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[298] perfected under the name of United Confederate Veterans, with F. S. Washington, of New Orleans, as president, and J. A. Chalaron, secretary. A constitution was adopted, and Lieutenant-General John B. Gordon, of Georgia, was elected general and commander-in-chief. At this meeting there were representatives from the different Confederate organizations already in existence in the States of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

While giving Colonel Shipp credit for suggesting the general organization of the United Confederate Veterans, the important part played by the Louisiana camps in furthering the association must be emphasized. The previously existing organizations became the first numbers in the larger association. The Army of Northern Virginia, of New Orleans, became Camp No. 1; Army of Tennessee, New Orleans, No. 2; and LeRoy Stafford Camp, Shreveport, No. 3. The N. B. Forrest Camp, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, became No. 4; while Fred. Ault Camp, of Knoxville, is No. 5. There are other camps, not among the first in the list, which are among the most prominent in the organization. For instance, Tennessee had an organization of bivouacs, the first and largest of which was Frank Cheatham, No. 1, of Nashville, but which is Camp No. 35, U. C. V. Then, Richmond, Virginia, had its R. E. Lee Camp, which has ever been of the most prominent, and was the leader in a great soldiers' home movement. In the U. C. V. camp-list, the R. E. Lee, of Richmond, is No. 181. The camps increased to a maximum of more than fifteen hundred, but with the passage of years many have ceased to be active.

While the organization was perfected in New Orleans, the first reunion of United Confederate Veterans was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 3 to 5, 1890. To this reunion invitations were extended ‘to veterans of both armies and to citizens of the Republic,’ and the dates purposely included Independence Day.

The first comment both in the North and South was, ‘Why keep up the strife or the memory of it?’ but it was realized that such utterances were from those who did not comprehend the scope of the organization of United Confederate Veterans, which, from the very outset, was clear in the minds of its founders. It was created on high lines, and its first commander was the gallant soldier, General John B. Gordon, at the time governor of Georgia, and later was United States senator. General Gordon was continued as commander-inchief until his death.

The nature and object of the organization cannot be explained better than by quoting from its constitution.

The first article declares:

‘The object and purpose of this organization will be strictly social, literary, historical, and benevolent. It will endeavor to unite in a general federation all associations of the Confederate veterans, soldiers and sailors, now in existence or hereafter to be formed; to gather authentic data for an impartial history of the War between the States; to preserve the relics or memories of the same; to cherish the ties of friendship that exist among the men who have shared common dangers, common suffering and privations; to care for the disabled and extend a helping hand to the needy; to protect the widow and orphan, and to make and preserve the record of the services of every member and, as far as possible, of those of our comrades who have preceded us in eternity.’

Likewise, the last article provides that neither discussion of political or religious subjects nor any political action shall be permitted in the organization, and that any association violating that provision shall forfeit its membership.

The notes thus struck in the constitution of the United Confederate Veterans were reechoed in the opening speech of the first commander-in-chief. General Gordon, addressing the Veterans and the public, said:

Comrades, no argument is needed to secure for those objects your enthusiastic endorsement. They have burdened your thoughts for many years. You have cherished them in sorrow, poverty, and humiliation. In the face of misconstruction, you have held them in your hearts with the strength of religious convictions. No misjudgments can defeat your peaceful purposes for the future. Your aspirations have been lifted by the mere force and urgency of surrounding conditions to a plane far above the paltry consideration of partisan triumphs. The honor of the American Government, the just powers of the Federal Government, the equal rights of States, the integrity of the Constitutional Union, the sanctions of law, and the enforcement of order have no class of defenders more true and devoted than the ex-soldiers of the South and their worthy descendants. But you realize the great truth that a people without the memories of heroic suffering or sacrifice are a people without a history.

To cherish such memories and recall such a past, whether crowned with success or consecrated in defeat, is to idealize principle and strengthen character, intensify love of country, and convert defeat and disaster into pillars of support for

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