Grand Army of the Republic
William Earnshaw, eighth Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, May 12, 1828. On April 16, 1861, he enlisted as a private and was mustered in a chaplain of the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry, resigning that office October 12, 1862, by reason of consolidation of his regiment. He was appointed hospital chaplain, United States Volunteers, April 22, 1863 and was mustered out August 27, 1867.
He was then engaged in superintending the construction of two national cemeteries, Murfreesboro and Nashville, Tennessee. He was elected chaplain of the National Military Home at Dayton, Ohio, September 5, 1867 and continued in that work until his last sickness.
He was Commander of Ohio Department, GAR in 1876, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief in 1877 and elected Commander-in-Chief in 1879, presiding at Dayton, Ohio, June 8, 1880. He was taken from this life on July 17, 1885.
Final Journal of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1957. Compiled by Cora Gillis, Jamestown, New York, Past National President, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865, Inc. and last National Secretary of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Lorraine Orton, Past Department President
Woman's Relief Corps, Aux. to GAR
Camillus, New York
November 25, 1999