Marcus L. Ward, “The Soldier’s Friend”

Well, I survived my qualifying exams and am a newly minted Ph.D. candidate.  So I will not only be back to my regular posting here at Grand Army Blog, but will now be working on “When Billy Came Marching Home” full time.  Indeed, tomorrow morning I am off to Newark, New Jersey, to examine the Marcus Lawrence Ward Papers at the New Jersey Historical Society.  Ward, who served as New Jersey’s twenty first governor from 1866 to 1869, was known after the war as “The Soldier’s Friend.”  He devoted much of his public life to laboring on behalf of Union veterans and their families, operating “Marcus L. Ward’s Office for Soldiers” in Room No. 2 of Newark’s Post Office Building.  Veterans throughout New Jersey and the mid-Atlantic region wrote heartrending letters to Ward seeking pecuniary support, aid with pension claims, or assistance with housing.  The governor also played a key role in establishing the New Jersey State Soldier’s Home, which housed hundreds of physically and mentally scarred ex-soldiers.

Thank you for your patience this past week.  It is good to be back.

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