ORIGINAL DOCUMENT SOURCES
under construction --- come back later. It's all jumbled up now.
VARINA DAVIS HANDWRITTEN LETTER
BIGGEST COWARD IN US HISTORY?
SOUTHERN "HISTORIANS" RUN FROM THESE FACTS -- HIS OWN WIFE'S LETTER AND BOOK
HIS WIFE'S AMAZING LETTER
I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER
The letter is amazing enough -- but also, in her 1890 book, Varina validates a story that was well known, but often dismissed as silly.
Jeff Davis told his wife to get herself killed, (and apparently the children) if surrounded. HE told her this in public, in his usual theatrical way. He implied that he too, would go down fighting. Do not be caught, he told her, get yourself killed.
For example, here is another tid bit you probably never heard. It was reported in Southern books, Southern papers at the time, but not discussed much after, that Davis told his wife to get herself killed rather than surrender. Have them shoot you, he said.
He told her this in public, in front of others, as they awaited the gold to show up, as he left Richmond, which is ironic, and yet another story itself.
The inference was, David himself would go down fighting, as he had urged so many others to do.
Yet Southern "historians" have known this, and much more, about their hero Jeff Davis. The details are so amazing, it's no surprise the "historians" would not dare deal with them.
After he told her to get herself killed -- Davis ran away in her dress, leaving her and the children to the tender mercies of the Union soliders.
Varina's rendition of Davis telling her to get herself killed, left a few things out, that original reports showed. Davis was willing for the children to die too -- rather than be taken alive "and bring shame" on the South.
You heard that right. Davis told his wife -- in public, rather theatrically -- to get herself killed, to instigate a hail of gunfire, because to be captured would bring SHAME on the South.
Davis instructions to his wife implied he would do the same. Remember that.
Have you ever heard any of this?
Hell no. Southern historians have known this --remember that, and have played this off in a number of ways. They can't and wont dare to show Davis as a coward, but this is just the start.
This is the tip of the iceberg about Davis, but let's show this first....
Davis ran, details show, as bullets flew, as his wife and children were in danger, he exited for his own safety. He did not lift a finger to save them.
FOOTE TRIED THE JEDI MIND TRICK
THESE ARE NOT THE DAVIS LETTERS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
Yet Davis would later claim he surrendered ONLY in an attempt to save those children.
Guys like Shelby Foote -- who adores Davis and justifies everything he did, including war ultimatums to spread slavery and his killing sprees in Kansas -- know about Varina's letter, and book, of course.
But read their "explanation" of his cowardice at capture -- it was "confusing in the morning fog" and "Varina said he was not in disguise."
Other excuses: it was a Northern newspaper thing (no, Southern newspapers reported it first) and the Union soldiers were told to make up stories about Davis.
Bullshit -- the Union soldiers report did mention Davis in a dress, of course, and reported what happened. But they mentioned that far down in their chronologically based reports, in just two or three sentences.
Varina wrote much more than the soldiers did about his garments.
Indeed, in her letter, Varina did write "he wore no disguise" but then spent several sentences describing the disguise, and trying to take the blame for it, suggesting it was her fault.
But Davis was a control freak, he wife could not convince him to wear three layers of female clothing, nor would she, nor would she convince him to run away when his children were in danger.
Varina wrote to Blairs to minimize Davis embarrassment.
Davis said he would have killed those first soldiers who came near him, but the children nearby -- his deep love for them -- made him be taken alive.
He swallowed his pride, and let himself be taken -- for their sake.
Jesus this guy would lie his ass off, and often did.
Davis had a long history of urging others to fight to the death - which is why he told his wife to get herself killed, in his bravado speech back in Richmond before they left.
Davis urged attacks on Union positions again and again, replacing generals who would not get their men slaughtered for stupid reason -- like he replaced Johnston, with Hood. Hood then attacked Sherman, and essentially lost the war right then.
