United Daughters of the Confederacy

"Love makes memory eternal."

An historical account of the United Daughters of the Confederacy

The association known as The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a distinctive body composed of organizations in many States, known as Divisions, which take their name from the State or Territory in which they are located.

The divisions are composed of chapters in the various towns and cities. The first chapter to be organized in any State is known as the charter chapter.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy is unique among women's organizations, in that, while it may have a friendly affiliation with other societies, the objects and purposes are such that it cannot federate with any other body. These objects are social, benevolent, educational, historical and memorial, and will be treated of in their respective order.

Beginning with the dark days of the war between the States, Southern women, by a common impulse, associated themselves together for the purpose of caring for wounded soldiers, for securing hospital supplies, and in many instances, assisted by faithful slaves, in burying the dead. After the war was over memorial associations were formed in the various Southern States for providing a last resting place for the many Confederate dead scattered throughout the country and, whenever possible, each State gathered together her own, placing them in separate cemeteries and erecting^ monuments to them.

In other instances where it was not possible to bring them home, the women collected money to assist in building a general monument such as the Pyramid in Hollywood, in Richmond, where lie buried 16,000 Confederate dead, representing every Southern State, many of them marked ''Unknown," the saddest epitaph ever carved above a soldier's grave.

The work of these memorial associations is so great that a separate article will have to record their labors.

But many of them, by a natural process, after the formation of the federation known as "Confederate Veterans," became "The Daughters of the Confederacy," and these were formally organized into a body known as "The United Daughters of the Confederacy," on September 10, 1894 at Nashville, Tenn., and Mrs. M. C. Goodlett, of that city is recognized as the founder of the organization and so called.

However, the same idea seems to have been fostered in other minds, just as memorial day came into existence in many Southern towns at the same time, and the first constitution and by-laws were drawn up by Mrs. L. H. Raines, of Savannah, Georgia, and she also suggested that the various associations of Confederate women should adopt one name and one badge.

The organization was at first called ''National Daughters of the Confederacy," but as it was at that time too limited in its scope for such a title, it became "The United Daughters of the Confederacy," popularly known as U. D. C, and its conventions held annually, are known as General Conventions.

The badge adopted by the U. D. C. is of gold and consists of the flag of the Confederacy, known as the "Stars and Bars" surrounded by a wreath of laurel with the letters U. D. C. under its folds, and on the loop of the ribbon beneath it the years 61-65, and to honor its significance, it is forbidden to make it into hat pins or other ornaments.

The emblem of the U. D. C. represents a full cotton boll, suggestive of the wealth of the South before the war, placed against a large star, on the five points of which are engraved the words "dare, think, pray, live, love."

The seal of the U. D. C. consists of a reproduction of the great seal of the Confederacy, with the addition of the inscription: "The United Daughters of the Confederacy," on the outer rim.

The great seal was designed and made by Joseph Wyon of London in 1864 for James M. Mason, and was the symbolical emblem of the sovereignty of the Confederacy and the ' motto of the seal was "Deo Vindice."

The first convention of the U. D. C. was held in Nashville, Tenn., November, 1895, and there were only five States represented.

At the convention which met in Richmond, Va., 1899, resolutions were passed adopting the name ''War Between the States," to describe the great struggle of 61-65 and The Confederate Veteran, published at Nashville, Tenn., recognized as the official organ. There are now chapters in 33 States and Territories and in the District of Columbia and the Republic of Mexico, so it may yet come to pass that the organization will be national and perhaps international.

The constitution requires the annual observance of the birthday of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States (June 3), and that of Robert E. Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate army (January 19) , and provides that each State may choose her own memorial day and show that it is just patriotism, when
"We, the dying pause
To honor those who live."

As an organization, the U. D. C. deprecates the use of the phrase, ''The Lost Cause," feeling that a cause may be defeated, but not lost, and that a principle which was just and true cannot die and thus you will read upon many a soldier's tomb: "There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies."

The U. D. C. requests that all divisions and chapters when marking graves of Confederate soldiers shall place just after their name and regiment the letters "C. S. A."

