Are Confederate Veterans American Veterans?

Here’s a simple question: are Confederate veterans American veterans?  Should we include them when we celebrate Veterans Day?

I’d say that Veterans Day is supposed to celebrate the service of veterans of the United States armed forces, but others may have a different opinion.  However, if they do, then I’d like to know whether they think that the Loyalists who fought in the American Revolution or Native Americans who fought in a series of wars over several centuries are also entitled to the same honors?  After all, they were/are Americans too, right?   If you disqualify them for fighting against United States forces, then you must do the same for Confederates, right?

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104 thoughts on “Are Confederate Veterans American Veterans?

    • Jim Pearson November 16, 2011 / 11:40 am

      Any organized group which tries to kill U.S. soldiers should not be included in the honored catagory of “veterans.”

      • Charles Lovejoy November 17, 2011 / 3:58 pm

        What about the American Indians? Many of their ancestral warriors fought US solders. Should they be honored as American veterans and heroes? 🙂

        • Jim Pearson November 17, 2011 / 6:13 pm

          The indians who fought U.S. soldiers should not be honored as ‘veterans”, but their descendents who fought as part of the U. S. military should be so honored.

        • Barry February 28, 2015 / 12:52 pm

          YES

    • Lizzie December 1, 2012 / 4:31 am

      Confederate veterans are American veterans BY LAW.

    • Professor July 28, 2014 / 12:20 am

      You are wrong and stop shooting from the hip on your answers, joker.
      By Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.” As a result of this law the last surviving Confederate Veteran received a U.S. Military pension until his death in 1959, and from that day until present, descendants of Confederate veterans have been able to receive military monuments to place on graves from the Veteran’s Administration for their ancestors. A Confederate Veteran should therefore be treated with the same honor and dignity of any other American veteran.

      • William McGill May 25, 2015 / 9:33 pm

        as far as i know the US government paid no pensions to surviving confederate vets– unless they were eligible because of service performed for the US military before or after the war– confederate vets applied for and were paid pensions from individual state governments of the former confederacy– but from the states they resided in at the time of application and not necessarily from the states they served

        • patti July 22, 2015 / 10:17 am

          William, I respectfully correct your error. The statements preceding yours are correct

      • PAC MAN August 4, 2015 / 11:33 pm

        “For the purpose of this section, and section 433…” means, in Legal Speak, “ONLY for the purposes of these two sections and in no other context” In other words..ONLY for the purpose of these benefits distrubtions and FOR NOT OTHER PURPOSE should CSA Veterans be considered US or American Veterans.

    • Elliott June 29, 2015 / 7:35 pm

      confederate soldiers ARE veterans, by act of congress. they weren’t traitors. and Jim Pearson, when sherman took his army south and began burning civilian homes and cities, executing civilians and ‘appropriating all food stock’ E.G. stealing and looting, what do you expect? I’d shoot that bastard, then hang him and THEN send his head home in a boX! but he’s a veteran to you? no no. Git. this war is long over. you’d best come to terms with that.

    • Andrew Romine July 14, 2015 / 3:56 pm

      Congress passed a law making any and all confederate soldier a US Veteran, so hate to burst your bubble. As well, some soldiers who fought for their home state that succeeded in the Union were also trained in US Military Academy.

      They are part of our history and ancestry. Keep in mind the Union invaded the south, an over reaching federal government like we have today. The South pulled away from the union over states rights and keeping the Federal Government out of state matters.

      • Jimmy Dick July 14, 2015 / 6:11 pm

        Since the Union didn’t start the war and was only acting in accordance with the US Constitution, it was not invading the South. It also was not overreaching in any way. That is just the usual lost cause fantasy cooked up by people who want the confederacy to be seen as victims instead of the starters of the deadliest war in American history.

        Go learn some history.

        • Jim L Couch July 24, 2015 / 12:37 pm

          They were blockading a Confederate harbor. It was the north’s act of aggression at Fort Sumter that started the shooting and Lincoln knew it would that is why he manipulated the events to start the war there.

          • Brooks D. Simpson July 24, 2015 / 12:44 pm

            Those poor Confederates … tricked and manipulated into starting a war. How foolish. Thanks for straightening that out for us.

          • John Foskett July 24, 2015 / 1:11 pm

            You don’t understand what a blockade is. The only “blockade” in place was that by the secessionists, cutting a U.S. military installation off from supply. Ultimately, of course, they chose to fire on it.

          • Andy Hall July 24, 2015 / 1:32 pm

            The U.S. ships off Charleston during the Sumter crisis were not “blockading” anything.

          • Jimmy Dick July 24, 2015 / 2:28 pm

            Victim Mentality Alert!

            Poor Jeff Davis. He was bamboozled by Lincoln. So what you are saying is that Lincoln was a pretty smart guy and Davis was stupid.

            Northern Aggression = Feeding hungry US soldiers. Or was it the move from Moultrie to Sumter? You know, the movement of troops that threatened the South Carolinians so aggressively? Did they look aggressive as they moved? Did they sack a town while ferrying to the fort? Did they stop and molest a seagull or some fish in the harbor as they crossed? What was the aggression?

            Oh, the blockade that wasn’t there. Yeah, right. Just more victim mentality and the use of words with no facts to support them. In other words, more prattling taken straight from the lost cause handbook.

