Monday, October 12, 2009

What is the SUVCW?

If you have an interest in the Civil War, and especially if you have an ancestor who served honorably in the Union Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, you may wish to join the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. This brief introduction to the SUVCW will answer some questions about the organization and how you may join us in honoring your Union ancestor.

The SUVCW is a group directly linked to Civil War Union veterans. It is the only male organization recognized by and representing the Grand Army of the Republic, a powerful veterans group made up of Union Army, Navy, and Marine Corps enlisted men and officers during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1881, the SUVCW was formed to perpetuate the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and the men who fought to preserve the unity and indivisibility of our nation. We also honor the memory of the wartime president, Abraham Lincoln. The SUVCW was officially incorporated by an Act of Congress in 1954.

The SUVCW has a national organization known as the Commandery-in-Chief and several national officers. Departments exist in many states, with several individual "camps" in most departments. Phelps Camp was recently added to the newly formed Department of Missouri. Other camps exist in Cape Girardeau and St. Louis. Although most potential members join a camp near their home, there is a "Member-at-Large" category for men who reside in states where no camps exist. An annual "National Encampment" is held in various cities around the nation.

To honor the men who preserved the Union during the Civil War, the SUVCW sponsors or participates in a number of activities including:

Ceremonies and programs to commemorate events and honor leaders important to the Civil War and the G.A.R.

Erecting, maintaining, and preserving monuments and plaques marking events and people of the Civil War

Supporting the preservation of battlefield sites

Collecting and preserving artifacts, records, and memorabilia of the G.A.R. and the Union forces

Locating, recording, and marking the graves of Union veterans. Decorating graves on Memorial Day and other occasions

Presenting scholarship awards for Civil War studies

Encouraging research and writing on the period and engaging in other similar activities.

Next time, information on joining Phelps Camp and the SUVCW!

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