The citizen soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the second War for Independence. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our republic and represent the foundation upon which this nation was built. Today the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.
The SCV is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendants of Confederate soldiers. Organized at Richmond, Virginia in 1896, the SCV continues to serve as a historical, patriotic heritage organization dedicated to insuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.
Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honourably in the Confederate armed forces. Membership can be obtained through either direct or collateral family lines and kinship to a veteran must be documented genealogically. The minimum age for membership is 12 years of age.
Proof of kinship to a Confederate soldier can take many forms. The easiest method is to contact the archives of the state from which the soldier fought and obtain a copy of the veteran’s military service record. All Southern states’ archives have microfilm records of the soldiers who fought from that state, and a copy of the information can be obtained for a nominal fee. In addition, the former Confederate States awarded pensions to veterans and their widows. All of these records contain a wealth of information that can be used to document military service. Much of the above information may now be found online. The SCV has a network of genealogists to assist you in tracing your ancestor’s Confederate service.
The SCV has ongoing programs at the local, state, and national levels which offer members a wide range of activities. Preservation work, marking Confederate Solders’ graves, historical re-enactments, scholarly publications, and regular meetings to discuss the military and political history of the War Between the States are only a few of the activities sponsored by local units, called camps.
All state organizations, known as Divisions, hold annual conventions, and many publish regular newsletters to the membership dealing with statewide issues. Each Division has a corps of officers elected by the membership who coordinate the work of camps and the national organization.
Nationally, the SCV is governed by its members acting through elected delegates to the annual convention. The General Executive Council, composed of elected and appointed officers, conducts the organization’s business between conventions. The administrative work of the SCV is conducted at the national headquarters, “Elm Springs,” a restored ante-bellum home in Columbia, Tennessee.
In addition to the privilege of belonging to an organization devoted exclusively to commemorating and honouring Confederate soldiers, members are eligible for other benefits. Every member receives the Confederate Veteran, the bi-monthly national magazine which contains in-depth historical articles on the war along with news affecting Southern heritage. The programs of the SCV range from assistance to undergraduate students through the General Stand Watie Scholarship to medical research grants given through the Brooks Fund. National historical symposiums, reprinting of rare historical books, and the erection of monuments are just a few of the other projects endorsed by the SCV.
The SCV works in conjunction with other historical groups to preserve Confederate history. However,it is not affiliated with any organization other than the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, composed of male descendants of the Southern officer corps. The SCV rejects any group whose actions tarnish or distort the image of the Confederate soldier, his reasons for fighting, or our Southern symbols.
If you are interested in perpetuating the ideals that motivated your Confederate ancestor, the SCV needs you. The memory and reputation of the Confederate soldier, as well as the motives for suffering and sacrifice, are being consciously distorted by some in an attempt to alter history. Unless the descendants of Southern soldiers resist those efforts, a unique part of our nation’s cultural heritage will cease to exist. If you would like to print out an application click here.