Confederate Veterans Status

The United States Government Recognizes Confederate Veterans
For those who believe the Confederate States of America and the men and women who pledged allegiance to that constitutionally established government and fought and died in its defense are somehow illegitimate and not worthy of honor and protection by the Federal Government, below are those laws and proclamations honoring them and their service and which proclaim their equality, in honor and worthiness, to those who served the Union cause. Such official proclamations by the Government of the United States removes all claims against the Confederacy and those who served it and protects, defends, and honors their symbols, monuments, and heroes.  In other words, the current assault upon all things Confederate is contrary to the history, traditions, spirit, and laws of the United States of America.

Under current law, Confederate Veterans are treated much the same as other U.S. Veterans.  The post-war reconciliation period led to the Congressional Act of 9 March 1906, U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by the 17th Congress, 26 February 1929, followed by subsequent similar legislation, with the final crown of recognition enshrined in U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410, Approved, 23 May 1958.

Congressional Act of 9 March 1906 ~ We Honor Our Fallen Ancestors
(P.L. 38, 59th Congress, Chap. 631-34 Stat. 56)
This act authorized the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps, and were buried in Federal cemeteries.

Remarks: This act formally reaffirmed Confederate soldiers as military combatants with legal standing. It granted recognition to deceased Confederate soldiers commensurate with the status of deceased Union soldiers.

U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 71st Congress, 26 February 1929
(45 Stat 1307 - Currently listed 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."

Remarks: This act broadened the scope of recognition further for all Confederate soldiers to receive the same burial benefits as Union soldiers. It authorized the use of U.S. Government (public) funds to mark Confederate graves and record their locations.

U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410, Approved 23 May 1958
(U.S. Statutes at Large, Volume 72, Part 1, pages 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.

Remarks: While this was only a gesture since the last verified Confederate veteran died in 1951, it is meaningful in that only sixty-one years ago, the Congress of the United States saw fit to consider Confederate soldiers as they would U.S. soldiers for service benefits. This final act of reconciliation was made almost one hundred years after the beginning of the war and was meant as symbolism more than substantive reward.

The Last Veterans
The last verified Confederate veteran was Pleasant Crump, of Alabama, who died in 1951.  The last verified combat veteran of the war was Union solider James Hard, of New York, who died in 1953.  The last verified veteran of either army was Union soldier Albert Woolson, also of New York, who died in 1956.  Woolson moved with his mother to Minnesota to be with his father, himself a soldier who was hospitalized due to wounds suffered in battle.  After his father died Woolson enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer and, once the war ended, returned to Minnesota where he remained until his death.

As of 2019, there remained one person receiving a widows/orphans pension - Irene Triplett, of North Carolina.  She remains the sole pensioner of the war, receiving $73/month.  Her father served in both the Confederate and Union armies.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs