Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Past National Encampment Report of
Commander-in-Chief Stephen Michaels



124th National Encampment / Nashua , New Hampshire / August 5, 2005


  National Officers, Delegates, and Brothers attending the 124th National Encampment of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War:

This past year, I've been priviledged to serve as your Commander -in-Chief. It has been both a time of challenge and growth.

A Past Commander -in-Chief, two Real Sons and a perennial National Committee Chairman answered their last roll call. A trusted National officer and friend left the Order.

And five of the 12 elected officers of the Council of Administration were new to their responsibilities a year ago. But we learned and quickly responded tothe needs of our Order. Al l were exemplary in the conduct of business and provided valued guidance and inspiration this past year.

Senior Vice Commander -in-Chief Donald Darby , in addition to editing and publishing four issues of the Banner, led the Program & Policy Committee to propose new policies, shaping our Order's future.

Junior Vice Commander -in-Chief James Pahl , in addition to processing hundreds of online membership applications, served as National Counselor, providing guidance on legal issues and parliamentary procedure.

Our Order has made significant progress in furthering several of our Order's initiatives. Among the several officers, I mention a few, whose contribution are of note:

+ Under National Patriotic Instructor Bruce Butgereit 's leadership, valuable resources have been made available to educate our membership.

+ After the delay of almost a decade, National Graves Registration Officer Bob Lowe and Signals Officer Nathan Orr have been successful in placing the National database online.

+ Civil War Memorials Officer Todd Schillington has been persuasive in convincing law enforcment and Department of Defense officials to become interested in recovering stolen cannon. Seven of these cannon are now in the process of being returned.

+ PCinC Andy Jo hnson has assisted by seeking American Legion support of our preservation efforts.

+ PCinC Bob Grim has gained USAF approval of our ROTC medal.

+ PCinC Ed Krieser is quickly completing a backlog of unpublished National proceedings.

+ Chief of Staff Don Palmer has compiled information for orienting those new to National service.

+ National Encampment Site Committee member Bob Petrovic has compiled information, needed to conduct a successful convention.

I was truly blessed to have worked with so many gifted brothers.


Whenever membership dues are raised, as ours were two years ago, the weaknesses in our recruiting and retention strategies become much more apparent. Camps that do not actively seek new members and do not provide a service to their memberships or their communities are those that suffer the greatest. Only about a third of our Departments are showing positive signs of recovery and growth. Overall, our Order's membership continues to hover just above the 6,000 mark.

Only a decade ago, the Commander -in-Chief described the Sons as emulating the declining rather than the productive years of the GAR. Despite our present membership limitations, I'm pleased that the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is now a vibrant, innovative and effective organization. Throughout my travels this past year, I have seen many gifted, bright men taking a visible, energetic and enthusiastic leadership role in the affairs of their Camps and Departments.

This past year, our relationship with the Al lied Orders has grown stronger and I've personally enjoyed the friendship and counsel of National Presidents Margaret Lauth of the Woman's Relief Corps; Ozzie Thompson, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Lynn Bury, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic; and Michelle Langley, Auxiliary to the SUVCW.

Both the Ladies of the GAR's and the Woman's Relief Corps' enthusiastic efforts, working with the Sons to preserve GAR Halls, honor Union veterans and serve current veterans are commendable.

Last Memorial Day weekend, the demonstrated teamwork between the Sons and the Daughters only enhanced the honors paid during the very public, last Civil War veteran burial ceremony in Memphis , Missouri . This bodes very well for future endeavors.

Our Auxiliary's support of our efforts in Civil War Memorial preservation, its care of the only GAR Church , coupon drives for current soldiers, as well as its increased financial support of this Encampment are deserving of our deepest gratitude.

While working within our own Al lied Orders family is important, we certainly can not and should not overlook the contributions and beneficial work of other like-minded organizations.

