previous next

The Confederate Veterans.

Eloquent appeal to them, their friends and their Descendants—Address of General John B. Gordon—Importance of forming Camps for preservation of glorious traditions and General improvements.

The following is General John B. Gordon's address to the United Confederate Veterans and to all the ex-soldiers and sailors of the late Confederate States of America. It was published simultaneously all over the South, with the view of calling the attention of veterans in every Southern State to the importance of forming camps without delay, and of appealing to them to join the ‘Benevolent, Social and Historical’ organization of United Confederate Veterans. Any details or information desired, copies of constitution or blanks wanted, will be promptly furnished by applying to General George Moorman, Adjutant-General and Chief-of-Staff, New Orleans, La.:

Address of the General Commanding.

Atlanta, Ga., September 3, 1889.
To the ex-Soldiers and Sailors of the Confederate States of America:
The convention of delegates from the different States which assembled in New Orleans June 10, 1889, effected a general organization known as the ‘United Confederate Veterans.’ It is designed as an association of all the bodies of ex-Confederate veterans and sailors throughout the Union. The convention adopted a constitution and did me the great honor to elect me General, which position I accept with peculiar gratification. Preliminary to the issue of any orders I wish to call general attention to the objects of the Association and to enlist in their accomplishment the active co-operation not only of every survivor of Southern armies, but also that large contingent of sons of veterans, who, too young to have received the baptism of fire, have nevertheless received with you the baptism of suffering and of sacrifice. [176]

The first article of the constitution of the Association 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 mementoes of the same; to cherish the ties of friendship that should 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.’

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

Good objects.

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 republic, the just powers of the Federal Government, the equal rights of States, the integrity of the constitutional union, the sanctions of laws and the enforcement of order have no class of defenders more true and devoted than the ex-soldier of the South and their worthy descendants. But you realize the great truth that a people without the memories of heroic suffering and sacrifices 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 idolize principle and strengthen character, intensify love of country and convert defeat and disaster into pillars of support for future manhood and noble womanhood. Whether the Southern people under their changed conditions may ever hope to witness another civilization which shall equal that which began with their Washington and ended with their Lee, [177] it is certainly true that devotion to their glorious past is not only the surest guarantee of future progress and the holiest bond of unity, but is also the strongest claim they can present to the confidence and respect of the other sections of the Union.


In conclusion, I beg to repeat in substance, at least, a few thoughts recently expressed by me to the State organization, which apply with equal force to this general brotherhood.

It is political in no sense except so far as the word ‘political’ is a synonym of the word ‘patriotic.’ It is a brotherhood over which the genius of philanthropy and patriotism, of truth and of justice will preside; of philanthopy, because it will succor the disabled, help the needy, strengthen the weak, and cheer the disconsolate; of patriotism, because it will cherish the past glories of the dead Confederacy and transmute them into living inspirations for future service to the living republic; of truth, because it will seek to gather and preserve as witnesses for history the unimpeachable facts which shall doom falsehood to die that truth may live; of justice, because it will cultivate national as well as Southern fraternity and will condemn narrowmind-endess and prejudice and passion, and cultivate that broader, higher nobler sentiment which would write on the grave of every soldier who fell on either side: ‘Here lies an American hero—a martyr to the right as his conscience conceived it.’

General organization.

I rejoice that a general organization too long neglected has been at last perfected. It is a brotherhood which all honorable men must approve and which heaven itself will bless. I call upon you, therefore, to organize in every State and community where exConfede-rates may reside and rally to the support of the high and peaceful objects of the ‘United Confederate Veterans,’ and move forward until by the power of organization and persistent effort your beneficient and Christian purposes are fully accomplished.

J. B. Gordon, Commanding General

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
New Orleans (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Atlanta (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
United Confederate Veterans (3)
John B. Gordon (3)
George Moorman (1)
Robert Edward Lee (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 3rd, 1889 AD (1)
June 10th, 1889 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: