Southern Cross of Honor
While attending a reunion of Confederate veterans in Atlanta
in July 1898, Mrs. Alexander S. (Mary Ann Lamar Cobb) Erwin
of Athens, Ga., conceived the idea of bestowing the Southern
Cross of Honor on Confederate veterans . Mrs. Erwin and Mrs.
Sarah E. Gabbett of Atlanta are credited with the design of
the medal: 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 the UDC had secured a copyright
(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 UDC.
Money could not buy the Cross; they were bought by loyal,
honorable service to the South and given in recognition of
this devotion. The first Cross ever bestowed was upon Mrs.
Erwin’s husband, Captain Alexander S. Erwin, by the Athens
(Ga.) Chapter on April 26, 1900.
Crosses of Military Service and Medals
bestowed by the UDC 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 UDC 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 one is available. Should someone owning a
Southern Cross of Honor wish to donate it to the UDC, it
will be included in a set presented to a museum or library.
Please contact the UDC Business Office.
|The UDC Business Office does not
have the original applications for the Southern
Cross of Honor. It does,
however, have the ledgers compiled by Mrs. Anna
Davenport Raines during her seven-year term as
Custodian of Crosses of Honor. Mrs. Raines recorded
the recipients of every Cross bestowed, beginning
with Number 1, until she resigned in 1913, for a
total of 78,761 Crosses, The ledgers provide the
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 download
the research request form [PDF
file] and mail to:
UDC Memorial Building
Southern Cross of Honor Research
328 North Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220-4009
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