Davis even made up stories about women who wrote him letters offering their young sons to replace their older sons who died for the Confederacy. Really. Go read his Macon speech, the guy was vile. No such letters existed -- Davis said he had so many such letters he could not count them all.
That is how we win, said Davis, when we bravely fight no matter the cost. But Davis himself sure as hell was not going to fight -- he would tell his wife to get herself killed, he would flee as his children were in danger, but he was having none of that danger he so willingly inflicted up on others.
Do you see why Davis and Southern apologist can't touch this with a ten foot pole?
Southern apologist know all this -- by the way.
Just running away, they could excuse for.
But telling his wife to get herself killed, then running away, leaving his wife and children in danger?
That's a bridge too far.
According to Varina Davis's letter to the Blairs, written a few days after their capture by Union troops in April of 1861, she told the Union soldiers to leave Davis alone, "It's my mother"
That's her own letter. Not someone else's.
Davis own nephew wrote in his journal, confirming Davis ran away in a dress.
No -- not a shawl, not a shoulder wrap put on by mistake. Not any of that bullshit made up later to cloak his cowardice.
"I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"
Turns out, the dress -- yes he wore a dress -- was only a small part of it. Actually Davis did much more than that.
Davis ran away, as his children were in danger. He left them, literally, as bullets flew.
While Varina Davis did try to save Davis embarrassment in the letter to Blairs (she essentially takes blame for his female garments), the detail she relates leave no doubt that he was running away, and wore three different female garments.
Davis himself was emphatic -- to an absurdity -- claiming he wore only his own manly clothes. He even took a picture later to "prove" his case, wearing clothes he said were the very same he had on that day, including his hat. He also acquired affidavits from several people, confirming he wore his normal clothing. The Museum of Confederacy has those articles of clothing, and present them as factually, the ones Davis wore.
Davis had this picture published, to "prove" exactly what he wore.
These clothes are right now in Confederate Museum. Does that look like an "errant shawl" or other excuse, often made up by Southern "historians" ?
By the way, the "Museum" does not show Varina's letter, or the nephew's journal.
Yes, the Union soldiers report COULD have been an attempt to smear him, though their reports only briefly mention he wore female clothing, within much longer reports of the pursuit and capture. If you are going to smear a man with slander, do you barely mention it?
Make no mistake, Varina's letter does not bluntly say "He was wearing my dress". In fact, she dances around that, best she can, giving the impression he had on three female garments, but gives the impression it was her idea.
Varina tries to save Davis from embarrassment, not expose him. Clearly she was not aware he would claim he was heroic -- and that he wore only his own manly clothes.
Her sister also told the soldiers Davis was their mother- - in an attempt to get the Union soldiers not to examine "her" more closely. But the soldiers pulled Davis female hood off, revealing the bearded Davis.
The dress is actually the least of it. He is not the first man to be cowardly when bullets flew.
But that's just it -- this was more than a moment.
And this says as much about "Davis scholars" who have known this for over 100 years.
Davis "scholars" insisted he was not running away, and he did not dress as a woman. That was slander of a brave man, or a "newspaper" thing made up an exaggerated.
But when Varina's letter came out in 1906, and other documents verifying he ran away and protected no one, except himself, the scholars were not about to admit that.
As US Grant wrote in his memoir, he did not hold it against Davis that he ran away in a dress. As Varina essentially said in her own letter, the South would have wanted him to survive, dress or no.
Varina, per her letter, which verified Union soldiers reports, reported she got in front of Davis as he was about to be shot -- the soldiers reported that she did, and her letter confirms that.
She told the soldiers to shoot her (Varina) if they needed to shoot anyone.
Remember, that is from HER letter. We point it out, because the Union reports show that too. Many details in Varina's letter, line up with the soldier's reports.
Varina and the soldiers reports, line up with Davis nephew's journal. There is a reason Southern apologist don't tell you about her letter, the nephew's journal, and the Union reports -- it's because they all line up exceedingly well, though Varina never does bluntly say it was her dress Davis had on.
