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"It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children's children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives."

November, 2017



In this issue

A Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Secretary's Report
Union Soldiers Pension
The G.A.R. in Michigan
Eagle Scouts
Veterans Day Events
Civil War Money
Upcoming events
Back Issues
A photo from the Civil War


A Proclamation of Thanksgiving.
From Abraham Lincoln

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale's request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln's.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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Veterans Day 2017

Brother and Sisters at the Mason Parade
At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month the guns fell silent on the Western Front. At that moment, the war to end all wars was finally over. We know now that that belief was very wrong as countless American's have had to serve our Country to preserve our freedoms that we enjoy because of their sacrifices.

On November 11, ninety-nine years later the Brothers and Sisters of the Austin Blair Camp came together with many others to celebrate our veterans. Starting in Jackson, where as you know if you're from this area, you can't get there from here, a very nice service was held to honor local veterans. After a quick lunch the Brothers and Sisters moved onto Mason to fall in with Brothers of the Curtenius Guard Camp No. 17, and members of the 7th Michigan re-enactors company to take part in the Veterans Day Parade held there. Upon returning to Jackson, luminaries were placed at the headstones of veterans in Mount Evergreen Cemetery. A very fitting way to say "Thank You" to the men and women who have and continue served our Country in all branches of military service.

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Union Soldiers Pension
Submitted by Ron Tyrl PCC

The scope of the Union army pension program, run for the benefit of veterans and their dependent children and widows, came to be enormous. What had begun as a program to provide for severely wounded veterans became the first general disability and old-age pension program in the United States.

The total number of beneficiaries collecting a pension was slightly more than 100,000 in 1866 but reached a peak of almost 1 million in 1902. By 1900 21 percent of all white males age fifty-five or older were on the pension rolls, and the program that had consumed a mere 3 percent of all federal government expenditures in 1866 consumed almost 30 percent.

Forty-one percent of all northern white men born between 1822 and 1845, 60 percent of those born between 1837 and 1845, and 81 percent of those born in 1843 served in the Union army during the Civil War. Union soldiers constituted a fairly representative cross section of their generation. Compared to the general population, recruits came from households that were neither disproportionately rich nor disproportionately poor in 1860 (Fogel 1993). Ninety-five percent of them were volunteers.

Congress established the Union army pension program on 14 July 1862. In passing this act, Congress founded what later became known as the General Law pension system. This system of pension laws was the only one in force until 1890. It provided pensions for soldiers who had incurred permanent bodily injury or disability while in the service of the Union army after 4 March 1861 and provided for the dependents of soldiers who had died from causes that could be traced directly to injuries received or diseases contracted while in Union army service.

In 1866 Congress raised the pension for total disability for "any manual labor" from $8.00 per month to $20.00 and in 1872 to $24.00, a sum that replaced 76 percent of the monthly earnings of an unskilled laborer.

A first-grade disability, providing a pension of $31.25 per month, was a permanent disability requiring the regular aid and attendance of another person. A second-grade disability, warranting a monthly pension of $24.00, was a permanent disability that incapacitated the claimant for the performance of any manual labor. Permanent disabilities equivalent to the loss of a hand or foot were third grade and were pensionable at $18.00 per month. In addition to the grade rates, veterans could receive a proportion of the third-grade rate ($18.00 per month) for any degree of disability that was not provided for in the Consolidation Act.

The act of 27 June 1890 marked the beginning of a universal disability and old-age pension program. Proof of at least ninety days service in the Union army, an honorable discharge, and disability not due to "vicious habits" that prohibited the veteran from the performance of manual labor qualified him for the receipt of a pension ranging from $6.00 to $12.00 per month. Dependents of a veteran who had died from any cause qualified for a pension. The veteran's disability did not need to be related to military service. However, veterans who could trace their disability to their wartime service received far more for the same disability than those who could not.