          • bob carey July 24, 2015 / 3:19 pm

            How many ships did the “blockade” prevent from entering or leaving the harbor?

        • Thomas Green July 24, 2015 / 3:12 pm

          Jimmy! — Lets look at that history!

          South Carolina was the first state to secede thus becoming a sovereign state/country There was no law against seceding until Lincoln and the Republican party passed a measure much later during the Civil War in order to prevent Maryland from seceding and joining the confederacy. As a matter of fact at the signing of the U.S. constitution the Southern States declared their right to secede if their rights to own slaves was impugned!

          Fort Sumter was considered to be in South Carolina…(in the Charleston SC Harbor to be exact) It’s purpose was originally to defend the country from foreign invaders… It was mostly empty at that time – because it was still under construction.

          [[ Fort Sumter is an island fortification located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Originally constructed in 1829 as a coastal garrison, Fort Sumter is most famous for being the site of the first shots of the Civil War (1861-65). U.S. Major Robert Anderson occupied the unfinished fort in December 1860 following South Carolina’s secession from the Union ]].

          So basically The U.S. army illegally occupied a Fort on Foreign soil -(South Carolina) Kinda’ like Russia did in Crimea!

          [[ South Carolina (legally) seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, United States Maj. Robert Anderson and his force of 85 soldiers were positioned at Fort Moultrie near the mouth of Charleston Harbor. On December 26, fearing for the safety of his men, Anderson moved his command to Fort Sumter, an imposing fortification in the middle of the harbor. While politicians and military commanders wrote and screamed about the legality and appropriateness of this provocative move, Anderson’s position became perilous. Just after the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1861, Anderson reported that he had only a six week supply of food left in the fort and Confederate patience for a “foreign force” in its territory was wearing thin.]].

          Lincoln had authorized ships to go to Fort Sumter and re-supply the troops there (In the illegally occupied Fort) This of course set off a firestorm of criticism of the North’s aggression!..

          [[ On Thursday, April 11, 1861, Confederate Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard dispatched aides to Maj. Anderson to demand the fort’s surrender. Anderson refused. The next morning, at 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter and continued for 34 hours. The Civil War had begun! Anderson did not return the fire for the first two hours. The fort’s supply of ammunition was not suited for an equal fight and Anderson lacked fuses for his exploding shells–only solid shot could be used against the Rebel batteries. At about 7:00 A.M., Union Capt. Abner Doubleday, the fort’s second in command, was afforded the honor of firing the first shot in defense of the fort.]].

          So now do you understand why it is called the “War of Northern Aggression” —–

          • Brooks D. Simpson July 24, 2015 / 3:32 pm

            You know, you almost had me going there … well, that is, until the first paragraph … why don’t we look at that history, okay?

            “There was no law against seceding until Lincoln and the Republican party passed a measure much later during the Civil War in order to prevent Maryland from seceding and joining the confederacy.”

            What date was this law passed and what is it called? Could you tell us the title and author of the best study on this piece of legislation? I mean, you know the history and all that, so you should be able to answer this.

            “As a matter of fact at the signing of the U.S. constitution the Southern States declared their right to secede if their rights to own slaves was impugned!”

            Which states owned slaves? Who made this declaration in September 1787 as the delegates prepared to sign the document. What did Washington say? Madison? After all, they hailed from a southern state, right? Pray tell us more about this important moment, including the title and the author of the most famous study of this brave declaration …

            We’re waiting.

          • Jimmy Dick July 24, 2015 / 3:54 pm

            Let’s see. I’m waiting for the history part you said you wanted to look at.

            Fort Sumter was the legal property of the United States of America. Rather than go into massive details I will link to Al Mackey’s article on this subject which you can then read and learn some history. https://studycivilwar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/who-owned-fort-sumter/

            So, that kinda takes us right back to square one doesn’t it?

            Then we can dive into the issue of secession which has been covered so many times it has gotten to be a running joke. Causers bring up no law against it and of course that is BS because the intent of the Founders was for no secession which they mentioned in ratification conventions. Naturally of course Causers also mention states saying they had a secession clause in the ratification documents but then no one can find anything saying that because it just was not true.

            Now do you understand why I laugh at the idiotic statement “War of Northern Aggression” and call it victim mentality? The lost cause handbook is constructed out of lies. You would be better off convincing me that Bigfoot exists.

          • John Foskett July 25, 2015 / 10:35 am

            Thomas! Let’s look at what Robert E. Lee said about the legality of secession on January 19, 1861!

            “The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it were intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for perpetual union, so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government (not a compact) which can only be dissolved by revolution, or by the consent of all the people in convention assembled.”

        • pignut August 19, 2015 / 11:21 pm

          You are wrong. Lincoln disregarded the constitution when he illegally invaded virginia. According to federal code the federal Marshalls in va must request assistance for insurrection which they did not.

          • Al Mackey August 21, 2015 / 7:21 am

            Wrong as usual. You people can’t even read the stuff you claim to quote. Look at the Militia Act of 1795. This is why normal people consider you neoconfederates to be idiots–because you don’t have the brains to do the research on your own. Nothing in US law said the Federal Marshals [note the spelling] had to request assistance. You either made it up or are parroting some other idiot who made it up. Here’s the law. Read it for yourself, if you can even understand written English: http://legisworks.org/congress/3/session-2/chap-36.pdf

            Look specifically at Sections 2 and 3. You fools throw around “illegally” without even knowing what you’re talking about. It’s really pathetic and makes me embarrassed for the educational system of my country. At least learn how to do research and learn how to comprehend the written word.

