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Southern Cross of Honor

Mrs. Alexander S. (Mary Ann Lamar Cobb) Erwin of Athens, Ga., conceived the idea of the United Daughters of the Confederacy bestowing the Southern Cross of Honor on Confederate veterans while attending a reunion of Confederate veterans in Atlanta, Ga., in July 1898. Mrs. Erwin and Mrs. Sarah E. Gabbett of Atlanta are credited with the design of the Cross: a Maltese Cross with a wreath of laurel surrounding the words "Deo Vindice (God our Vindicator) 1861-1865" and the inscription, "Southern Cross of Honor" on the face. On the reverse side is a Confederate Battle Flag surrounded by a laurel wreath and the words "United Daughters of the Confederacy to the UCV."

Mr. Charles W. Crankshaw of Atlanta was chosen to manufacture the Crosses, but the first order was not given until a copyright was secured by the UDC on February 20, 1900. During the first 18 months of the Cross's availability 12,500 were ordered and delivered.

Only a Confederate veteran could wear the Southern Cross of Honor, and it could only be bestowed through the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Money could not buy the Cross; they were bought by loyal, honorable service to the South and were given in recognition of this devotion. The first Cross ever bestowed was upon Mrs. Erwin’s husband, Captain Alexander S. Erwin, by the Athens Chapter (Athens, Ga.) on April 26, 1900


Cross of Honor Recipients - Texas Division UDC
Cross of Honor Recipients - Little Rock, Arkansas
Cross of Honor Recipients - Atlanta, Georgia 1900-1935
Cross of Honor Recipients - Athens, Georgia April 26, 1900
Cross of Honor Recipients - Atlanta, Georgia April 26, 1900
Cross of Honor Recipients - R. B. Levy Chapter, Longview, TX
Cross of Honor Recipients - David O. Dodd Chapter Pine Bluff, AR
Cross of Honor Recipients - Virginia Clay Clopton Chapter Huntsville, AL
Cross of Honor Recipients - Edward Cary Walthall Chapter Holly Springs,MS


 

The Crosses of Military Service and Medals currently awarded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy are an outgrowth of the Southern Cross of Honor. These Crosses and Medals are awarded to veterans who have served or are serving in defense of America. They are the most prized awards conferred by the UDC.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy presents complete sets of the Crosses to libraries and museums if they agree to display the sets. The Southern Cross of Honor is always included if it is available. Should someone owning a Southern Cross of Honor wish to donate it to the UDC, it will be included in a set to be presented to a museum or library. If you have such a Cross and wish to donate it, please contact the UDC Business Office.

The UDC Business Office does not have applications for the Southern Cross of Honor; however, it does have ledgers compiled by Mrs. Anna Davenport Raines during her seven-year term as Custodian of Crosses of Honor. Mrs. Raines recorded every recipient of the Cross bestowed, beginning with Number One, until she resigned in 1913, for a total of 78,761 Crosses. The ledgers provide the name and unit of each recipient and may in some cases give the date and place of the award. An cumulative index was developed by the Caroline Meriwether Goodlett Library Committee in the 1980s to cross reference the information contained in the ledgers.

To request confirmation of the bestowal of a Southern Cross of Honor between 1900 and 1913 and/or for any information available for subsequent years, please send name of the veteran and the unit in which he served, along with a check made payable to "Treasurer General UDC" in the amount of $10.00 per name plus $6.00 per total order for postage and handling to:

UDC Memorial Building
Southern Cross of Honor Research
328 North Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220-4057



 
 

April 26, 1903

75 Colquitt County Confederate Veterans are pictured here gathering on the Courthouse steps to receive their Southern Cross of Honor from the Moultrie Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 22 additional medals were presented later that year.