“Honored Veterans: Fraternal Organizations Borne of the Civil War”
This exhibit will tell the story of all Civil War Veterans, North and South, Men and Women, Black and White. During the war soldiers developed friendships and a sense of camaraderie that was as strong as their dedication to their cause. When the war ended the weary veterans looked forward to going home, but soon after leaving the service, many realized that something was missing. The bonds that they had forged with their brothers in arms remained strong in their memories. By 1866 veterans began to re-establish their wartime friendships in the form of fraternal organizations. These groups would allow them to maintain their connection to those with whom they had served over four long years and to remember the honored dead left on the field of battle. In time The Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans would become the largest of these organizations among many others. Veterans would use the power of their numbers to lobby for widows and orphans and for veterans rights and pensions, becoming a political force to be reckoned with in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their numbers began to diminish over the years as veterans answered their last roll call, and the organizations were passed to their sons to keep their memory alive for future generations.