Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1808-06-03
Death 1889-12-06
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Mary Ann Lamar Cobb (1818-1889), wife of Gen. Howell Cobb (1815-1868).

From the description of Letter to Mary Ann Lamar Cobb, 1888 Oct. 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 38476494

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was born in Kentucky. He attended Transylvania University for a short time before enrolling at West Point in 1824, at the age of 16. He graduated in 1828 and immediately joined the First Infantry. His regiment was engaged in the Blackhawk War of 1831. In 1833, he became a first lieutenant in the 1st Dragoons. Although successful, Davis resigned from military duty in 1835 and became a cotton planter in Warren County, Mississippi. He married Sallie Knox Taylor (Zachary Taylor's daughter) in 1835; she died three months later of malaria. In 1843, Davis participated in the Democratic convention as a delegate. That same year he became a Representative of Mississippi in the US Congress. He remarried to Varina Howell in 1845. Davis resigned from Congress and rejoined the army in 1846, becoming a Mexican War hero. In 1847, the governor of Mississippi appointed Jefferson Davis to the US Senate. In this position, Davis unsuccessfully argued for the right of slavery in the territories created by the Compromise of 1850. He resigned from the Senate in a gubernatorial bid in Mississippi, but lost the election. President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis as Secretary of War during his term, after which, in 1857, Davis re-entered the Senate. When the South seceded from the Union in 1861, Jefferson Davis hoped for a military appointment, but instead accepted the position of President of the Confederate States of America (a position he had not desired). He served as the CSA's only president during the Civil War. After the war, Davis avoided most public appearances. He traveled Europe and settled into civilian life. He died in New Orleans in 1889; his remains were transferred from New Orleans to Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the former Confederate States of America.

From the description of Jefferson Davis letter, 1889. (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 123765774

Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.

From the description of ALS, 1855 May 18 : War Department, Washington, to B.T. Reed, Boston, Mass. (Copley Press, J S Copley Library). WorldCat record id: 17243864

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, was married to Varina Howell Davis. Margaret Davis Hayes was their daughter. James Jones was an Afro-American coachman who worked for Jefferson Davis.

From the description of Jefferson Davis family correspondence collection, 1868-1907. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 122403880

Soldier in the United States Army; congressman and senator; plantation owner; president of the Confederate States of America.

From the description of Jefferson Davis collection, 1851-1875. (State Historical Society of Iowa, Library). WorldCat record id: 187322191

From the description of Jefferson Davis papers, 1830s-1880s. (State Historical Society of Iowa, Library). WorldCat record id: 122342890

President of the Confederate States.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : to R. I. Walker, 1846 Jan. 20. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270529212

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Richmond, Virginia, to Maj. Gen. E. Van Dorn, 1862 Apr. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270527359

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Brierfield, 1847 Nov. 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270516890

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was born in Kentucky, but his family soon settled in Mississippi where they became prominent planters. IN 1828, Davis graduated from West Point and entered the army for seven years. He returned to his plantation in Mississippi but rejoined the army upon the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1845. In 1847, Mississippi voters sent him to the United States Senate. He resigned in 1851 but returned to Washington in 1853 as Secretary of War in the cabinet of President Franklin Pierce. He held this post until 1857 when he once again retuned to the United States Senate. He withdrew from the senate in 1861 following Mississippi's secession from the Union. In February, 1862, Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America. He served throughout the life of the Confederacy. He captured by Federal forces in May 1865 at Irwinville, Georgia. He spent two years as a state prisoner at Fortress Monroe. He was never brought to trial and was released on bond in 1867. He died in New Orleans.

From the description of Jefferson Davis bail bond, 1867. (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 163567254

U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of War, and president of the Confederate States of America; from Harrison County, Miss.

From the description of Letters, 1863-1864. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 40329082

From the description of Papers, 1841-1938; (bulk 1861-1865). (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 19405801

From the description of Papers, 1841-1938 ; (bulk 1861-1865). (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 122524314

Born in Kentucky; graduate of West Point; Mississippi congressman 1845-1846 and United States Senator 1847-1851, 1857-1861; Secretary of War 1853-1857; President of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865.