But Davis not only left his children in danger (really, they were in danger, bullets were flying) he told his wife to get herself killed.
Yes, he did. She reported that in her own book about Davis -- go read it. She cleaned it up, as much as possible, but there it is.
The inference was, Davis would go down fighting to the death.
OF URGING DEATH OR VICTORY
Its a shame James McPherson continued his artful defense of Davis, in yet another book -- you won't see original documents like this, from McPherson. Nor any mention of it.
In fact, check any McPherson book of course knows Davis documents and actions urging anyone to fight to the death, and even idiotically making up lies in his speeches, that women sent him letters offering their young sons for battle, after the older sons were killed.
Really -- Davis did that. See his Macon speech.
Think McPherson doesn't know that's in the Macon speech? Think McP doesn't know what's in Varina's letters and book?
What about those "historians" who knew this the whole time? Varina's book was published in 1890, her letters donated to Library of Congress 1906.
110 years not enough time?
As you will see, by how some "historians" parse words, that they knew of these documents for generations, but the meme was already set. Davis a man of honor and principle, in the most glowing terms possible.
Actually Davis was part of killing sprees to spread slavery, part of the war ultimatums to force Kansas to accept slavery, he sent Texas men to kill in Kansas from 1856 on, using David Rice Atchison to lead the killers.
The "dress story" is the least of it, on Jefferson Davis. But if you admit he was a coward and lied when he was captured, you have a hard time praising him in every paragraph, in other respects.
Jeff Davis ran away, in her dress, left his children behind, in his last official act as President of the Confederacy.
Then he claimed to be the hero of the moment.
And Southern "scholars" have known this for 100 years.
"I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"
In Varina Davis's letter to the Blairs, donated by the Blair family to the Library of Congress in 1906, she tells how Davis did indeed wear female clothing and ran away, leaving his children and her behind.
It was not just her letter -- Davis own nephew, in his journal, confirmed it.
The dress was the least of it. Davis had taken the gold from Richmond, gold collected for injured soldiers medical care -- yes he did. He fled from Richmond, and told his wife to get herself and their children killed, rather than surrender. To be taken alive, he said, would be an "embarrassment" to the South.
Davis told his wife this in public, proudly, the implication was that he would do the same.
Instead, the clear and overwhelming evidence, from his own wife and nephew, back up the factual reports from Union officers -- Davis wore a dress, and was running away, when captured.
Yes, if you even heard Jefferson Davis "story" about wearing his wife's dress, you doubtlessly heard it was a silly lie, a "newspaper thing" made up by slanderous Northern papers to embarrass a brave honorable man.
Davis own wife's letter -- and her book -- show a different story. As does his nephew's journal.
And yes, "historians" have known this, and much else, about Davis for 100 years.
But Varina and Davis nephew -- according to any reasonable interpretation -- prove most certainly that Davis did not wear his own cloths, whatsoever. In fact, one line in the report shows that Davis was allowed to change out of the dress, and into his normal clothing. Hilariously, Davis wife emerged from the tent (she helped Davis change out of his female disguise) wearing that dress. You got it, Davis wife put on the dress, Davis took off, undoubtedly to prevent the soldiers from taking it as a suveniour, which they most certainly would have.
DAVIS ABSURD STORY ONCE YOU KNOW FACTS
Davis speaking ability was so powerful, he could convince almost anyone of anything -- if they didn't know the facts.
He surrendered ONLY to save his children. He was going to go down fighting
His own story was as opposite as you can make it -- he claimed he would have killed the first soldier, his plan was to do that, but the "proximity" of his children put their dear lives at risk, and while he would forfeit his own for the honor of the South, he could not bear to put them in danger.
You won't even hear that from "historians" -- who wisely dismiss the entire but true story of Davis in a dress, as a "newspaper" thing, and give it, at most, a sentence or two in the back of a book. One recent author of a book on nothing but his capture, simply quoted Davis as saying he wore his own clothes, as if that proved he wore his own clothes..
