Sons of Confederate Veterans

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Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.
Abbreviation SCV
Predecessor Association of United Confederate Veterans
Formation July 1, 1896 (1896-07-01)[1]
Type NPO
Legal status Association
Purpose Patriotic,
Headquarters Elm Springs
Membership 29,018 (2014)[3]
Commander-in-Chief Kelly Barrow
Adjutant-in-Chief Doug Nash
Executive Director Ben Sewell
Publication The Confederate Veteran
Staff 6 (2014)[4]
Formerly called United Sons of Confederate Veterans[5]

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. is an association of male descendants of Confederate veterans. It was founded in Richmond, Virginia on July 1st, 1896.[6]


On July 1, 1896, twenty-four delegates assembled in Richmond, Virginia for the purpose of forming a ″national organization, adopting a constitution similar in every respect to that governing the United Confederate Veterans, and permanently organized under the name United Sons of Confederate Veterans″ (USCV).[7] The preamble to the USCV Constitution read in part: ″To encourage the preservation of history, perpetuate the hallowed memories of brave men, to assist in the observance of Memorial Day, and to perpetuate the record of the services of every Southern Soldier″. Its aims, objects, and purposes were ″not to create or foster, in any manner, any feeling against the North, but to hand down to posterity the story of the glory of the men who wore the gray″.[8]

The following officers were then elected: "Jeb" Stuart, Jr., Commander-in-Chief; Robert Smyth, Commander, Army of Northern Virginia Department; and John Hardeman, Commander, Army of Tennessee Department. Election of the Commander, Trans-Mississippi Department, was deferred until the organization of divisions in that department. The following General Staff officers were then elected: Edwin Cox, Adjutant-General; George Williamson, Inspector-General; Robert Pinckney, Quartermaster-General; Edward McKissick, Commissary-General; Thomas Cobb, Jr., Judge-Advocate-General; Dr. Stuart McGuire, Surgeon-General; and Rt. Rev. Thomas Gailor, Chaplain-General.[9]

In the 1990s, disagreements over the purpose of the organization emerged within the SCV. At issue was an alleged shift in the SCV's mission from "maintaining gravestones, erecting monuments and studying Civil War history" to more issue-centric concerns. The SCV's new concerns included "fight[ing] for the right to display Confederate symbols everywhere from schools to statehouses".[10] The more "activist" members of the SCV gained electoral support and were increasingly elected to its leadership positions.[11] Members of the more traditionalist camp alleged that the League of the South had influenced their organization's new direction. One ally of the activist wing claimed that thousands of SCV members are also League of the South members.[11] News reports state that the activists advocate "picketing, aggressive lobbying, issue campaigning and lawsuits" in favor of what they term "heritage defense" to prevent "heritage violations". The SCV defines those as "any attack upon our Confederate Heritage, or the flags, monuments, and symbols which represent it".[11][12]

In 2002, SCV dissidents formed a new organization, Save the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SSCV), composed of members and former members of SCV.[13] According to SSCV co-founder Walter Charles Hilderman, "about a hundred or so individuals and groups identified themselves on the SSCV Web site as supporting Save the SCV" not long after the group was founded, though the current membership numbers for the SSCV are not available.[14] Boyd Cathey reported in the Southern Mercury that most of the dissension had ended by 2003, and the majority of the members of the SCV agreed with the heritage preservation activities espoused by the new SCV leadership.[15]

In early 2005, the SCV council sued to expel SCV president Dennis Sweeney from office. The court initially granted the council temporary control of the organization, but its final decision returned power to Sweeney. Thirteen of the 25 council members were expelled from the council shortly after Sweeney regained control. Nine of the council members expelled were former "Commanders-in-Chief" of the SCV, a status that heretofore had come with a life membership on the council.[16] In February, Cathey wrote in the Southern Mercury that most of the SCV's members had united against the "War on Southern Culture".[15] By the SCV's summer 2005 convention, activists firmly controlled the council. They severed much of the SCV's long-standing relationship with the more traditionalist Military Order of the Stars and Bars (MOSB). MOSB, founded in 1938, had been closely involved with the SCV, sharing its headquarters since 1992 and co-publishing Southern Mercury. The MOSB's Commander General, Daniel Jones, citing "the continuing political turmoil within the SCV", moved the MOSB out of the shared quarters, ended the joint magazine publishing enterprise, and separated the two organizations' finances. In 2006, for the first time, the two organizations held separate conventions.[11][17]


Its mission is to "honor the memories of those who served, promote knowledge, and cultivate the ties of friendship that should exist among descendants of Confederate soldiers".[18] [19]

To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit 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, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish.