Most are unaware that 20% of American's Civil War battlefields have already been destroyed. Of the 80% that remain, only 15% are protected by the Federal Government. With growing property values and urban sprawl, the threat to this hallowed ground becomes greater each year. The nearly 90 important Civil War battlefields, where our American ancestors fought and died needs to be preserved for future generations.

This year, I began a dialogue with the Civil War Preservation Trust President, O. James Lighthizer and was graciously received by him and his staff. It is my fervent hope that the mutually supportive relationship between our two organizations will grow stronger each year.

This past year, additional National funds were made available for officers to represent the Commander -in-Chief at Department Encampments and other functions. For the first time, all but two Department Encampments were visited by a National officer. Much of our Order's membership benefitted as Brothers Darby, Pahl, Bennett, Kennedy, Kuhn, Kowalski, Murphy, Palmer, Petrovic and Stephen represented the Commander -in-Chief. Meanwhile, I was proud to represent the National Organization to 16 Departments, travelling 4,347 miles by car and 23,156 miles by plane.

We live in a society, which expects instant gratification, quick solutions and immediate conflict resolution. Unfortunately, our volunteer work is an avocation, rather than a vocation, for most and there are issues, which require more than F, C, and L. They require patience, tact and cooperation.

The annual reporting system and the graves registration online database are two initiatives, which took years of discussion, planning, and preparation. We should all be mindful that they are both works in progress, requiring continual review and refining in order to remain viable tools.

Beginning this year, the Commander -in-Chief's documentation has been placed on file to be referenced by successive Commander -in-Chiefs. A pass-down log often saves time, answers questions and provides background on recurring issues.

Continuing the tradition begun last year, the "Vacant Chair," draped in black before you pays tribute to the Grand Army of the Republic and all who've honored the memory of the Union soldiers, sailors and marines--and who've joined their spirits.

This year's Encampent Bible has been provided to us, courtesy of C.K. Pier Badger Camp 1, Department of Wisconsin. It is the original Bible, used by the largest GAR Post in Wisconsin , the E.B. Wolcott Post 1 of Milwaukee .

Again, thank you for your dedicated service, your friendship and the confidence placed in me as the 118th Commander -in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Respectfully submitted in Fraternity, Charity & Loyalty,


Stephen A. Michaels

Commander -in-Chief, 2004-2005

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War


Permission Granted to Form New Camps:

Al meron J. Patchin Camp 26 (CA & Pacific)

Cpl. James Tanner Camp 134, Department of NY

Maj. Jo siah Steele Camp 60, Department of Maryland

Cpl. Jo hn D. Starks Camp 105, Department of New York

39th Kentucky Mtd. Inf. Camp 64, Department of Maryland

Legion of the West Camp 7, Department of Colorado & Wyoming

Gen. Upton Camp 118, Department of New York

Franklin Camp 5, Department of Kansas

Mine Creek Camp 6, Department of Kansas


New Camps Chartered:

Cpl. James Tanner Camp 134, Department of New York

Col. Edward Baker Camp 6, Department-at-Large

Col. Jamed D. Brady camp 63, Department of Maryland

Al meron J. Patchin Camp 26, Department of California & Pacific

Legion of the West Camp 7, Department of Colorado & Wyoming



The CinC promoted the SUVCW during the following:

12-15 Aug. National Encampment and Council of Administration meetings, Cedar Rapids , IA

1 Sep. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

4 Sep. St. Francis Days Parade, St. Francis , WI

5 Sep. Soldiers Home Picinic, Milwaukee

11-12 Sep. Recruiting Booth and Reenactment Battle narration, Black River Falls , WI

15 Sep. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 Staff Meeting, Milwaukee

17 Sep.Battle Flag Ceremony, Capitol Building , Hartford CT

18 Sep. Reception for Nat. President DUVCW, St. Paul , MN

Meeting with staff of Wm. Colvill III Camp 56, St. Paul , MN

25-26 Sep. Recruiting Booth, Wade House CW Weekend, Greenbush , WI

2 Oct. Central Region Conference, MOH Recipient Headstone Dedication & CinC Reception, Milwaukee

5 Oct. 36th Ill. Battleflag Unveiling, Wheaton ,. IL

6. Oct. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

9-10 Oct. Recruiting Booth, Trimborn Farm, Greendale , WI

16 Oct. U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony, Cudahy , WI

23 Oct. Cleanup of Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

30 Oct. Harvest Social, Soldiers Home, Milwaukee 1 Nov. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 staff meeting, Milwaukee

