RHODE ISLAND SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR
ELISHA DYER CAMP No. 7
HISTORY OF RHODE ISLAND GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC ARNOLD POST No.4
HONORING CAPTAIN WILLIAM ALBERT ARNOLD BATTERY A, FIRST REGIMENT R.I. LIGHT ARTILLERY
Lest We Forget
"ALL FOR THE UNION" & THE GRAND OLD FELLOWS IN BLUE
"I see in every direction through our broad land the goodly fruits of those months of warlike activity, of tedious watching, even of occasional inglorious defeat. In the South, prostrated as she was by the strife, there is steadily growing a sentiment of faith in the common country, and of loyalty to the common flag, which will, in time, blot out all rancor, obliterate all hate, and make us one in heart as we are in bond. This cannot be expected soon. This, and perhaps the succeeding generation, must pass from the scenes of action before the last drop of bitter blood can disappear, before the Southerners will cease to date all important occurrences "so long after the war." But in the future, I can see no shadow of parting between us, and know that some day the whole world will turn with, reverence and pride to the vast empires of the West, the glorious American Republic, as the exponent of right, an asylum for the oppressed, and the defender of universal liberty."
Dr. William F. Hutchinson, Ship's Surgeon USN, Infantry Major, USV Founder, RI GAR Arnold Post No.4
Welcome to the History Page of the Rhode Island Grand Army of the Republic, Arnold Post No.4. This Page is an on-gong research project of RI SUVCW ELISHA DYER CAMP No.7, assisted by the R.I. Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Civil War Museum, Library & Research Center.
Here you will find the most accurate up to date listings of RI GAR Post No. 4 and its veterans of the Civil War, April 1861 through August 1866.
Please Note: We only have information on R.I. Civil War Veterans of Arnold Post No.4; no other States and no other time periods. For listings of R.I. Officers in the Civil War who were members of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), go back to our Website "ENTRY" page and click the RI MOLLUS button.
Founder of Arnold Post No. 4
Dr. William F. Hutchinson, MD, Past Post Commander of RI GAR Slocum Post No. 10, 1875 Founder and First Post Commander of RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 in 1877. MOLLUS ID # 01533
Rhode Island Grand Army of the Republic Arnold Post No. 4 was named in honor of Captain William Albert Arnold. Arnold was perhaps the most well known commander of 1st Regiment RI Volunteer Light Artillery, Battery A. Captain Arnold led the unit with great distinction during the Civil War from the time of the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 to the siege of Petersburg in June 1864. He led the bulk of the unit back to Providence when their three-year enlistments had expired. He also led Battery A at the Copse of Trees on Cemetery Ridge during the Battle of Gettysburg and helped stop Pickettís Charge, the High Watermark of the Confederacy. The veterans who formed Arnold Post also admired the service of Major General Richard Arnold of Rhode Island and his skills commanding artillery during the war at the Battle of Port Hudson and Mobile, as well as Captain Fred Arnold who was the last commander of Company D, 2nd Regiment Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry. Fred Arnold also became one of the most highly regarded Department (State) Commanders of the RI GAR.
Since the rules of the National GAR stipulated only Past Post or Past Department Commanders were qualified to form new GAR Posts within the organization Dr. William F. Hutchinson, Past Post Commander of RI GAR Col. John Stanton Slocum Post No. 10, agreed to organize Arnold Post upon Americaís Centennial in 1876. RI GAR Department Commander Charles H. Williams approved final formation of the Post, its Charter and assigned it the number four (4) on January 9, 1877.
Founding Members of Post 4 were (US Army Major/US Navy Surgeon) William F. Hutchinson (001) PPC, Frank H. Brown (002), Cyrus M. Thornton (003), Willard H. Greene (004), Davis Cook, II (005), Major George H. Pettis (006), Ervin F. Mann (007), 1st Lieutenant Michael Joseph Higgins (008), Charles H. Dyer (009), and Samuel R. Englestone (010). They were quickly joined by Marcus M. Pierce (011), William H. Knight (012), David H. Newcomb (013), James L. Sweetland (014), Courdail Robinson (015), John McCausland (016), Welcome Johnson (017), Edwin F. Pierce (018), Daniel W. Nicholas (019) and 1st lieutenant Dutee Johnson, Jr. (020). The Post 4 Charter bears the signatures of 15 veterans of the Civil War. Dr. Hutchinson (Post 4-ID# 001) and eight of the first ten veterans (Post 4 ID#s 003-010) who assisted with the formation of the Post were the first men in order to sign the Charter, i.e. Thornton, Greene, Cook, Pettis, Mann, Higgins, Dyer, and Englestone. It appears Frank H. Brown (002) probably was ill and unable to attend the signing. He died 15 November 1889. Of the first 100 original members of the Post (Post 4-ID#s 011 to 100), six additional veterans were selected by lot to sign the Post 4 Charter as well, to equal 15. The six additional signers were Marcus M. Pierce (011), David H. Newcomb (013), 1st Lieutenant Dutee Johnson, Jr. (020), William F. Young (042) brother of the famous Henry Young who was Chief Scout for General Philip H. Sheridan, (who was killed serving with Col. McKenzie on the Rio Grande fighting Apaches after the war), Henry Sperry (058), and Freman Gee (089). See Page 3 for more details about these men and the comrades of Post 4, 1877 to 1930.