But even that author did not repeat Davis assertion that he was heroic and surrendered against his intentions to die fighting, only because the proximity of the children.
Davis was running away from his children, he had left them to the tender mercies of the Union Army, as bullets flew. Try to grasp that. Davis ran away, as his children were in real danger. But he not only claims he saved them, he claims he resisted his impulse to die fighting, BECAUSE he was so brave to save them.
The man left his own children in danger -- and this after he told his wife to get herself killed, and by implication, her children killed if need by. But he claimed he saved his children.
He claimed his own surrender as a heroic deed. Clearly, Davis ability to lie and portray himself as hero, in whatever situation, even one of cowardice, was an ability that came instantly to him.
No wonder Southern "historians" can't be candid about any of this. To admit Davis not only was a coward, but claimed heroism, and told his wife to get herself killed, then ran away in her dress, is a fact too much, even for Southern apologist, to deal with.
Davis was supposedly a man of honor and principle, remember?
Oh, and Davis apparently had that dress on, all night. He could not have pulled those three separate female garments on, in a few seconds, or even minutes.
There is more -- Davis Macho Act.
Davis never missed an opportunity to portray himself as brave, honorable and principled. But as Sam Houston said of Davis, he was as ambitious as Lucifer, and cold as a snake.
His true genius, turns out, was words. He could talk the ears off a chocolate bunny, claim liberty was the right to own slaves, and insist God ordained not only slavery, but torture, and do it in such clever prose, stupid people ate it up.
It seemed, really, that anyone who ever talked to him, was very likely to be so impressed at his mannerisms and tone of voice, and utter self confidence, his eloquent speech, even in private, convinced them that he was as true as his word.
Problem was, he was true as his words -- meaning, not true.
DAVIS EVEN TOLD HER TO NOT LET CHILDREN BE CAPTURED
HAVE THEM KILL YOU
Eye witnesses to the Davis telling his wife to go down fighting, make them kill you, said he included the children in those instructions. No one in the family should be taken alive.
Varina left that part out of her book.
Whether he included his children in the instructions to not be taken alive, he did tell his wife -- indisputably -- to get herself killed.
DAVIS GAME HE HAD TO PLAY
Oh what a web we weave, when we first start to deceive
Davis had "some splaining" to do -- to his wife, and the public.
A witness who came upon the scene about a half hour after the capture, said Davis mercilessly berated his wife, blaming her for their capture. She was silent and took his abuse - never mind that according to all reports at the time, but his own, she had just intervened to save him! He had run away, told her to get herself killed, left the children in danger, but one on one, he berated her.
SHOOT ME IF YOU MUST SHOOT
According to Varina's own letter, and the soldiers reports, Varina grabbed Davis and pulled him to her, and told the soldiers to shoot her -- Varina -- if you must shoot someone.
But leave my mother alone!
Varina was protecting Davis, with her own life -- while Davis did not protect anyone, at all, but himself. Not her, not his children. He claimed he did, but evidence shows clearly, that was not the case.
The Union soldiers later -- not in their report -- described Davis as pathetic coward. In their reports, they were factual, brief, business like. For the rest of their lives, they spoke of Davis capture, and the Union soldiers all -- each one -- respected Varina Davis. She was the brave one, Davis was the coward.
LONG HISTORY OF TELLING OTHERS
Davis had to come up with a story, of why he did not die fighting.
Davis had always urged others to fight on -- he shamed any general who did not attack, for example. He stayed in Richmond most of the war, and would send out telegraphs and letters urging attack, not matter that the attacker almost always was slaughtered.
The big example was when Davis replaced Johnston, in Atlanta. Johnston was facing Sherman, after 2/3 of Confederate soldiers had already deserted.
Most people have no clue that by Sept of 64, 2/3 of Confederate soldiers deserted -- according to Davis himself. See his Macons speech.
