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The Grand Army of the Republic

In the aftermath of the bloody conflict that was the American Civil War, soldiers returning home were met by communities struggling to rebuild after paying the heavy costs of war. With communities struggling to support their veterans, soldiers formed their own support groups, which became so popular that they eventually wielded political power. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was one of the most famous of these organizations, founded in 1866 and boasting over 400,000 members by the year 1890.

William H. Bartlett Post No. 3

The Grand Army of the Republic was a national organization further divided into posts by state and county. Each post was given a number and named after an honorable veteran of the Civil War. Post No. 3 was named after William H. Bartlett, a former resident of Taunton, and Captain in Company K of the 4th Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry. Bartlett initially enlisted in April of 1861 as Sergeant in Company G of the 4th regiment. When his first term of service expired in July of that same year, he reenlisted in August of 1862 only to be killed at the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, June 1863. The William H. Bartlett Post No. 3 served as the GAR post for the areas surrounding Taunton, Massachusetts. The Grand Army of the Republic lasted as an organization until the mid-1900s, with its last meeting taking place in Indiana in 1949.

GAR Members

Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Massachusetts, Personal War Sketches of the Members of William H. Bartlett Post, No. 3, Taunton. Philadelphia, 1890, by L. H. Everts.

Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, compiled by The Adjutant General, Norwood Press, 1931.

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War: National Headquarters, 2013.

The Spirit of Liberty & Union: A Pageant of Three Hundred Historical Years of Taunton, Mass., Joseph Everett Warner, 1947.

Project by Anna Flynn, Bristol Community College, Intern, January – May 2017.