U. S. CIVIL WAR
Davis resigned from the U.S. senate in January 1861 and was chosen President of
the Confederacy by the Provisional Congress and inaugurated in Montgomery,
Alabama, February 18, 1861.
Jefferson Davis Inauguration
Montgomery, Alabama, February 18, 1861.
He was then elected President of the Confederacy for a term of six years and inaugurated in Richmond, Virginia, February 22, 1862.
Confederate White House - 1865
Confederate White House - 1999
Davis' administration was marked by cronyism, autocracy, hard work, and complete devotion to the cause. Outside his constant support of Lee, Davis often quarreled with his generals and interfered with the War Department to the point where he had six secretaries of war in four years . Still he worked ceaselessly, was able to hold onto talented staff, and promoted a much needed nationalistic view of the Confederacy.
In 1865, his responses to the failed Peace Conference and Gen. Lee's report on the state of the army at Petersburg display Davis' complete dedication to the Confederacy. Even with the surrender of Lee's and Johnston's armies he couldn't accept the end of the Confederacy.
Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops in Irwinsville, Georgia, on May 10, 1865. He was accused of treason and of planning the assassination of President Lincoln. Davis was taken to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where he was treated harshly. Although he was accused of high crimes, he was never brought to trial.
Fort Monroe - 1998
After two years in prison, in 1867 Jefferson Davis was paroled in the custody of the court. Eventually he returned to Mississippi and spent the remaining years of his life writing. He wrote "The Rise and and Fall of the Confederate Government" in 1881.
Jefferson Davis - 1888
When Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America in 1861, he believed in the right of Southern states to secede and defended his belief until his death in 1889. While he spent his remaining years in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Beauvoir plantation, Davis never asked for, nor was he granted, a pardon for his actions. However, in a speech at Mississippi City, Mississippi, he said:
"The past is dead; let it bury its dead, its hopes and its aspirations. Before you lies the future, a future full of golden promise, a future of expanding national glory, before which all the world shall stand amazed."
Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 6, 1889 and was buried in the Metairie Cemetery.
Jefferson Davis' Funeral in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 1893 Jefferson Davis' body was moved to Richmond, Virginia, and on May 31, he was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. (Go to the Jefferson Davis Hollywood Cemetery pages.)
Davis' labors on behalf of the Confederacy took a heavy personal toll. While some historians have found much to criticize about his leadership, most scholars consider that Davis guided the Confederacy as ably as one could expect, given its situation.
Jefferson Davis was posthumously restored to the full rights of U.S.citizenship, effective December 25, 1868, pursuant to a Joint Resolution of Congress (Public Law 95-466), approved October 17, 1978.
(Source: Library of Congress, National Park Service and others.)
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