To the editor:
The Sons of Confederate Veterans are the direct heirs of the United Confederate Veterans, soldiers, sailors and marines who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Organized in Richmond, Va., in 1896, the SCV is the oldest hereditary organization for male descendants of Confederate military men.
The duty and purpose of the SCV are to preserve the memory and deeds of the men and women of the South and to educate people about facts they may not have known before. It is our purpose to put forth the true history and let people be their own judges. We do not condone or associate with groups that advocate racism, prejudice or bigotry. We condemn the use of our flags and symbols by these groups.
The SCV is the largest heritage-based organization in the country. There are over 28,000 members in 850 "camps" in 28 states, as well as international camps in Brazil, Europe, Great Britain, and Australia. There are 1,800 to 2,000 "at-large" members who live in states or countries that do not have a camp. In Thomson our camp is named in honor of Capt. Thomas J. Hamilton, organizer and leader of the Hamilton Rangers, Company K of the 48th Georgia Infantry.
The Rangers served with distinction in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days campaign to the surrender at Appomattox.
Each local camp is encouraged to take on projects within its home county.
Our camp is just getting organized, and we are looking forward to providing service to our community.
Our next meeting will be May 12 at the Ryan's in Thomson. We usually have a meal at 6:30, and our meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. We invite everyone to come join us.
McDuffie County has a long history of honoring her sons who served the Confederate cause. For many years there was an active United Confederate veterans camp here in addition to a United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter.
Shortly after the war a Ladies memorial association was formed to properly mark and care for the graves of dead soldiers. The local veterans held their last meeting on Memorial Day, April 26, 1922, and, there being just a few of them left and all in poor health, they dissolved their camp.
Since we are a very new camp we were unable to plan a public memorial day observance in Thomson in the short time available after our first meeting on April 14, but we have placed some remembrance flags for the five unknown Confederate soldiers in the Thomson city cemetery, as well as for Capt. Hamilton.