Close Window FAQs About The Samuel R. Watkins Camp #29


Table of Contents

  1. What is the Sam Watkins Camp #29, Sons of Confederate Veterans?
  2. What is a camp?
  3. How do I join?
  4. Why the Confederate Battle Flag?
  5. What does the Sam Watkins Camp do?
  6. Is the Sam Watkins Camp a charitable organization?
  7. What do I get with a membership?

What is the Samuel R. Watkins Camp #29?

The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is the direct heir to the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) which officially started in 1889. Before the incorporation of the UCV, there were many Confederate Veterans groups scattered across the country (E.g. Tennessee Association of Confederate Soldiers). 

The UCV was a fraternal, benevolent, historical, social, and literary association and was active from 1889 to the mid 1940's. Its mission other than a fraternity of Confederate Veterans, was to gather authentic data for an impartial history of the war between the States; to preserve relics or mementos of the same; to care for the disabled and extend a helping hand to the needy; to protect the widows and the orphans, and to make and preserve a record of the services of every member as far as was possible.

The SCV was formed in 1896 to help, aide and assist the UCV and carry on their cause long after they were gone.  It served and continues to serve as a fraternity of men whose mission is to be a historical, patriotic and nonpolitical organization dedicated to insuring that a true history of the 1861 ~ 1865 period is preserved for future generations.  It's prerequisite is that members are descendants (men 12 years of age or older - lineal or collateral) of Confederate Veterans who served honorably.  A parochial camp is prohibited by the SCV Constitution. 

The Samuel R. Watkins Camp today is part of the SCV and continues the cause of preserving the Confederate Soldiers good name.  It was initially chartered on June 23rd, 1894 as part of the Leonidas Polk Bivouac #3, UCV and two years before the actual start of SCV.  When the SCV officially started in 1896 it was named the Maury Bivouac #29, Sons of Confederate Veterans. 

The majority of the records of the early camp's operation have long since vanished with only a few records in private hands and a few available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.  In 1986 the camp was re-chartered and renamed the Samuel R. Watkins Camp #29 in honor of our local hero.

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What is a camp?

Much like a Freemason's Lodge, Boy scout Troop etc., a camp is not a building or place of meeting but the physical body of the local membership.

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How do I join?

To join the Samuel R. Watkins Camp #29, SCV, you must be a Male 12 years of age or older, and show lineal or collateral descent from a Confederate Soldier who served honorably with the Confederate States of America. Switching sides, desertion or serving in a non-regular group (E.g. raiding with outlaw bands on the "Southern Side" for the sake of profit or mayhem) during the war is not considered honorable service.

Lineal is defined as belonging to or being in the direct line of descent from an ancestor while Collateral shows only blood relation (E.g. great, great Uncle, cousin etc.)

Please see the SRW Camp leadership page to request a hard copy application (recommended) or click here to use the SCV online application.

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Why the Confederate Battle Flag?

In Samuel R. Watkins's memoir Co. Aytch,  he wrote the following, "Once more the Maury Grays are permitted to put their feet upon their native hearth, and to revisit their homes and friends, after having followed their tattered, and torn, and battle-riddled flag, which they had borne aloft for four long years, on every march, and in every battle that had been fought by the Army of Tennessee....But, parents, here are your noble and brave sons; and, ladies, four years ago you gave us this flag, and we promised you 'That we would come back with the flag as victors, or we would come not at all.' We have been true to our promise and our trust. On every battlefield the flag that you entrusted to our hands has been borne aloft by brave and heroic men, amid shot and shell, bloody battle, and death. We have never forsaken our colors. Are we worthy to be called the sons of old Maury county?"

Mistakenly called the "Stars and Bars", the Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) A.K.A. "St. Andrew's Cross" pattern battle flag is one of the most well known Civil War era banners.  Although many designs and patterns of battle flags were produced during the war on both sides of the conflict, this pattern was unique in the fact that it was a blue saltier shaped cross with white stars and a red background and usually accompanying white trim. It became so popular in fact that the 2nd and 3rd national flags of the Confederacy had a pattern of it incorporated in its canton/union.  It's design was created as a easily identifiable pattern to distinguish the troops in battle. 

It is widely believed that the ANV battle flag was based on the national flag of Scotland , but no records or proof other than it's general pattern suggest this.  Some have even deemed it a symbol of the South's Christian roots because of the saltier cross, but this in itself is only correct if applying it to heraldic symbolism since there is no proof other than the aforementioned theory of the Scottish flag / Battle flag beginnings. 

Language as we know it doesn't necessarily have to be a grouping of auditory tones representing words arranged in a particular order to suggest some meaning.  Much like a handicap sign in a parking lot or heraldic symbols on a European coat of arms, we understand or have an idea what it means even though it has no sound or pronunciation - we automatically associate that symbol with something.  Every symbol has it's original meaning and intention but over time its true reason can become clouded in mystery or all together forgotten. We as descendants of Confederate Soldiers understand what the Battle Flag truly means... many people today don't understand the true history of the Confederate Battle Flag or what it really meant to the Soldiers of the Confederacy. 

The SRW Camp as part of the SCV defends the display of the Confederate battle flag.  It is after all the flag that our ancestors fought and died under. We proudly have the Confederate Battle Flag  incorporated in our official logo and will continue to fly the flag in an honorable context of display.

Furthermore, we shun any group or person that would use it as a means of intimidation.

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What does the Sam Watkins Camp do in the Community?

The Samuel R. Watkins Campís main purpose is to maintain and defend Confederate Heritage, educate the public and perpetuate the memory of the Confederate Soldier who fought honorably during the American Civil War. The Camp is strictly a patriotic, historical, educational, benevolent, non-political, and non-sectarian fraternal entity bound by its by-laws and governed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Constitution.

As a member of the camp, you have the opportunity to get involved in many interesting projects in the community, raise money for preservation and gather together with brothers who have a like-minded goal.  If you live abroad, just being a member of the camp helps us to further our goal of reaching out and educating the public as to what we are really about.

The SRW Camp rejects any group or person whose actions would tarnish the image of the Confederate soldier or his true reasons for fighting.  If you are interested in carrying on the ideals that motivated your Confederate ancestor, the camp needs you. The memory and respect towards the Confederate soldier, as well as the motives for his suffering and sacrifice, are being distorted by many in an ever changing world. Unless we as descendants of Confederate Southern soldiers resist those efforts by groups opposed to the true history of the South, a unique and most important part of our nations' cultural heritage will cease to exist.

Will you not join us in our cause?  Our membership is open to any and all persons who show descent from a Confederate Soldier who served honorably. Remember, this is your family...

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Is the Sam Watkins Camp a charitable organization?

Charitable works is only part of what the Sam Watkins camp is all about.  We are indeed classified as a not-for-profit entity and recognized by the IRS as 501(c)3 status. 

However by law, Camp dues cannot be claimed as a charitable donation.

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What do I get with a membership?

With membership into the camp you get an SCV membership number and card, automatic subscription to the "Confederate Veteran" magazine and a monthly subscription to the highly acclaimed "Webfoot" SRW Camp newsletter.  With your membership you automatically get discounts at certain businesses and get a 10% member discount on SCV items.