Confederate Soldiers – American Veterans by Act of Congress



 Welcome to Confederate Heritage and History Month once Again

 ” Every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate civil war [sic] is a tribute to American valor… And the time has now come… when in the spirit of fraternity we should share in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers… and if it needed further justification it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in the year just passed by the sons and grandsons of those heroic dead.” …President William McKinley, 14 December 1898.


 by Jim W. Dean, VT Editor   … with the  Sons of Confederate Veterans

Fifty million Americans with Confederate ancestry look forward to April as a time to honor the hardships and accomplishments of not only their own family histories, but also of their fellow comrades in arms.

It’s also a big veterans heritage month because Southerners have served in America’s military in disproportionate numbers, more than any other regional group of Americans.

I detailed some of our more well known celebrities in my February 14th, 2011 article,  Our Civil War 150th Anniversary – The Sesquicentennial Begins.

Take a peek and you will find a few surprises, like Harry Truman, Alvin York of WWI, and General George Patton. During the war York’s grandfather was dragged to death behind a horse down a mountainside for being a Confederate sympathizer.

For those of you suffering from ancestor denial the Sesquicentennial is a good time to cross back over the river to get connected to your family. The first place to start is by joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the United Daughters of the Confederacy…no cross dressing allowed though, sorry.

Sgt. Alvin York – Medal of Honor – WWI – Confederate descendant

Membership requires a lineal Confederate ancestor, but that includes not only soldiers but those who served in the CSA government.

If you are from the South it is impossible to not have Confederate ancestors among the sixteen branches of your family that the average person has back to that period.

The SCV has many years of experience helping people document their CSA ancestry. The fabulous online archives of family name genealogical forums make doing this much easier than even ten years ago. But tracking down the female branchs due to all the name changes is often a challenge.

You can go to the SCV website, click ‘about’, then ‘Join the SCV’, and find just about everything that you will need.

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If you have any questions you can call Brian at 1-(800) MYSOUTH, or email him at [email protected]  Be sure to tell him Jimmy Dean sent you so you will get the white glove treatment.

I will share with you that ‘I waz ignerant’ about my heritage until my mid-40’s. One of my biggest regrets is having taken my family heritage for granted before then. I had been slack, and distracted.

The only thing I could say in my defense is that I had no family role model really until my mother plopped a family genealogy book down in my lap one day that her cousin had done. It had everything laid out on her branch back to American Revolution ancestor Pvt. Joseph Culpepper, who served in a Georgia unit.

Steve Scroggins has a great piece in the VT archives on looking up your ancestors called Having Blood in the Game. It’s a great piece to get warmed up on.

Could this be your ancestor? Did he get hanged?

I was proud, but embarrassed at the same time for having been such a big dummy. And yes, I have been trying to make up for it since then, which is why you are reading this now.

So all of you closet Confederates out there, give the SCV Elm Springs headquarters folks a call. You have my personal guarantee you will be glad you did, and a lot to share with all the rest of us.

We will be doing a whole series of SCV Sesquicentennial articles this month. Check back in the feature section and they will be there.  Better late than never,  Jim Dean…the Half-Yankee Confederate


Welcome to Confederate Heritage Month

–  First Published April 16th, 2010  –


Sons of Confederate Veterans

April is Confederate Memorial Month where various commemorations held throughout the month, primarily in the South. In the other states I would venture to say that most have never even heard of it, a combination performance of historical revisionism, political correctness, and amnesia.

But I am happy to report that we are seeing more events being held each year and better attended. The 150th Anniversary has provided us a number of years to reacquaint Americans with difficult part of our shared heritage.

The anti-Confederate smear campaign is becoming recognized for what it always was, a political campaign to denigrate Southern heritage. The ignorance and silliness was on the scale of your left arm not liking your right arm and then beginning a process of eventual amputation. And it would include a period of cigarette burning and razor slashing to get the process rolling.

The country is thankfully waking up from this silliness. Veterans Today has made an editorial decision to dig into more of these suppressed historical events, especially those involving veterans. It will keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

I have begun working on my main Confederate Memorial piece for VT focusing in on some of the archival gems and bombshells that most Americans know little or nothing about our War Between the States, or War of Southern Independence as

Despite the huge number of books written over the years the really good stuff is protected like the gold at Fort Knox, especially when it comes to school curriculums. I did not really begin learning about how much history had been suppressed and censored until my mid forties. The journey has so far turned into an seemlingly endless one.

I wanted to get something up to get the educational ball rolling with a one issue piece.

