inculcation
of the noble principles of patriotism and devotion to flag and country.



6

Under the direction of Past Commander Arthur Hendricks all the public
schools were provided with comrades who participated in these attractive
exercises.

Comrades should cordially co-operate in coming years.

The National Encampment.

This gathering of the representative men of our order, held in the
beautiful city of Denver during the week beginning September 4, was a
harmonious and effective meeting. Attention is called to important
legislation published in General Orders Nos. 3 and 4 from National Head-
quarters. Our Comrade Past Commander Charles C. Royce was mem-
tioned for Junior Vice-Commander-in-Chief and we were anxious to
further his candidacy but at the last he declined to be put in nomination.

The transportation Committee consisting of Comrades Freeland, Ben-
nett and Young made satisfactory arrangements for the trip and 107
comrades, ladies and gentlemen availed themselves of the low rates.

This Department had attractive Headquarters at the Savoy and our
rooms were the centre of much enjoyable but quiet hospitality. In our
parade we greatly missed the Old Guard, but though our numbers were
small we evoked much applause all along the line of march.

Official Functions.

The annual visitations to the Post have been made unusually attractive
by the large attendance of the staff and aides, and by the high character
of these gentlemen, to whom the Department Commander is greatly
indebted for their loyal support.

Two very delightful receptions were given to high officials of our Order,
viz. ; Commander-in-Chief Tanner and Past Commander-in-Chief Warner.
These functions were very acceptable to all concerned and were, as Com-
rade Tanner said, "warmly dignified." The Old Guard added much to
the occasion by their escort duty, and the expenses were met by private
contributions. The New Year's call on the President was very largely
attended and the calls upon the patriotic societies of ladies were much
enjoyed.

The visits of the Post Commanders to the various Posts is a social
and fraternal feature which should be greatly encouraged. This spirit
of comradeship should ever be on the increase.

And now the official mantle of Department Commander is about to
fall upon one more than worthy to succeed me. If I have in a small
degree approached the value and efficiency of the long line of faithful
commanders who have preceded me and thus earned your commendation,
I am content.

To all the officers of the Department and to my personal staff and
aides I can give unstinted praise for their comradelike spirit and faithful
service.



All past Department officers have been most considerate and cordial in
their support. The Post officers, and the members of the Employment and
Relief Committees have my warmest admiration. To every comrade of
this Department I tender the love and fidelity of a soldier. By all I have
been treated with more consideration and kindness than I have merited.
The principles of our order are most noble; let us strive to exemplify
them with increasing fidelity. We are nearing the sunset of life. If
we are true to the best there is for us, the prediction will be verified "At
evening time it shall be light."

"Be strong in our fraternity,

In charity and Loyalty,

Give every needy veteran cheer,

Of want relieve the widow's fear;

Keep bright the record you have made

In honor of the noble dead;

That when in future time to come,

As slow to the beat of the muffled drum

Is borne the form of the very last,

And our order is numbered with the past,

The cause of that order shall not sever

From the Nations heart of hearts forever.

And when our fatigue on Earth is o'er,

And the drums are beat on a better shore,

The ranks may be full when the line is made

To form the Eternal Dress Parade."

Yours in F. C. & L.,

A. P. TASKER,
Department Commander.



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Online LibraryGrand army of the republic. Dept. of the PotomacAddress of the department commander → online text (page 1 of 1)