— Lieut.-Gen. Stephen D. Lee, Commander-in-Chief, United Confederate Veterans, April 25, 1906.[20]


Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces.[21]

If a son or grandson is proud of his father's or grandfather's record he should declare himself publicly by identifying himself with a Son's Camp.

— Walker B. Freeman, Past Commander-in-Chief, United Confederate Veterans[22]


The SCV has a four tier system of organization that consists of Departments, Divisions, Brigades and Camps. Camps form the basic unit of organization. A Camp can be chartered by the application to the General Headquarters of a group of at least seven individuals meeting the eligibility requirements. Each Camp is assigned a name and number by the General Headquarters.[23] Camps are autonomous within the limits of the SCV Constitution and Standing Orders and can write their own constitutions, elect (or cause to be appointed) their own officers and define their officers' duties. Camp officers must include four offices whose duties are defined in the SCV Constitution, and such others as they see fit. The required officers are: Camp Commander (president); Lieutenant Commander (vice-president); Adjutant (treasurer); and Chaplain. These officers are collectively known as the Executive Committee.[24]

When five regularly chartered Camps are formed in any state, territory, or region outside the United States, they may be chartered as a Division by the General Executive Council. All Camps within the Divisions jurisdiction must be a member of their Division. Divisions draw up their own constitutions and may elect (or cause to be appointed) their own officers, provided that a majority of the members of the Division Executive Committee shall be elected by the membership. These officers consist of: the Division Commander, Lt. Commander, Adjutant, Treasurer, Chaplain, Sergeant-at-Arms, Historian, Editor, Public Affairs Officer, Chief of Staff, Parliamentarian, and Color Sergeant.[25] Each Division holds a convention at least every year.[26] A Division may be subdivided into Brigades for administrative and representational purposes, and to foster the formation of Camps in their area. Those Divisions who wish to have Brigades may specify the numbers, boundaries, and method of electing officers, if any, in their constitutions. The heads of Brigades are known as Brigade Commanders.[27]

The SCV divides the United States geographically into three Departments which comprise all Divisions and Camps not attached to a Division within their jurisdiction. Camps formed outside the US are assigned Departments by the General Executive Committee. These Departments are named after Civil War-era Confederate Army formations:[28][29]

  • Army of Northern Virginia Department – Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
  • Army of Tennessee Department – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  • Trans-Mississippi Department – Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Camps within the Department elect one Department Councilman to represent them on the General Executive Board. There is also a Department Commander who acts as an intermediary between the Camps and Divisions and General Headquarters, and can also call Department meetings as his pleasure, though the Department does not have any legislative power and cannot levy fees or dues.[30] With the consent of the General Executive Committee any Camp or Division may incorporate itself under the laws of their jurisdiction as a non-profit corporation, provided that they state in their incorporation papers that they are a subordinate to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.[31]

Order of the Confederate Rose[edit]

Some SCV divisions have unofficial auxiliaries or support groups known as the Order of the Confederate Rose. The OCRs are primarily the ladies auxiliary to the SCV.[32][33]