From the description of Letters, 1853 September 23 and 1880 June 13. (University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus). WorldCat record id: 16293367

Jefferson Davis served as an American military officer, statesman, and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. He was president of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865.

From the description of Jefferson Davis papers, 1889. (Columbia Theological Seminary). WorldCat record id: 649065462

The recipient of letters in this collection, Flora Adams Darling was founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

From the description of Papers, 1858-1904. (College of William & Mary). WorldCat record id: 21500035

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was a U.S. Congressman and Senator from the State of Mississippi as well as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. Following the South's secession from the United States, Davis was elected President of the Confederate States of America, an office he retained until the end of the Civil War. Marcus Joseph Wright (1831-1922) served as a general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and later worked for the United States War Department collecting Confederate military records.

From the description of Jefferson Davis letters to Marcus J. Wright, 1875-1887. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 766004424

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was a Mississippi planter and president of the Confederate States of America.

From the description of Jefferson Davis papers, ca. 1853-1902 [manuscript]. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 23107449

From the guide to the Jefferson Davis Papers (#206-z), ca. 1853-1902, (Southern Historical Collection)

Jefferson Davis was born on June 3, 1808 in Christian County Kentucky. He was an American statesman and President of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. He attended Jefferson College in 1818 and Transylvania University in 1822. He then attended the United States Military Academy at Westpoint in 1824 and graduated in 1828. He was assigned as a soldier in the 1st Infantry Regiment. He passed away in December 6, 1889 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

From the description of Autobiographical Sketch, circa 1847. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 754851037

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was a U.S. Congressman and Senator from the State of Mississippi as well as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. Following the South's secession from the United States, Davis was elected President of the Confederate States of America, an office he retained until the end of the Civil War.

From the description of Jefferson Davis letter to Mrs. Holbrook, 1884 February 29. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 766017426

U.S. senator from Mississippi, secretary of war, president of the Confederate States of America.

From the description of Jefferson Davis : miscellaneous papers, 1848-1881. (Filson Historical Society, The). WorldCat record id: 49217331

Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate (1828), army officer on the western frontier (1828-35), Zachary Taylor's son-in-law and confidant, a Mississippi planter and slaveholder, presidential elector (1844), United States congressman and senator in the 1840s and 1850s, gubernatorial candidate (1851), Franklin Pierce's secretary of war and personal advisor (1853-1857), spokesman for the South in the Senate (1857-61), president of the Confederacy (1861-65), a federal prisoner indicted for treason (1865-67), Memphis businessman (1869-73), Confederate apologist, and a notable symbol of the Lost Cause.

From the guide to the Jefferson Davis Letters MS 5., 1846-1888, (Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX)

Albert Taylor Bledsoe (1809-1877), a Confederate official, editor, and author, was the first-born son of Moses Ousley and Sophia Childress Taylor. A fellow student of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee at West Point Military Academy in 1830, Bledsoe performed military duty at western Indian forts. After graduating from Kenyon College in Ohio, he taught mathematics and French at Kenyon and later Miami University. He practiced law for ten years in Springfield, Illinois from 1838-48 but returned to teaching mathematics from 1848-54 at the University of Mississippi and from 1854-61 at the University of Virginia. Commissioned a colonel in the Confederate army in 1861, he later became assistant secretary of war. President Jefferson Davis sent Bledsoe to London to investigate historical problems involved in the issues between the North and South and hoped he could influence English public opinion. In 1867 he founded and edited the Southern Review in Baltimore, Maryland, until his death.

From the description of Letter: Memphis, Tennessee to Dr. Albert Taylor Bledsoe, 1870 March 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122700680

Jefferson, a Mississippi politican and plantation owner, served as the U. S. Secretary of War (1853-1857) and was the President of the Confederate States (1861-1865). W. R. Cannon was a political figure in Mississippi and served in the Mississippi legislature.

