To read about Department Encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic's Department of Washington and Alaska from other years, please see here.


Department of Washington Territory, G. A. R.  – 1883 First Annual Encampment Proceedings Summary 

The Department of Washington Territory G. A. R. was initially established as a Provisional Department with its officers appointed to their roles.  Comrade Frederick W. Sparling, appointed by the Commander in Chief of the G. A. R., was the Provisional Department’s first Commander.  Upon the resignation of Comrade Sparling, the Commander in Chief of the G. A. R., in General Order No. 9, Para. 7, dated March 28, 1883 at Omaha, Nebraska, appointed Comrade George D. Hill as Provisional Department Commander.

The first annual encampment of the Department of Washington Territory met at Templar’s Hall in Olympia, Washington Territory on June 20, 1883 at 2:30 p.m.  As the Department had not yet had its first formal elections the meeting was called to order by Provisional Department Commander, George D. Hill.  Because of the absence of the Senior Vice Commander and Junior Vice Commander, Comrade William McMicken of George H. Thomas Post No. 5 was appointed temporary Senior Vice Commander for the meeting.  Comrade Henry A. Bigelow of Custer Post No. 6 was appointed temporary Junior Vice Commander.

At the opening of the Encampment prayer was offered by Department Chaplain David G. Le Sourd.

Comrade Hill then addressed the officers and delegates and shared the history of the early G.A.R. posts in Washington Territory. He noted that the combined membership of camps within the newly formed Department of Washington Territory totaled nearly four hundred. He expressed optimism for the future and noted that when the encampment assembled again in a year “may it be as a full fledged department of the Grand Army of the Republic, second to none in the sisterhood of the states.”

The encampment held roll call of the provisional departmental officers and officers.

A Committee on Credentials was appointed consisting of:

Assistant Quartermaster General – James R. Hayden 

Assistant Adjutant General – Andrew Slorah 

Medical Director – Henry C. Bostwick 

The Committee on Credentials made a report of the officers and delegates entitled to seats at the Encampment.  The following officers were seated at the Encampment:

Department Commander – George D. Hill 

Assistant Adjutant General – Andrew Slorah 

Assistant Quartermaster General – James R. Hayden

Inspector – W. F. Prosser

Medical Director – Henry C. Bostwick

Judge Advocate – Patrick P. Carroll 

Mustering Officer – William Leslie 

Chaplain – David G. Le Sourd

The following Posts were represented:

Stevens Post No. 1 – Seattle 

Ellsworth Post No. 2 – Vancouver 

Alfred Sully Post No. 3 – Dayton 

Abraham Lincoln Post No. 4 – Walla Walla 

George H. Thomas Post No. 5 – Olympia 

Custer Post No. 6 – New Tacoma 

Philip Kearney Post No. 7 – Chehalis 

The Assistant Adjutant General provided a report on department membership noting that total membership of the department as of March 31, 1883 was 312. The Assistant Quartermaster General reported on the financial status of each of the posts within the department. 

On motion a Recommendations Committee was appointed of one Comrade from each post.    

Ivan H. Griswold – Stevens Post No. 1, Seattle                 

N. F. Bolton – Ellsworth Post No. 2, Vancouver 

J. Peiper – Abraham Lincoln Post No. 4, Walla Walla 

Nicholas Henry Owings – George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Olympia 

Henry C. Bostwick – Custer Post No. 6, New Tacoma 

R. M. Berry – Philip Kearney Post No. 7, Chehalis 

The Encampment adjourned until 8:00 p.m. 

The Encampment reassembled and proceeded to the nomination and election of officers. With the exception of the Junior Vice Commander, all officer positions received one nominee and the Assistant Adjutant General was instructed to cast a ballot for the single nominee of each office. Three candidates were placed in nomination for the Junior Vice Commander position: 

J. T. Newland - Philip Kearney Post No. 7, Chehalis 

N. F. Bolton - Ellsworth Post No. 2, Vancouver 

James R. Hayden - George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Olympia                 

After balloting several times no candidate was elected. On motion it was ordered that the candidate with the lowest number of votes be dropped.  N. F. Bolton’s name was dropped but again no choice was made after balloting.  On motion it was ordered that nominations again be opened for Junior Vice Commander.  Comrade Henry A. Bigelow of Custer Post No. 6 was placed in nomination and upon balloting he received a majority of votes.  