In 1900 a pensioner who could trace his disability to the war was entitled to a monthly sum of $30.00 for incapacity to perform any manual labor, $24.00 for a disability equivalent to the loss of a hand or foot, $17.00 for the loss of one eye, and $6.00-$10.00 for a single hernia. His counterpart who could not trace his disability to the war received $12.00, $10.00, $6.00, and $6.00, respectively, for these ailments. Veterans who could trace their disabilities to the war received up to $100 per month, almost three times the monthly income of a laborer in 1900, for the loss of both hands, feet, or eyes. However, a veteran blinded in an industrial accident received at most $12.00 per month, a sum equivalent to one-third the monthly income of an unskilled laborer ( U S . Bureau of Pensions 1899 Report of the Commissioner of Pensions).

The first step in this procedure is to link men to their military service and army medical records. The military service records contain information about the individual's enlistment and discharge and where the soldier was during each roll call. Thus, the records might indicate that he was absent because he was in the hospital, ill, on furlough, or with another company or had deserted. Army medical records are generated whenever a soldier spent time in a hospital. They contain a terse description of the condition (e.g., typhoid fever), a description of the type of treatment the soldier underwent, and dates of admission and release. Once soldiers have been linked to their records while in the army, they are then linked to their pension records, which include the reports of examining surgeons. Eighty-five percent of all soldiers who survived the war have a pension record because either the veteran or his dependents applied for a pension. Desertion, and hence ineligibility for a pension, was the primary nonrandom factor explaining linkage failure.

In order to file for a pension a veteran would fill out a form entitled declaration for pension. In this form he would indicate his name, age, place of birth, address, and current occupation and, for verification purposes, when and in what company or companies he had served and his height, complexion, hair color, and occupation at enlistment. If he was claiming to be disabled by disease or injuries, he had to specify the diseases or injuries and, if they were war related, how and when they were incurred.

The applicant would the see an examining surgeon. The job of the examining surgeons was purely descriptive. They could not determine whether a condition was related to wartime service. Sometimes the surgeons clearly stated this. In the case of John Dressender, who claimed a war-related pension because he had dislocated his knee when thrown by a blind horse, the surgeons wrote, "It is possible that the cartileges have been injuried [sic], but the exact cause of the disability is not clearly apparent to us, yet there is evidently a disability." The decision as to whether a condition was related to wartime service rested with the Pension Bureau and was based on the veteran's war record and on the medical theories of the time. Examining surgeons could, however, determine whether a condition was due to "vicious habits" and hence not pensionable. In the case of Andrew Benell of Company F of the 148th Illinois Infantry, the examining surgeons wrote, "We do not find any objective signs of syphilis and we believe paralysis due to cerebral hemorrhages" (certificate 935,336). Approximately 88 percent of the men found in the pension records have surgeons' certificates. Those who did not consist of two types: those who applied on the grounds of age alone and those who were so severely disabled during the war that a medical exam was not required to establish ill health.

Once the Pension Bureau was in possession of all the necessary information, it ruled on the pension amount. This ruling generated a form containing the name of the claimant's pension attorney, what the claimant was approved for, any rejections and the reasons for the rejections, and the total dollar amount.

To qualify for a pension a widow needed to prove that she was dependent on her husband's earnings for support. Therefore, we learn that George Smith of Company H of the 137th New York Infantry left real estate worth $320, three horses worth $35.00, five cattle worth $59.00, and farm implements and furniture worth $1 1.00 (certificate 521,276). At other times we learn that the veteran was very well off when he died. Families of impoverished veterans would ask the Pension Bureau to pay for the veterans' burial costs. Faced in 1912 with doctor and burial expenses of $39.00, and left an estate consisting of "nothing but a few heirlooms and some clothing," the family of Samuel Gullet of Company F of the 148th Illinois Infantry made just such a request (certificate 271,398). The poverty of these men had not helped them when they were still alive to gain a larger pension.

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Civil War Money

At the time of the Civil War many States, banks, and business printed their own money.
Below is an example of one of those bills..

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Eagle Scout Awards

Brother Tingley at the Court of Honor for Troop 125

On the 29th of October, Department of Michigan Eagle Scout Coordinator, Camp No. 7 SVC elect, Nathan Tingley traveled to Rochester Hills to present three Eagle Scout Awards to members of Troop 125. The recipients were,
Braydan Collins, Lucas Gerhard, and Ryan Lindley.