The United States Government has generously done this when marking the graves of the Confederate soldiers it transferred to Arlington.


The constitution provides that those women are entitled to membership who are the widows, wives, mothers, sisters and nieces and lineal descendants of such men as served honorably in the Confederate army, navy or civil service; or of those men, unfit for active duty, who loyally gave aid to the cause.

Also 'Southern women who can give proof of personal service or loyal aid to the Southern cause during the war; and the lineal descendants or nieces of such women wherever living. The whole membership is based on Confederate blood, the one exception being a Northern woman who marries a Confederate veteran, and as the President General so well puts it: "This exception is specifically provided for in the constitution, and is based on the principle, 'they twain shall be one flesh.' "

An important change was made in the constitution at the Little Rock Convention in the eligibility clause, eliminating "grand-nieces" and extending it no farther than nieces and lineal descendants of such men as honorably served in the Confederate army, navy or civil service.

This does not debar any women of Confederate lineage where such lineage can he traced through a loyal mother, grandmother or great-grandmother, as well as collaterallv from a Great uncle.

Objects of the U.D.C.

I. Social.

When Harry McCarthy wrote: "We are a band of brothers and native to the soil," he described in one line the homogeneity of the South.

In a sense all southern people were related, or about to be related, for they often married their cousin, or their cousin's cousin, until one had almost as many relatives by courtesy as by consanguinity.

Under given circumstances, southern people feel alike, think alike, act alike and all who were "born and raised in the brier patch" understand the language of Brer Rabbit without an interpreter.

With such characteristics, there is a natural coalescence of women of the South already united by ties of affection, and love of a common cause, and they find a mutual inspiration in each other's presence and counsels for its perpetuation.

2. Benevolent.

An important feature of the active work of the U. D. C. has been the care of the Confederate veteran, and one is touched by the practical action of that Louisiana Memorial Association, which as soon as the 'Ladies' Aid" of war times, was disbanded resolved itself into an organization to provide artificial limbs for disabled soldiers.

Every true Southern man went into the service or had to give a reason why. The women had their flag presentations in the spirit of the Spartan mother's injunction "with your shield -- or upon it," and the men who returned at all came wounded, disabled or half starved, and a horse, with which to begin ploughing was worth a kingdom, and there was such a literal fulfillment of scripture that the side arms generously allowed them became household implements.

The father of the home in which we were reared was a college graduate and an officer of the Confederate cavalry, but his sabre was ground down to be used as the family carving knife, his army blanket was an essential part of the household goods and his gray uniform in which he was married, while a prisoner on parole after Vicksburg, was made into a cloak which was handed down to several children and now rests in the Confederate museum at Richmond. This is but an illustration of the general poverty.

There were no pensions for Confederate soldiers. Many were never able to recuperate and gain a livelihood.

Nearly all the States now provide a home for the veterans and a small annuity is allowed, but the U. D. C. has a general oversight of them, gladden their hearts by holiday celebrations, frequently provide the means for them to attend the reunions, and see that they are buried with honors when they die.

For a long time the Confederate veterans have discussed rearing a splendid monument to the Confederate women, but it has become the general sentiment among the United Daughters of the Confederacy that they do not care for such a monument until a home can be provided for the aged and needy women.

Such homes already exist in several States, but the idea, suggested by Mrs. Helen Plane of Georgia, of one general home in some large city is under thoughtful consideration and at the Little Rock Convention, a relief committee was appointed to investigate, and relieve as far as possible, the immediate needs of aged Confederate women until the U. D. C. Home is built.

3. Educational.

Through this department of its work, the U. D. C. is looking far ahead and endeavoring to
"Reach a hand thro' time to catch
The far-off interest of tears" --
by providing that the descendants of those men who gave all for their country, shall 'have the privilege of a liberal education and be fitted to take part in the great future which lies before our nation.

The Educational Committee under the able supervision of Miss Poppenheim, of South Carolina, has made wonderful progress and now reports that the U. D. C. dispenses seven general scholarships, valued at $1,020.00 and counting all the States, there are 153 scholarships valued at $10,088.00.