Still, now with fewer men, defeated again and again, Johnston was actually doing a masterful job against Sherman, until Davis replaced him with Hood, who attacked Sherman again, and again, decimating his remaining troops, causing even more desertions, and losing Atlanta.
So Davis had to have some excuse, that he did not fight, when he was approached. He told his wife to fight, he told his generals to fight, but he ran -- and in a dress.
In a final absurdity, Davis would claim after the war that he had "sacrificed more than anyone" for the cause.
Some people simply don't believe Jeff Davis -- that man of honor, that so many biographies raved about, could be a coward and fake.
But if you know all the facts, not the distorted bullshit, there is a good argument that Davis was not only a coward, but possibly the biggest known cowards of the Civil War.
Remember, he claimed to be heroic, he even tried ( and succeeded actually) to get others to believe his cowardly flight leaving his children in danger, was an act of heroism.
You see, this was not Davis's first attempt at making himself look so grand, despite facts to the contrary. He was good at that, so good, many people to this day refuse to believe it, even when shown his wife's amazing letter, and nephew's journal, and soldiers reports.
Davis nephew, John Taylor Wood, was there.
He wrote that Davis wore a dress.
VARINA, DAVIS WIFE, AND NEPHEW
CONFIRMED UNION REPORTS DAVIS WORE A DRESS AND RAN AWAY
AS CHILDREN WERE IN DANGER>
DAVIS WIFE RAN IN FRONT OF HIM -- PER HER LETTER
TO SAVE HIS LIFE
TO SAVE HIS LIFE
DAVIS HAD THIS PICTURE TAKEN TO "PROVE" WHAT CLOTHES HE WORE
HE CLAIMED THEY WERE THE EXACT GARMENTS
ARTIST DRAWING OF WHAT DAVIS LOOKED LIKE
FROM EYE WITNESS REPORTS
FROM EYE WITNESS REPORTS
DRESS WAS UNDERNEATH ALL.
ENTIRELY WOMEN'S GARMENTS, EXCEPT FOR BOOTS
Shelby Foote, a Davis devotee, honored Jeff Davis as a brave man of principle -- never a word about Davis killing sprees in Kansas, never a word about Davis insistence blacks are inferior beings ordained by God to be punished, never a word about his war ultimatums to spread slavery.
And of course, never a word about Davis cowardice.
James McPherson, supposedly our leading historian on Lincoln and Davis, in a recent book, was more cowardly than Davis. Davis had men looking for him, with guns, and if they had any excuse, they would have shot him dead.
But who will shoot McPherson for telling the truth? McPherson's recent book on Davis could have been written, by Davis himself, entirely ommitting things like his killing sprees, his war ultimatums to spread slavery, his use of killers in Kansas from 1856 on. There is not two cents worth of difference, between how Davis explained things, than McPherson.
Think McPherson does not know about Davis role in killing sprees? Think he does not know about Varina's book, and letters, about Davis?
Of course he knows. But McPherson has a history of not blaming any Southern leader, for anything, especially Davis, probably because he doesnt want to upset anyone. Everyone was just doing what they thought was Godly, is McPherson's meme. So he must leave out much of the basics. Davis killing sprees and his cowardice are two examples.,
By the way -- Ken Burns stupidly got Foote to be his narrator and main "historian" for his Civil War Documentary. Big mistake, Ken.
This is not the only issue on which Southern "historians" have lied and misled people. It's only the tip of the ice berg. More about that in another time.
TID BITS VIRGINA STILL HATES HER
Why some in the South -- SEEM to hate Varina, to this day.
One interesting thing I noticed while researching Varina Davis, was the loathing, just beneath the surface, for her by some in Virginia.
Keep in mind Varina was very loyal to Davis -- saved his life, protected him from everyone, and while she wrote that letter, she had no idea it would be saved and published.
