P.O. Box 1411
Key West , FL 33041
Reference: GAR Death Badge Fantasy
To Whom It May Concern:
The Officers of the National Organization, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have noticed with growing alarm the sale of so called Grand Army of the Republic Death Badges through internet sales and antique stores.
There is no such thing. As the National Historian, I have been charged to read every national proceeding of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Sons of Veterans, USA and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. There are no references anywhere to the existence of a “ GAR Death Badge or Widow’s Badge”.
The comrades of the GAR honored their dead by wearing a black silk or satin ribbon with the name of their Post imprinted on it.
The so called Death Badge is, in fact, the official membership badge of the Masonic Order called the Knights Templar. The wide spread joint membership by Union veterans in both the GAR and the Knights Templar caused these membership badges to be found together by later heirs and dealers. There is no other connection. No Maltese cross badge marked with GAR identification has ever been found. There have been no printed records located regionally, departmentally or nationally that would indicate the GAR ever used such a badge. For dealers or sellers to offer such a badge is an accidental or intentional fraud.
Fraternally yours in F, C & L,
Robert J. Wolz, National Historian
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Past Ohio Department Commander 1968 & 1972
Past Senior Vice Commander in Chief 1974-1976
Past Junior Vice Commander in Chief 1972-1974
Past National Patriotic Instructor
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