The simplest item I always use to jerk the shorts up on a Confederate basher, especially a veteran, and even more so an officer, is to ask them if they knew that Confederate soldiers are officially American Veterans by Act of Congress. They are usually stunned.

I then share with them the story below and then point out that when they think it is cute to bash Confederate soldiers they are making fools of themselves and embarrassing the Vet community as they are actually bashing all veterans. And if they can do it…then why not Vet haters.

Son of the American Revolution

I am happy to report that this sinks in very quickly with about 100% effectiveness. I follow up with a rundown on the disproportionate numbers that Southerners have contributed to all of America’s wars.

The front lines of our current military conflicts are filled with descendants of Confederate soldiers, many of whom are also descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers like myself.

See my earlier Sesquicentennial 150th Civil War anniversary article on just a few celebrity Confederate descendants.

But I must admit that finding the great piece below by Colonel Ed Kennedy made doing this easy. It is short and sweet, and covers the early history up through 1958 when the final act giving Confederates legal equality with Union veterans was passed.

United Daughters of the Confederacy

Those of you who have Confederate ancestry, whether you are male of female, are eligible to be members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And of course a few folks might be eligible for both. I have been waiting for that gender lawsuit to happen, but the lawyers seem to have missed that one.

Ancestor denial had been epidemic in America but fortunately the Internet has made what was once a grueling process much easier.

SCV members are now doing DNA work to hook up with lost relatives, while others are finding fellow SCV men whose ancestors fought in the same unit as their Confederate ancestors. I am sure they are proud of the effort.

The process of discovering ourselves can be a rewarding one…most of the time. Professor Henry ‘Skip’ Gates of Harvard discovered that he was majority white, and seems to have adpated well. We met while shooting a segment for his PBS documentary ‘Looking for Lincoln’ and had a very interesting day.

The producers discovered in their research that the Sons of Confederate Veterans had never been formally included in any of the past productions on Lincoln and called us to inquire as to why.

And of course the answer was that our perspective would refute the politically correct one, and so the sponsors preferred to leave us out. Bottom line it was a question of getting funding, or not getting it.

Henry Louis Gates

This PBS production crew was different. The director was a gracious Belgian lady. She was real, a total professional, and looking for new material.

PBS and brother Gates were our guests at the SCV annual Reunion in Concord, NC. It was, shall I say, a first time for everybody.

‘Skip’ Gates left a different man after watching the the descendants of a black Confederate honored with a special presentation and standing ovation. The story was delivered by the head of the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh, and yes…a black man.

Brother Gates was more than surprised, shocked actually. He had never heard the real story of these men and thought they were a myth. His comment when leaving at the end of the day?… “Fellas, I was lied to?”

Enjoy this first Confederate Memorial Month cannon shot. More are on the way.

Jim Dean, Heritage TV -Atlanta…Veterans Today


Congressional Support for Confederate Soldiers

A Legislative and Motivational Review


President William McKinley

At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a move in the North was made to reconcile with Southerners. President McKinley was instrumental in this movement.

When the Spanish-American War concluded successfully in December 1898, President McKinley used this as an opportunity to “mend the fences”.

On 14 December 1898 he gave a speech in which he urged reconciliation based on the outstanding service of Southerners during the recent war with Spain.

Remember, as part of the conciliation, several former Confederate officers were commissioned as generals to include former Confederate cavalry general, Wheeler. This is what McKinley said:

“…every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate civil war [sic] is a tribute to American valor… And the time has now come… when in the spirit of fraternity we should share in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers…The cordial feeling now happily existing between the North and South prompts this gracious act and if it needed further justification it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in the year just passed by the sons and grandsons of those heroic dead.”

The response from Congress to this plea was magnanimous and resulted in the Appropriations Act of FY 1901 (below).

Confederate Cemetery

Congressional Appropriations Act, FY 1901, signed 6 June 1900

Congress passed an act of appropriations for $2,500 that enabled the “Secretary of War to have reburied in some suitable spot in the national cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, and to place proper headstones at their graves, the bodies of about 128 Confederate soldiers now buried in the National Soldiers Home near Washington, D.C., and the bodies of about 136 Confederate soldiers now buried in the national cemetery at Arlington, Virginia.”

Remarks: More important than the amount (worth substantially more in 1900 than in 2000) is the move to support reconciliation by Congressional act. In 1906, Confederate Battle flags were ordered to be returned to the states from whence they originated. Some states refused to return the flags. Wisconsin still has at least one flag it refuses to return.

