Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996 Page: 6
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The Sons of Confederate Veterans
The Sons of ".. it is your duty to see that the true history of the South by commandConfederate
Vet- ers, with the naerans
is a volun- is presented to future generations...If we do not, South. tionalorganizatary
association of . , , tiondirectedby
male descendants ern history will surely perish. If we do, we will prevail. a commandereced
male descendants em ., PE~fl~fl. , ~ we preva~ a commander
of those who
served the Confederate States of
America in the Army or Navy. The
group is not affiliated with any organization
other than the Military Order of
the Stars and Bars. It is not political nor
sectional; membership is distributed
across the entire country. The SCV
strives to honor and keep alive the
memory of the Confederacy and the
principles for which Confederates
fought, thus giving the world an understanding
and appreciation of the Southern
people and their brave history. Activities
of the SCV are maintenance of
historic sites; sponsorship of symposia;
the marking of Confederate graves; sponsorship
of reenactment groups and Confederate
honor guards; the encouragement
of historical literacy achievement;
and the awarding of scholarships.
On June 30, 1889, the United Confederate
Veterans was organized at New
Orleans. Descendants of those veterans
met with the UCV, but never with full,
official status. In 1894 and 1895, poorly
planned proposals to form an official
organization of descendants were rejected
by the UCV.
In 1896, Edwin P. Cox of Richmond,
Virginia, led a well-organized effort to
establish a national structure for the
"Sons" of Confederate veterans. At the
1896 convention of the UCV, a resolution
was presented and adopted calling
for the foundation of the Sons of Confederate
Veterans as a separate national
organization. But, before the vote was
taken on the UCV resolution the Sons
had already acted.
On June 30, 1896, in Richmond,
representatives of 24 camps and societies
met to take action. J.E.B. Stuart, son
of the noted cavalry leader, was selected
temporary chairman, and a committee
was appointed to draft a constitution.
On the next day, the constitution was
completed and adopted. The United
Sons of Confederate Veterans had been
The structure of the new federation
was to follow that of the Confederate Army;
that is, there would be three departments.
The Army of Northern Virginia Department
would be composed of the states of
Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina,
and Kentucky. The Army of Tennessee
Department included Georgia, Tennessee,
Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and
Louisiana. The Army of the Trans-Mississippi
Department included all states west of
the Mississippi. Each state was designated
as a division.
The constitution stipulated that annual
meetings would be held at the same time
and place as the UCV. This procedure was
followed through the last UCV convention
in 1951. J.E.B. Stuart was elected the
commanding general of the SCV and Edwin
Cox was appointed the first adjutant general.
No commander was elected for the
Army of the Trans-Mississippi Department
until the second convention in Nashville
in 1897. No Texan served as commanderin-chief
of the SCV from the time Edgar
Scurry left office in 1922 until Ralph Green's
election in 1986.
By the end of the 1987 convention of
the United Sons of Confederate Veterans,
the number of camps had grown to 37 men,
with one in Texas. An issue facing delegates
at that meeting was the question of
admitting females into membership in
USCV. While the assembly voted to cooperate
with the ladies and to secure their
cooperation, a resolution changing the name
of the organization to "Sons and Daughters
of the Confederacy" was voted out of order.
The existence of the United Daughters of
Confederacy was perhaps a factor in the
resolve to keep the organization male.
At various times through the years the
constitution has been revised to meet the
needs and changes dictated by the passage
of time. For instance, in 1912, in Macon,
Georgia, the name "United Sons of Confederate
Veterans" was shortened to the
present "Sons of Confederate Veterans".
In 1914, the officer designations of major
general, lieutenant general, etc., were eliminated.
Today the various levels are headed
operations are directed by the adjutant-in-chief.
A general executive council
was instituted to oversee the national
organization, functioning similarly to a
board of directors of a commercial enterprise.
For many years after its formation, the
SCV grew and flourished. In 1904, there
were a total of 1,563 UCV camps with
314 in the Texas division, and there were
481 SCV camps with 86 in the Texas
division. However, as the veterans passed
away, the SCV membership and number
of camps waned.
In 1923, there were only 23 SCV
camps in the Texas division. The number
of camps increased to 166 by 1927,
but the membership and numbers of
camps dwindled as the War grew distant
and young southerners became less interested
in their heritage. In 1941 the
Texas division became inactive, but in
1954, the division began the process of
rebuilding under the leadership of Commander
Dr. Ralph W. Widener Jr.
The centennial celebration of the War
Between the States from 1961 to i965
brought temporarily revived interest, but
the late 1960s saw membership dwindle
again. Since the mid-1970s, membership
has moved upward, and the 1980s
and early 1990s have been a time of
steady growth in terms of members and
new camp development.
In 1906, Lieutenant General Stephen
D. Lee of the Confederate States Army
addressed the SCV. His charge to the
group is still pertinent: "To you, Sons of
Confederate Veterans, we will submit
the vindication of the cause for which we
fought. To your strength will be given
the defense of the Confederate soldier's
good name, the guardianship of his history,
the emulation of his virtues, and
the perpetuation of those principles he
loved. Remember, it is your duty to see
that the true history of the South is
presented to future generations...If we do
not, Southern history will surely perish.
If we do, we will prevail."
6 HERITAGE -SUMMER 1996
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996, periodical, Summer 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45405/m1/6/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.