It appears Major Hutchinson was a close friend of Col. Elisha Hunt Rhodes. Both men were very popular with Rhode Island Veterans, because of their work to care for their needs and protect their pension rights. After General Ambrose E. Burnside completed his two consecutive year term as the third Commander-in-Chief of the National GAR, and then was elected to the US Senate, both were Rhodes and Huntchinson (and others) became Burnside's eyes and ears back home. Opening a new RI GAR Post during this time had a major impact on the RI GAR, as well as Rhode Island state-wide politics. Most of the men who started Post 4 transferred to the new Post from Slocum Post. Therefore, the names on the Post 4 Charter are Hutchinson, Thornton, Greene, Cook, Pettis, Mann, Higgins, Dyer, Englestone, Pierce, Newcomb, Johnson, Young, Gee and Sperry. The total Post 4 Membership averaged from 100 to 120 veterans on its roster in good standing each year for about 40 years, from 1878 to 1918. After 53 years the Post was officially closed in 1930, due to the death of Nicholas Ross, the last Post 4 Commander.
THE 1877 CHARTER MEMBERS OF RI GAR ARNOLD POST No. 4 Our Fathers & Their Veteran Comrades
Dr.William F.Hutchinson Frank H. Brown Cyrus M. Thornton Willard H. Greene Davis Cook, II Mjr. George H. Pettis Ervin F. Mann Lt. Michael J. Higgins Charles F. Dyer Samuel R. Englestone Marcus M. Pierce William H. Knight
David H. Newcomb James L. Sweetland Courdail Robinson John McCausland Welcome Johnson Edwin F. Pierce Daniel W. Nicholas Edward Warner Lt. Dutee Johnson, Jr. William F. Young Henry Sperry Freman Gee
Only honorably discharged Union Civil War Veterans were eligible to become members of the GAR. From 1867 to 1917 the GAR was the most politically powerful organization in America. From 1900 to 1930, Post 4 supported and shared many of its functions and activities with RI GAR Prescott Post No. 1, RI GAR Slocum Post No. 10, and RI GAR Brown Post No. 25. When Post 4 closed it was one of the oldest GAR Posts in Rhode Island. From 1877 to 1909 the Post 4 general membership met every Monday evening, 7 p.m. at a hall on the corner of Greenwich St. & Friendship St. Providence. From 1909 to 1930, by permission of the RI Dept. GAR, Post 4 changed its location to meet in the Old Arsenal at 176 Benefit St., Providence. In 1909 the benefit Street Arsenal became the headquarters of the RI Department GAR, as well as the headquarters of Prescott Post, Reno Post, Slocum Post Arnold Post, and Brown Post. It was also the headquarters of the RI Division Sons of Veterans USA (RI Dept. SUVCW), the WRC, the LGAR, the ASUVCW, the DUVCW, RI S of V Governors Elisha Dyer Camp No. 7 and RI SAUVCW Governors Elisha Dyer auxiliary No. 2 (The Allied Orders of the RI GAR). The perminant establishment of the Old Arsenal as the headquarters of the RI GAR and its Allied Orders was written into RI Law by the General Assembly, 30-10-11, and signed by RI Governor Lippitt in 1909.
In 1886, Post 4 veterans allowed their young sons to become its Post Cadet Corps. As their sons grew older they became "Associates" of Post 4. By 1908, Post 4 authorized its veteran members and their sons to form and apply for a RI Division Sons of Veterans USA Camp Charter. On January 17, 1909 the year of the Abraham Lincoln Centennial in America, Governors Elisha Dyer Camp No. 7 was officially Chartered. The S of V changed its name in 1936 to the current name of the Order, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, but Camp 7 of the S of V and Camp 7 of the SUVCW are still today one and the same. All Camps of the Order were re-issued back dated Charters to reflect the name change by the National SUVCW organization so all would retain their legal history. The name Sons of Veterans United States of America was changed the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War partly to identify the organization more clearly with the Civil War and to extend to the grand sons and so on, into perpetuity, membership within the Order, carrying on the GAR. In 1926 Nicholas Ross, with the understanding of the National GAR and the RI Dept. GAR, legally turned Post 4 over to Camp 7. In 1956 Albert Woolson, the last member and senior officer of the National GAR turned the National GAR over to the National SUVCW, with the provision the National SUVCW must recognize all previous actions taken by State and local GAR entities. During this time men such as Ulysses S. Grant, III, Douglas MacArthus and Dwight Eisenhower attainded US Congressional Chartered Status for the SUVCW as the legal heir to the GAR nation wide.
