Joseph Ripley Chandler Ward.

History of George G. Meade post no. one, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand army of the republic online

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Online LibraryJoseph Ripley Chandler WardHistory of George G. Meade post no. one, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand army of the republic → online text (page 1 of 24)
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George G. Meade Post No. One

Department of Pennsylvania Grand Army of the Republic.

By Past Post Commanpkr


Author of " History of the lo6th Reg'l Penna. Volunteers


Two Hundred Copies Privately Printed.


It gives me great pleasure to write
a few words of introduction to this
history of Gen. Geo. G. Meade Post,
No. One, of Philadelphia, a Post that
ma\- properly claim possession of the
oldest Post charter in this State, and
which occupies an enviable position as
one of the most inllucntial in the Grand
Army of the Republic.

It is well that Comrade Ward has
thus compiled the story of the strug-
gle, continued through so many years,
to maintain the existence of the Post_
as to him more than any other indi-
divual is due the fact that Post (3ne
can now be given a history of twent\-.
one years, and he, and others, ma)- well
be proud of the successful results of
their hard and persistent work.

The same record will apply, prob-
ably, in a different degree to all of the
Posts first instituted ; and in this period
of our great success as an organization,
we may well wonder why it required
such strenuous efforts to preserve the
very life of the organization.

Posts numbering hundretls, with
thousands of members on their rolls.

then disappeared frum our ranks; but
a few comrades here and elsewhere
maintained their faith, and to-day we
can all share in the glory of a frater-
nal association of over four huntlred
thousand defenders of the Republic.

Of the grand work of the fraternity,
in cementing the ties of our comrade-
ship, I may not here speak, but it is
well for the comrades to know as one
result of our association, that from
July 1st, 1 87 1, (the first available re-
cord) to July I.St, 1 889, the Grand
Army of the Republic expended for
relief and charit\- Si.935-935-54- This
enormous sum represents only the
amounts reported as spent by Posts.
It does not include the immense sums,
in the aggregate, expended by individ-
ual members for the same purposes.

No one can conceive the amount of
good thus done for the wards of the
Nation. Post One has done its full
share of this good work. That it may
long continue on its grand career of
usefulness is the earnest prayer of
Past Commander in Chief

OOME years ago the writer, having in view the preparation of this work, asked of
@) Past Commander McMichael that he would give the circumstances that led him
to organize the Post, and shortly afterward received the following :

Dec. loth, 1875.
Mv Dear Ward— I take great pleasure
in submitting, in answer to your request,
a brief sketch of the incidents which led
me to the organization of Post No. i.
Having prepared the matter with great
haste, you will, I trust, accept my apolo-
gies for its crudeness and for the necessity
which has put it into a shape which makes
my own share of the early history of the
Post too prominent a feature of this con-
tribution to its history.

It was early in the summer of 1S66
that in my correspondence with one of my
Western friends, with whom I had passed
much of my time during the latter part
of the war, that reference was made to an
organization, then in its infancy, which
was intended to cement the ties by which
all men who had campaigned in a com-
mon cause were bound together. 1 had
already seen some public reference to the
Grand Army of the Republic, and my
curiosity being whetted by the interest
displayed in the letters, to which I have
referred, I made an effort to acquaint my-
self with the objects and workings of the

Among my correspondents at that time
were Major John M. Snyder and Dr. B.
F. Stephenson, both of Illinois and both
conspicuous in the early history of the
organization. In August, having failed