No one is eligible to these scholarships who is not a descendant of a Confederate veteran.

Arkansas has four scholarships at her disposal, and the son of a Confederate veteran has availed himself of one at the University of Arkansas.

4. Historical.

As an association, the U. D. C. seeks to collect and preserve the material for a true history of the war between the States, to protect and preserve historical places of the Confederacy and to write in a book of remembrance the narrative of the deeds of valor of those men:
"Whom power could not corrupt,
Whom death could not terrify,
Whom defeat could not dishonor,
And let their virtues plead,
For just judgment.
Of the cause in which they perished."

And of those women, who with sublime devotion, endured as seeing the invisible, and who when all was over, amid the wreck and ruin of happy homes, met with smiles the ragged remnant of a great army, knowing that they were companions of heroes.

It is due to the efforts of the U. D. C. that many objectionable terms have been removed from text books, that modern historians have corrected false statements, particularly with regard to the character of Jefferson Davis; removing at last from his name the stigma of ''traitor" with the evidence that while a student at West Point he was taught the doctrine of supreme allegiance to the State; that a calmer estimate of the life of Robert E. Lee permits his statue to stand beside that of Washington in the National Capitol, and it is their hope that the time will come when the nation will, with impartial favor, as did Greece when mourning her dead, erect monuments to the valor of her sons whether they wore the Blue or the Gray.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy have placed memorial windows in the Confederate musem in old Blandford Church, in St. Paul's at Richmond, in the Church of the Redeemer at Biloxi, they have folded the wings of the *'Angel of Grief" in marble above the Daughter of the Confederacy, Winnie Davis, they have placed Sam Davis of Tennessee, and David Owen Dodd of Arkansas with Nathan Hale, making a triumvirate of heroic youth for the young American to admire "and whose deeds some poet of the future will incorporate in a 'Lyra Heroica."

They have given testimony to the faithfulness of slaves, without whose protecting care the helpless women and children could not have survived the horrors of civil strife. They have told of Southern warriors who fell at Chickamauga and the Bloody Angle and Seven Pines and Malvern Hill and Shiloh with such desperate fighting that the Confederacy lost the largest percentage of soldiers in modern warfare.

They have written of the endurance of Southern gentlemen at Vicksburg who lay in vermin-infested trenches and could subsist upon a handful of peas and a portion of mule meat a day and maintain their integrity; of Southern poets who languished in prisons but sang of glory and not of shame.

They have made known a civilization which could produce such a type as Robert E. Lee and send out, almost from its nurseries, such boy heroes as the Virginia cadets, "Little Giffen of Tennessee" and the Four Color Bearers of South Carolina, and all the world has marveled.

It is a commonplace observation that the war was inevitable when two nations strove for a principle -- the righteousness of one appearing as an iniquity to the other, and the Virginia poet voices this thought when he writes:

In the future some historian shall come forth strong and wise,
With a love of the republic and the truth before his eyes;
He will show the subtle causes of the war between the States;
He will go back in his studies far beyond our modern dates;
He will trace out hostile ideas as a miner does his lodes;
He will show the different habits born of different social codes;
He will show the Union riven, and the picture will deplore;
He will show it reunited and made stronger than before.
Slow and patient, fair and truthful must the coming teachers be.
To show how the knife was sharpened that was ground to prune the tree.
He will hold the scales of justice, he will measure praise and blame,
And the South will stand the verdict, and stand it without shame.

5. Memorial.

The primal purpose of the memorial associations was to give a sepulchre to their dead. The great battles were fought on Southern territory, and the spring son kisses to life violets that bloom upon the soil consecrated by the blood of heroes. The dead lay where they fell ; sometimes they were gathered in trenches, sometimes the dirt was loosely thrown above them and sometimes after a battle was over, the pitiful women crept out and with a devotion akin to that of Rizpah, suffered neither the "birds of the air to rest upon them by day nor the ibeasts of the field by night," till stronger hands could dig a grave.

