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The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 42, October 2, 2005, Article 23

THE SOUTHERN CROSS OF HONOR

In the September 4, 2005 E-Sylum (v8n38) we noted the
publication of "The Southern Cross of Honor: Historical
Notes and Trial List of Varieties" by Peter Bertram. I've
obtained a copy and read most of it recently, and here are
my observations.

First, the book confirmed my expectations that it would
be the kind of book I love to see, summarizing in one compact
package most (if not all) of the most important historical and
numismatic information available about its topic. It is the kind
of book I suspect the late John J. Ford, Jr. would have devoured.
As the first-ever comprehensive work on the subject, there
will undoubtedly be new information discovered which will
expand on our knowledge of the subject. But given the depth
of author Bertram's research and cataloging effort, I think it
could be some time before this edition becomes obsolete.

The book's Introduction summarizes the medal thusly: "The
Southern Cross of Honor stands unique in the lore of American
military medals and awards because it was presented to its
recipients after the fact - after the Cause for which it was given
was lost. The Crosses recognized the valor of the Confederate
soldier and sailor and represented the thanks of a grateful nation
that fate denied. They were conceived, produced, and awarded
by that nation's Daughters in the absence of its fallen government.
It is a tribute to the success of the United Daughters of the
Confederacy's vision that after 103 years and some 79,000
Crosses bestowed, so precious few are available to collectors
and researchers."

The first chapter is "The Southern Cross of Honor Story" with
subheadings "Birth of a Concept" and "Designing the Cross".
The chapter includes text from letters describing first-hand the
personalities, thoughts and ideas of those involved in the project,
as well as a U.S. Patent Office design and specification for the
medal. Subsequent chapters describe three major types and fourteen
varieties of the cross, with detailed descriptions and illustrations of
the various diagnostics, which include hand-engraving, manufacturer
logos, wreath and border variations, clasp and bar variations, etc.
Another chapter is a handy guide to known reproductions of the
medal.

Of interest to the ephemera collectors among us is a chapter on
the various versions of "Certificates of Eligibility", the application
forms veterans or their families completed in order to receive their
Cross. An "Auction Report" chapter provides data on online
auctions of Crosses the author tracked for a one-year period (July
2002 through June 2003). "A Few Selected Crosses" is a compilation
of images of several Crosses together with their associated boxes and
paperwork, where available. Appendices list the names of many
Cross awardees. Also near and dear to a bibliophile's heart is a
two-page bibliography listing over thirty sources used in researching
the book. Finally, the back cover of the book features a compact
photographic quick reference to the author's trial list of Cross varieties.

In summary, I'd recommend the book to anyone with an interest
in military medals, Civil War history, or medals and numismatics
in general.

The following is from the author's press release:
"60 pgs: 5  x 8 : soft covers: 175+ B&W images
$20.00 + $1.50 Postage (Dealer Inquiries Invited)

Peter Bertram
PO Box 451421
Atlanta, GA 31145-1421"

The Southern Cross book is the author's "Little Greybook #2"
Number 1 was titled "Fake Confederate ID Discs," which may
also be of interest to E-Sylum readers. It is still available for just
$5.00 + $1 shipping. Peter's email address is peterbatl at aol.com
He writes: "I'll be happy to sign or personalize the booklets for
E-Sylum readers upon request."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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