to reach further into the mystery which
began to invest the growing Order with
a public importance than could be con-
veyed by letter, I chanced to mention the
subject in the presence of General John
H. Hammond, a distinguished Kentuc-
kian, who had served in the Army of
the Union with a credit to himself
reached by only a few. I found that he
was entrusted with one of the plenipo-
tenliary commissions which did so much
to increase the Order, but unfortunately,
at the same time, so much to sow the
seed of future questions of priority in the
ranks of the Grand Army. By him I
was initiated and provided with a number
of copies of the printed ritual and a writ-
ten authority to recruit and organize.
The matter was by me brought to the at-
tention of several who were entitled to
admission, but from the irregularity of the
proceeding we hesitated to take any pub-
lic steps. Shortly following this came
the Grand Convention of Soldiers at
Pittsburg, on September 24th, 1866.
Here, in renewing my friendships with
some of my old comrades from the West,
I was brought into direct contact with the
central organization of the Grand Army.
My friend, John M. Snyder, was at that
time its Adjutant-General, and by his re-
quest I attended a meeting of members
of the Society then present at Pittsburg.

At this meeting it was intended to have
present all known comrades of the Order
who were in the city ; and while there
must in all likelihood have been other
Pennsylvanians in the organization at
that time, I cannot now recall any who
were present. The meeting was informal,
but it resulted in a better system than had
theretofore prevailed. Upon my return
to Philadelphia, being then under the im-
pression that there was no organization
of the Grand Army extant in the State, I
reconvened the few persons who had pre-
viously been brought by me to a knowl-
edge of its workings, and after consulta-
tion it was decided that it would be bet-
ter to give the movement the proper im-
pulse by inviting the co-operation of gen-
tlemen representing different grades of
the service ; and accordingly a meeting
was held at the Wetherill House, on San-
som above 6th street, on the i6th of Oc-
tober, 1866, and Post No. i, previously
existing in an inchoate state, was duly
organized under the special authority
granted me, and the orders conveyed to
me by the then Commander-in-Chief.
This I feel quite convinced was the ear-
liest Post organization in the State of
Pennsylvania, and its priority was recog-
nized, without serious contest, at the Na-
tional Encampment of the Grand Army,
held in Indianapolis on November 2 2d,
1866. At that Convention, Comrade
Roswell G. Feltus and myself were the
representatives of Post No. i, and with a
single exception, I think, of the State of

The question of priority of numerical
rank of the Posts in this State it was felt
should be settled by the highest author-
ity ; and on November 8th I wrote to
headquarters asking what system or rule
would b2 adopted in the formation of
Posts and Departments. The letter from
the .\djulant-General of the Grand Army,
bearing date November 13, 1866, you
will find sets at rest any question that
might arise as to priority of authority. It
was the first official intimation I had that
there was any authority in the State con-
flicting with that which had been con-
ferred upon me.

At the Convention at Indianapolis, the
representative of what is now known as
Post No 2 claimed the first rank. The
dispute was entirely an amicable one, and
was decided without hesitation in favor
of the Post of which at that time I had
the honor to be Commander. With the
subsequent history of the Post the regu-
larly recorded minutes will of course
make you familiar. And while there
have been times when it has failed to oc-
cupy a prominent part in the public his-
tory of the Order, I am glad to believe
that in private benefactions and in the
liberal contributions to any fund for pur-
poses common to all, its membership has
always been ready and generous.

With great respect and fraternal regard,

Clayton McMkhaei..


In compilinsjj in ;i permanent form the narrative of the orfranizalion and
t\vcnt_\ - one years of the history of George G. Meade Post, No. i, Department of
Penns\lvania, G. A. R., it was the original purpose to include only the address
delivered b}- me before tlie Post on its twentieth anniversar\-, and such correc-
tions antl additions as were absolutely necessary to an intelligent understanding
of the record of the Post.

The desire to make the volume more attractive has greatly enlarged its
scope, and it has also unavoitlably delayed the completion of the work much
bevond the period in which it was expected that it would be finished. This post-
ponement has resulted in theprnduction of a history of the Post that will certainly
be more satisfactory- than that which was contemplated ; and in concluding my
labor I look with entire confidence for heart)- approval of my earnest and consci-
entious effort to present in substantial form an accurate and enduring memorial.