From the description of [Letter] 1855 Dec. 7, Washington, D.C. [to] W. R. Cannon / Jeffers. Davis. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 212210199

Secretary of War in President Pierce's Cabinet (1853-1857).

From the description of Jefferson Davis autograph letters signed, 1856 Feb. 29 and July 31. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 70977906

After graduating from West Point in 1828, Jefferson Davis, future president of the Confederacy, was stationed in Wisconsin, first at Fort Crawford and later at Fort Winnebago.

From the description of Fort Winnebago, Wisc. / [Jefferson Davis]. [19--?] (University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System). WorldCat record id: 379881074

From the description of Fort Winnebago, Wisc. [electronic resource] / [Jefferson Davis]. [19--?] (University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System). WorldCat record id: 379795706

Jefferson Davis was a U.S. Representative (1845-1846) and U.S. Senator (1847-1851, 1857-1861) for Mississippi. He was appointed Secretary of War by President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) and was President of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865).

From the description of Jefferson Davis miscellany, 1877 Mar. 17, undated. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 131157706

From the description of Jefferson Davis letter, 1848. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 129542180

President of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865.

From the description of Check, 1861 October 23. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 755081897

Confederate president.

From the description of Letter, 1876 May 20, New Orleans, [La.], to Gen. D[abney] H[erndon] Maury. (University of Toledo). WorldCat record id: 13541623

President of the Confederate States of America.

From the description of Letter : to Hon. J.A. Pearce, [1848]. (Buffalo History Museum). WorldCat record id: 57008575

From the description of Jefferson Davis Letter, 1886 (Wake Forest University - ZSR Library). WorldCat record id: 59882447

From the description of Correspondence, 1861-1863. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122647314

From the description of Papers, 1861-1883. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70971614

From the description of Jefferson Davis papers, 1795-1913 (bulk 1850-1859 and 1870-1906). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981131

From the description of Jefferson Davis papers, 1861-1883. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 166428713

President, Confederate States of America.

From the description of Autograph note signed : [n.p.], unaddressed, [1861 Jan.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270534086

From the description of Letter signed : "War Department, Washington," to Caleb Cushing, 1854 Mar. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270538038

From the description of Autograph endorsement signed, 1856 Nov. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270512573

From the description of Autograph signature as U.S. Senator : [n.p., n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270534553

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to Miss Carroll, 1885 Aug. 29. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270525473

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Hurricane, Mississippi, to Mr. Idler, 1840 Sept. 19. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270520523

[Historical or biographical note]

From the description of Jefferson Davis Letter, 1856. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 190964153

U.S. Senator and later President of the Confederate States.

From the description of Letter, West Point, New York, to Caleb Cushing, 1860 Aug. 8. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 93938853

Jefferson Davis, planter and statesman, was born June 3, 1808 in Christian County, Kentucky, and died December 6, 1889, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as a United States legislator from Mississippi (1847-1851), U.S. Secretary of War (1853-1857), and president of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865). Davis married Varina Howell in 1845.

From the description of Jefferson Davis collection, 1846-1905. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80697136

President of the Confederacy, 1861-1865. In the postbellum era, Jefferson Davis served as president of the Mississippi Valley Society, also known at the International Chamber of Commerce and Mississippi Valley Society, which was organized to promote trade between the Mississippi River states and England.

From the description of Jefferson Davis letter, 1875 Nov. 9. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 261139935

President, Confederate States of America, 1861-1865.

From the description of Letter: Missi[ssippi] City, [Miss.], to Crafts [J. Wright], 1877 Oct. 13. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 29417918

From the description of Manuscript fragment, n.d. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 29417925

From the description of Autograph, n.d. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 29417899

From the description of Document, 1865 Jan.-Feb. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 29417906

An avid stamp collector, Dr. Pritchard Von David was searching for postal materials in Mississippi in the early 1930s, when he stumbled upon a trunk of papers addressed to Jefferson Davis in a deserted farmhouse.

