orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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April 13, 2013

Preserving the history and legacy of the Civil War

ORANGE — The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have something in common.

The organizations are direct heirs of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War 1861-1865.

SCV was established in 1896 in Richmond, Virginia as a result of the veterans themselves were dying off.

“Most of the actual veterans were dead by the 1930s,” Executive Director of SCV Ben C. Sewell, III said. “It became the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1906.”

The group does use military ranks in their titles, even if it not the rank the solider had in the war.

“We use Adjutant who does the paperwork and Commander,” Sewell said. “Statewide is called a Division. As a civic organization we have a board of directors lead by a General Executive Director.”

A sub-division is called a camp. There are 60-70 camps across Texas with approximately 2.600 members. There are 30,000 active members nationwide.

When a camp becomes a charter with the organization the members will choose the name they would like to have.

“It could be a Confederate Unit, an officer, a general, or a captain,” Sewell said. “It could even be named after a private.”

Membership is for those 12 and over, however, if the lineage is already established one can be a cadet member until the age of 12.

“We are not a militia,” Sewell said. “We are a civic organization honoring history”.

Sewell also said that many members are veterans of the United States military.

“The Sons of the American Revolution use many of the same titles we use,” Sewell said.

Sewell’s great-grandfather served in the Confederate War and can trace his heritage back to the American Revolutionary War, 1775–1783.

Sewell has been a member of the group since 1978.

“The Civil War started for a number of issues,” Sewell said. “The number one issue being economics. The Union was trying to preserve the Union and the South was trying to preserve state rights.”

Sewell also said the Confederate flag came along in 1862 because the uniforms were not perfectly gray or blue.

“The flag was to help identify the sides,” Sewell said. “There were actually three national Confederate flags.”

The organization is involved in many programs to honor their ancestors including but not limited to Sam Davis Youth Camp, Forrest Boyhood Home, and grave marker dedications.

“The US Department of Veterans Affairs includes a Confederate grave marker,” Marshall Davis public information officer Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans said.

Davis said the SCV will help in the dedication of grave markers and give full Confederate honors.

“We also go to area schools and give a living history demonstration,” Davis said. “We share children stories of the time period and what the women did while the war was going on.”

Davis also said that during the war, towns were left with just young children, older men and the women to take care of everything.

“The demonstrations give an insight to the times,” Davis said. “The men were defending their homelands.”

The activities the group are involved in is how they answer the charge of the SCV.

“We call it living the charge,” Davis said.

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