James D. Bell
Comrade James D. Bell, Commander-in-Chief of
the Grand Army of the Republic, was called by
death at his home in Brooklyn, on the 1st day of
He was born in New York City Sept. 29, 1845.
At the age of sixteen, on October 1, 1862, he
enlisted in Troop B, of the 1st New York
Mounted Rifles, and after nearly 4 years’ service
was mustered out June 26, 1865. Wounded in battle November 14, 1862, for a period he
experienced the inhospitalities of a Rebel prison.
For nearly fifty years he was a resident of
Brooklyn and became known as one of the
foremost citizens of that great city. He took up
law for his life work and soon he gained great
prominence in his chosen profession. For ten
years he was Corporation Counsel of the
Borough of Brooklyn; for four years he was
President of the Brooklyn Bar Association and
for 2 years he was Vice-President of the State
Bar Association. He was United States District
Attorney for Eastern District of New York at the
time of his death.
Outside of his profession he was called to many positions of high honor and responsibility,
indicating great confidence and respect on the part of his fellow citizens.
Comrade Bell was, for many years, Judge Advocate of the Department of New York,
GAR and rendered signal service by preparing a digest of all important dicisions of the National
Judge Advocate, and by compiling all New York State Laws touching veterans’ interests, both of
which have been published in the proceedings of the State Encampments.
For 13 years he was commander of Abel Smith, first Long Island Post, was elected to the office of Department of New York Commander in 1914, and was elected Commander-in-Chief at the National Encampment in 1919.
Final Journal of the GAR, by Cora Gillis, 1957.