At their Annual Meeting, held in Richmond, Virginia, November 1899, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) approved a suitable design for a medal for Confederate Veterans. For some time the ladies were desirous of offering some sort of pin to their loved ones who served. Mrs. S. E. Gabbett of Atlanta, Georgia originated the design and offered it as a medal for veterans.
As there were thousands of veterans and funds were limited it was agreed to produce the medal of copper (without the colored enameling) and each UDC Chapter would solicit candidates from their local United Confederate Veteran (UCV) Camps. Rules stipulated that no Cross of Honor could be bestowed upon a veteran without a Certified Statement from the UCV Camp attesting to the character and qualifications of the one on whom it was to be bestowed.
The initial manufacture was 2,500 pieces and each UDC Chapter was to advise Mrs. Gabbett of the number of medals they required as she became the UDC Custodian of the medals. This was virtually the only token received by a Confederate Veteran thanking him for the service to his country.
The following poem is from Confederate Veterans Magazine,Vol. XVI, No. 11, November 1908, Page 585.
The Veterans Cross of Honor
H. H. Stevens
How dear to the heart of each grey-headed soldier
Are the thoughts of the days when all wore the gray!
While memory recalls every trial and danger
And scenes of the past live in battle array.
Though long since discarding our arms and equipments
There’s one thing a veteran most surely will note:
The first thing he sees on the form of a comrade
is the little bronze cross he wears on his coat.
“How much did it cost,” said a man to a soldier,
“That little flat cross you wear on your coat?”
“A fortune in money,” he said to the stranger,
“And four years of marching and fighting to boot.”
The wealth of the world cannot purchase this emblem,
Except the buyer wore the gray too;
For it shows to mankind the marks of a hero –
A man who to honor and country was true.
Then let us be proud of this emblem of honor,
And wear it with spirit both loyal and bold;
Fraternally welcome each one who supports it,
With love in our hearts for the comrade of old.
Each day musters out whole battalions of wearers,
And soon will be missed this token so dear;
But ages to come will remember with honor
The man who’d the right this bronze emblem to wear.