Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Do You Know What G.A.R. Means?

Montezuma Wine Tasting, Seneca Falls, NY
We were on our way to the Montezuma Winery in Seneca Falls today. Major road work caused us to be detoured over side streets. 

We discovered this monument dedicated to men in the G.A.R. 

Grand Army of the Republic(GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War. The GAR was among the first organized interest groups in American politics. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (source from Wikipedia). We had never heard this term before today.

There were six G.A.R. posts in the Seneca Lake area. Two in Ovid (we visited Cayuga Ridge, Thirsty Owl and Hosmer wineries there); the one in Seneca Falls; one in Lodi (we visited Eremita winery last year even though it was closed for tastings); one in Interlaken (we visited Lucas winery there last year) and one in Waterloo (where there are no wineries!).Our winery pictures are below.

Of the chartered posts (some of which disbanded), seven men ranging in age from 18 to 29 joined. Five were killed in action and one was wounded and mustered out. That one was 23 and his younger brother, 21, was one who died as a POW.

We learned on our earlier travels that there was a civil war prison in Elmira, which the interred referred to as “Hellmira”. In a one-year period, at least 12,000 confederate soldiers were prisoners. Almost 3,000 men died there. Compare that with Andersonville from one of my earlier posts and the percentages are not too far apart. An historian, Michael Horigan, stated, “Elmira, a city with excellent railroad connections, was located in a region where food, medicine, clothing, building materials, and fuel were in abundant supply. None of this could be said of Andersonville. Hence, Elmira became a symbol of death for different reasons.” The site is now occupied by homes and there is only a small marker or two to indicate that there was a prison there in 1865.

Because we got involved in visiting wineries and breweries, we were slackers on our Civil War mission.  We thought we'd be done with NYS wineries and its Civil War places this year, BUT we know we'll return again next year for some more exploring.

Eremita Winery in Lodi, NY

View from Thirsty Owl, Ovid, NY

Hosmer Tasting Room in Ovid, NY (dig those purple Adirondack chairs!)

Cayuga Ridge Tasting Room, Ovid, NY

Lucas Winery in Interlaken


  1. Never heard of the Elmira prison......but I'm sure no one likes to publicize its existence since it was so horrendous. You went to a few wineries that I haven't visited.....I'll have to look for them the next time I'm out there. Have a safe trip back to was good to see you!

  2. Karen....I published as Anonymous because I didn't know how to do otherwise! Drue

  3. Wine, the only reason I'd move back to NYS

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