          • John Foskett August 21, 2015 / 2:29 pm

            Buck v. Bell, 270 US 200, 207 (1927), Holmes, J.

      • Jeffry Burden July 14, 2015 / 6:25 pm

        Andrew, I’ll ask the same question I always ask (and to which I never get a reply): what specifically did the federal government do (or not do) before 1861 that justified violent unilateral secession? NOTE: “It was tyrannical” is not considered specific.

      • Andy Hall July 15, 2015 / 8:36 am

        Congress passed a law making any and all confederate soldier a US Veteran. . . .

        If you’re referring to the 1958 legislation, all it did was make Confederate veterans eligible for the same VA benefits as Union soldiers were. It did not make them U.S. veterans, make any other official change in their status, or extend any particular protections to graves or monuments.

        It’s really amusing how the same heritage folks who, generally speaking, have nothing but disdain and mockery for the federal government, cling desperately to this particular bit of legislation as an endorsement of their ancestors’ integrity. Is your faith in them and their cause genuinely so weak that you have to have the official imprimatur of the U.S. government to justify their cause? Apparently so.

        • Bobfrommosinee May 19, 2016 / 7:24 am

          No, They became lawfully and legally US Veterans under the 1958 law, The passage of the law was shepherded through congress by the Democrat leadership of the House and Senate.

          • Brooks D. Simpson May 19, 2016 / 8:49 am

            Ah, no. They were accorded veteran status, but not US veteran status. Confederate veterans are not United States veterans. You clearly don’t understand the legislation you quoted.

      • M l Horne July 16, 2015 / 8:12 pm

        Like slavery?? A real “states rights” issue? And was it the Union plus the south that fought in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc. or was it the meddling Fed Gov. Or the great UNITED STATES?

      • Chris Hatley January 17, 2016 / 5:46 am

        The state right in question was for anti slavery states to honor laws for escaped and free slaves to be returned or captured,let’s please stop with trying to somehow say it wasn’t about slavery.

    • Matt July 16, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      Sorry, but Congress disagrees with you. Congressional Appropriations Act, FY 1901, signed 6 June 1900, Congressional Act of 9 March 1906, U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929, U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958.

  1. Robert Welch November 15, 2011 / 11:55 am

    If I might throw another wrinkle into the discussion, what of those veterans of the Revolution who took up arms against the government during Shay’s Rebellion or the Whiskey Rebellion? While they served on the “right” side at one time, does their contra stance deny them honor and remembrance?

    As to the original question, I’m not sure where I stand. I have no known Confederate ancestry, so this is a question that has never gone beyond the theoretical for me. I think it’s right to remember the sacrifices they made, but I’m not sure how to separate that memory from their service defending a society based in slavery, which begs yesterday’s question.

    • Lyle Smith November 15, 2011 / 1:19 pm

      “defending a society based in slavery”

      American veterans of the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War were arguably “defending a society based in slavery”. So, as an American, it shouldn’t really be theoretical to you at all, because defending slavery is what America’s armed forces routinely did prior to the Civil War.

      As to Professor Simpson’s two questions… Veterans Day is really a post-WWI remembrance holiday. There wasn’t a Veterans Day until 1919 and it wasn’t called Veterans Day then, but Armistice Day… in memory of the end of the Great War and the sacrifice of WWI veterans. It wasn’t changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day until the 1950s so that WWII and Korean veterans would also be honored.

      Looking at the history of Veterans Day legislation it seems to me to be a way to recognize living veterans and those specifically who served in WWI and then later WWII and Korea, and of course now all living veterans.

      So Confederate veterans are not American veterans per the presidential and congressional acts behind Veterans Day and therefore are not honored by Veterans Day.

      Memorial Day is the day for the deceased American veteran. It recognizes the deceased United States soldier and its history specifically dates to memorializing those Federal soldiers who perished during the Civil War. Today it memorializes all deceased soldiers that served in the United States armed forces.

      So Confederate veterans, as Confederate Veterans, are not recognized as American veterans by either Veterans Day or Memorial Day.

      Should they be included in Veterans Day, however? Well, it’s a moot point if Veterans Day is more about the living than the dead. And if Veterans Day extends to all United States armed forces veterans, living and dead… well, Confederate soldiers didn’t fight for the United States during the Civil War. So no, arguably Confederate soldiers, as Confederate soldiers, should not be celebrated on Veterans Day. Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson could be recognized and celebrated for the Mexican War sacrifices for sure though.

  2. Corey Meyer November 15, 2011 / 12:06 pm

    No, confederate veterans are soldiers who fought against the United States of America and American veterans are just that Americans…not confederates.

  3. John Buchanan November 15, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    As a vet let me add a possible word parsing here…they ARE American Veterans but they are NOT US Veterans.

    I admit that is a pretty fine hair to split. I make no soft sell about the fact that they took up arms against the duly elected national government and were traitorous, particularly those who had previosly sworn an oath to the Constitution. But they are of America and most had their citizenship rights restored.

