1949 3¢ Grand Army of the Republic
Issue Date: August 29, 1949
City: Indianapolis, Indiana
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Color: Bright rose carmine
U.S. #985 was issued to commemorate the last gathering of the Grand Army of the Republic. The stamp was released on August 29, 1949 – one day after the last Encampment (the 83rd) began in Indianapolis. Only 16 members were still alive, with six present at the meeting. At the final campfire, the colors (flag) of the G.A.R were retired for the last time, and a Marine Band bugler played “Taps.”
The Grand Army of the Republic
Benjamin F. Stevenson founded the Grand Army of the Republic, or G.A.R., in Decatur, Illinois, on April 6, 1866. This organization was created for honorably discharged Union veterans of the American Civil War who served between April 12, 1861, and April 9, 1865. At its peak in 1890, the G.A.R. had 409,489 members.
The G.A.R. was founded to provide fellowship among the men who fought to preserve the Union, to honor those killed in the war, to care for veteran dependents, and to preserve the U.S. Constitution. The organization grew to become an important political organization, especially within the Republican Party. The G.A.R. founded soldiers’ homes, was active in relief work, lobbied for pension legislation, and started the celebration of Memorial Day.
Each year, the G.A.R. staged an “encampment,” a multi-day event involving meetings, formal dinners, memorial events, and camping. The Final Encampment of the G.A.R. was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1949. Its last member was Albert Woolson, who died in 1956 at the age of 109.