From 1909 to 1930, RI Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Elisha Dyer Camp No. 7 assisted RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 with all Post No. 4 business and activities. To some degree Camp 7 did the same for Prescott Post and Brown Post. It was common for the men of Post 4 to attend Camp 7 meetings and events. The same was true for the men of Camp 7 for Post 4 meetings and events. From the early 1920s to the last days and final closing of Post 4, the Camp 7 Camp Commander, Camp Secretary, Camp Treasurer, Camp Senior Vice Commander, Camp Junior Vice Commander and the Camp Patriotic Instructor were required to additionally attend all Post 4 meetings at the Old Arsenal at 176 Benefit Street in Providence, where Camp 7 also met from 1909 to 1992. Camp 7 Officers performed all business and organizational duties on behalf of RI GAR Post 4, as the Grand Old Fellows in Blue of Post 4 were getting on in their years. These duties were performed in addition to all necessary duties required by Camp 7 for the SUVCW. In affect, all Camp 7 officers did double duty for Camp 7 and Post 4 for 21 years.
In September 1926, RI GAR Post 4 Commander Nicholas Ross presented RI SUVCW Camp 7 Commander Enoch Hoyt with final NYC District Court certified documentation making Camp 7 the SUVCW legal successor of RI GAR Post 4. This signed and sealed will or deed (two documents, a first original document and a second amended original) connected Camp 7 & Post 4 forever. They are the most important documents within the Camp 7 legal and historical archives. A set of original certified copies of these documents were also placed in the Cranston City Archives. They prove RI SUVCW Camp 7, founded by Albert M. Bennett of Post No. 4, (as of the 2009, the Governors Elisha Dyer Camp No. 7 Centennial and the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial), to be the true legal SUVCW successor of RI GAR Post 4 (all things tangible and intangible, real, financial and historical). To date, Camp 7, founded by RI GAR Post 4 members and their sons, is the oldest SUVCW Camp in Rhode Island and one of only two remaining Camps of the RI SUVCW (chartered by the National SUVCW in January 1909) which has continually functioned thus far without any breaks in its history or its first 100 year tenure in the National and RI SUVCW. It is the true, rightful and only legal SUVCW representative of RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 in America.óResearch compiled from 1994 to 2009 by: G.A. Mierka, PDC, RI Dept. Commander, RI SUVCW 1994ó2000, Camp 7 Commander FY 1993 and 2009, elected a member of Camp 7 in November 1990.
The Regalia of the RI GAR A. E. Burnside Memorial Badge 25th Anniversary Gold RI GAR Badge Slocum Post Badge Benjamin Davis Commemorative Badge
1888 RI GAR ARNOLD POST No. 4 OFFICERS
George R. Saunders, Post Commander; Andrew B. Presley, Senior Vice Post Commander; William B. Peck, Junior Vice Post Commander, Nelson H. Arnold, Post Adjutant, George P. Smith, Post Quartermaster Officer; George L. Munroe, Post Surgeon; George W. Ford, Post Chaplin; George M. Twitchell, Post Officer of the Day; Joseph D. Taylor, Post Officer of the Guard; Merritt Tillinghast Post Sergeant Major; and Cyrus W. Lindsey, Post Quartermaster Sergeant. The official RI Department Grand Army of the Republic, RI GAR, 1888 roster, shows 109 members in good standing in Post No. 4 during that year. The total Civil War Veteran membership of RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 from 1877 to 1930 was 494. Four men were never assigned ID numbers. The first member of Post 4 was William F. Hutchinson ID# 001, and the last member to join the Post was Charles H. Smith. ID# 490. The last Post Commander of RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 was Nicholas Ross ID# 214.