    So to that end they get the title American veterans…but don’t ask for FEDERAL tax dollars to pay for headstones and monuments beyond that needed to interpret to story at the NMPs.

    • JMRudy November 15, 2011 / 1:57 pm

      Great perspective, John… You have a few different life experiences in your bag of tricks, so it’s cool to get that Vet’s perspective. Where this whole question began was within the question of Veterans Day… Do we celebrate veterans of the American nation or the United States military on that day?

      Does anyone truly think we would thank veterans of the German or Japanese armies of World War II who emigrated to the United States after the war for their service? Are they American Veterans? Are they who Veterans Day was intended to honor?

      I think this question is a deeply important one with which to wrestle and helps to show some interesting cracks within American culture.

    • James Martin November 7, 2013 / 6:14 pm

      But John, the US government does pay for headstones for Confederate veterans and Federal legislation does currently recognize them as veterans.

      • Al Mackey November 8, 2013 / 12:23 pm

        Federal legislation does not recognize them as US veterans. It recognizes them as veterans of the Civil War, and veterans of the CSA. The US government has magnanimously made the decision to provide headstones for those whose actions showed they deserve no consideration from the government. As no good deed goes unpunished, some people now use that to falsely claim something that just isn’t true.

        • Professor July 28, 2014 / 12:20 am

          By Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.” As a result of this law the last surviving Confederate Veteran received a U.S. Military pension until his death in 1959, and from that day until present, descendants of Confederate veterans have been able to receive military monuments to place on graves from the Veteran’s Administration for their ancestors. A Confederate Veteran should therefore be treated with the same honor and dignity of any other American veteran.

          • Al Mackey July 28, 2014 / 6:45 am

            Read the law. It in no way calls confederate veterans American veterans. You’re talking about Walter Williams. He didn’t receive a US military pension, and he wasn’t a confederate veteran either. He was a phony and a liar. Quit making things up. The gravestones are confederate gravestones, not American military gravestones. You people can never be trusted to tell the truth in anything.

          • d johns June 22, 2015 / 6:44 am

            The law you quote is referring to pensions for widows. It is NOT a declaration that Confederate veterans are U.S. veterans.

        • Bobfrommosinee May 19, 2016 / 7:34 am

          For all those who claim that Confederate Veterans are not Veterans, Read the Law….

          ” the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.”

          “THE TERM VETERAN INCLUDES A PERSON SERVED IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA DURING THE CIVIL WAR”

          and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.”

          The person who served in the Armed Forces if the Confederacy is now a Veteran as any other Veteran of the US Armed Forces of any other conflict.

          • Brooks D. Simpson May 19, 2016 / 8:50 am

            Read what you quote carefully. Their status under this legislation does not make them US veterans.

          • Jimmy Dick May 19, 2016 / 10:46 am

            Confederates are not veterans. They were traitors. And now the CBF is banned at VA Cemeteries which is as it should be. The flag of treason has no business flying over the graves of many of the men who fought to support the United States of America and what it stands for.

          • Brooks D. Simpson May 19, 2016 / 10:53 am

            I think Bob needed to get something off his chest, and now he has. He’s a little confused about what’s the meaning of what he’s quoted.

            He’s just quoting a meme that’s popular among Confederate heritage advocates. The complete story sheds additional light on this matter.

  4. Michael Bartley November 15, 2011 / 1:39 pm

    Veterans Day commemorates the wartime service of members of the American military. So, for me confederates as enemies of the United States have no place for me when I bow my head in thanksgiving for those who fought for our United States. However, it is complicated as Robert Welch points out. Where in the heart of memory and remembrance do we place a soldier who fought in the Mexican war only to turn enemy during the Civil War? Or, to Dr. Simpson’s point on Native Americans, where do allies stand in our commemoration and what happens when allies in one conflict become enemies in another? And if this can be answered by simply rejecting anyone not wearing the uniform of the United States, what do we do with Indian Scouts who wore the uniform, drew pay, and held rank in the army. Scouts finding themselves in a remarkably complicated and fluid environment who rode in blue as both friendly and hostile (uniforms taken in battle from vanquished foes) and back again represent one aspect of the real world complication of commemoration. In the end there is the official Veterans Day that seems fairly clear in its goals. But, this clarity can easily be lost most particularly in the heart of each individual who must work out for themselves who they think of and thank when they bow their heads in respect and remembrance.

  5. wgdavis November 15, 2011 / 3:57 pm

    This may surprise some, ut, in my opinion, as the Confederate Veterans were US Citizens before they were Confederate soldiers, and became US Citizens after they stopped being Confederate Soldiers, they are entitled to be called US Veterans. Now, they paid the price for their actions, in that they could not obtain Veterans benefits from the US government, but instead had to rely on their state governments for Veterans pensions and wound payments.

    It is a testament to the effectiveness of the Southern elites that so many came forward to fight for a cause that was immoral, hopeless, and without any glimmer of potential for success.

    It was a fight over America and how it was to be governed. The two sides were Americans, and when it was over, the losing side had the good sense and good graces [for the most part] to realize they’d done their best and lost and it was time to go home and get on with life.

    That makes them US Veterans in my eyes.

    • Jim Pearson May 27, 2014 / 8:35 am

      “as the Confederate Veterans were US Citizens before they were Confederate soldiers, and became US Citizens after they stopped being Confederate Soldiers”
      This is not correct. Confederate sholdiers were US citizens at all times. The federal government did not consider those soldiers to be no longer citizens.

