Invitations Printed By Major & Knapp Of Course !
Although Joseph F. Knapp was not a veteran of the Civil War, his long business association with General Stewart Woodford, who was one of his attorneys and his friendship with Generals Grant , Sherman etc. along with his unbridled sense of patriotism, played a large part in his long association with the Ulysses S. Grant Post # 327 of G.A.R. in Williamsburg. The Knapp mansion, partially because of the size, became the "headquarters" of many GAR events. Knapp's Decoration ( Memorial ) Day celebrations were spectacular and included several visits by US Presidents.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War. The GAR was among the first organized interest groups in American politics. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
The GAR was founded by Benjamin F. Stephenson, M.D., on April 6, 1866, in Decatur, Illinois. Its organization was based partly on the traditions of Freemasonry, and partly on military tradition; it was divided into "Departments" at the state level and "Posts" at the community level, and military-style uniforms were worn by its members. There were posts in every state in the U.S., and several posts overseas. The organization wielded considerable political clout nationwide. Between 1868 and 1908, no Republican was nominated to the presidency without a GAR endorsement. In 1868, General Order #11 of the GAR called for May 30 to be designated as a day of memorial for Union veterans; originally called "Decoration Day", it later evolved into the U.S. national Memorial Day holiday. The GAR was also active in pension legislation, establishing retirement homes for soldiers, and many other areas which concerned Union veterans.
The influence of the GAR led to the creation of the Old Soldiers' Homes of the late 19th century, which evolved into the current United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The GAR created the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) in 1881 to ensure the preservation of their own mission after Union war veterans had all died. The GAR also generated several auxiliary organizations such as the National Woman's Relief Corps, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865, many of which are still active. A comparable organization for Confederate veterans was the United Confederate Veterans (UCV).