The Final Reunion of the Grand Army of the Republic
The First Grand Army of the Republic National Encampment took place on 20 November 1866 in Indianapolis, Indiana and for their Eighty-third National GAR Encampment they returned to Indianapolis for their Final Encampment 28 August-1 September 1949. Six surviving GAR Comrades attended the encampment. The youngest veteran and last GAR Commander was Theodore Penland, age 100, from Washington, James Hard from New York and 108 years was the oldest veteran to attend the encampment. Robert Barrett attended from Kentucky and Charles Chappell attended from California. Attending his first Civil War reunion, Joseph Clovese was born into slavery on January 30, 1844 on a plantation in Louisiana. Clovese escaped his master as a teen and joined the Union Army during the Siege of Vicksburg as a drummer boy and later an Infantry Private. He died on July 13, 1951, the last surviving African American member of the Union Army and Michigan’s last Civil War survivor. Also, in attendance was Albert Woolson from Minnesota, he would become the last living Union veteran. Woolson died in 1956 at 109 years of age. He had enlisted in the Union Army as a private on October 10, 1864 at age fourteen. He served in Company C, First Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment. Due to his age, he was made a drummer boy and bugler.
GAR 1949 Reunion Medal as awarded to the six veterans and honored guests. It was also sold as a souvenier to participants.
The six remaining Union Civil War veterans at the 1949 reunion
Union Civil War veteran, Joseph Clovese at the 1949 reunion