Born in Kentucky, Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) grew up in Mississippi and attended West Point, the U.S. military academy. After graduation, Davis served in the Black Hawk War in 1832 and resigned from the army in 1835. That year, he married Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of Zachary Taylor, who died shortly after the marriage. Davis and his brother Joseph owned the Brierfield Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi, where he farmed cotton. In 1845, he married Varina Howell and became a representative in the U.S. Congress. With the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, Davis returned to the military, commanding the 1st Mississippi Regiment. Following the war, the Mississippi governor appointed him to the U.S. Senate in 1847, and two years later Davis won another term. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis secretary of war. He returned to the Senate in 1857, resigning upon the secession of Mississippi in January 1861. The next month, a convention of the seven seceded states appointed Davis president of the newly formed Confederate States of America.

During the Civil War, Davis kept a close watch on battles and corresponded with his cabinet members and army commanders, including Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and John H. Reagan. On April 10, 1865, Robert E. Lee officially surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia in General Orders No. 9, and Davis fled the Confederate capitol at Richmond, Virginia. He was captured on May 10 and imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Following his release, Davis traveled throughout Europe and the Americas. He served on the boards of numerous financial institutions and was elected to the U.S. Senate, which he could not serve due to terms of the Fourteenth Amendment. He and his brother sold their plantation to their freed salve Ben Montgomery, and Davis published The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government in 1881.

Sources:

O’Quinn, Trueman. Old Trunk Yields Rebel Mementos. Dallas Morning News, October 1, 1933.

Rafuse, E. S. Davis, Jefferson (1808-1889). Encyclopedia Virginia . Last modified on October 13, 2010. http://encyclopediavirginia.org/Davis_Jefferson_1808-1889 .

From the guide to the Von David, Pritchard, papers 1933., 1811, 1839-1888, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Born in Kentucky, Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) grew up in Mississippi and attended West Point, the U.S. military academy. After graduation, Davis served in the Black Hawk War in 1832 and resigned from the army in 1835. That year, he married Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of Zachary Taylor, who died shortly after the marriage. Davis and his brother Joseph owned the Brierfield Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi, where he farmed cotton. In 1845, he married Varina Howell and became a representative in the U.S. Congress. With the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, Davis returned to the military, commanding the 1st Mississippi Regiment. Following the war, the Mississippi governor appointed him to the U.S. Senate in 1847, and two years later Davis won another term. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis secretary of war. He returned to the Senate in 1857, resigning upon the secession of Mississippi in January 1861. The next month, a convention of the seven seceded states appointed Davis president of the newly formed Confederate States of America.

During the Civil War, Davis kept a close watch on battles and corresponded with his cabinet members and army commanders, including Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and John H. Reagan. On April 10, 1865, Robert E. Lee officially surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia in General Orders No. 9, and Davis fled the Confederate capitol at Richmond, Virginia. He was captured on May 10 and imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Following his release, Davis traveled throughout Europe and the Americas. He served on the boards of numerous financial institutions and was elected to the U.S. Senate, which he could not serve due to terms of the Fourteenth Amendment. He and his brother sold their plantation to their freed salve Ben Montgomery, and Davis published The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government in 1881.

Source:

Rafuse, E. S. Davis, Jefferson (1808-1889). Encyclopedia Virginia . Last modified on October 13, 2010. http://encyclopediavirginia.org/Davis_Jefferson_1808-1889 .

From the guide to the Davis, Jefferson, papers 1939; 67-003; 72-090., [ca. 1850]-1891, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), a Mississippi planter, U.S. Congressman in 1845, officer in the Mexican War, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of War, was chosen president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from Illinois (1847-49), and president of the United States (1860-65), was assassinated by actor and fanatical pro-slavery advocate John Wilkes Booth. Booth had originally planned, with Samuel Arnold, Michael O'Laughlin, John H. Surratt, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and Lewis Powell (Payne), to abduct Lincoln to either end the war or exchange Southern prisoners in the fall of 1864. Lincoln did not appear at the place arranged for the abduction and the plot was abandoned.

