The Comrades of the Southern Cross was a multi-faceted organization developed during the Civil War, by a general of the highest morals. Confederate General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was a man who believed that faith alone could propel a man to accomplish anything. With the support of his officers and men, he strove to form an organization within the army, which by using faith and religious services as a backdrop, would bind the soldiers closer together thereby making the men a more effective fighting force(Buck 158). Over time, the organization has evolved from a brotherhood to promote unity among soldiers, to a society that promotes southern heritage with a religious backdrop.
Patrick Cleburne was a Methodist Irish immigrant who came to America after the death of his father amidst religious turmoil(Buck 41). After settling in Helena, Arkansas and establishing himself as a lawyer and a businessman, Cleburne attempted to make himself as American as possible.
This also meant that when the rest of his town went to war, so did he. After establishing himself as a fighting man, in 1863 Cleburne wanted to form a fraternal organization within the ranks of the army, similar to the masonic lodge he was already a member of. The result was the Comrades of the Southern Cross(Buck 164). According to the organization's constitution, which Cleburne helped to write, membership would be open to "any commissioned officer or enlisted soldier in the Confederate States Service, a man intelligent in his military duties and of known patriotism and integrity( Constitution of the Comrades of the Southern Cross)."ÃÂ Members would pay monthly dues from their pay and contribute as well to charity fund for the support of wounded veterans, widows, and orphans, with the hope of spreading their faith and goodwill throughout the army and its supporters.