  6. BorderRuffian November 15, 2011 / 4:02 pm

    “Are Confederate Veterans American Veterans?”

    United States of America

    Confederate States of *America*

    It’s that simple.

    L.Smith-
    “So Confederate veterans, as Confederate Veterans, are not recognized as American veterans by either Veterans Day or Memorial Day.”

    Confederates have their own memorial days, &etc. No need to conflate it with other memorial days.

    M.Bartley-
    “So, for me confederates as enemies of the United States have no place for me when I bow my head in thanksgiving for those who fought for our United States.”

    That’s OK. We don’t need you in any remembrance of Confederate veterans.

    JMRudy-
    “don’t ask for FEDERAL tax dollars to pay for headstones…”

    Too late. The Federal gov’t has been supplying headstones for Confederate graves for a long time.

  7. BorderRuffian November 15, 2011 / 4:11 pm

    “The Federal gov’t has been supplying headstones for Confederate graves for a long time.”

    Saw an application just yesterday dated April 9, 1931.

    • John Buchanan November 16, 2011 / 1:58 pm

      Actually, I am the one who wrote that not JMRudy.

      I know, which is why I have written both my Senators and my Congressman to please pass legislation to stop the practice.

  8. Jeffry Burden November 15, 2011 / 4:33 pm

    They came from amongst the American people; by their words fought in the name of, and for the continuance of, what they described as American virtues (Constitutional government, self-rule, private property interests, etc.); and returned to the status of United States citizens after the War (some more willingly than others). As noted above, they are American veterans; but they are not United States veterans (at least in relation to their Civil War service).

  9. John Foskett November 15, 2011 / 4:42 pm

    Not to split hairs but it’s easier to use 1789 as the operative starting point, because that’s when the United States technically came into existence. On that basis it becomes somewhat irrelevant whether the Shay’s particpants, Loyalists in the AWI, etc. qualify. The Whiskey Rebellion participants do not because they committed acts against the United States which may have amounted to treason. Anyone post-1789 who took up arms against the American flag or United States institutions cannot qualify. And I consider “American Veteran” to mean a qualifying “United States Veteran”. Others may have believed in a “cause” and fought courageously for it but that “cause” was against the U.S.A. and in my view was treasonable – a separate issue from whether it should have been prosecuted as such. .

  10. James F. Epperson November 15, 2011 / 5:09 pm

    For once I agree w/ Harry: No and no.

    In this connection, I am reminded of a statue at West Point honoring the graduates who fought *to put down the Rebellion*. Lee, of course, would not qualify, nor would any other Confederate.

    • Professor July 28, 2014 / 12:21 am

      By Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.” As a result of this law the last surviving Confederate Veteran received a U.S. Military pension until his death in 1959, and from that day until present, descendants of Confederate veterans have been able to receive military monuments to place on graves from the Veteran’s Administration for their ancestors. A Confederate Veteran should therefore be treated with the same honor and dignity of any other American veteran.

  11. TF Smith November 15, 2011 / 8:43 pm

    If “American” is used as shorthand for those serving in the armed forces of the United States of America, than no.

    If a Filipino veteran of the Vietnam War moves to the US to live with a daughter and son-in-law, he is still a veteran, but he is not an American veteran. I don’t doubt the folks down at the Legion post or the VFW will welcome him to come in for a cold one, but he will not be a member.

    Those who served the CSA, in government or in uniform, were traitors. They were treated leniently – incredibly so, compared to those who bore arms and lost in most every other civil war in the Nineteenth or Twentieth centuries – but they were still traitors. As in:

    “down with the traitor….”

    Best,

  12. Charles Lovejoy November 16, 2011 / 6:06 am

    The Progressive Party of 1912 thought so, In their platform they not only supported pensions for what they referred to as American solders but then then included Confederate Veterans and their widows. The Progressive Party at the time was far being racist or conservative. Their platform stated >” We pledge ourselves to a wise and just policy of pensioning American soldiers and sailors and their widows and children they Federal Government. And we approve the policy of the Southern States in granting pensions to the ex-Confederate soldiers and sailors and their widows and children.”< I agree with the Progressive Party of 1912. My Grandfather was a member of that party.

  13. Charles Lovejoy November 16, 2011 / 6:32 am

    Typo correction, “The Progressive Party at the time was far from being racist or conservative.” I left ‘from’ out 🙂 Hey it’s early and not finished my first cup of coffee yet.

  14. Carl Schenker November 16, 2011 / 6:48 am

    Brooks —
    (1) I don’t know the relevant literature, but am inclined to believe that Confederate soldiers would not want to be remember as veterans of the US (assuming no service in Mexico, etc.). Came across this ystdy concerning proposals to include CSA vets in the federal pension system:
    “At the same time that pension requirements were becoming more liberal, several Southern congressmen attempted to open up the Federal system to Confederate veterans. Proponents justified such a move by noting that Southerners had contributed to Federal pensions through indirect taxes since the end of the war. These proposals met with mixed responses in both North and the South, but overwhelmingly, opposition came from those financially comfortable Confederate veterans and southern politicians who regarded such dependency on Federal assistance a dishonor t the Lost Cause. It should be noted that impoverished Southern veterans frequently were not averse to the prospect of receiving Federal pensions. In any event, no such law ever passed, and Confederate veterans and their widows never matriculated into the Federal pension system.”
    http://www.civilwarhome.com/pensions.htm

    (2) I am under the impression that modern-day Southerners are disproportionately represented in the military. So, ironically, there may be a higher chance today that a serving member of the US military is decended from a CSA vet than a USA vet.