From the description of Letter: Beauvoir, Mississippi to Major Walker Taylor, 1889 August 31. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122481621

President of the Confederate States of America.

Before the Civil War, Jefferson Davis served as a U.S. representative and senator from Mississippi, and as secretary of war in the cabinet of Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857.

From the description of Letter : [Washington, D.C.], to Hon. R. McClellan[d], [Washington, D.C.], 1853 Apr. 30. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 36804466

Henry De Lamar Clayton, Sr. was born in Pulaski County, Georgia, on March 7, 1827, the son of Nelson and Sarah Clayton. He graduated from Emory and Henry College, Virginia, after which he read law under John G. and Eli S. Shorter in Eufaula, Alabama. In 1848 he was licensed as an attorney and began the practice of law in Clayton, Alabama. In 1857 he was chosen to represent Barbour County in the Alabama Legislature, and he served as a member of the House of Representatives until 1861.

Upon the threat of war Clayton urged Governor Moore to accept the volunteer regiment of trained companies of which he was colonel. Two of the companies were accepted in February 1861, and he enlisted in one of them as a private but was ordered to go at once to Pensacola, Florida, and take command of Alabama troops as they arrived. On March 28, 1861, the First Alabama Regiment was organized with Clayton as colonel. He remained at Pensacola, in command of a brigade for a year, and then organized as a new regiment, the Thirty-Ninth Alabama Volunteers, which he led as colonel in the Kentucky campaign and in the battle of Murfreesboro.

In the battle of Murfreesboro he was severely wounded, and immediately afterward was promoted to brigadier-general. The brigade to which he was assigned at Tullahoma, in April 1863, consisted of the Eighteenth, Thirty-Sixth, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Second, and Fifty-Eight Regiments. Clayton's brigade bore a conspicuous part at Chickamauga, in the fighting around Dalton, Georgia, at New Hope Church, and in all the battles of the Atlanta and subsequent Tennessee campaigns and the final campaign in the Carolinas. General Clayton's conduct in the Atlanta campaign won for him the commission of major-general, July 7, 1864, and he became the successor of A.P. Stewart in division command, the brigades under his command being Gibson's, Stovall's, Baker's, and his own under Holtzclaw. He led this division during the battles around Atlanta, at Jonesboro, in the Nashville campaign, and up to the surrender in North Carolina.

At the close of the war General Clayton turned his attention to planting, until elected Judge of the Circuit Court in May 1866. He held this position until he was removed under the Reconstruction Acts of Congress in 1868. He then practiced law until he was reelected as Circuit Court Judge following the end of Reconstruction. He held that position for nearly twenty years until he resigned to accept the nomination for Governor. He was defeated but was elected President of the University of Alabama in the same year, 1886. He died on October 13, 1889, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

From the guide to the Henry De Lamar Clayton Sr. Papers MSS. 0313., 1840-1925, (W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama)

Biographical note: Jefferson Davis, a native of what is now Todd County, Kentucky, spent most of his childhood in Mississippi. He attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky from 1821 to 1824 when he was appointed to West Point. He graduated from West Point in 1828, and served in the United States Army in Wisconsin and Illinois for seven years. In 1835 he resigned his commission and spent the next ten years farming on his plantation in Mississippi. In 1845 he married Varina Howell of Natchez and was also elected to the United States Congress. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Davis returned to the United States Army where he served with some distinction at the Battle of Buena Vista. He then returned to Washington as a senator (1847, 1857-1861) and served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857).

Throughout the 1850s, Davis served as a spokesman for the southern cause, and a defender of slavery. When the Confederacy was organized, Davis was elected its president. Following the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War, Davis was imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia and charged with various crimes including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He was ultimately released without trial. Davis spent a good portion of the next ten years in foreign travel and thereafter resided in Mississippi and Louisiana. He returned to Kentucky on two occasions during this period (1875, 1886). He died in New Orleans in 1889 and is buried in Richmond, Virginia.