In 2011, the Mississippi Division, SCV, launched a campaign to honor Confederate Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest with a specialty licence plate. The same year, the organization awarded Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio its "Law and Order" award. [34] In 2013, Texas denied a request for a Confederate Battle Flag specialty license plate, a decision later upheld in State court.[35] In 2014, the State of Georgia approved a battle flag specialty license plate.[36] Georgia State Senator Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who is running for governor, indicated that if he wins the gubernatorial race he will not stop the state from issuing license plates featuring the flag. [37] [38] [39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United Sons, Confederate Veterans". Confederate Veteran IV (8): 20–21. 1896. 
  2. ^ U.S.C.V. Constitution. Art./Amend. II, Sec. 2.
  3. ^ Charleston, S.C.: Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. July 16, 2014. p. 59. 
  4. ^ "Contact SCV HQ Staff". Welcome to Elm Springs, C.S.A. Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ S.C.V. Constitution. Art./Amend. II, Sec. 7.
  6. ^ Hopkins, Walter (ed.) (1926). Year Book and Minutes of the Thirty-First Annual Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in the City of Birmingham, Ala. May 18-21, 1926. Richmond, VA: Dudley. p. 102. 
  7. ^ Hopkins, Walter (ed.) (1926). Year Book and Minutes of the Thirty-First Annual Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in the City of Birmingham, Ala. May 18-21, 1926. Richmond, VA: Dudley. p. 104. 
  8. ^ "United Sons, Confederate Veterans". Confederate Veteran IV (8): 20–21. 1896. 
  9. ^ Hopkins, Walter (ed.) (1926). Year Book and Minutes of the Thirty-First Annual Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in the City of Birmingham, Ala. May 18-21, 1926. Richmond, VA: Dudley. p. 103. 
  10. ^ Dan Gearino, "A Thin Gray Line", The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), August 28, 2002; Tracy Rose, "The War Between the Sons: Members fight for control of Confederate group". Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC), February 5, 2003, vol 9 iss 26; Jon Elliston, "Between heritage and hate: The Sons of Confederate Veterans' internal battle rages on". Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC), August 18, 2004, vol 11 iss 3; "The battle over flag's meaning: Arguing over the Confederacy's essence", Daily Record/Sunday News, (York, PA) September 3, 2006.
  11. ^ a b c d Cameron McWhirter. "Gray vs. Gray: Factions in Sons of Confederate Veterans exchange salvos in latest Civil War battleground", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 2, 2005; Deborah Fitts, "Sons Of Confederate Veterans In Leadership Dispute", Civil War News, April 2005
  12. ^ Reporting a Heritage Violation
  13. ^ SSCV Introduction
  14. ^ The Times and Democrat, interview of Walter Charles Hilderman, October 25, 2004
  15. ^ a b Cathey, Boyd D., "Principles and Priorities: The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Battle for Southern Culture", Southern Mercury, Vol. 3, No. 1, February 2005, pp. 30–31
  16. ^ Cameron McWhirter. "Gray vs. Gray: Factions in Sons of Confederate Veterans exchange salvos in latest Civil War battleground", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 2, 2005; Deborah Fitts, "SCV Supports Leaders And Ousts Dissidents", Civil War News, June 2005
  17. ^ Jones letter, 22 May 2006
  18. ^ U.S.C.V. Constitution. Art./Amend. II, Sec. 4-9.
  19. ^ "What is the Sons of Confederate Veterans?".
  20. ^ USCV, 1906, Minutes of the Eleventh Annual Reunion of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans.
  21. ^ "Who Can Join?".
  22. ^ Hopkins, Walter (ed.) (1926). Year Book and Minutes of the Thirty-First Annual Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in the City of Birmingham, Ala. May 18-21, 1926. Richmond, VA: Dudley. p. 4. 
  23. ^ The CONSTITUTION of the Sons of Confederate Veterans as amended July 23, 2010 – Anderson, South Carolina p.9 Art 4 Sec. 1
  24. ^ CONSTITUTION pp.9-11 Art. 4 Sec.2, 5-6
  25. ^ CONSTITUTION pp.11-13, Art. 4 Sec. 6 Art. 5 Sec.1, 7
  26. ^ CONSTITUTION p.12, Art.5 Sec.4
  27. ^ CONSTITUTION pp.12, 13 Art.5 Sec.3, Art 5, Sec. 7.5
  28. ^ CONSTITUTION p.15 Art.6 Sec.1
  29. ^ Standing Orders Of the Sons of Confederate Veterans As Revised in General Convention July 23, 2010 Anderson, South Carolina p. 3 Sec.4
  30. ^ CONSTITUTION pp.15-6 Art.6
  31. ^ CONSTITUTION pp.11, 15; Art.4 Sec. 7; Art. 5 Sec. 12
  32. ^ "Cherish the ladies", The Confederate Veteran Nov.-Dec. 2004
  33. ^ "Order of the Confederate Rose visits Falcon Rest"
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^

Further reading[edit]