The difficulties and discouragements which have hindered and retarded the
progress of the work have been many in numlierand \aried in character. Indeed,
could it have been foreseen in the beginning that the task would so far outmcas-
ure the bounds within which it was presumed it could be confined, it is doubtful
if it would not have seemed too great to undertake. Both in time and in money
the outlay has been much be_\-ond that which was counted upon beforehand; but
the determination to go on and to do the best possblc with the material available
has never faltered.

For the frequent and consjjicuous mention of m\- own part in making tins
history i>ossible : in preserving the cohesion of the Post and in preventing its

tlisru[)tion at a tiiiif when tlicrc was a temporary ccssaticn of interest in tlie orfjan-
ization, I ask the indiili^ence of all who read this book. With evcrj- desire to
avoid undue personal prominence it would have been impossible to honesth'
(iesci-ibe the condition and action of the Post durincj that critical period without
showing to what extent is due to individual and almost unassisted endca\-or the
fact that Post X(i. One is able to-day to claim its recognized precedence, and tlie
foremost ])lace it holds in the noble organization of which it is so honored a part.
There could be no true modesty in omitting so essential a portion of this interesting
record ; and I feel certain that liad this compilation been made b)- another, there
could scarcely have been, and probably would have been uK^re, reference to
my personal share in the liistor)' of the Post.

There is much in the record and e.\[ierience of Post No. ( )nc, in the years
that have elapsed since the period co\-ered by this volume, of remarkable interest
and of historical value. It would, indeed, have been a pleasant labor to include
in my work all that has occurred up to the hour of publication. Rut that would
in\olve greater delays ; and while I have been temiited to unilergo the labor and
the expense of such an extending of alread}' comprehensiw pages, I feel that it
would be better to leave that task to the future ; and to acipiit myself as promptly
as possible of my obligations to those who ha\e waited with generous jiaticnce
for this book.

I am under many obligations to Past-Commander Clayton McMichacl, the
late Adjutant D.u id P. Weaver and Sergeant-Major Ellis Stokes for their courteous

and \aluablc assistance.

Jos. R. C. \V.\KL),
Past-Comm.mder George G. Meade Post No. I.

I'hila(kl|ilii:i, y.i-. .•\iij;ii'-l. 1.S90.

Geopge G. ^eade po§t I^o.

t^^OST No. I was orijanizcd in Philadelphia Ijy Clayton McMichael.
i who was mustered into the Grand Ann)- of the Repuhlir, August

1 8, iS66, and had Post i mustered in on October i6, iS66, with
the following charter-members: —





The first meeting was held on October 17, 1866, at the old \\'(!th-
erill House, formerly on .Sansom .Street, above .Sixth. John M. Mc(irath
was chosen Chairman, and Campbell Tucker Secretary. An election of
officers resulted in the selection of Clayton McMichael as Commander,
Campbell Tucker as .Adjutant, P'd. E. Chase as Ouartermaster, and
J. ^L McGrath. M. P)., as Surgeon.

On Nov'cmber ist the By-Laws were |)resented and ado|)ted.

After five meetings the ])lace of meeting was changed to the 1 lome
Labor League Rooms, No. i 14 South Phinl Street, and there, on De-
cember 7th, the first muster of recruits took place, and included



Mustered Firsl l.icutenaiU V. S. Conlingeiil Forces, Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 1861.

Appointeil Second Lieutenant Ninth Keg't U. S. Infantry August 5, 1861.

Resigned Septemlier 27, 1865. Captain and lirevet Major U. S. Army.

Wounded, arm, at Kelly's Ford, Va., September, 1863; head, at Petersburg, Va., August, 1864.

Mustered into Grand Army of Republic August 18, 1866.

Elected Tost Conunander October 17, 1S66 ; re-elected January 4, 1867 ; again elected September 30, 1S69.

Elected Senior \'ice department Commander lanuary 17, 1S67.

Mycr Asch, Alfred Wvin. Charles T.irclirl. K. H. llnnson. \V,n, Iv l',.lU-r. Jr.. \Vm. H. Hm-rison,
J. T. I'is:s;otl, Ji- , \V. K. A. I'.ird, S. k. Collnday.