From the description of Papers, 1824-1906 (bulk 1850-1900). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 191917663

Born in Kentucky, Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) grew up in Mississippi and attended West Point, the U.S. military academy.

After graduation, Davis served in the Black Hawk War in 1832 and resigned from the army in 1835. That year, he married Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of Zachary Taylor who died shortly after the marriage. Davis and his brother Joseph owned the Brierfield Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi, where he farmed cotton. In 1845, he married Varina Howell and became a representative in the U.S. Congress. With the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, Davis returned to the military, commanding the 1st Mississippi Regiment. Following the war, the Mississippi governor appointed him to the U.S. Senate in 1847, and two years later Davis won another term. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis secretary of war. He returned to the Senate in 1857, resigning upon the secession of Mississippi in January 1861. The next month, a convention of the seven seceded states appointed Davis president of the newly formed Confederate States of America.

During the Civil War, Davis kept a close watch on battles and corresponded with his cabinet members and army commanders, including Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and John H. Reagan.

On April 10, 1865, Robert E. Lee officially surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia in General Orders No. 9, and Davis fled the Confederate capitol at Richmond, Virginia. He was captured on May 10 and imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Following his release, Davis traveled throughout Europe and the Americas. He served on the boards of numerous financial institutions and was elected to the U.S. Senate, which he could not serve due to terms of the Fourteenth Amendment. He and his brother sold their plantation to their freed slave Ben Montgomery, and Davis published "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" in 1881.

From the description of Davis, Jefferson, papers, [ca. 1850]-1891. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 71127549

Jefferson Davis was an American military and political figure who is best known for his role as the only President of the Confederate States of America. Davis led the seceded Southern states into the Civil War, refusing to renounce his pro-slavery worldview in the face of the more populous and more powerful Northern states. Prior to that role, Davis served in the Mississippi state legislature, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. His extensive political experience was rivaled only by his military prowess as a graduate of West Point, a colonel in the Mexican-American War, and the Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.

Jefferson Davis was the last of ten children born to farmers in Christian County, Kentucky. Davis himself was unsure of whether his birth year was 1807 or 1808. Davis' father and uncles served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and three of his brothers fought the British in the War of 1812. Davis' family moved several times during his youth. He attended Jefferson College in Washington, Mississippi, and then Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1828, Davis graduated from the United States Military Academy, accepting a commission as a second lieutenant and embarking upon a distinguished military career. Davis fell in love with and wed Sarah Knox Taylor, daughter of future U.S. President Zachary Taylor, who did not approve of the match.

Davis subsequently left military service and gained political office at the state and then the federal level. As a U.S. Senator, he became chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. He left his Senate seat to run for the governorship of Mississippi, a race he lost in 1851. Davis continued states-rights advocacy, re-entering the Senate and becoming a leading voice among Southern politicians. Though Davis opposed secession on principle, he upheld it in practice when he resigned from the U.S. Senate in 1861, announcing Mississippi's withdrawal from the Union. When the Confederate Congress elected Davis to a six-year term as President of the Confederacy, Davis moved his family to Richmond, Virginia. He was inaugurated on February 22, 1862, and on June 1, he named General Robert E. Lee commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.

As President, Davis hesitated to select a single general to control war strategy, retaining that power for himself and likely harming the Confederate cause. As Union troops prepared to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Davis and his cabinet escaped to Danville, Virginia. Davis there issued his last official statement as President and continued his flight from Union troops. He was captured in Irwinville, Georgia on May 10, 1865. On May 19, he was imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, a wet, unheated casemate where he was exposed to the weather. Davis was placed in irons, them released from them three days later upon a physician's recommendation. The ambiguity of Davis' position and uncertainty as to his proper punishment is reflected by the year that lapsed between Davis' capture and his indictment for treason, the result of concerns over constitutionality of the U.S. Supreme Court.