    CRS

    • Mike Musick November 16, 2011 / 2:05 pm

      “…Confederate veterans and their widows never matriculated into the Federal pension system.” Despite this statement, and those found elsewhere,the two men recognized by the U.S. government as surviving Confederate veterans, plus more than 1,000 Confederate widows, were granted federal pensions in 1958 (see “Redefining Reconciliation: Confederate Veterans and the Southern Responses to Federal Civil War Pensions” by Jeffrey E. Vogel, in “Civil War History,” volume 51, 2005). I have used several such U.S. pension files based on Confederate service in my research, obtained through the Veterans Administration and in the custody of that agency.

  15. John Foskett November 16, 2011 / 8:13 am

    i’d draw a sharp distinction between (1) favoring granting financial relief (especially to widows and children) in a post-War America and (2) honoring as American veterans folks who took up arms against the United States.

    • Charles Lovejoy November 16, 2011 / 11:04 am

      I don’t draw a distinction, my father was a WWII vet, my grandfather was a WWI vet and my Great Grandfather was a Confederate Civil War Vet, before them My direct ancestors were American revolutionary war vets. My wife , brother en laws along with numerous cousins served in Viet Nam. I have 2nd cousins as we speak in Afghanistan. I draw no distinction in the honor and respect for any of them. My direct confederate ancestors were called when war broke out and served their calling like any other solder. Post American Civil War the descendants of these southern solders served in every war this country called them to serve. So not I draw no distinction. I give full honor to all solders that were called up and served as they were asked to do. As a direct descendant of the Confederacy I also give equal honor and respect to the Union solders that were called and served. I also have respect and honor for the Native American warriors that that took up arms and fought against the United States Government. I would never dis-honor any fallen warrior.

      • Marc Ferguson November 16, 2011 / 11:35 am

        Charles, did any of these relatives fight for Germany, the Viet Cong, or the Taliban? I see this as an important distinction.

        • Charles Lovejoy November 16, 2011 / 2:22 pm

          My late father in law fought in the Italian army during WWII , he was a fascist , I loved the man like a father. I shed as many tears on his death as I did my father . Italy was at war and he was called and went, just like my father and the US army air corps. My father and he became very close friends, even if both fought on opposing sides of a war. My son had one grandfather that was a fascist and fought for Italy, one grandfather that fought for the United States. He honors them both the same and loved them both the same. Far as the Viet Cong, far as I’m concerned it is over and I hold no ill will.

          • Marc Ferguson November 16, 2011 / 3:30 pm

            So your Italian grandfather should be honored as an American veteran on Veteran’s Day? I applaud you for not holding no ill will against the Viet Cong, neither do I, but they should of course not be considered U.S. veterans because they fought in a war engaged in by the U.S., there is a difference between having fought for a country and against it, and the Confederates fought against the U.S. 🙂

          • Lyle Smith November 16, 2011 / 7:50 pm

            You have to admit though that the Civil War was sui generis in the American experience. It was after all a Civil War, which makes it a completely different affair to other conflicts. It was nothing like WWII, Vietnam (America’s role at least), or Afghanistan. It was a difference of opinion over a legal matter that the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson generation passed on to future Americans to resolve, and those future Americans in their own time chose to go to war with one another over it.

            It was Americans versus Americans. If it wasn’t, how could someone like Joseph Wheeler ever have been an antebellum United States officer and then a United States army general postbellum?

          • Charles Lovejoy November 17, 2011 / 8:24 am

            He was my Italian father in law, around the same age as my dad. I agree he would in not be considered an U.S. veteran because he was born in Italy, fought for Italy in East Africa and never became an American citizen. But my direct Confederate ancestors were Americans ,born in America , came from those that fought the American Revolution and after the ACW war took an oath and rejoined America and have always supported the US afterwards and they did before secession. I wonder if we could channel someone like Joshua Chamberlain’s ghost and ask him what’s his opinion would be on this subject? 🙂 And I do admit to be accused of many of being to tolerant .

  16. Carl Schenker November 16, 2011 / 9:03 am

    Somewhat related to this topic (perhaps), I have often wondered how the attitudes of Civil War actors were influenced by the fact that the US was growing and changing all the time in their era.

    The West Point gang of the early 40’s, for example, added territory to the US by their participation in the Mexican War.

    Yet 1/3 of them turned around and sought to sunder the US, while the Shermans of the world wanted to stand by the Old Constitution while there is still any breath in it.

    I guess my point is that the US as a national entity must have seemed more plastic to that generation than it does to us today, with more than fifty years having passed since a state was last added (much less subtracted).

  17. Terry Walbert November 19, 2011 / 12:59 pm

    If some readers conclude that Confederate veterans are not Amereican veterans, what about the Army post named after Generals, Lee, Hood, A. P. Hill, Stewart, Jackson, Bragg, and Polk?

    Personally, I consider ex-Confederates to be American veterans. I like a big tent even if I don’t agree with why some of the members are in it.

