a society or order in the United States, established by the officers of the Revolutionary army in 1783, "to perpetuate their friendship, and to raise a fund for relieving the widows and orphans of those who had fallen during the war." The badge of the society is a bald eagle suspended by a dark-blue ribbon with white borders, symbolizing the union of France and the United States. On the breast of the eagle there is a figure of Cincinnatus receiving the military ensigns from the senators, round the whole are the words "Omnia reliquit servare rempublicam." Membership descends to the eldest lineal male descendant, and, in failure of direct male descent, to male descendants through intervening female descendants. The general society is composed of the general officers and five delegates from each State society, and meets triennially. In 1854 it ruled that proper descendants of Revolutionary officers who were entitled to original membership, but who never could avail themselves of it, are qualified for hereditary membership, if found worthy, on due application.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.