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In 1861, six dispensations were granted for lodges to be held with active-duty regiments during the American Civil War. Each dispensation was granted to a particular regiment. These dispensations expired at the end of 1865.

Dispensation Granted By: William T. Coolidge

Regiment: 17th Infantry

Precedence Date: 09/16/1861




From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXII, No. 11, August 1863, Page 323:

To C. W. Moore, G. Sec. Grand Lodge of Mass.

Head Quarters, 17th Mass. Volunteers, Newbern, N. C., Dec. 2, 1862.

Bro. Moore — While on the recent expedition under Gen. Foster, we passed through the village of Hamilton, N. C. Our regiment being in the rear, it was some time after the arrival of the head of the column before we reached the place. When we did arrive, I found that the building occupied by the Masonic Fraternity had been broken open by some New York soldiers, and much of the regalia and all of the Jewels carried off. With the assistance of some Brethren I succeeded in getting a guard placed over what was left, while the troops were in the town.

In looking over the articles that were left, I found the Charter of the Lodge, which being in quite a fine frame, I feared might perhaps be taken possession of by some one who might make an improper use of it: and there being no one in the town with whom it could be left, by the advice of some of our Fraternity, I took possession of it, and herewith enclose it to yon. You will please make such disposition of it as you may deem proper under the circumstances.

I could find no traces of the Jewels, but should I succeed in getting possession of them hereafter, I will send them to you to be deposited with our Grand Lodge, until such time as they can be returned.

Our hearts have recently been made glad by the arrival of quite a number of our Massachusetts Brethren in the new regiments from home. We are happy to see them, for we know they will be good soldiers. In our regiment we have been waiting for the return of our Dispensation. It has now arrived, and we hope to have another meeting in a few days.

Fraternally yours, W. H. H. Hinds,
Asst. Surgeon 17th Mass. Vol., S. Warden, United Brethren Army Lodge, No. 3.


Massachusetts Lodges