When the great struggle ceased, the men who were left had to go to hard work, there was no time to think or grieve, they were making history, not writing it -- and the dead lay where they fell.

There were no cemeteries where Confederate dead could be buried, and there were no monuments to them.

Timrod in his memorial ode refers to this tardy recognition, but with a prophetic prescience he sings:
''Somewhere waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone."

And the women could not rest with the thought of their dead laid away with no word of prayer -- a Virginia woman who saw the bones of two Confederate soldiers ploughed up in a corn field, lay awake all night thinking of it.

Stirred by these restless thoughts the women of the South cried, "Give us back our dead -- we claim the right to put them in consecrated ground, or mark the spot where they fell!"

Thus began that work which will not cease until every State and city and town records in marble and bronze the resting place of their heroes.

By patient toil and many sacrifices monuments have arisen till hundreds of them show where the soldiers lie; the great leaders have all been remembered -- Lee and Jackson and Stuart and Davis and Hampton and others with features like as life, look down upon us and soon the great columns at Arlington and Shiloh will arise to bear witness of the devotion of women to heroism.

If all record of the Confederacy should disappear from literature the inscriptions on these monuments would tell the story, and if perchance the inscriptions should become obliterated, but those carven features should still be left future generations would know that the immortals once walked on earth as men.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy are a practical body and engaged in much active philanthropy, but the nature of their formation was such that much of their work deals with
"Old unhappy far-off things
And battles long ago."
For the defeated can only claim memory as their portion.

In the Corcoran Art Gallery hangs a wonderful picture by (Jean Baptiste Edouard) Detaille called ''The Passing Regiment."

You see the soldiers on their winding way, you can hear the fife and drum, the brave earnest faces gaze upon you for a moment and then the regiment has passed.

We have read and heard much of the thin gray line whose brave resistance changed history.

It is thinner today than ever before, the step is slower, the music of the band comes as a far off strain through the pine trees.

"The Girl I Left Behind Me," has become a white-haired woman, and we feel that in a few years the regiment will have passed and the last Confederate soldier will murmur:
"Breathe us across the foam --
It is o'er, the bitter strife,
At last the father cometh to the home.
The husband to the wife."

But we who are left will know that they are not forgotten for the motto of our beloved organization is,

"Love makes memory eternal."

This monograph was originally prepared for the Reunion issue of the Arkansas Gazette, May 16, 1911.

The endeavor has been to narrate the chief events in the progress of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and where describing the badge, emblem, etc., or eligibility clause, to use the words of the Constitution.

Anne Bachman Hyde, 1911; (d. 1959); United Daughters of the Confederacy. Memorial Chapter No. 48 (Little Rock, Ark.)


Article I.


Section I. The name or title of the Association shall be The United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Sec. II. Each State Organization shall be known as a Division, and designated by the name of the State in which it is located, and each local organization in that State, as a Chapter of the said Division, to be numbered consecutively, and any name selected by such Chapter.

Article II.


The objects of this Association are educational, memorial, literary, social and benevolent; to collect and preserve the material for a truthful history of the war between the Confederate States and the United States of America; to honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States, and to record the part taken by Southern women, as well, in the untiring effort after the war in the reconstruction of the South, as in patient endurance of hardship and patriotic devotion during the struggle; to cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Society, and to fulfill the duties of sacred charity to the survivors of the war and those dependent upon them.

Article III.


Section I. Those women entitled to membership are the widows, wives, mothers, sisters, nieces and lineal descendants of such men as served honorably in the Confederate Army, Navy and Civil Service, or of those persons who loyally gave material aid to the cause. Also, women and their lineal descendants, wherever living, who can give proof of personal service and loyal aid to the Southern cause during the war.

Sec. II. Each State Division shall furnish blank applications for membership to be used throughout that Division. These blanks may differ in form, but must not conflict with the qualifications of membership as set forth in this Constitution. The mode of electing and admitting members may also vary with each Division, provided, again, the qualifications for membership be not inconsistent with this Constitution.