After the war RI GAR Arnold Post 4 started off and ended its long history as one of the larger R.I. GAR Posts. Post 4 was one of the last GAR Posts to close in the R.I. Department. Post 4 was primarily made up of professional men in civilian life. Many of its members were or became doctors, lawyers, politicians, clergymen, artists, craftsmen, tradesmen, scholars, farmers, laborer leaders and businessmen after the war. By 1888, Post 4 Commander George R. Saunders, (who lived at 138 Oxford Street, Providence, and served as a Private in the 60th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company E), announced at the 21st Annual R.I. Department GAR Encampment-Convention that among the 21 R.I. GAR Posts active at that time, Arnold Post 4 had a membership of 109 men. This was about the largest membership count that Post No. 4 would reach in any given year during its long tenure as a R.I. Grand Army of the Republic, local Post of Civil War Veterans. By 1910 there were 26 GAR Posts in Rhode Island. Of about 26,000 Civil War Veterans buried in the State of Rhode Island, about 2,600 were members of the GAR, holding most positions in state and local government as well as private industry.
The standard late 19th Century GAR uniform of Arnold Post No. 4 was a double breasted six button polished wool, wide winged lapel, dark blue cotton-tick lined blazer, topped off with shiny brass GAR "Dough-Boy" buttons. Their buttons were similar to the brass buttons worn by Union Officers during the war except GAR buttons were marked GAR on the button face. Although World War I Veterans were called "Dough Boys", the GAR were the first to coin the phrase.
In the fall, winter and spring the Post 4 Comrades wore black polished wool trousers with suspenders (called braces), and a solid white cotton dress shirt. Their shoes or booties were black. All men wore a dark polished blue wool vest with a top pocket for their watches, with their watch chains affixed to the top button hole of their vest. For special ceremonies, such as the funerals of their comrades, members of Post 4 wore white cotton gloves, and their Post Officers and Past Post Officers wore white buff kid gloves. The general membership also wore their GAR ceremonial swords with black leather belts around the waist of their blazers. Post 4 Officers wore the same, but with white buff leather belts. The hilt (or handle) of the swords of general members was rapped with black leather. The hilts of the swords of all Post Officers and Past Officers was rapped with a white buff leather. The S of V did the same.
In the summer months all RI GAR Posts were authorized by the RI GAR Deparment to wear "white" cotton trousers. Rhode Island GAR men were the only men in the country ever to wear white pants. The National GAR held its National Encampment-Convention in the summer months. If a parade was held, Rhode Islanders in their white trousers always stood out in the procession of GAR Posts. All other GAR Posts in the country wore their black or dark blue wool trousers year-round. The white trousers distinguished all Rhode Island Veterans in the same way the famous "Red" Rhode Island Bedroll" distinguished Rhode Islanders in uniform durng the Civil War. Post 4 men also wore a black fadora hat with the GAR brass wreath insignia on the front. Each hat sported a gold and dark blue hat cord. In the 19th and early 20th Century it was improper for any reasonably cultured man to wear his hat indoors, however in the RI GAR all men wore their hats indoors at all RI GAR meetings and functions. The only time hats were removed was for the pledge to the flag, the passing of the Colors, a memorial or during prayer. For the most part the S of V did the same for all these matters. From about 1867 to about 1885 RI GAR men wore a five button post Civil War period sack jacket. They changed to the eight button double breasted wool blazer about 1895. By the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries many of the GAR men who were also members of the S of V with their sons changed from wearing the traditional GAR uniform to wear the 1902 (Span-Am style) dark blue military tunic and wheel cap. But by about 1910 all RI GAR men went back to wearing the double breasted blazer.
All men wore their Past GAR officer medals and/or membership insignia on the top left of their blazer. Post officers wore an officer's rank ingnia bar affixed to the top of their badge desgnating their office in place of the GAR eagle. Past Post Officers wore their GAR Office rank emblem in the middle of their membership insignia across the U.S. flag ribbon and re-attached the eagle at the top when their duties ended. In the button hole of the left lapel of their blazer they wore their brass GAR button hole insignia. Below their "button-holer" on their left lapels members of Post 4 wore a round Arnold Post No. 4 pin. The U.S. flag ribbon of all GAR membership insignia hung between the GAR eagle and the bottom GAR star. The local level ribbin of Post Officers was trimmed in light blue. Department level ribbon was trimmed in red and the National GAR ribbon for officers of the organization was trimmed in gold. All members who held no office in the GAR had no trim color on the U.S. flag ribbon portion of their insignia or medal. The ladies of the Women's Relief Corps, (WRC - The Auxiliary to the GAR) were noted to say the Rhode Island men were among the most handsomest men in the GAR.
GAR INSIGNIA & PAST OFFICER MEDALS
The Regalia of the GAR Top Row: The Past National GAR CnC Medal & Officers Insignia Middle Row: The State or Department Past Commander GAR Medal & Officers Insignia Bottom Row: The Local Level or Post Officer & GAR Membership Regalia
THE GRAND OLD FELLOWS IN BLUE of RI GAR ARNOLD POST 4
The Grand Army of the Republic GAR Veterans Organization was a "male" Veterans organization. All women who contributed to the war efforts in some way (such as nurses, the Christian Commission, the Sanitary Commission, Abolitionists, Suffragettes, Vivandiers, War Production Workers or the Wives, Sisters and Mothers of the Veterans), became members of the Womenís Relief Corps (WRC), which was the auxiliary to the GAR, or they became members of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (LGAR). The LGAR were the wives, sisters & mothers. GAR Veterans admired the work of the WRC so much they often said the only thing closer to them were the "Cudies" they came home with after the war. In Victorian America, obviously that didn't set very well with their wives. Thus, the LGAR was formed. However the statement also gave birth to the Order of the Cudies", which today is an organization primarily of mothers under the American Legion.
The Veterans of GAR Posts tended to elect Post Officers who were the Commissioned Officers they followed in the field during the war, or were they were highly respected non Commissioned Officers, Medal of Honor Recipients, or Distinguished Meritorious Servicemen. In most GAR Posts quite often elected the members who served as Commissioned Officers during the war. Most were also members of MOLLUS, which pre-dated the GAR. The favored topics of discussion and comradery at most GAR meetings involved repeated stories and experiences about the Campaigns and great events of the war in which the men mutually participated, as well as the political issues of the day that affected their ability to care for the wives, widows and children of fallen and deceased fellow Veterans. Unit Pride, Patriotism and their Unit Battle Honors were extremely important to all the Veterans of the GAR. The GAR had such a strong impact on America, most fathers insisted their daughters must wed a veteran or a son of a veteran. To do otherwise was not considered patriotic or proper.
THE FIRST YEAR OF ARNOLD POST 4
To fully understand the politics and dynamics of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) one must also understand the social, economic and political climate of the United States during the Re-Construction/Post Civil War Era. RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 of Providence was formed during the most volatile part of this period. By 1876, the most influential Post of the RI GAR was Prescott Post No. 1, also of Providence. It, by far, had the most members, although it was losing ground to newer RI GAR Posts. Post No. 1 was the first RI GAR Post formed by RI Civil War Governor Williams Sprague in 1866. Post No. 1 was officially chartered by the National GAR in 1867 and its members were the primary organizers of the first ten RI GAR Posts that led to the chartering of the RI Department (or State) GAR. Post No. 1 boasted members such as Major General and RI Governor Ambrose E. Burnside (who also went on the become the first RI Dept. GAR Commander and the 3rd National GAR Commander-in-Chief as well as RI US Senator); former RI Governor and RI US Senator William Sprague; RI US Congressman Henry J. Spooner; RI US Senator Henry B. Anthony; the Post Civil War RI Republican Machine Party Political "Boss" and former Colonel of the 3rd RI Heavy Artillery Charles R. Brayton; former Lieut. Col. of the 2nd RI Volunteer Infantry Elisha Hunt Rhodes; RI State Attorney General and former Col. of the 2nd RI Volunteer Infantry Horatio Rogers (who went on to become the 2nd RI Dept. GAR Commander); and Dr. William F. Hutchinson, as well as many of the most prominent officers of all the RI units mustered to fight during the Civil War, most of who were also members of MOLLUS.
The general membership of the GAR were former Union Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted Men (of the Army, Navy, Marines, Medical and Revenue Cutter Service). The enlisted men tended to elect the Veteran Officers they served under during the war to serve as officers of the GAR. Since for about the first 30 years of the RI GAR almost all the RI GAR Department Officers were also members of MOLLUS, the most influencial men of the community actually controlled the GAR across the country. In most cases this trend tended to carry through during the 1870 to 1900 period of American History and the GAR. The GAR in Rhode Island overwhelmingly consisted of influential members of the Republican Political Party, of which former Colonel Charles R. Brayton, "Boss Brayton", emerged as being the most politically powerful figure in the Ocean State. Boss Brayton rigidly controlled almost all the political spectrums of Rhode Island on the Local, State and National levels. He was the only man in Rhode Island Colonial and/or State History to ever maintain a prominent office in the Rhode Island State House without ever holding an official RI Public office elected by the people of the State. Most who opposed Boss Brayton on just about anything, lived to regret it.
