On June 10th, 1889, in New Orleans, Louisiana, a group of proud surviving soldiers of the Confederate States of America organized an association called the United Confederate Veterans. Its goals were to protect and defend the honor and dignity of the memory of the Confederate soldier. As the ranks of the aged veterans of the UCV began to thin with the passage of time, a group of the surviving Confederate officers met in Columbia, South Carolina, on August 30, 1938 to discuss their concerns that the unique contributions made by the Confederate leadership were not properly chronicled in our nation’s history books. They felt a particular duty fell to them as members of the Officer Corp.
This first meeting of what they named the “Order of the Stars & Bars” was convened with a great deal of enthusiasm by seventeen former Confederate officers as well as an additional forty-seven male descendants of Confederate officers in attendance. These dedicated men were unanimous in voting to begin a new CSA veteran society that would hold annual meetings. The OSB was unique in that the organization was made up of veterans and their descendants with the understanding that as the original Confederate officers died that it was the sacred responsibility of their male offspring to continue to carry on the purposes of the Order.
Our first Commander-in-Chief was Captain Homer Atkinson of Petersburg, Virginia, who served the Southern nation as the commanding officer of Company B of the 39th Mississippi Battalion. He served as the chief officer of the Order from the beginning until his death in 1945. In addition to commanding the new Order, Captain Atkinson served two terms as the Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans.
Other successful leaders assumed the role of commander including Gen. Robert E. Lee’s grandson, Dr. George Bolling Lee. In later years of the order, eligibility qualifications were broadened to allow collateral male descendants of Confederate commissioned officers as well as of any elected or appointed member of the Executive Branch of the Confederate Government. This brought additional members and new vigorous leadership to the Brotherhood.
The name of the Order was changed to “The Military Order of the Stars & Bars” at the 39th General Convention held in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1976. The first National Flag of the Confederate States of America, the Stars and Bars, was accepted as the official insignia of the Order and the commanding officer would be called the Commander General of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars.
Today the fraternal Military Order of the Stars & Bars, a non-profit 501(c)3, non-political, educational, historical, patriotic, and heritage group continues its dedication to the preservation of Southern history and remains the only heritage organization actually founded by Confederate veterans. A wide range of programs have been added to reorganize outstanding contributions in the fields of history, fine arts and journalism. College scholarships and monetary awards are offered to emphasize the need for truth in Confederate history. Prestigious literary prizes are awarded to authors and publishing houses. Monuments are being erected to the CSA soldiers. Journalists who practice ethical and fair reporting of local and Southern history are recognized. An emphasis is placed on American Patriotism and the honoring of all American veterans.
At the annual reunion in Boonville, Missouri, on April 9, 2016, the Missouri Society, The Military Order of Stars & Bars elected their new executives for the next two years. They are, as follows:
- James H. Bushart – Commander
- Mark Stuart – Lt. Commander
- Larry Yeatman – Adjutant