Specializing in Authentic Civil War Artifacts
  • Civil War Veterans Medals

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    Civil War Veterans Medals - Includes three G.A.R. Medals:

    G.A.R. Membership Medal

    Civil War Campaign Medal with serial number Ca. 1913 – 1916

    Sons of Union Veterans medal from direct descendant

    The Civil War Campaign Medal - The medal was first authorized in 1905 for the fortieth anniversary of the Civil War's conclusion. The blue and gray ribbon denotes the respective uniform colors of the U.S. and Confederate troops. The Army Civil War Campaign Medal was established by the United States War Department on January 21, 1907, by General Orders Number 12. To qualify, a soldier had to serve between April 15, 1861, and April 9, 1865. The award was intended for both Union and Confederate soldiers. When it was discovered that medal qualifications included the words Active Federal Military Service, the Congressional Act of 1945 had those words removed. In the US Army, Units with Confederate lineage use campaign streamers with the Gray edge up and Units with Union lineage use campaign streamers with the blue edge up. The campaign lettering requires two distinct sets of streamers for each campaign, one set for each side. The closing date was extended to August 20, 1866, date of President Johnson's Proclamation ending the war. The corresponding Navy Civil War Medal was established on June 27, 1908, by Navy Department.

    The obverse of the Army Civil War Campaign Medal displayed an engraved image of Abraham Lincoln while the Navy and Marine Corps versions depicted the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia's battle at Hampton Roads. The reverse has the words "The Civil War 1861-1865" encircled by a wreath. The medal was designed by Francis D. Millet, a noted sculptor who perished on the RMS Titanic in 1912. The medal was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Civil War Campaign Medal No. 1 was issued to Maj. Gen. Charles F. Humphrey on May 26, 1909.

    The medal was originally established as a badge, because Congress would not approve a medal due to the costs involved. The War Department was authorized to create badges, so it did. This interest was due in large part to the fact that several senior military officers were veterans of the Civil War. Gen Joseph Wheeler, was a senior US Army officer, who had also served as a Confederate General in the Civil War. As a former senior commander of President Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War, he had some influence along with his past assignment with the US Army Headquarters. In 1918, for those who had been cited for gallantry in action, the Silver Citation Star was authorized as a device to the medal. Only six Citation Stars were awarded.

    There is a direct relationship between US campaign streamers and the medal that a campaign represents. The streamer represents the unit's participation in a campaign and the medal represents an individual's participation in that campaign (US Army – some differences for the US Navy). When a campaign is established, participating unit's are authorized a streamer and each service member assigned to the unit during that same time is authorized the medal. Sometimes these medals are campaign medals, other times they are service medals, but that streamer/medal relationship normally remains.

    Although some recipients may have worn some form of the ribbon, the monies necessary to mint and issue the medal were not appropriated by Congress until 1956 – 91 years after the war ended. It was this act that provided US Government purchase for the medal to all qualified veterans, whether they were on active or inactive duty.

    One of the most famous recipients of the Civil War Campaign Medal was Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., father of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Another was Major General Joseph Wheeler, also a former Lieutenant General in the CSA.

    Units in the U.S. Army and Confederate Army that trace their heritage and lineage to the Civil War are entitled to display a battle streamer for the Civil War on their flagpoles. This streamer is half blue and half gray, the color theme of the second ribbon design.

    Sons of Union Veterans Medal -  "FILII VETERANORUM" appears on the face of the top bar.  The back of the top bar has a pin and hanger.  A red, white, and blue ribbon is attached to the hanger.  A standard Sons of Veteran medal is attached with an eagle perched atop crossed canons with a laurel wreath in its talons.  "SV" is in the center with, "GRATIA DEI SERVATUS MDCCCLXXXI" surrounding.  On the reverse "FILII VETERANORUM" appears along with the marker mark.  A small bar pin with "FILII VETERANORUM" is also included in this cased set.  Housed in original leatherette case. 

    In 1881 the GAR formed the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America (SV) to carry on its traditions and memory long after the GAR had ceased to exist. Membership was open to any man who could prove ancestry to a member of the GAR or to a veteran eligible for membership in the GAR. In later years, men who did not have the ancestry to qualify for hereditary membership, but who demonstrated a genuine interest in the Civil War and could subscribe to the purpose and objectives of the SUVCW, were admitted as Associates. This practice continues today.

    Many GAR Posts sponsored Camps of the SV. In 1925 the SV name was changed to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), under which its federal charter was issued in 1954. The SUVCW is legally recognized as the heir to, and representative of, the GAR.

    Grand Army Of The Republic Membership Medal- Top bar is a brass patriotic spread winged eagle perched on cross cannon barrels over a stack of cannonballs.  The reverse has a pin and bar for suspending the US flag ribbon.  Attached to the US flag bottom is a star shaped drop medal.  The face of the medal has the Goddess of Liberty in the center, representing loyalty, and on either side stands a soldier and a sailor clasping hands in front of the Goddess to represent fraternity.  Two children are kneeling in the foreground to receive a benediction and the assurance of protection from comrades. This is the symbol of charity.  On each side of this center group are the flag and eagle representing freedom and an ax and a bundle of rods for union.  In the star points are the emblems of different arms of service, bugle for infantry, cannon for artillery, muskets for marines, swords for cavalry, and an anchor for sailors. Surrounding the center is the legend, Grand Army of the Republic, 1861 Veterans -1866, the later date commemorating the close of the war and the founding of the order.

    On the reverse side is a laurel branch for victory, and the national shield surrounded by the different corps badges, each on a keystone showing that they are united and will protect the union. The clasp of the badge is an eagle with crossed cannons and ammunition, representing defense. The clasp and medal are united by the national flag, which is the ribbon of the order.

    Genuine medals were given only to bona fide members of the GAR, and were not to be sold or replicated. The medals were worn on occasions of any GAR meeting or any patriotic ceremony, especially when a veteran wanted to be identified as such to the public.

    At its height, the GAR numbered over 400,000 members and was a social and political force, electing several Presidents who were Civil War Veterans themselves.

    Inventory Number: VET 103