The source of Boss Braytonís power rested with two key Federally appointed positions that made him untouchable visa vie State and local politics. The two important Federal Government appointments held by Brayton were that of Rhode Island State Postmaster and the Stateís Veterans Pension Director. For about 50 years Brayton skillfully used both to control the Rhode Island political agenda and State Officals from dog catcher to Governor, throughout the State. As Postmaster he used RI Mail Carriers to keep a constant line of communication with all RI Civil War Veterans at the Stateís expense, while knowing all Rhode Island Civil War Veterans were by far the largest voting constituency in the State. He also used his office as Pension Director to control how the Veterans voted in each election, making it obvious if they didnít vote his way, they might have problems receiving their pension benefits. Braytonís method was very effective, especially during the period of "Hard Times" in Rhode Island. As a former State or Department Commander of the RI GAR, Brayton also tried his best to exercise the same strong handed control within the RI GAR, but here he was not always as successful, which at times made the RI GAR quite volatile, especially between Brayton men and men apposed to his methods like Ambrose Burnside, Henry J. Spooner, Horatio Rogers, Elisha Hunt Rhodes and Dr. Hutchinson.
By the mid 1870s, during the Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant due to several scandals within the Grant Administration and a suffering American economy that had slipped into a severe depression, the Veterans were experiencing what they all called "Hard Times". RI GAR Department Commander of 1876, Charles H. Williams (former Post Commander of RI GAR Slocum Post No. 10) made specific reference to this in his end of the year Commanderís Report at the Annual RI GAR Department Encampment (Annual Meeting-Convention). The RI GAR had actually experienced a down turn of its membership due to the poor State economy. The Veterans could not afford to pay their dues. Some RI GAR Posts were on the edge of closing and a few did close due to poor finances. A large number the membership in most RI GAR local Posts had dropped their membership saying they couldn't afford their dues, which at that time was generally about 50 cents, very expensive at the time. Plus, Boss Brayton was being tough with them as well, holding their pensions ($25 to about $40 per month) over their heads if they didnít vote in Rhode Island elections the way he wanted. The Veterans in greater numbers were turning to Elisha Hunt Rhodes for assistance. Rhodes was the State Tax Assessor. His position made him a powerful enemy of Boss Brayton, because Veterans Pensions were based on income and "property". The more valuable a Veteranís property, the less likely it was to receive an adequate pension. To get around Brayton and help Veterans, Rhodes got together with a local attorney and worked out a system for legally devaluing the taxable property and homes of the Veterans so they would qualify for their pensions, no matter what Brayton did and it worked, for a while.
Civil War Major General, RI Governor and RI US Senator Ambrose E. Burnside, also the third National Commander-in-Chief of the National GAR and former RI Department GAR Commander, encouraged Elisha Hunt Rhodes to continue to do all he could to help RI Veterans get through the "Hard Times". Rhodes did axacly what was expected however his actions directly threatened the political power of Boss Brayton causing a nasty battle within the RI GAR, especially within Prescott Post No. 1, of which Braton, Rhodes and Burnside were members. Burnside admired the political courage and military service of Rhodes perhaps to a degree that he looked upon Rhodes as if he was a son that he and his wife Mary (Bishop) Burnside never had. The relationship between Burnside and Rhodes became similar to that of George Washington and Rhode Island's General Nathanael Greene during the Revolution. When Burnside finished his last term as National GAR Commander-in-Chief he supported Rhodes move up through the ranks of the National GAR to hold the positions of Jr. Vice and then Sr. Vice National GAR Commander-in-Chief, 1876-77. During this time in American History to become Commander-in-Chief of the National GAR along with being a member of MOLLUS (Union Civil War Officers) meant becoming almost as powerful as becoming the President of the United States.
WHAT THEY DID
Amidst the problems of the period, RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 was approved by the R.I. Department GAR and was officially chartered by the National GAR on January 9, 1877. Twenty three (23) men (Honorably Discharged Union Civil War Veterans) served as Post Commander of Rhode Island Grand Army of the Republic (RI GAR) Arnold Post No. 4, from 1877 to 1930. Throughout the long and distinguished history of Arnold Post No. 4, Post members and officers faithfully held their meetings, twice a week on Monday (general membership) and Thursday nights (Post Officers). All memembers were fined 25 cents per meeting if they missed any meeting without a proper excuse. At each meeting a collection was taken from all members to donate what they could to the widdows and/or orphans of the families of fallen R.I. Civil War Veterans in distress. At the end of each meeting the Post would vote on where the donation would go. In 1877 since the annual dues to belong to Post 4 was 50 cents and by 1933 their annual membership dues was $2.25, all members made a strong commitment to the GAR. Keep in mind the American dollar back then went much farther than it does today. Keep in mind, although income rates were less during this period, the standard family income in America has actually declined since 1913, because of the actual current inflated value of the dollar. Money actually went farther back then.