Congressional Act of 9 March 1906

We Honor Our Fallen Ancestors

(P.L. 38, 59th Congress, Chap. 631-34 Stat. 56)

Authorized the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps and were buried in Federal cemeteries.

Remarks: This act formally reaffirmed Confederate soldiers as military combatants with legal standing. It granted recognition to deceased Confederate soldiers commensurate with the status of deceased Union soldiers.

[Editor’s Note: I might also add here that the opening ceremonies off every Sons of Confederate Veterans Reunion always include a welcoming address by the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic descendent organization…Jim Dean]


U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929

(45 Stat 1307 – Currently on the books as 38 U.S. Code, Sec. 2306)

This law, passed by the U.S. Congress, authorized the “Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army and to direct him to preserve in the records of the War Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected.”

Remarks: This act broadened the scope of recognition further for all Confederate soldiers to receive burial benefits equivalent to Union soldiers. It authorized the use of U.S. government (public) funds to mark Confederate graves and record their locations.


U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958

Confederate Iron Cross

(US Statutes at Large Volume 72, Part 1, Page 133-134)

The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States.

General Robert E. Lee

Remarks: While this was only a gesture since the last Confederate veteran died in 1958, it is meaningful in that only forty-five years ago (from 2003), the Congress of the United States saw fit to consider Confederate soldiers as equivalent to U.S. soldiers for service benefits.

This final act of reconciliation was made almost one hundred years after the beginning of the war and was meant as symbolism more than substantive reward.

Additional Note by the Critical History: Under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.

U.S. Code Title 38 – Veterans’ Benefits, Part II – General Benefits, Chapter 15 – Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death or for Service, Subchapter I – General, § 1501. Definitions:

(3) The term “Civil War veteran” includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term “active military or naval service” includes active service in those forces.

Editor Update – Jim Dean: 04-03-13. If any of you all think that none of this has any real connection with what is going on today, you are wrong:

An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans – 148 years after the conflict ended.

Surviving spouses can qualify for lifetime benefits when troops from current wars have a service-linked death. Children under the age of 18 can also qualify, and those benefits are extended for a lifetime if the person is permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18. Citing privacy, officials did not disclose the names of the two children getting the Civil War benefits.

Researched by: Tim Renick, Combined Arms Library Staff, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Member: Brigadier General William Steele SCV Camp 1857.

Edited By: Lt. Col. (Retired) Edwin L. Kennedy, Jr. Member: Brigadier General William Steele SCV Camp 1857.




  1. It’s no secret that Karl Marx and Abe Lincoln were once “penpals”.

  2. Dalethorne, the North and South both lost the war and the Rothchild Syandicate of England won. They didn’t have to send the English Goyim to divde and destroy America, Abe Lincoln and America’s own did it for them. However, Lincoln finally realized he had been “duped” and used by his Marxist Handlers and did betray them by printing American made greenbacks to fund the war and not not allowing the House of Rothchild to own the debt through bonds.

  3. I read this little story somewhere but don’t remember it exactly, but here’s an approximation: After the war, a Confederate officer was visiting a soldier’s facility in Virginia, and walking up the steps he encountered a Union soldier, the poor fellow in terrible condition – missing an arm and leg and part of his face. The Confederate officer dropped a silver dollar in the poor man’s cup, whereupon the young man looked up at the officer and exclaimed “Why, thank you – I had no idea that a Southern officer would have so much sympathy for someone who fought for the other side”. And the officer replied “It’s not sympathy, it’s just that you’re the first Yankee I’ve seen who’s been shot up to my specifications”.

    • BTW, the North may have “won” the war in 1865, by burning people’s homes and farms as they did, but I’d say the South won eventually. After JFK, MLK, RFK et al were shot in Dallas, Memphis, and L.A., there wasn’t another president elected from the North for 48 consecutive years. And the national defense industry moved South, along with NASA and the space programs. Some people still don’t think Southern California is part of the South, and I suppose that’s the same number who believe that Northeast Ohio (where I grew up) is the Midwest. It’s all different now.

    • “After JFK, MLK, RFK et al were shot in Dallas, Memphis, and L.A., there wasn’t another president elected from the North for 48 consecutive years.”

      Reagan was from Illinois and G.H.W. Bush from Massachusetts, neither of which is a southern state.

      California (Nixon’s origin and both his and Reagan’s start in politics) is obviously geographically south (in the US), but certainly is not culturally “southern”.