At the same time


was elected a member.

Aliout that time the followini;- order was received from the Com-
mander-in-Chief: —

llKAii I Kautkun Cranii .\kM\ i ih ini-. kEpi'iii.yr. L'. S.

Si-KiNci-iKi.ii. Novemlier 22, lS66.
Spcrinl (rtrOer 31o. I.

Brevet Urigadier-Geiieral Louis Wagner, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is horcliy appointed temporary

commander of the Provisional Department of Pennsylvania, Orand .\nny of the Republic, for the purpose

of organizing Districts and Posts in said Department.

(ien. Wagner will make all reports promptly to the (leneral 1 lead Ijuarti'rs at Springlield. Illinois.

I!y order of

M.nj.-Oen. S. .\. llrKl.IsrT, Commanding Grand Army of Ih- Republii.

B. F. Stf.I'UF.Nson, Adjiilanl CiHt-ral.

General Orders No. 3 from Head-Quarters Department of Penn-
sylvania, dated December 20. 1866, convened the first Department
Encampment in Philadelphia on [aniiary 17, 1867, at which General
Watjner was elected Department Commander, antl Colonel Clayton
McMichael, of this Post, Senior Vice-Department Commander, — or,
as the\- were then desiofnated, — Grand and .Senior Wcv-Grajid Com-
manders, and so announced in CJeneral Orders No. 4.

On January 4, 1867, Comrade McMichael was re-electeil Com-
mander, Comrade Tucker Adjutant, and Comrade Myer Asch Quar-
termaster. .After nine more meetino-s the Post moveil to the northeast
corner of P)road ami Arch .Streets on P'ebruary 1st, and the followinjr
circular was issneil : —

Ill All (^liARfKRs Post No i. l'mi,\iii:i,i'iii a, Jainiary 27. 1S67.
Comrnde :

l!y direction of Post Commander McMichael the assemblies of the Encampment will luTuafler be held

in the l.iiilding on the northeast corner of liroad and Arch Streets until further orders.

Very resjiectfully,

C'AMfliKi.i. TriKKU, Post Adjiilant.

On Marcli i ith the tdllnwin^ circular was sent to each comrade:

(;k\NI> AkMV III- Tlir, Kf.I'I , 1 »KI'ARrMF.NT (IK Pf.nnsvi.vania.

DisTRKT Minnij: I'hii.ahki.i'Hia.

11i:aii(^) Post No. i, N. K. C'ok. Tf.nth .\ni) CiiKstMr Srs.,

]'iiif.\FiFI.I'H1a. March I Ith, 1S67.
Comrades :

The Council of .Administration, having made as thorough examinalion of the various localities offered
for peniiancnt quarters for the Post as could he done in the time allowed for their labor, have determined
upon the selection of the third story front room of the building at the northeast corner <^if Tenth and
Chestnut Streets.

Their action having been approved by the Post, the room has been secured, and ihe work of ]>reiiaring
it for the reception of the Encampment has been commenced.

The next muster of the Post will be held on Friday, March 15th, at half-past seven o'clock, 1'. M., at
the said room, and it is very desirable that you should be present to pai-tieipate in the arrangements for the
more complete furnishing thereof.

In order that the work may tie accomplished as speedily as possible, it is tru.sted by the Council
of Administration that each comrade may be disposed to the full of his ability to extend his personal
aid, by contribution or loan of either money or such articles as may be a]ipropriately used in furnishing and
ornamenting the Banacks.

No conuade should alisent himself from this muster except from the most urgent and unavoidable cause.

Ci.AVToN Ml Michael, Post Commander.

CUnirintitt Ccimci/ AdtninisiratioTi .

