- Associated Press - Sunday, April 27, 2014
Confederate heroes have their own medal of honor

HANCOCK, Md. (AP) - The Medal of Honor, created by Congress during the Civil War as America’s highest military decoration for valor, was never meant for Americans who fought for the South. They were the enemy, after all.

But there’s a Confederate Medal of Honor, little known yet highly prized, that the Sons of Confederate Veterans bestows on those whose bravery in battle can be proven to the private group’s satisfaction.

The silver-and-bronze medal is a 10-pointed star bearing the Great Seal of the Confederate States and the words, “Honor. Duty. Valor. Devotion.”

It has been awarded 50 times since 1977, most recently to Maj. James Breathed, a native Virginian buried in Hancock. He was honored last year for his bravery as an artillery officer in the 1864 Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in Virginia.

The number of recipients is tiny compared to the 3,487 on the U.S. Medal of Honor roll, including more than 1,500 who fought for the Union in the War Between the States. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say their medal is given less freely than those the Union awarded during the war.

“The SCV created their own Confederate Medal of Honor simply because there were some incredible acts of valor that had received little or no recognition during and after the war,” said Ben Sewell III, executive director of the 29,000-member group, based in Columbia, Tenn.

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