      And while G.H.W. Bush started his political career in Texas, culturally he remained an elite New Englander.

  4. One more thing, General Grant complained to President Lincoln about reports of Jewish businessmen doing trade with the South during wartime. Abe Lincoln refused to intervene, he wasn’t ready to betray the very people that put him in that office. Unbelievable!

  5. War was declared on the South by the North when they succeeded from the Union and began printing their own currency. What really is amazing here is how the “Zio Powers that Be” can get the White Europeans to destroy each other. WW1 and WW2 had White Americans killing White Germans and vice versa and the Civil War had White Americans killing White Americans. It’s really not a wonder why the some of “Jews” refer to the Gentiles as the “dumb goyim”.

  6. The Civil War was not about “slavery”. There were 4 Northern States were “slavery” was legal. Only 2% of the South were slave owners and they were the very wealthy ones. The Zio-Media for the last 100 years have mythically portrayed the White Southerner as an enemy of humanity. Just like they did Hitler, Saddam, Chavez, Moamar, and any other nation that demands their sovereignty from the Zio-World Order.

    • “Only 2% of the South were slave owners and they were the very wealthy ones.”

      Well, that is a much larger percent of the population than those in the US that benefited from the Wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Wars have always been conducted to benefit a tiny elite.

    • The Civil War was fought for one reason: an aggressive expansionist foreign power at its southern border and in control of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico would pose an existential threat to the internal security of the states that remained in the federal Union, and to the economic exploitation of the new western territories. It is ahistorical revisionism to imagine the northern elite refused to “let the erring sisters depart in peace” because of anything as trivial to them as the human rights of mere slaves.

      It was Machiavellian brilliance on Lincoln’s part to maneuver the secessionists into firing the first shot. This unambiguous act of treason mobilized American public opinion to suppress the insurrection before the insurgents could build the strong military they would need for the inevitable war with the United States over possession of the western territories.

      Nothing in the 1860 Republican platform threatened slavery anywhere where it was established. Only the continuing unchecked expansion of slavery into new lands was finally forbidden, on the grounds that the Founders had implicitly stated, “the natural condition of the United States is freedom.” Ironically, there was no popular interest, and no legal method, to abolish slavery before the Confederate insurgency placed both these tools into the hands of the tiny Abolitionist minority.

    • If you really want to know who started the US civil war, start with Judah P Benjamin, Albert Pike and the Jewish bankers in NYC. It was planned and instigated by the Zionist Jews, just like almost every other war.

  7. There were also American Indian tribes and bands on both sides of the Civil War. The Negroes gained from it the Emancipation Proclamation, citizenship, the right to vote, to own property. American Indians, no such luck. They remained foreigners in their own land. The Indian Removal Act of 1830, the forced removal of the 5 Civilized Tribes, the Second Seminole War, all this was a dress rehearsal for the Civil War. American Indian Wars continued during the Civil War and after it, too.

    • You are so right, JS. The absence of Southerners in Congress (those naysayers and obstructionists who believed in the Constitution literally!!) allowed Lincoln to get his transcontinental railroad rolling with taxpayer subsidies DURING the war. The raping and pillaging of the South and the practice of scorched earth “total war” on civilians was just a warm up for Sherman, Sheridan and Custer. After the war, they put the bureaucrats to work further looting the South via “Reconstruction” occupation and they sent their best killing machines west to address the “Indian problem.” The genocide of the plains Indians to make way for manifest destiny was indeed one of the darkest stains on America’s history.

      I’m not aware of many Indian tribes that sided with the Union. Stand Watie was the only Indian General on either side. The major tribes that participated did so on the Confederate side.

      Sherman’s “final solution” for the plains Indians was indeed something that Hitler would have approved and indeed may have inspired him.
      The total war methods practiced on southern civilians was perfected against American Indians.

  8. This is good stuff! I have not spent much time with genealogy. I do know I have direct lineage from the Union side; probably not the Confederate side, but who knows, since I haven’t looked. Family has been here since the 1600s, so they had lots of opportunities to get into skirmishes since then.

  9. Thanks, Jim, for the reprise on this informative article from 2010. I can attest that most all the people I talk to about marking a Confederate’s grave are shocked and surprised to learn that the U.S. Veterans Administration will provide granite/bronze markers for a Confederate veteran’s grave that has no marker. They’re even more surprised to learn that Confederate veterans are fully equivalent for benefits and honors as any U.S. veteran.