Therefore on March 15th the Post took possession of its own Bar-
racks at the northeast corner of Tenth and Chestnut Streets, hantlsomely
furnished and fittetl up by the Post, the members contributin;^- to shares
of stock of a loan created for that purpose. The membershi[) was now
increased b\- the atklition of nineteen, as toUows : —



Entered the service as First Lieutenant Co. G, I40tli Reg't Penna. Vols., August 22, 1862.

muster out as Major and judge- Advocate U. .S. V., and Brevet Brigadier General U. S. V., July 2, lS66.

Wounded, lic^d, at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863 ; rigl)J tlngh, at Spotsylvania, May 12, 1S64;

right leg, at Farmvllle, Va., April 7, 1865.

Mustered into Post No. i, December 17, 1866.

Elected Post Coinninnder July 5. 1.S67.

Elected Commander Lower Philadelphia L)i-.|rict, February 8, 1S67.

Ilrnry H. Ringhani. T. D. Julins. W. 11. l.oyd, J. M. Butler. (K-orfjc R. Wwd, Josiah C. Reiff, Francis
Wistar, ]n-. ( ;. Rosensarteii, R. IS. ClaxKin, Jr.. R. \V. 1>. .Allen, S. 1". Ilutcliinson, Richard Ellis, Samuel X
Lewis, .v. H. t;arner, E. 11. Rinijold. W. R. \Vri<;ht. S. Wetlierill, C. E. Sclieide, C. I,. I.eiper.

Cieneral Order No. 5 from Department Head-Quarters divided the
.State into districts, each County being a district to be known b\- the
name of the Count)-. I'hiladelphia was divich'd into three cHstricts. Lower,
Middle, and Upper; and General Order Xo. 6, dated I-'ebruary 8. 1867,
announced the election of Comrade Henr)- 11. Bincrham, of this Post, to
the command of the Lower District, bein^- all that pan of the city south
of \'ine -Street, and the Twenty-seventh Ward of West Philadelphia.

Governor John W. Geary was subsecpiently mustered into Post
58 at Darrisbur<4-. and became Commander of the Dauphin District.

On jul\- 1. 1867. Commander Bingham issued an order convening
the semi-annual convention of the Lower Philadelphia 1 )istrict for Wed-
nesday, July 17th, at Xo. 305 Chestnut .Street, at which time Comrade;
.S. B. Wylie Mitchell, of Post 2, w-as elected Comrade Bingham's suc-
cessor as Commander of that district.

On fuly 5. 1867, Comrade Henry H. P)ingham was elected Post
Commander; .S. B. Colladay, .Adjutant, and Myer Asch, (_)uartermaster.
On .September 20th Comrade Collada\- resigned, and V.. R. I^xnven
was elected to fill the vacancy. Owing to alterations in the Iniikling
at Tenth and Chestnut .Streets, the Post was compelled to move on
October 1st, and located at 1316 Chestnut .Street, third story, which
was also furnished and fitteil u]) by the Post. It was here tlial the
writer became a member ; and the secrec\' thrown arounel the notifica-
tion of election ami muster-in made it appear very mysterious, as the
followinsi- note and answer attest: —


HEMiQrAUTEKs Post \(i. i, I.ciwi.k District hf Pjiii.adi'.i.I'Hia,


Mi; J. R. ('. Warh, 409 Walnut Strict :

Dc-iir S/'r, — I have the honor to inform you that you liave heen elected a coniriule of tlie " Cirand

Army of tlie Republic," and a member of this I'ost; and to request that you will jiresent yourself at the

Barracks, 1316 Chestnut Street, third story, on Friday evening, at eight o'clock, for enlistment and initiation,

and also that you will acknowledge the receipt of this communication,

1 am, very respectfully, etc.