3 Nov. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

6 Nov. Veterans Day parade, Milwaukee

20 Nov. Remembrance Day Parade & Ceremonies, Gettysburg , PA

21 Nov. Council of Administration Meeting, Gettysburg , PA

2 Dec. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 staff meeting, Milwaukee

7 Dec. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 and Aux. #4 Christmas party, Milwaukee

11 Dec. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 Staff Meeting, Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

5 Jan. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

8 Jan. Work Day--Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

15 Jan. Elias Moon Camp CAL 2 Officer Installation, Snellville , GA

22 Jan. Indiana Dept. Mid-Winter Meeting, Huintington , IN

24 Jan. Geo. A. Custer Camp #1 (Dept. of IL) Officer Installation, Glenview , IL

26 Jan. Soldier Home Foundation annual meeting, Milwaukee

2 Feb. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

5 Feb. Wisconsin Dept. Mid-Winter Meeting, Wauwatosa, WI

Patriotic Luncheon, Wauwatosa, WI

11 Feb. Meeting with CWPT President, Washington, D.C.

12 Feb. Lincoln Birthday Ceremony, Washington, D.C.

19 Feb. SUVCW Member Orientation Course, Milwaukee

26 Feb. Work Day--Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

PDC Thomas L.W. Jo hnson Memorial, Madison, WI

27 Feb. Gen. William T. Sherman Birthday Ceremony, St. Louis, MO

2 Mar. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

10-12 Mar. California & Pacific Dept. Encampment, San Luis Bispo, CA

26 Mar. Work Day--Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

2 Apr. Dept. of RI Encampment, Warwick, RI

6 Apr. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

9 Apr. Work Day, Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

15 Apr. Lincoln Tomb Ceremony, Springfield, IL

16 Apr. Council of Administration Meeting, Springfield, IL

GAR Founders Ceremony, St. Petersburg, IL

20 Apr. GAR slide presentation, Germantown Histoical Society, WI

23 Apr. Maryland Dept. Encampment, Wilmington, DE

24 Apr. U.S. Grant Ceremony, New York City, NY

29-30 Apr. Massachusetts Dept. Encampment, Suburn, MA

5 May C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

7 May Dept. of OK Encampment, Stillwater

14 May Dept. of IL Encampment, Wheaton

21 May Work Day, Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

28 May Prep work, Reclaiming Our Heritage event, Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

30 May Memorial Day Ceremonies, Arlington Cemetery, Washington, DC

1 Jun. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

4-5 Jun. Recruiting Booth & Cemetery Tour--Reclaiming Our Heritage event, Soldiers Home, Milwaukee

11 Jun. Dept. of Wisconsin Encampment, Waukesha, WI

18 Jun. Dept. of CO & WY Encammpment, Colorado Springs

24-26 Jun. Dept. of PA Encampment, Scranton

3 Jul. Independence Day Parade, Kenosha, WI

6 Jul. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 meeting, Milwaukee

12 Jul. C.K. Pier Badger Camp #1 Staff Meeting, Milwaukee

16 Jul. South Shore Frolic Parade, Milwaukee

16-17 Jul. Recruiting Booth, Civil War Wknd, Menomonee Falls, WI

17 Jul. New Member initiation, MG Jo hn Gibbon Camp 4, Menomonee Falls

20-21 Jul. SCV National Reunion, Nashville, TN

21 Jul. Meeting with TN Dept. Commander , Nashville, TN

27 Jul. Soliders Home Chapel Remembrance Service, Milwaukee

4-7 Aug. National Encampment and Council of Administration meetings, Nashua, New Hampshire

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