Sec. III. Seven or more women in any State in which no Division exists, may organize a Chapter and be chartered on application to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and all Chapters subsequently formed in that State shall apply through the first Chapter to the United Daughters of Confederacy for their Charters. A fee of three dollars shall be paid to the United Daughters of the Confederacy for each Charter. Each Chapter shall report annually to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and shall on the first day of each succeeding February pay into the Treasury of the United Daughters of the Confederacy the sum of ten cents for each and every member who may at such date be in good standing on the roll of such Chapter. Provided, however, that nothing in this Constitution contained shall be construed as preventing any Division or Chapter from becoming legally incorporated under the laws of the State in which it is located, should it desire to do so.

Sec. IV. The United Daughters of the Confederacy suggest that the annual meeting of all Chapters be held on Gen. Lee's birthday, January 19th, or if that day falls on Sunday, then on the day following.

Article IV.


Section I. When three or more Chapters shall be organized in any state, it shall be the duty of the first or Charter Chapter to call a Convention for the purpose of organizing a State Division. Such Convention shall be held at a time and place to be designated by the Charter Chapter, at which Convention each Chapter shall be entitled to one vote for every twenty-five members or fraction thereof if such fraction be not less than seven.

Sec. II. Each State Division shall be organized by the adoption of a Constitution and By-laws, none of which shall be inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, and by the election of a president and other proper officers. Any one or more representatives from any Chapter shall be authorized to cast the full vote to which such Chapter may be entitled. In case a Chapter is unable to send a delegate its vote may be cast by proxy.

Sec. III. From and after the organization of such State Division, all Chapters in such State shall be organized upon proper application for their Charters to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, through the Division.

Article V.


Section I. Conventions of United Daughters of the Confederacy shall be held annually on the second Wednesday of November, at such place as designated by the preceding Convention.

Sec. II. Each Chapter shall be entitled in all Conventions of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to one vote for every twenty-five members or fraction thereof not less than seven, provided that when a Chapter has less than twenty-five members it shall be entitled to one vote. Any one or more representatives from any such Chapter shall be authorized to cast the full vote to which such Chapter may be entitled* Any Chapter not able to send a delegate may send the vote by proxy.

Article VI.


The officers of the United Daughters of the Confederacy shall be a President who shall preside at all meetings.

A Vice President, who shall preside in the absence of the President. A Recording Secretary. A Corresponding Secretary. A Treasurer. All these shall be elected to serve for one year, or until their successors shall be elected and qualified. In case of a tie, the President has power to cast the deciding vote.

Article VII.


A Committee on Finance shall be composed of five members, to whom shall be referred all matters of receipts and expenditures.

Article VIII.


Certificates of membership shall be furnished by each Chapter to all members in good standing. Such certificates shall be supplied by the United Daughters of the Confederacy with their seal attached. These Certificates must be signed by the President of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the President of the State Division and the President and Secretary of the local Chapter.

Article IX.


Section I. The badge to be worn by the Daughters of the Confederacy shall consist of a representation of the Confederate flag (stars and bars) in white, blue and scarlet enamel, surrounded by a laurel wreath with the monogram, D. C. under the flag, and dates 61- 65 on loops of bow tieing wreath. Divisions and Chapters may use in addition a badge of their own.

Sec. II. The seal of the United Daughters of the Confederacy shall be a reproduction of the great seal of the Confederate States of America, with the addition of the inscription, Daughters of the Confederacy, on the outer rim.

Sec. III. The seals for all State Divisions shall be of the same design with the addition of the name of the Division.

Sec. IV. All official documents emanating from the United Daughters of the Confederacy shall bear the impress of its great seal.

Sec. V. The use of the name, seal and badge of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for business purposes other than the business of this Association is expressly prohibited.

Article X.