    Contrast those VA provided markers for Confederates under the banner of ‘reconciliation’ with the largest mass grave in North America located in Chicago. The POWs who died in Chicago’s Camp Douglas POW camp (described in History Channel’s excellent documentary entitled “Eighty Acres of Hell”) were intentionally tortured, deprived of food, clothing and medicine despite their ample supply in the North. Numerous books document the mistreatment at Camp Douglas; and one yankee doctor called it “an extermination camp.” ( )

    Of course, most readers have never heard of Camp Douglas; instead, they all know about Andersonville (Georgia) in the blockaded south where food, medicine and clothing were in short supply and where the guards suffered as much from disease and malnutrition as the prisoners. Andersonville is a well kept National Cemetery with individual gravestones… while Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago contains a mass grave and an insulting marker (cenotaph) labeling the fallen Confederates (many killed by intentional cruelty and deprivation) as “ruthless” and “traitors.”

    My blood boils every time I think about this marker, that veterans are treated this way ANYWHERE in America. I realize that our living veterans are subjected to hassles and they’re too often stiffed on their rightful benefits (e.g., the Fort Hood victims of “workplace violence”). But at least we’re not yet marking their graves with insulting markers or omitting their names.

    Well over 6000 men died at Camp Douglas, but the derelict and negligent yankee guards can only account for 4300 names (names on the plaque on the monument placed there by Southerners). All these bodies were moved twice, their final interment (I won’t call it a “resting place”) was in a mass grave they call a “mound.”

    Thirty years after the war, Southerners raised money for a monument to those Confederate soldiers and it was unveiled with great fanfare and the presence of notable US government officials and famous Confederates like John B. Gordon.

    President Truman was himself a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. President Eisenhower was frequently vocal on his admiration for General Robert E. Lee ( ) and he encouraged reconciliation and Centennial observances of the war (1961-65).

    The 1958 law made it completely official though few know about that. Remember, too, that President Ford officially restored citizenship to Robert E. Lee in 1975. ( )

  10. This is some interesting info I came across recently, on Wiki of all places – “After the war, the State of Tennessee granted Confederate Pensions to nearly 300 African Americans for their service to the Confederacy… While an accurate estimate of the number of African Americans who served in the Confederate armed forces may never be known, the United States Census of 1890 lists 3,273 African Americans who claimed to be Confederate veterans”.

    According to Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862: “Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number [Confederate troops]. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc.

    These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc…..and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army.”

    So you don’t have to be white to have Confederate Veterans as ancestors!

    • When Prof Gates rushed up to the NC Archives guy after the presentation I was sticking to him with my camera, about ten feet away so I could hear what questions I knew he was going to be asking. And right off the bat the first was ‘How many?”…and the answer came back, “Thousands.” It was a great moment to witness. Gates are really a big guy about it. He really did say when he got into his limo….”I was lied to.”

    • Gates is an interesting fellow. When you discover that you were “lied to,” you probably would do your best to spread the news and inform others. As far as I know, Skip hasn’t published anything about this issue. The only thing that he has done more recently is point out the historical fact that some blacks in America did indeed have slaves. I will point this out later in an article entitled, “The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture.”

    • It can be hard to buck the cultural mainstream when it is so powerful, but at least he admitted the truth. The article you mention will be worth looking out for, it is right on that slavery is a distorted issue in the west, yes Africans were hit hard, but millions of whites also were enslaved in some places, or as good as in some cases, and of course blacks and whites both enslaved their racial fellows on a large scale. It ain’t so much black vs white as the oppressors vs the rest.

  11. This is interesting, excerpt from an article:

    Way down at the bottom of this AP story about the ongoing cost of all our wars is this interesting tidbit, “The Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans — one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee — each for $876 per year.”

    I can’t decide if it’s more shocking that there are still kids of Civil War veterans who are alive or that our country doesn’t die of shame only giving them $876 a year. The AP story explains, “Children under the age of 18 can also qualify, and those benefits are extended for a lifetime if the person is permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18.” So: Something happened to these kids before they were 18 that resulted in them not being able to support themselves … and we give them $876 a year.

    Now, granted, back in 1865, that was the equivalent of $10,000-$12,000, which would be a nice little chunk of change to help offset the fact that these kids couldn’t support themselves. But now? I guess it’s better than nothing. But not by much.

    Brian: Speaking of the Civil War I enjoy the movie Cold Mountain, yes it’s just a movie and not an accurate description of the war, no mention of the Rothchilds. It’s odd the female lead is Australian, the male lead is English, a supporting actress is Israeli and a supporting actor is Canadian.

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