Sacramento City CemeteryThe GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC Memorial Plot was originally located in the New Helvetia Cemetery at the corner of 31st and J Streets, a plot donated to the Sumner Post No.3 by the owner and proprietor John Wesley Reeves. It was duly dedicated in 1865. Upon the death of Reeves in 1867, and the City's acquisition of the New Helvetia facility, a plot of more appreciable size was offered to the G.A.R. in City Cemetery in exchange. The remains of Civil War veterans buried at New Helvetia were removed and re-interred here. The plot was subsequently walled with granite coping in anticipation of a suitable monument, but lacking adequate funds at the time, the project was set aside. It was not until 1888 that the G.A.R monument issue was revived and plans again submitted to the City Council for approval. Still inadequate finances plagued the completion of this project. It wasn't until the GRAND ARMY MEMORIAL FUND was established and support promised by the Memorial Day Committee that the monument was assured, and not until unexpected support from the Grand Memorial Fund was received that the Memorial to Civil War Veterans became a reality.
On the north side of the monument there is a portrait medallion of General Ulysses S. Grant, and on the south side a Grand Army Badge with five outstanding figures including: the soldier - representing fraternity, the boy - youth and strength of the future life of our nation, the woman - motherhood, mercy, kindness and extended charity, the child - hope of the world and loyalty to our nation with freedom and justice for future generations.
The monument base is of California granite. The soldier is 6 feet 10 ½ inches high and is cast in bronze. The monument was unveiled September 9, 1889, as N.Green Curtis read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
The Grand Army of the RepublicThe GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC was a fraternal, charitable, and patriotic organization comprised exclusively of veterans of the Civil War who served in the Union Army, Navy, or Marine Corps during the period April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865. It was founded in Springfield, Illinois, April 16, 1866 by Major Benjamin F. Stephenson, ex-surgeon of the 14th Illinois Infantry. It was organized primarily to perpetuate the memory of fallen comrades, to provide care for surviving widows and orphans, to cultivate devotion to the Union, and to establish burial sites as a final resting place for its veterans members. The G.A.R. also established Old Soldiers Homes and instituted the observance of Memorial Day as a day to decorate Civil War veterans graves.
The National organization of the G.A.R. reached a membership peak in 1890 of [400,487]. By 1930 its rolls had dwindled to 21,000 and by 19 only a few survivors remained. The GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC held its final encampment August 29, 1949 at which time 16 centenarians were honored. On March 12, 1953, James Albert Hard passed away at the age of 111 years, 8 months, thus laying to rest the last combat soldier of the Union Army.
The Sacramento Chapter of the G.A.R., Sumner Post No. 3, was organized May 26, 1867, and at one time recorded a membership of one hundred and twenty-two veterans. By 1880 its rolls had already been reduced to forty.