All GAR Post 4 meetings were conducted in accordance to GAR and paramilitary protocol. Post 4 elected and appointed officers were expected to recite all meeting and ceremonial ritual from memory and never allowed to conduct their duties or standard GAR proceedures for meetings and ceremonies by reading it from the GAR manual. GAR (and SUVCW) meeting rooms were arranged similar to Mansinc tradition. About mid-way through each Post meeting the men would take a break and partake in a collation usually prepared by the WRC or the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. During that time the veterans would smoke their cigars and reminisce about their experiences in the Civil War. The consumption of alcohol was forbidden at all Post 4 functions. Most Post 4 members were strict believers in the 19th Century "Temperance Movement" in America. Since at times (in the early days of the GAR) meetings could become rather spirited and political, by 1890, Arnold Post No. 4 as well as most GAR Posts across the country required all members to check their personal weapons at the door.
LEFT: Grave of Fernando O. Jaques, Pocasset Cemetery, Cranston
RIGHT: Grave of Nicholas Ross, Pocasset Cemetery, Cranston Last Two Commanders of Post 4
HARD TIMES COME AGAIN NO MORE
By 1876 the men of RI GAR Slocum Post No. 10 were beginning to challenge the control of RI GAR Prescott Post No. 1. They began to realize they needed more delegates to attend and vote at the RI GAR Annual Department Encampments, especially on issues concerning Veterans Relief. RI GAR Department Commander Williams reported at the January 1876 Encampment that Babbit Post No. 4 of Bristol RI had relinquished its RI GAR Post Charter and folded due to poverty and "Hard Times". However former Post 10 Commander Dr. William F. Hutchinson had gathered almost 50 new Veterans and started the formation of Arnold Post to be located in Providence. Commander Williams decided to award Arnold Post the Babbit Post number four (4) and RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 was born. Arnold Post directly received its name in honor of Captain William A. Arnold the most loved and well-known commander of Battery A, 1st regiment RI Light Artillery. Arnold was also considered one of the Stateís heroes of the Battles of Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness and Petersburg. Boss Brayton, who himself saw very little action during the war, saw this as a direct threat to the power he controlled in Prescott Post No. 1 and a challenge to the influence Post 1 held over the entire RI Department GAR. He also saw the move as a potential threat to his power over public State elections and his control of the RI Republican Party. In spite of this, Arnold Post No. 4 was Chartered on January 9, 1877. Since it was a new Post, in accordance to RI GAR rules Arnold Post 4 would be required to completely be up and running and functioning for "one full year" before it could attend and field a Post 4 delegation at the annual RI GAR Department Encampment when new GAR officers on the State GAR level would be elected.
By the 11th RI GAR Department Encampment, held on January 30 1878, Department Commander and US Congressman Henry J. Spooner, also a close friend of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, announced at the opening of the Encampment that Dr. Hutchinson as Commander of "Arnold" Post No. 4 had 63 members and was attending with 3 elected delegates (one per each of its 20 members). By this time E.H. Rhodes (with Burnsideís support as Past Commander-in-Chief) was National GAR Sr. Vice Commander-in-Chief. Post 4 fielded a full delegation at the 1878 RI Department Encampment. The Post 4 Delegates at the convention with Post 4 Commander W.F. Hutchinson were Frank H. Brown, John S. Coggeshall and Marcus A. Vose, all very well respected RI Civil War Veterans. As RI Department Commander Spooner was about to bang the gavel to open the Encampment, Boss Brayton (a Past Post Commander of Post 1 and Past Dept. Commander) rose to challenge the legitimacy of the Post 4 delegation attending its first RI GAR Department Encampment. Brayton claimed to have affidavits proving that Post 4 had inducted four men after their 4th quarter reports were submitted to the Department showing membership. He asserted the men could not be counted as members of Post 4 in time for the Encampment. The delegation of Post 10 argued in favor of the true delegation of Post 4, as did Hutchinson and his delegation. Hutchinson argued there was no official deadline rule prohibiting counting the four Post 4 members. The new men of Post 4 were all members in good standing, even though they became members after the quarterly report to the Department just prior to the Encampment. There is some indication the argument got quite heated. Since it was common for men to carry pocket pistols and other small arms as a normal way of life during the mid and late 19th Century, the National GAR required all Departments and Posts to enforce a rule to check all arms at the door before entering any GAR Meeting Hall for any reason. This kept the argument over the Post 4 delegation from getting out of control. In the end however, since Brayton had a majority of established delegates in his favor, Department Commander Spooner had no choice but to put the matter to a vote and Post 4 and its ally Post 10 lost on the issue. Brayton then claimed he also had affidavits to prove that Post 10 had improperly reinstated members of their Post after the last quarterly report and therefore Post 10 was not entitled to its full delegation count.
