Confederate Medal of Honor

AKA: Certificate Roll of Honor

The Confederate States Congress, on October 13, 1862, authorized the President to bestow medals and badges for bravery. However, none were ever created or awarded. In their place, the Army created the Confederate Roll of Honor in 1863.

In 1968 the SCV passed a resolution to issue the Confederate Medal of Honor and it began minting them in 1977. According to the SCV's Executive Director, "[t]he SCV created their own Confederate Medal of Honor simply because there were some incredible acts of valor that had received little or no recognition during and after the war". As of 2014, at least 50 medals had been awarded.

Recipients must be shown to have "distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry, bravery, and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in action against the enemy of the Confederate States of America." Most recipients are listed on the Confederate Roll of Honor. The medal and certificate are given to an institution, such as a museum or library, which guarantees to display them.

The current medal is bronze and silver, with two five-pointed stars overlain. Inscribed are the words "Honor. Duty. Valor. Devotion." In the center is the Great Seal of the Confederate States.

During the American Civil War there were not any Confederate medals awarded to soldiers for heroism, valor or acts above and beyond the call of duty. The creation of the Confederate Roll of Honor, comparable to the U.S. Medal of Honor, was not created until more than one century after the Civil War had concluded. The honorees include a nurse, chaplain and commandant of a Confederate prison.

The Confederate government, seeking to increase morale and to recognize its soldiers, authorized medals and badges for: 1) officers “conspicuous for courage and good conduct on the field of battle” or; 2) to one enlisted soldier per regiment after each victory. This soldier was to be chosen by a vote amongst regiment.

When appropriate medals could not be supplied, the Confederate Congress authorized the Roll of Honor in October of 1862. The Roll of Honor covered all ranks and it was ordered that the Roll would be: 1) preserved in the office of the Adjutant and Inspector General; 2) read at the head of every regiment at the first dress-parade after its receipt and; 3) published in at least one newspaper from each state.

Disagreement as well as financial difficulties precluded it from coming to fruition. On July 1, 1896, General Stephen Dill Lee, one of the few remaining senior officers of the Confederate army, spoke to a group of sons of Confederate veterans who had gathered at Richmond to form a group to preserve the memory and valor of the Confederate soldier. He told the group it was their duty to present the true history of the South to future generations. This group, chartered as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was committed to that charge. In 1977, Private Samuel Davis of Coleman's Scouts became the first to be posthumously presented the Confederate Medal of Honor. Since then, many others have been presented and those whose valor went far beyond the call of duty are finally being recognized.

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