As the Reconstruction Era of the United States ended after The Civil War, several Union and Confederate veterans felt a need to establish a group that would preserve the military movements and sword proficiencies they learned through basic training and combat. Many of the military movements were similar in nature to those taught during the American Revolution.
Shortly after the reconstruction of the United States, what is known in the Order as “the Uniformed Movement” occurred around 1870. As the Encampments were growing a steady pace throughout the new country, the need for the adoption of a uniform worn by Royal Purple Degree members in street parades were noted.
At the session in 1883, a resolution was adopted which was referred to the Committee on Patriarchal Branch, the duty of reporting at the next session a more suitable name for the Uniformed Degree. It was because of the overwhelmingly positive response that the membership decided to pursue a separate degree (or branch).
The committee members reported at the session in 1884 and recommended that the entire subject of the Uniformed Degree, and all the legislation related to the degree be given to a select committee of three Grand Representatives who carefully considered the matter and “ascertain what changes, revisions, alterations, amendments, and legislation may be necessary to make the Degree as satisfactory and effective as possible and to report the findings at the next session.” The report was accepted, and the Grand Sire appointed a three-member committee which included General John Underwood of Kentucky as the chairman.
In September 1885, during the annual communication of The Sovereign Grand Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Grand Representatives voted to approve the establishment of the Patriarchs Militant Army and the creation of the General Military Council.
The veterans from The Civil War were among the first to join from the Encampment branch. Because of the similarities of the newly formed branch, it was considered a higher degree of the Encampment.