    • Robert Welch November 19, 2011 / 1:12 pm

      I believe those institutions are named for their service, pre-treason. Bragg is named for Captain Bragg and his Mexican War service, for example.

    • Brooks D. Simpson November 19, 2011 / 1:16 pm

      As for the army post question, different sensibilities rule at different times.

      The word choice of “American” was deliberate. That said, if people define “Veterans Day” as honoring people who served the United States from 1775 forward, then by definition that excludes Confederates, although it may include Confederates who also served in the US Army. Then again, what about the case in which someone is discharged dishonorably? Although the War Department accepted Lee’s resignation, it claimed it did not receive (and thus did not accept) the resignation of Dabney H. Maury. If you’re dishonorably discharged, you can’t claim veteran status today (although I know of a case in which someone who was dishonorably discharged continues to pose as a veteran).

      • Terry Walbert November 19, 2011 / 2:12 pm

        Correction: Fort Jackson, SC seems to have been named for Andrew Jackson, not Stonewall Jackson.

        To Robert Welch, Are you certain that Bragg got his fort for his Mexican War service. I know his artillery helped Zachery Taylor out of a tight situation at Buena Vista, I believe.

        Brooks, you said it very well, “…different sensibilities rule at different times.” And different times will certainly bring different sensibilities in the future.

        • Carl Schenker November 19, 2011 / 3:40 pm

          The new Bragg biography by Samuel Martin states that the name “Fort Bragg” was linked to Bragg’s Mexican War service, so as to avoid antagonizing CW vets. Martin’s source appears to be something in the post library. I have had no luck in trying to find anything on this subject via the Internet. CRS

        • Robert Welch November 19, 2011 / 5:38 pm

          Actually, this was a mistake on my part, and I apologize for such. There was a Fort Bragg in California named for Captain Bragg following his service in the Mexican War. http://www.militarymuseum.org/FtBragg.html

          Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, is named for Braxton Bragg, but it is unclear as to any delineation between his Federal and Confederate service. This link: http://www.visitfayettevillenc.com/images/military/sites/19FYV_Historical_Tour.pdf
          mentions both services, although it delves more deeply into his pre-war military service. It’s also locally produced tour information, so credibility might be compromised. Fort Bragg appears to have originated as an artillery facility during the First World War; as such, they named the facility Camp Bragg after the North Carolina artillerist. The base’s own webpage fails to provide satisfactory materials for an answer, and the bulk of other webpages state that it was named for the Confederate general. As such, I can’t satisfactorily find an answer.

          The official Fort Hood fact sheet claims that the base is named after Confederate General John Bell Hood. However, as an armored division site (cavalry), and Hood was a pre-war cavalryman in the Regular Army, again, insufficient information exists to clarify the question. http://www.hood.army.mil/facts/FS%200702%20-%20Fort%20Hood%20Quick%20Facts.pdf

  18. Michael McCombs September 29, 2013 / 8:27 pm

    The United States Congress passed a law in the 1950;s Confederate veterans are considered American veterans. The war is over, it is time for peace and the nation to be reconciled. Confederate vets fought in the Spanish american war. the country is united now. My GGG Grandfather fought in the war of 1812, my GGGG Grandfather fought in the revolution 1776, I am a US Navy VET, my GG Grandfather fought in the CSA provisional army 12 Alabama infantry.

  19. Trueism May 27, 2014 / 7:58 am

    This is a great question. I do and and I dont. Sorry but for once I am at a loss. Americans, yes, veterans yes, American veterans yes but this one is like the asterisk on the Home Run records of McGwire, Bonds and Sosa.

    • Professor July 28, 2014 / 12:21 am

      Wrong! By Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.” As a result of this law the last surviving Confederate Veteran received a U.S. Military pension until his death in 1959, and from that day until present, descendants of Confederate veterans have been able to receive military monuments to place on graves from the Veteran’s Administration for their ancestors. A Confederate Veteran should therefore be treated with the same honor and dignity of any other American veteran.

  20. Joey Hernandez March 30, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    You can have your own opinion, but by Acts of Congress, Confederate Veterans have the same rights and status as US Veterans

    Congressional Appropriations Act, FY 1901, signed 6 June 1900

    Congress passed an act of appropriations for $2,500 that enabled the “Secretary of War to have reburied in some suitable spot in the national cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, and to place proper headstones at their graves, the bodies of about 128 Confederate soldiers now buried in the National Soldiers Home near Washington, D.C., and the bodies of about 136 Confederate soldiers now buried in the national cemetery at Arlington, Virginia.”

    Congressional Act of 9 March 1906
    P.L. 38, 59th Congress, Chap. 631-34 Stat. 56)
    Authorized the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps and were buried in Federal cemeteries.

    U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929

    (45 Stat 1307 – Currently on the books as 38 U.S. Code, Sec. 2306)
    This law, passed by the U.S. Congress, authorized the “Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army and to direct him to preserve in the records of the War Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected.”

    U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958

    (US Statutes at Large Volume 72, Part 1, Page 133-134)
    The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States.

    Title 38 United State Code Veterans’ Benefits

    As Amended 31 March 2011
    Sec. 1501 CH. 15 Subchapter I §1501. Definitions
    (3) The term ‘‘Civil War veteran’’ includes a person who served
    in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America
    during the Civil War, and the term ‘‘active military or naval service’’
    includes active service in those forces.

