John S. Koster
Comrade John S. Koster, Past New York
Department Commander, Grand Army of
the Republic, died August 18, 1921 at the
Dr. A.F. Christian Sanatorium in Boston, MA,
where he had been a patient for some time. He
was in his eighty-first year.
He enlisted in the 21st Massachusets Volunteers
and served three years, making a brillant military
record. He was long known as Sergeant Koster
of Company K. It was at the Battle of Cold
Harbor that Sergeant Koster received his terrible
wound in the arm and chest. A strong
constitution and able body well cared for,
brought him through his trying and painful ordeal
safe but not sound, for it was through the roar
and din of the battle through which he passed
that left him a reminder in the living, speaking
presence of the useless empty sleeve.
His regiment was one of the most active of the northern armies and he helped to make its fame.
He brought his dying captain from the field one day in the face of the enemy’s guns. Many
instances of his bravery are recorded by his comrades. He lost his right arm in the charge of
Cold Harbor, June 2, 1864. After many months of suffering in the hospital he was able to return
home and Governor Andrew of Massachusetts gave him a Major’s commission. For five or six
years after the war, Major Koster was employed in the Boston Post-office and he rose to a
responsible postion in the office.
He was one of the oldest and best known Grand Army men and was Commander of his Post in
Boston for many years. In 1898 he was Junior Vice-Commander of the Dept. of New York,
GAR. At Niagara Falls, in 1903, he was chosen Department Commander. He was also President
of the Twenty-first Regiment Mass. Vol. Association.
A man of sterling qualities of head and heart, sound in judgment, upright in character and
prominent in the affairs of his country and this State, Major Koster had won the esteem and
respect of all who had the please of forming his acquaintance.
The 1922 NY Dept. Journal, Grand Army of the Republic