Services For the Dead


The War Between the States had ended in April 1865, 58 years before the Service manual I have in my collection was printed. May of 1927 (four years later) the roll call was getting smaller and smaller. Just as they had for every year since 1874, The Post Adjutant was tasked with calling that roll as part of his official duties at all Memorial Day events.

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In May of 1927, my Grandfather (John. C. McPherson) was the adjutant who read the roll. His Father, John Culbert McPherson had passed on to his great reward on the third of January 1927. This was the first roll call that Pvt. McPherson had missed since Mustering out in Vienna Virginia in 1865.

(Grandpa Mac was the adjutant in 1927. He was a World War 1 Veteran and a member of the Sons of the GAR)



To all whom it may concern:

Know ye, that John McPherson, a private of Captain Joseph Anderson’s Company, E Fifth Regiment of Heavy Arty, Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was enrolled on the fifth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and fifty four to serve one year or during the war, is hereby discharged from the service of the United States this thirtieth day of June, 1865, at Vienna, Virginia by reason G.O. No 94 A.G.O. dated May 15th 1865, (no objection to his being re-enlisted is known to exist.)
Said John McPherson was born in Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, is eighteen years of age, five feet five inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, auburn hair, and by occupation, when enrolled, a laborer, given at Vienna, Va this thirtieth day of June 1865.
Singed by Joseph Anderson, Capt.
Marked as "Paid in full- July 4, 1865 P.P.Y Hall, P.M."

John Culbert McPherson was born in Aug 1847, but enlisted in August of 1864, only 17 years old at the time. Grand-daughter Isabel MacPherson Patrick maintained that he put a piece of paper in his shoe with the number "18" on it, so that when asked if he was over 18, he could truthfully reply "yes"! (Unsubstantiated family lore says that he actually tried to enlist when he was fifteen and was sent home when found out). He was the first generation of his family born in the United States. His family has gone on to serve in both World Wars, the Vietnam Era conflict, Gulf 1 and 2 and still serve to this day (Army and Navy).

Great Grandfather MacPherson  MacPhersons 1918

Grandfather Closeup  GAR Postcard Front


For the use of the Grand Army of the Republic

Headquarters , Grand Army of the Republic, April 1923


Chaplain’s Prayer from the Service Manual:

“Almighty Father! humbly we bow before Thee, Our Creator, Preserver, Guide and Protector. We thank Thee for our lives; for the mercy which has kept us until this hour; for Thy guidance on land and sea, by day and by night; for Thy constant care in the hour of danger; and for the preservation of our national integrity and unity. Be graciously near to our comrades who suffer from disease and wounds, and to the widows and orphans of those who fell in our holy cause; in all distress comfort them. and grant us ready hands to supply their needs. Grant that the memory of our noble dead, who freely gave their lives for the land they loved, may dwell ever in our hearts. Bless our country; Bless our Order; make it an instrument of great good. Keep our names on the roll of Thy servants, and at last receive us into that Grand Army above, where Thou O God, art the Supreme Commander.”

Special MacPherson Memories 013

From the Commander: “The cares of business, the pursuits of pleasure, the usual common concerns are put aside, while we bring flowers and wreaths of evergreen with which to decorate the graves of the men who sacrificed on the alter of patriotic devotion everything that men hold dear, in order to preserve the integrity and unity, and to perpetuate the power and glory of the American republic.”

The final questions from the Post Commander and instructions for the Post in 1927:

Senior Vice Commander, how shall all men live?

SVP: With Trust in God and in love for one another

Commander: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death

Comrades: We thank God who gave us the victory through Jesus Christ Our Lord

Commander: May the Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, keep us by His gracious presence amid the conflicts of our mortal life, and at last receive us into everlasting peace.

Comrades: Amen

(The service was originally created in 1874 and remained in place until the GAR faded into obscurity)

God Bless America

Mister Mac

6 thoughts on “Services For the Dead

  1. I was thinking of you as I tried to screw my schedule around this weekend to attend services at Fort MacPherson. Unfortunaltely, I was not able to do so but, I’m sure my difficulties are understood by the appropriate authorities.

  2. I just purchased a very old photograph that may have your grandfather in. I believe it was taken between 1910 & 1923 at the soldiers & sailors museum. If you contacted me i should be able to forward you some good images.

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