After two years of imprisonment, Davis was released on bail, posted by prominent citizens of both Northern and Southern states who were convinced of his unfair treatment. Davis then traveled to Canada, New Orleans, Cuba, and Europe. In December of 1868, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a motion to dismiss Davis' indictment for treason, but the prosecution dropped the case two months later.

In 1869, a free Jefferson Davis was named president of the Carolina Life Insurance Company. He led the meeting memorializing Robert E. Lee's death in 1870. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1875, Davis refused the office. In the years before his death he authored two works: The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government and A Short History of the Confederate States of America. Davis died in New Orleans in December 1889 at the age of 81. His funeral, one of the largest ever held in the South, included a continuous march from New Orleans to Richmond. He is buried in Richmond, where a monument to him was erected in 1907.

From the guide to the Davis, Jefferson, Trial Papers. MS 979, 1865-1868, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6xk8d2z
Ark ID:
w6xk8d2z
SNAC ID:
68037748

Subjects:

  • Church dedication
  • Lumber trade
  • State rights
  • Military pensions
  • World War I
  • Antislavery movements
  • Government, Law and Politics
  • Emory and Henry College
  • Civil war
  • Manuscripts--English
  • Military art and science
  • Freedmen
  • Cabinet officers--Correspondence
  • Arsenals
  • Slavery--Justification
  • Slaveholders
  • Statesmen--Autographs
  • Military prisons
  • Monterrey, Battle of, Monterrey, Mexico, 1846
  • University of Alabama--Presidents
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--1789-1869--Sources
  • Appomattox Campaign, 1865--Personal narratives
  • Presidents--Correspondence
  • Limestone
  • Plantations
  • Franco--Prussian War, 1870-1871
  • Organization
  • Political Campaigns
  • Railroads
  • Seminarians
  • Plantations--Mississippi
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Legislators--Correspondence
  • Legislators--Biography
  • United State--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military personnel--Confederate
  • Appomattox Campaign, 1865
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848
  • Bonds
  • Federal-state controversies
  • Seminole War, 2nd, 1835-1842
  • Oregon
  • Political cartoons--History--19th century--Sources
  • Indians of North America--History--19th century--Sources
  • Statesman--19th century--Biography
  • War and Military
  • Prisoners--Health and hygiene
  • Visiting cards--Specimens
  • Political cartoons--United States--History--19th century--Sources
  • Statesmen--Correspondence
  • Stones River, Battle of, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 1862-1863
  • Daily Life and Family
  • Chattanooga, Battle of, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1863
  • Secession
  • University of Alabama
  • Slaves--Social conditions
  • Slavery
  • Slaves--Emancipation
  • Floods
  • Legislators--Alabama
  • Confederate cemeteries
  • Cotton trade
  • Plantation owners
  • Slaves--Emancipation--History--Sources
  • Fairs--19th century
  • Patronage, Political
  • Military education
  • Railroads--Southern States
  • Alabama
  • President's spouses
  • Politics and government
  • Press--Influence
  • Generals--Correspondence
  • Slavery--19th century--Sources
  • Lawyers--Alabama

Occupations:

  • Cabinet officers--United States
  • Presidents--Confederate States of America
  • Politicians
  • Presidents
  • Generals--Confederate States of America
  • Planter
  • Soldiers--United States

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Savannah River (Ga. and S.C.) (as recorded)
  • Richmond (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.) (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Kentucky--Owen County (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Fort Winnebago (Wis.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Louisiana--Baton Rouge (as recorded)
  • Illinois--Urbana (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Fort Winnebago (Wis.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Fort Monroe (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • San Diego (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Vicksburg (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Cuba (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Beauvoir (Biloxi, Miss.) (as recorded)
  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Kentucky (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Mississippi River Valley (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Vicksburg (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Charleston (S.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Charleston (S.C.) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Kentucky (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Beauvoir (Biloxi, Miss.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Dalton (Ga.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Paris (France) (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Charleston (S.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)