K. R. RowKN, Pm/ Ai/iutiinl.

PiruAiiFii'iMA. December 4, 1867,

To which the follciwinor repK' was sent : —

K. R. llowFN, Esij.. Post Aajulanl, G. A. A'., ('. S. :

Dear Siy, — Vours marked confidential and informing me of my election as a comrade in the ( Irand
Army of the Republic, and of Post No. I, was received this morning. I fully ajipreciate the lionctr
conferred, knowing the number of noble patriots that compose the same. I regret very much that circuni
stances over which I have no control will prevent me presenting myself for initiation and enlistment on
Friday evening next. Be kind enough to advise me of the next earliest opportunity that I can attend.

Trusting that the object of such an institution may ever prove successful, and intending to do all in my
power to j>romote the same, I have the honor to be, sir,
X'ery respectfully, your obedient servant,

Jos. R. C. Warm, ^0() Walnut Sircel.

I316 CllESTNIT StRFF.T, Post No I, C. A. R., janu.ary I, 1.S6S.

Mr. Jos. R. C. Ward:

Dear Sir, — \'ou are reiiuested to present yourself at these Head-(Juarters on I'riday evening, the Jrd

inst., for enlistment and muster-in.

\'ery res])ectfidly,

K. R. lioWEN, Post Ailjiitaiit.

At which time Comrade Ward was mustered.

The membership was increased twenty by the admission ot the
followin<'- : —

C. E. Iliiichiiimi, A. ('roiiu'licn, F. Tioilomann, E. roningtnn, Jr. ; HcniT A. \'o/in. E. nincluiirfi-, A.
Lehman, A. Kv\!cv. Jules Scliwaiv. Archer Maris, \Vm. Arthur, Horace I'.vans, Tlins. E. 1',. Tapper, ('has.
Ross .Sniilh, ('has. M. I'revo,!, James T. i!iiii;ham, H. Earnest ( loo.lmau, .M. I)., Ceo. \V. Kelly, Jos. R
C. Ward, (has 1!. Sloan.

On [anuary 3, 1S6S, Cdinradc William Arthur was eWctcd Com-
mander : H()rac(_' I'^vans, Adjutant, and Jos. R. C Ward, (hiarter-

At the meetinn- on February 21st, the Ry-Laws were amended,
reducintr the annual dues from twelve to tliree dollars, and the loUow-
insj^ resolution was adopted : —

IttSOlueft, That it is the sense of this Encampment that it would he expedient and jiroper for the
Council of .\dministration to arrange for the disposal of our present li.irracks ; ami, in view of the necessity
of limitiiif; our expenditures, it is deemed drsirahli- that no permanent (juarters he occu])ied hy llii^ I'ost at

So on March loth the last muster was held at 1316 Chestnut
Street, many of the effects of the Post were purchasfid by the
members, the rest sent to the auction-rooms and there sold, and the
Post was homeless.

It was in this year that Memorial Day was instituted by Cen. John
A. Losran, then Commander-in-Chief who on May 5th issued the tol-
lowintj order : —

1 1 l'..\l)-(;)U.'\RTERS CiRANI) AkMV or TlIK RkI'IKMi-,
AnUTANl-dKNER.VL's OFFICE, WasHINCTc IN, I), f., M.ay 5, lS()S.

(ficnerni (Orier 31o. II.

I. The ;oth day of May, iS68, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise
decorating the graves of comrades who died in defence of tlieir country during the late rchellion, and
whose hollies now lie in almost every city, village, ami hamlet churchyard in the laml. In this oliservance
no form of ceremony is presented, hut Posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such liltmg ser
vices and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations ti-11 us, for the purpose, among oiliir things. •• ol pre

serving and strengthening those liind and fraternal feelings whicli have lioinid together the soldiers, sailors
and marines who uniteil to suppress the late rebellion."

What can aid mure to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who
made their )>reasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille
of freedom to a race in chains, and llicir death the tattoo of rebellion's tyranny in arms. We sliould giu\rd
their gi-aves with sacred vigilance. .\ll that the consecrated wealth of the nation can .add to their adorn-

Online LibraryJoseph Ripley Chandler WardHistory of George G. Meade post no. one, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand army of the republic → online text (page 1 of 24)