Badge of the Department of Louisiana and Mississippi, Grand Army of the Republic
Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson and Chaplain William J. Rutledge founded the Grand Army of the Republic. The two served together in the 14th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and were tent mates during Sherman’s Expedition to Meridian, Mississippi, in February 1864.
The GAR was organized into departments on the state level and posts on the local level. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas formed the Department of the Gulf on May 15, 1884. Posts in Texas detached from the Department of the Gulf, and the name was changed to the Department of Louisiana and Mississippi on June 13, 1888. The GAR dissolved in 1956.