After all voting was completed the following officers were elected: 

Commander - George D. Hill, Stevens Post No. 1, Seattle 

Senior Vice Commander - F. F.  Adams, Abraham Lincoln Post No. 4, Walla Walla 

Junior Vice Commander - Henry A. Bigelow, Custer Post No. 6, New Tacoma 

Medical Director - Henry C. Bostwick, Custer Post No. 6, New Tacoma    

Chaplain - David G. Le Sourd, George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Olympia   

The Encampment placed in nomination Comrades as members of the Council of Administration with five to be elected. The nominees were as follows:  

Albert M. Brookes - Stevens Post No. 1, Seattle 

John Pieper - Abraham Lincoln Post No. 4, Walla Walla 

T. C. Bell - Ellsworth Post No. 2, Vancouver 

William H. Roberts - George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Olympia 

J. T. Newland - Philip Kearney Post No. 7, Chehalis 

Dennis C. Guernsey - Alfred Sully Post No. 3, Dayton 

N. F. Bolton - Ellsworth Post No. 2, Vancouver 

The following nominees were elected: 

Albert M. Brookes - Stevens Post No. 1, Seattle 

John Pieper - Abraham Lincoln Post No. 4, Walla Walla 

William H. Roberts - George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Olympia 

J. T. Newland - Philip Kearney Post No. 7, Chehalis 

N. F. Bolton - Ellsworth Post No. 2, Vancouver 

On motion, the Encampment nominated one delegate to the National Encampment scheduled to be held in Denver, Colorado July 24, 1883.  Comrade James R. Hayden of George H. Thomas Post No. 5 was the single nominee.  The Assistant Adjutant General was instructed to cast the ballot for Comrade Hayden. 

Comrade William B. Blackwell of Custer Post No. 6 was nominated as an alternate delegate to the National Encampment. As there were no other nominees the Assistant Adjutant General was instructed to cast the ballot for Comrade Blackwell. 

The Encampment considered items from the Committee on Recommendations, including per capita taxes (dues), department uniforms, and location of the next encampment with the following motions being put forth and agreed upon: 

  • After a recommendation of 40 cents per annum, the encampment agreed to per capita tax of 60 cents per annum.
  • The Department Uniform was adopted consisting of a blue blouse with G.A.R. brass buttons and a regulation cap with a wreath of gilt with the letters G.A.R. in the center of the wreath.  A recommended white patent leather belt was changed to black.
  • After nominations for Vancouver, Washington Territory and Walla Walla, Washington Territory as locations for the 2nd Annual Encampment, Vancouver was selected as the location.  The encampment is to be held on the third Wednesday of April 1884 at 1:00 p.m.

A communication was shared from the Department of Oregon G.A.R. expressing solidarity with the newly formed Department of Washington Territory and a desire to work closely together. Commander Hill responded with a telegram of thanks to the Department of Oregon. Commander Hill announced the names of the members of his Department Official Staff: 

  • Assistant Adjutant General - Andrew Slorah
  • Assistant Quartermaster General - James R. Hayden
  • Inspector - W. G. Latimer
  • Judge Advocate - Patrick P. Carroll
  • Mustering Officer - H. O. Simmonds

All newly elected officers were installed by Comrade William McMicken of George H. Thomas Post No. 5, officiating as the Mustering Officer.  Closing resolutions of thanks were approved. The Assistant Adjutant General was instructed to procure 150 copies of the encampment proceedings with ten copies each to be sent to Post Commanders, one copy to each Representative and Officer of the Department, and fifty copies to be reserved for binding.  On motion the Encampment adjourned.