On Jun 28, 1900, a group of over 100 sons and grandsons of Confederate veterans met in Memphis to organize a local chapter, or "camp," of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans, later known as the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). Following active debate, the camp was named for Confederate cavalry general Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-77), a Memphian. On March 27, 1901, a charter was issued, thus making N.B. Forrest Camp 215 the first SCV camp in Memphis. It had 537 members by the time of the national reunion in Memphis later that year of 15,000 Confederate Veterans, welcomed by camp commander Episcopal Bishop Thomas F. Gailor. As part of those festivities, 12,000 people attended the Confederate Ball hosted by the Forrest Camp in a wooden structure erected for that purpose on a site including present-day Confederate Park. The camp also organized the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) national reunions in Memphis in 1909 and 1924, and hosted SCV national conventions, or "reunions," here in 1959, 1976, and 2002.
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Over the years, many prominent area civic and religious leaders have been members of the camp. SCV national headquarters was located in Memphis from 1910 through 1913, and during this time camp membership rose to 700, making it the largest SCV camp in the United States. Beginning in 1901, Camp 215 helped raise funds for the Forrest Equestrian Monument dedicated in this park in 1905, and in 2002 it funded replacement of the weathered gravestones of Forrest and his wife at the Monument. In the latter part of the 20th century, the Camp was active in the preservation of Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park, the upkeep of over 1000 soldiers' graves at Confederate Rest in Elmwood Cemetery, the restoration of General Forrest's boyhood home near Chapel Hill, TN, and the promotion of history programs in local schools. The Forrest Camp, fulfilling a tradition of over 100 years, continues to lead and provide assistance in projects involving preservation of Confederate history and Southern Heritage.