Civil War memorabilia from Hull, Ill.
Louis Kendal Smith, the recipient of this Civil War Grand Army Badge, was born Nov. 13, 1842, in Fond du Lac, Wis., and died Feb. 7, 1940. He was a member of the Hull Methodist Church. His funeral was in Hannibal, and interment was at Kinderhook, Ill. This medal is on exhibit at the Hull History Museum. It was made from captured cannon metal, carrying patents of May 4, 1886, and June 22, 1886.
The following information is from the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library 4278 Griscom Street Philadelphia, PA:
The badge is of bronze, made from cannons captured in battle during the Civil War, and is in a form of a five-pointed star, similar in design to the two hundred Medals of Honor, authorized by an act of Congress to be given to the soldiers and sailors most distinguished for meritorious and gallant conduct during the Civil War.
THE OBVERSE -- in the center of the badge is the figure of the goddess of liberty, representing loyalty. On either side, a soldier and a sailor clasping hands, representing fraternity, and two children receiving benediction and assurance of protection from the comrades, representing charity. On each side of the group is the National Flag and the Eagle, representing freedom; and the axe, or bundle of rods, or fasco, representing Union. In each point of the star is the insignia of the various branches of service -- the bugle for infantry, the crossed cannons for artillery, the crossed muskets for marines, the crossed sabers for cavalry, and the anchor for the sailors. Over the central groups are the words "Grand Army of the Republic" and under "1861 -- Veterans -- 1866" commemorating the commencement and close of the rebellion and also the date of organization of the Order.
THE REVERSE SIDE represents a branch of laurel, the crown and reward of the brave, in each point of the star. The National Shield is in the center, surrounded by the twenty-four recognized Corps Badges, numerically arranged, each on a keystone and all linked together, showing they are united and will guard and protect the shield of the nation. Around the center is a circle of stars representing the states of the union comprising the Grand Army of the Republic.
THE CLASP is comprised of the figure of an eagle with crossed cannons and ammunition, representing defense; the eagle with drawn sword hovering over and always ready to protect from insults or dishonor; the National Flag, which is also the emblem and ribbon of the Order.
This is the badge and the final design used by the G.A.R. and produced by the millions and presented to all members upon induction into the order. Below is an explanation of how the badge developed, and was struck from captured Confederate cannon. This bronze was issued to the G.A.R. by the War Department as needed. The badges were supplied by the National Quartermaster to the individual Posts and only presented to members in good standing who had proved their honorable service in the Union forces in the Civil War.