Wisconsin Grand Army of the Republic

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a voluntary, fraternal association of men who served in the Union Army, Navy, or Marine Corps between the years 1861 and 1865, and were honorably discharged from service. It was the largest organization of Union Civil War veterans and the forerunner of the modern American veterans organizations.

Major Benjamin F. Stephenson founded the GAR on April 6, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois when he took the title of department commander and issued the first charter. Wisconsin was the second state to organize a GAR department and its first post was organized in 1866. In all, 280 GAR posts were formed in Wisconsin.

Find all 280 Grand Army of the Republic Posts for Wisconsin by selecting a link below which sorts the posts by by post number, post name, by city, or county location:

The Grand Army of the Republic held yearly state-wide meetings called Encampments. The Encampment site changed each year, click the link below to view the encampments by date and location:

Please contact the Museum’s Reference Archivist if you know any of the missing encampment locations.

For Further Information on the Grand Army of the Republic, see:

Beath, Robert B., History of the Grand Army of the Republic, (New York: Bryan, Taylor & Co., 1888).

Carnahan, J.W., History of the Easel-Shaped Monument and a Key to the Priniciples and Objects of the Grand Army of the Republic and its Co-Workers, (Chicago: Dux Publishing, 1893).

Dearing, Mary R., Veterans in Politics: The Story of the G.A.R., (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1952).

McConnell, Stuart, Glorious Contentment: The Grand Army of the Republic, 1865-1900, (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).

Zeitlin, Richard H. and Van Ells, Mark D., "Politics, Community, Education: A Brief History of Veterans Organizations in Wisconsin and America," Wisconsin Academy Review 40:3 (1994), pp. 4-9.

The official records of the Grand Army of the Republic (WVM Mss 1) are held at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Research Center. This collection also contains records of many Wisconsin posts. Contact the Reference Archivist for more information.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.