The Grand Army of the Republic fought the Confederacy in the Civil War. When the war was over, thousands of soldiers kept the name and formed their own fraternal organization. The G.A.R. cared for veterans and their families decades before the creation of the Veterans Administration.
On April 6, 1866 – 150 years ago this week – Union soldiers who’d fought in the Civil War came together to form one of the world’s first veterans organizations.