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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Sons of Confederate Veterans

by Charles C. Davis, 2006

"Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans marching in the George Washington birthday parade. Alexandria, VA.." With its international headquarters located at Elm Springs Plantation in Columbia, Tenn., and a significant contingent in North Carolina, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is the oldest organization of male descendants of men who served the Confederacy. Its purposes are historical, benevolent, patriotic, and educational. To become a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, one must show lineal or collateral ties to a member of the Confederate army or navy who honorably served, was a prisoner of war, was honorably discharged, or served the Confederacy as a member of Congress. Membership is open to male descendants with a minimum age of 12 years.

At the reunion of the United Confederate Veterans in Richmond, Va., on 1 July 1896, Gen. Stephen D. Lee rose to address the assembly and to give his charge and commission to the sons of the men who had worn the Gray. With his charge the United Sons of Confederate Veterans was born. The organization's name was shortened to its present form, Sons of Confederate Veterans, in 1912.

As in the beginning, North Carolina's modern Sons of Confederate Veterans are involved in a multitude of civic projects. The erection of monuments and preservation of battlefields throughout the state remain favored projects. The restoration and maintenance of cemeteries and graveyards is also of high priority. The group gives scholarships, research grants, and gifts of books to libraries and raises funds for the publication of archival records and the support of state and regional archives. Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday, Confederate Flag Day, and Confederate Memorial Day are some of the annual events publicly celebrated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans at county courthouses and the North Carolina State Capitol. In 2005 the organization had approximately 3,500 active members in North Carolina.

Image Credits:

"Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans marching in the George Washington birthday parade. Alexandria, VA.." Image courtesy of Flickr user M.J. Jatzen, uploaded on Febrary 20, 2012. Available from (accessed May 25, 2012).