Congratulations to Braydan, Lucas, and Ryan on this achievement and your dedication to scouting. We would also like to thank the leaders of Troop 125 for asking Brother Tingley to attending this Court of Honor, and in helping us continue the long tradition of the Grand Army of the Republic/S.U.V.C.W and Boy Scout of America working together.

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Secretary's Report
Ron Tyrl PPC

The November 13, 2017 meeting of the Austin Blair Camp No.7 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was held at the American Legion Post 29, Jackson, Michigan.

Members in attendance were Brothers: Chris Cox, Joe Davis, Bob Griggs, Henry Hawker, Kim Horning, Howard Lloyd, Mike Maillard, Nathan Tingley, Ron Tyrl, Charlie Waters III, Charlie Waters Jr and Guest: Raymond Rowley & Maurice Imhoff.

Commander Cox welcomed our guest and requested the Secretary's report which was motioned accepted as published in the Courier by Brother Griggs and seconded by Brother Waters III, motion passed.
The Treasurer's Report was motioned accepted as amended to reflect the check written for reimbursement of Brother Tingley's Camp Blair sign repair. Brother Tingley motioned to accept and seconded by Brother Hawker, motion passed. Treasurer Maillard reported that the Department cashed check #528 was reimbursed for $61.25 and the Camp's audit was agreed to be done during February's meeting.


The revised By-Laws will be sent to Department by Brother Tingley. Camp Thanked the By-Laws committee for their work in this revising.

Patriotic Instructor

1. Brother Joe Davis had articles for review: "Vets New Enemy Scammers", "How to Help Veterans".
2. Brother Davis finished his term as the Camp's Patriotic Instructor and the Camp "Thanked" Joe for his work in this area.

Graves Registration

1. Brother Waters reported that he will order the headstone for the Maple Grove Cemetery in Grass Lake internee Charles McDole after finding no immediate relatives for this man. Charles McDole served in the 20th Michigan and 2nd Michigan Infantry Regiments and was wounded at Spotsylvania and discharged and died in 1868; possibly died to complications from his service and wounding.


1. Brother Griggs has updated the face book to present after the Veteran's Day events.
2. Treasurer Maillard motioned to reimburse Brother Griggs for the internet cost of $143.40, seconded by Brother Tingley; motion passed.


1. An email was sent to all in reference to the "Support" Campaign for the GAR Museum. Discussion was held on possibly contributing to the Museum.


1. Brother Tingley & Treasurer Maillard summarized for Ray Rowley & Maurice Imhoff on membership dues and items received as members.
2. Maurice Imhoff needs to do more research on his Civil War family & Raymond Rowley summarized the research he's done on his three family members that served in the Civil War: Orson 21 years old, Perry 25 years old & Warren Rowley 31 years old, of Hudson, Michigan; all served in the 18th Michigan Infantry, Army of the Cumberland. Orson & Warren died on the Sultana & Perry died of disease at Decatur, Alabama.

Old Business

1. The Camp tent grommet tear at front left corner is on Auxiliary Connie Horning's agenda.
2. Camp's Christmas party at the Steaks Eatery reservations are being finalized.

New Business

1. Installation of the Camp's 2018 positions was done by Dept. SVC Bob Griggs as follows:
Commander Dave Kimble, SVC Nate Tingley, JVC Dave Van Hoof, Treasurer Mike Maillard and Secretary Ron Tyrl. Camp Council: Howard Lloyd, Henry Hawker & Ron Lewis; Quartermaster Kim Horning & GRO Charles Waters III.

For the Good of the Order

1. Friday, November 17, 2017 Jackson Christmas Parade Color Guard, 5:40 show for 6pm parade.
2. Tuesday, November 21, 2017, "Michigan at Antietam" GAR Museum program.
3. Saturday December 2, 2017, Camp's Christmas Party & Brown Bag auction.
4. Auxiliary Linda Kronberg reviewed the Department & National Encampments agenda May 4-5 & August 9-11, 2018; more details as they progress.

Commander Cox closed the meeting at 8:05pm and our next camp meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 12, 2017 to be held at Post 29 American Legion.

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Upcoming Events

Please click here to see our upcoming events.

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Officers of the Irish Brigade.

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Annual Encampment Greenville.

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