THE UNITED CONFEDERATE VETERANS
Posted By : manager
Posted : February 25, 2022
By: Mike Thomas
The United Confederate Veterans organization was formed in 1889, almost a quarter of a century after Appomattox. Consisting of men who had served in the Confederate army, navy, or marines, their goals were noble and visionary. The UCV Constitution emphatically stated that it was a “Social, Literary, Historical and Benevolent” organization. One goal was for members to gather wartime material (i.e., maps, rosters, correspondence, records, etc.) and write accounts of their military service so that “…an im-partial and historically accurate history of the Confederate side” of the war could be presented and preserved. Another called for the erection of monuments for “…our great leaders and heroic soldiers and people…” and “…marking with suitable headstones the graves of Confederate dead wherever found”. Yet another goal was the care of disabled and destitute former Confederate servicemen and needy widows and orphans of men who honorably wore the Gray.
“UCV,” continued from page 1
It reads: To instill in our descendants a proper reverence for the spirit and glory of their fathers, and bring them into association with our organization, that they may aid us in accomplishing our objects and purposes, and finally succeed us, and take up our work where we may leave it. This ultimately led to the establishment of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1896.
The UCV grew rapidly from its inception. In 1896, it boasted 850 camps across the South and elsewhere, including Chicago, Washington D.C., Montana, New Mexico, California, Indiana, and Canada. South Carolina had 87 camps, with 3 in Charleston and one each in Mt. Pleasant and Summerville. The Stephen Elliott Camp #51 in St. George was the state’s first chartered UCV camp. Camp Sumter #250 was the first in Charleston. The Mt. Pleasant Camp #410 was named for Thomas M. Wagner for whom Battery Wagner was named. Other Charleston camps were Palmetto Guard #315, A. Burnett Rhett #767, and Washington Artillery #1102. Summerville Camp #374 was formed under the name of General James Conner. Urban centers such as Charleston, Columbia and Greenville had multiple camps. Many, however, came from smaller towns and communities like Moncks Corner, Ninety-Six, Jennys, Due West, Glymphville, and Hyman.
0ver 160,000 Confederate veterans were members at one time or another, with a total of 1,885 camps being chartered. In 1903, 1,523 active camps were on the rolls, 136 of them from South Carolina. The number of centers gradually decreased as members died from that year on. The need for the Sons of Confederate Veterans to join in their work was formally recognized in 1906 when Stephen Dill Lee gave “The Charge” at the UCV Reunion in New Orleans.
UCV membership zeal and fidelity never wavered. In 1921, when the youngest members were in their mid-70s, the number of active UCV camps was surprisingly substantial at 1,020, with 55 from the Palmetto State, including Charleston’s Camp Sumter and Camp A. Burnett Rhett.