According to the official Encampment Proceedings documenting the convention another "serious and vexed" discussion occurred. In the end the Department voted to accept Braytonís so called affidavits (which were in reality blank sheets of paper in his briefcase---a little trick Senator Joe Macarthy pulled quite often in the 1950s during Senate herings on Un-American Activities). Therefore, Post 10 lost on their delegate issue as well. As result of the arguments Marcus A. Vose was removed as a delegate representing Post 4 at its first convention. Post 10 lost as well and was forced to remove a delegate from their Post Delegation. The election and debate over certaint issues were so close both men were needed to sway the outcome against Braytonís views. All this ensured the RI GAR election of department officers went the way Brayton wanted. Dr. Hutchinson and his Post 4 delegation were furious, as were the Commander and delegates representing Post 10. It originally was determined that Post 4 had the second largest Post membership in the entire RI Department GAR at the time, next to the membership of Prescott Post No. 1 the largest and Post 10 the 3rd largest. Arnold Post 4 was originally entitled to one per each 20 members of their Post. This was the only negative aspect that impacted on the beginning of Arnold Post No. 4. Itís first year of operation was in all other ways are remarkable beginning. Dr. William F. Hutchinson would go on to become one of the most well respected members of the entire RI GAR up to his death in 1898. Although Hutchinson was a well respected Past Post Commander of Posts 10 and 4, he never went on to become RI GAR Department Commander.
At the 1878 National GAR Encampment Boss Brayton went on to use his political influence to prevent E.H. Rhodes from becoming National GAR Commander-in-Chief. In 1881, when RI US Senator Ambrose E. Burnside unexpectedly died in Bristol of a heart attack, Brayton engineered Congressman Nelson W. Aldrich to replace him. Together Brayton and Aldrich controlled Rhode Island until 1913. Senator Aldrich went on to become known as "America's Financial Manager" and changed America's tax laws to include family wages as taxable income with the US Internal Revenue Act, the system we have today. The off-spring of Aldrich (formerly of rural small town of Foster RI) married into the Rockefeller family, which eventually helped greatly increase his personal wealth in Rhode Island. President Theodore Roosevelt had no choice but to compromise with Aldrich in the U.S. Senate in order to rebuild the US Navy and follow through with his plan to project American Naval Power around the world at the start of the 20th Century. Thus, the IRS and Federal Reserve System became the rule in America. The only member of RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 to ever hold the office of RI Department GAR Commander was George R. Saunders, in 1924, after he had transferred to Brown Post 25 and after the Machine Party Political Eras of Brayton and Aldrich were over.
There is some indication that RI GAR Arnold Post No. 4 had a very talented band. Several of its members served as musicians during the Civil War. Nelson H. Arnold was for the most part the Arnold Post 4 bandleader until his death in 1897. The band played at Post 4 Annual Bivouacs (or annual Post meetings), Department Encampments, Memorial Day Ceremonies, Independence Day Parades and annual summer outings that members of Post 4 enjoyed with their families and closest Providence GAR Posts Comrades like members of Slocum Post 10, Brown Post 25 and the Womenís Relief Corps (WRCóAuxiliary to the GAR). A good contingent of Post 4 attended the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg events as well as the ceremonies commemorating the completion of the RI State House containing an impressive collection of Civil War displays in 1903. Since the Post closed unofficially in 1926 and officially in 1930, none of its members were able to attend the 75th Anniversary of Gettysburg in 1938 featuring the greetings presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Only Charles Bullock, of Brown Post 25, representing Rhode Island, was well enough to attend. Unfortunately, many of the Post 4 Civil War Veterans fell victims to the series of influenza epidemics that swept Rhode Island between 1890 and 1910 and again just after World War I. Since many of its members were professional men in private life, Post 4 was one of the wealthier GAR Posts of the RI Department GAR. For many years its headquarters was at the Old Arsenal on Benefit Street in Providence, where most of its artifacts still are today, and it assisted the Department with the management of the facility as prescribed by the General Assembly and the State. Most of its members lived and worked in Providence and Cranston. Most of its members were buried in Pocasset Cemetery and Oakland Cemetery in Cranston, as well as Swan Point Cemetery and Old North Burial Ground in Providence. ó Research compiled from 1994 to 2009 by: G.A. Mierka, PDC, RI Dept. Commander, RI SUVCW 1994ó2000, Camp 7 Commander FY 1993 and 2009, elected a member of Camp 7 in November 1990.
RHODE ISLAND CIVIL WAR ARNOLDS
Images Left to Right: Major General Richard Arnold Captain William Albert Arnold and Captain Fred Arnold
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