    These are but a few………

    • Brooks D. Simpson March 30, 2015 / 11:40 pm

      Read your sources carefully. Are they called “American veterans?” No. That’s what your own sources tell us. That’s a matter of fact, not opinion.

  21. Shar Scha July 18, 2015 / 10:23 am

    ” Every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate civil war [sic] is a tribute to American valor… And the time has now come… when in the spirit of fraternity we should share in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers… and if it needed further justification it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in the year just passed by the sons and grandsons of those heroic dead.” …President William McKinley, 14 December 1898.

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 18, 2015 / 10:30 am

      And that’s how he felt at the time. He also stated that God told him to take the Philippines. Just saying.

    • Justin July 24, 2015 / 3:37 pm

      I find it funny how when sentiment is made against peoples belief they throw some foreign war in the mix. Might as well just scream racist…

  22. Justin July 24, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    I love listening to all these self proclaimed experts. My favorite argument is… “are the viet cong american veterans”? Where they americans? Hell no. That’s the dumbest arguments on this post. Rather you choose to recognize it or not. They were Americans before, during and after. I do not believe they should be called “American” veterans. Do they deserve respect? Yes. Do I agree with every single adversary of the US? No, but I respect the Confederate soldier. No one on this post was alive during this war. We have no idea as to the real reason behind the choices made. Ever since the end of the war propaganda has been rampant. The north nearly lost this war not once, but twice. The north destroyed the south as far as properties, moneys and rights. Even after the war the union backed railroads just took. When southerns fought back private “law men” hunted them down. Carpet baggers invaded and took everything that wasn’t backed by a man, because women and widows had no rights. I am a Texan. If what is happening in this country right now happened back then, with these liberal northern socialist cities, then I can respect and understand their strife. Every man should fight for their beliefs. The “US” was ratified to protect the poeple, not to run us.

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 24, 2015 / 3:34 pm

      “We have no idea as to the real reason behind the choices made.”

      Really? After all, you seem to have an idea about everything else.

      • Justin July 24, 2015 / 3:46 pm

        I enjoy learning. Please enlighten me. I am very opinionated. By all means show me the error of my ways.

        • Brooks D. Simpson July 24, 2015 / 3:48 pm

          Both political leaders and common soldiers were fairly explicit about what was on their minds, and they left a vast amount of correspondence to digest. I direct you to that body of material so that you can test your hypothesis. Enjoy.

  23. Sandi Saunders August 21, 2015 / 12:09 pm

    This is another matter of wanting to have it both ways. You cannot secede from the United States of America and claim you are part of another sovereign nation (the CSA), take up arms against the United States of America for a period of years and then claim to be an American Veteran or a US Veteran because by your own choice you are neither. The best you can claim is CSA Veteran. If you went back into military service of the United States of America after the Civil War, you can claim to be a US Veteran and an American Veteran and the sympathies of the 1901 Congress notwithstanding, that is really the only way you can claim the honor of being a US Veteran or an American Veteran. I cannot imagine defending the Confederacy by claiming otherwise. They were veterans yes, just not US Veterans or American veterans, by their own choice.

  24. Troy Wood August 22, 2015 / 3:22 pm

    It’s the law, passed Congress in 1958,its clear and no need to talk around it. Prior decision on the status of graves, and markers passed Congress as well. Who cares on your opinions, there not relevant, as they are considered United States Veterans by this countries government. Period, anything said contrary to this is stupid. Change the law,or live with the law. Never seen so many excuses , get over it, read history it doesn’t change.

    • Al Mackey August 23, 2015 / 6:08 am

      It’s not the law no matter how many times you falsely claim it is. Congress did not pass a law to say confederate veterans are US veterans. All they did was say confederate veterans are included as Civil War veterans in order to give pensions to widows and children. You people continue to spout these lies even after they’ve been shown to be lies, which proves the lack of honesty for confederate heritage people. You’re right about one thing. It’s clear. It’s clear Congress didn’t make them US veterans. You obviously either haven’t read the law in its entirety or you don’t have the intellectual chops to understand the law–or you’re simply a liar.

      • Andy Hall August 23, 2015 / 2:49 pm

        It’s remarkable, the folks who generally disdain the U.S. government and patter on about the occupied South and southern nationalism, are at the same time desperate to have their Confederate ancestors endorsed by the same “Yankee” government.

        Stop grovelling; it’s sad and pathetic.

    • Jimmy Dick May 19, 2016 / 2:07 pm

      http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-05-19/house-would-ban-confederate-flags-on-va-cemetery-flagpoles

      This is the correct news article which reports on what took place today in the US House of Representatives. Individual graves may still have a small flag placed there on certain days, but the flagpoles will no longer have the confederate flag flying from them.

      This brings to mind the 1958 laws. Are Confederates US Veterans? I say no. This action by the House sort of supports that. In any event, when one reads the 1958 laws, it is pretty clear that they were written in such a way as to prevent confederates from being considered US veterans. Had they wanted to make them such, the legislators would have been quite clear. They were not. Considering the times involved, one can see why the acts were phrased like they were.

    • Kristoffer August 26, 2017 / 6:12 pm

      That has nothing to do with veterans. It’s just a granting of amnesty.

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