The Grand Army of the Republic was formed as a patriotic fraternal organization for veterans of the Union forces of the Civil War. The GAR advocated for veterans’ rights and offered aid to men who were honorably discharged and had never taken up arms against the nation. Many men were disqualified from membership from the GAR, but were interested in the camaraderie and opportunities for service that the GAR provided. To meet this desire, the Grand Army of the Republic decided to allow the creation of associations called the Citizens’ Corps. In its 36th national encampment pamphlet (1902), the GAR defined the Citizens’ Corps in the following way:
“The objects of the society to be the promotion among our fellow citizens of a feeling of respect and consideration for soldiers, sailors and marines who served in the war for the preservation of the Union; to systematize the efforts of citizens who desire to aid the Grand Army of the Republic in its beneficent work; to stimulate patriotism and a grateful remembrance of the blessings secured to the nation by the happy termination of the War of the Rebellion.”
Below are some applications made to the Citizens’ Corps of the Philip R. Schuyler Post No. 51 in Philadelphia in 1894. Take special note of their careers. These cards were my favorite thing in the Post 51 records (collection 1825). The finding aid for this collection will be available shortly!