The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
With membership at almost 410,000 in 1890, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) had strength in numbers and gained political clout, growing as a force to the point that political offices could be won or lost by the backing of its members. The organization fought to have pension benefits extended to all Union veterans who were honorably discharged after 90 days’ service. Despite such efforts, Major Rice was ultimately denied a request to increase his pension from $12 to $30 a month because the official War Department Record only attested to 88 days of service. Rice died before his decade-long quest for the pension increase could be resolved, but he is an example of the many veterans who felt that their sacrifice for their country merited remuneration once they could no longer support themselves.