This Constitution may be amended by a two thirds vote at any Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, provided notice of such intention to amend be filed with the Secretary at least thirty days before the day fixed for the Convention. Upon the filing of such notice the Secretary shall forthwith extend the same to each of the officers of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and to the representative of each Chapter in direct connection with the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

"We, the Committee appointed March 30, 1895, to revise the Constitution of the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, and reappointed November 8, 1895, and empowered to put it with its amendments into proper shape for printing", hereby certify this paper to be in every clause a true copy of that passed on by the Convention of November 8, 1895, with the exception of a few grammatical and clerical corrections made necessary by the amendments.

Signed, Mrs. Jno. P. Hickman, Mrs. Wm. M. Parsley, Louisa McC. Smythe. Atlanta, November 9, 1895.

The Cross of Honor

The Southern soldier received no recompense of reward, and the feeHng that he deserved it crystalhzed in the suggestion of Mrs. Ann Cobb Erwin of Athens, Ga., that there should be bestowed upon him a Cross of Honor.

At the convention which met in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1898, a committee was appointed to formulate plans, and at the Richmond convention in 1899, the design submitted by Mrs.' S. E. Gabbett of Atlanta was accepted.

The cross is a small bronze emblem of no intrinsic value, which the Daughters bestow upon veterans, soldiers or sailors, or they being dead, upon their widow or eldest lineal descendant. The rules and regulations are very strict, and there must be positive proof of honorable service, but it differs from all other crosses in that it is not given for any one special act of bravery, but to officer and private alike -- for endurance -- and when this bit of bronze is placed upon a veteran's breast it means that he was faithful to the end and part of that army whom "Fate denied victory, but has crowned with a glorious immortality," and it means that he claims comradeship with Lee and Jackson and Stuart, and all the throng who came up out of great tribulation. Deo Vindice” (God our Vindicator).

These crosses are bestowed upon memorial day, June 3 or January 19, and one commemorative day between June 1 and January 19, as a State may select, and the ceremony is to be of befitting dignity.

T'he records of the veterans receiving the cross have been kept in a most careful manner by Mrs. L. H. Raines of Savannah, Georgia, and now fill three large books and will be deposited by Mrs. Raines in the Confederate Museum at Richmond at the next convention general.

No one but the veteran can ever wear the cross; if he is so unfortunate as to lose it, he may have it replaced once; if lost the second time it cannot be replaced, but he may be given a certificate stating that he has been awarded a cross.

No descendant or widow can have a second cross and no more crosses will be bestowed after the year 1912. It is estimated that nearly 60,000 crosses have been given.

Background: The Cross of Honor dated 1861 1865, Foreground: A Crusader Cross in bold relief, each bound to the other by the Battle Flag of the Confederacy and linked by the entwined monogram, U.D.C., to ribbon. It is attached to a laurel leaf as a special mark of valor for those who distinguished themselves in feats of courage.

The Southern Cross of the Legion of Honor

At a meeting of the Athens (Georgia) Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy held late in the summer of 1898, the following resolutions were presented by Mrs. Mary Cobb Erwin, and were enthusiastically received and adopted. Resolved, That we, the Daughters of the Confederacy, do confer upon each and every member of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States of America a cross, to be known as "The Southern Cross of the Legion of Honor," to be handed down from one generation to another as the most priceless heritage, bought as it was, with the blood of their fathers, and though of no intrinsic value within itself, to stand as a record for all time of the memory of those men who represented all that was lofty in principle, pure in patriotism, and dauntless in courage. Resolved, That upon those who distinguished themselves by remarkable feats of courage, the cross to be attached to a laurel leaf pin, to distinguish it as a special mark of valor. Resolved, That it be made a feature of Memorial Day to confer these crosses. The cross was designed by Mrs. S.E. Gabbett, of Atlanta, Georgia, and the first presentation to Confederate veterans took place on the Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, 1900, about twenty-five hundred crosses being distributed at that time. The distribution would have been much larger had it not been that the manufacturer failed to supply the amount needed. Since that time the Southern Cross of Honor, as it has since been called, was bestowed upon many thousands of Confederate veterans, given to such that were entitled to receive it.

Constitution of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, (1895); An historical account of the United Daughters of the Confederacy: origin, objects and purposes, Anne Bachman Hyde, 1911, (d. 1959).

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