A Message From the Department Commander
Welcome to the official website of the Army of Northern Virginia, Sons of Confederate Veterans. The term Army of Northern Virginia can be confusing both historically and today. It encompasses much more than Northern Virginia or even the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the War for Southern Independence the Union and Confederate Armies often used different names for battles and theaters of operation. The Union tended to use rivers or other bodies of water where the Confederacy took the name of the nearest town or other land area. Such was the case of Bull Run/Manassas and Antietam/Sharpsburg. Much of the war was fought in the ninety (90) mile distance between the two Capitols of Richmond and Washington, D.C. Therefore, the Union called it's force the Army of the Potomac and General R. E. Lee called his troops the Army of Northern Virginia.
Today the Sons of Confederate Veterans is divided into three armies. This is for organizational and administrative purposes and to better serve our membership. Just as it did then, the Army of Northern Virginia includes several states called Divisions. These States are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West[ern] Virginia, New York, and Europe, yes, even Europe.
To be a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans one must be at least twelve (12) years of age and the male descendent of a Confederate Veteran. One need not be from or even live in the South to be a member. In fact, there were men from the North and foreign countries who fought for the Confederacy.
There is also confusion as to what the Sons of Confederate Veterans is and what our goals are. We are just as our name states, a veterans organization.** Our ancestors knew that there would be no future Confederate Veterans to carry on for them. That is why they placed the defense of their cause and the preservation of our heritage into the hands of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. On April 25, 1906 at New Orleans, Louisiana. General Stephen Dill Lee gave us our charge:
"To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we submit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideas which made him glorious and which you also cherish..."
At this time, we are grand, great grand, and great, great grandsons with only a few Real Sons left. We believe in the constitution, individual liberty, states rights, true representative government, and fair taxation. The same things that our ancestors fought for, and the same things that many citizens are calling for today. As the current Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, I welcome you to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and this Army. If you do not live in the aforementioned states there are the two other Armies, the Army of Tennessee and the Army of the Trans-Mississippi.
Please view other areas of our web site and in particular the short film, "All But Their Honor." Consider joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans to help us tell the true history of our ancestors and our heritage. Remember, these men are your blood family. Don't let others rewrite their story. Please seek me out at Southern Heritage Events. I look forward to the honor of shaking your hand and welcoming you to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
** It has been brought to my attention that my referral to the Sons of Confederate Veterans as a veteran's organization is not accurate by the strictest of definitions. If one only defines such an organization as one made up only by veterans themselves then this is true. Of course we are not ourselves Confederate Veterans. Not surprisingly many of us, myself included, are United States Veterans. We have continued the tradition of service to country as set forth by our ancestors. However, there is more to a veteran's organization than just this. There is the mission, to care for the aged veterans and when they are gone, to tend to their graves and monuments. More importantly, their story of sacrifice and brave deeds must continue to be told. There will not soon be any more Confederate soldiers to become Confederate veterans. Who then will continue this mission? We will! The Sons of Confederate Veterans were formed and charged by the United Confederate Veterans themselves to continue this mission. In 1906 we were specifically charged to do so by General Stephen Dill Lee. Therefore, in my opinion, we are most definitely a veterans' organization.
B. Frank Earnest, Commander
Army of Northern Virginia
Sons of Confederate Veterans