Children of the Confederacy regroup – Officers are named

Group offers historical lessons for young Confederate descendants
Date published: 7/1/2006
By Corey Byers

DIRECT DESCENDANTS of Confederate soldiers can learn more about the Civil War and Southern history through the Children of the Confederacy.

More than 75 years after the group ceased to exist in Fredericksburg, a rechartering ceremony in February reactivated membership for area youth.

Connie Schroeder of North Stafford is the director of the chapter; the group has plans to visit museums, listen to war historians, attend re-enactments and participate in community service projects.

"I think it will make [children] aware of their Confederate heritage," Schroeder said. "It supports the school system in what they teach at school so they get a more in-depth look–so they get more of a Southern side."

Qualified candidates are those under the age of 18 who are direct descendants of Confederate soldiers; applications require primary and secondary sources to prove ancestry.

Schroeder said children can have a hands-on learning experience by joining. In May, the group helped fill bags of sand for Memorial Day luminarias at Fredericksburg’s Confederate Cemetery.

Orange resident Jill Simmons co-directs the group with Schroeder and the two host monthly meetings; both have children who participate and are inviting new members to join.

"I love children–and it’s just such a good idea to educate children in their heritage," Simmons said.

Earlier this month the group traveled to Staunton to attend a state convention. There, members participated in a memorial service to honor their ancestors and listened to a lecture on Thomas J. "Stone-wall" Jackson, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army.

At the state level, children won awards for new membership, a scrapbook on the group’s activities and Confederate artwork, among other honors; they will attend a general convention in Charleston, S.C., this month.

The Children of the Confederacy is an off-shoot organization of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group for women who have Confederate ancestors.

Simmons said the organization’s objectives are "historical, educational, benevolent, memorial and patriotic."

This local chapter is named after Nannie Seddon Barney, a native of Fredericksburg born in 1838 who was married to a Confederate soldier. The original chapter lasted from 1916 to 1927.

After the Civil War, Barney became a member of a memorial association to maintain the Confederate Cemetery and in 1896 founded the local United Daughters of the Confederacy. She is best known for raising funds to pay for marble tombstones and to erect a statue of a Confederate soldier in that cemetery as well.

Schroeder and Simmons, who are members of the UDC, wanted to bring the same learning experiences about the war and the South to kids.

"We thought it would be fun just to have an organization just so the children could participate as well," Schroeder said.

On The Web: http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/072006/07012006/202718