Every thing she did --everything she said, in public, was like an obedient wife. Her two volume book on Davis is as flattering as it can be.
Yes, she wrote that letter to Blairs but even in it she tries to take the blame. And she told them to destroy the letter
See this article about Varina in "Encyclopedia Virginia" which essentially glorifies slave owners, specifically Davis, and Lee. But their tone and personal cruelty to Varina is amazing, given the supposed "academic" of their publication.
They claimed she was homely, and suggested she lured a lonely Davis into marriage. They claimed she was "manifestly ill suited" for first lady of the South because she lived in D.C for 15 years. Well she did, with Davis! She lived with JEFF DAVIS in DC.
And, they counted the years, they figured out the years. Then spun that -- very much like a dirty political campaign. And this is an "encyclopedia" It's clear this "encyclopedia" is still livid about their slave owners loss in the Civil War. For them to hate Varina -- who did nothing but dote and serve Davis like an obedient wife, and saved his life, his honor, is amazing.
Did they point out Robert E Lee's wife was homely? Of course not! But Varina was HOT, when young. And Davis got her very young, half his age. Yet by time these hackers get done with her, Davis is the victim, she is ugly. Why do that in an encyclopedia?
Varina as a very good looking woman, and defended the Davis and the South.
Her "physical appearance" was wrong, she had lived in the North! (She lived in the North with DAVIS as his wife, in DC!!)
But the way the above article spins it, they seem to hate her anyway. She was not attractive they said, and her "political loyalties" were "suspect from the beginning" said the article. Really? No, they were not.
Varina wrote to Northern relatives? Seriously, thats the charge against her. She wrote to Northern relatives.
That's what they said, and "spent years in the North". By North, they mean DC, and Davis lived there too, they threw that in there to make it seem like a horrible thing.
Whoever runs the Virginia Encyclopedia savaged Varina in this article -- almost like a gossip piece rather than an encyclopedia, or a smear political distorted commerical.
Her skin was considered "unattractive" they said!!
Even if she was unattractive (quite the reverse, she had great looking skin, and was young with big boobs, if you want to be blunt about it) why mention that? Because they hate her.
But she was a hottie, and Davis got her, because she was 17, he was 35.
To savage her on looks tells you all you need to know about that "encyclopedia". She was NOT homely.
If you want a homely woman, check out Robert E Lee's wife, meaning no disrespect. Of course they dare not imply she was homely, but she was. Why mention, in several ways, Varina was homely, why imply she was stupid or a money grabber? Because Varina exposed her husband inadvertently, and after the war made friends in the North, and once said the right side won the civil war.
They diss Varina's looks, and she was HOT. See any spin by these bastards?
The article claims she had "few marriage prospects". There is nothing to back that statement, Davis pursued her because she was attractive had those big tits, was 17 -- just 17, if you know what I mean, and yeah, we know what you mean, Davis did too.
She was young and impressionable. She saw him as an older guy, not as a suitor, until he chased her.
The article said her father was "unable to support his family". Bullshit, the writers of this hit piece just make shit up -- like anyone who honors men like Davis and Lee, you need to be able to make shit up.
This same "encyclopedia" does nothing but praise Davis and Robert E Lee, effusively, never mind how cowardly they were in private, nor how cruel they were as slave masters.
She "was not attractive" says the article -- she was HOT, with big boobs and big lips, and a hell of a figure.
But they claim Davis, one of the ugliest men in US history, was a "handsome man" Who writes this shit?
Varina did NOT "quickly fall in love with him" as the encyclopedia claims - she indicated to others that because of her youth, and his age, she did not even consider him a suitor. He was old enough to be her father -- and she was hot with big tits. He was ugly, but he was a great bullshitter.
But the writer of the article wanted you believe Varina just lusted after Davis. Bullshit.
Then the article claims Davis was too refined for her, and a hero -- Davis claims of heroism, we know what those are worth.
Really amazing to do that to the "First Lady" of the Confederacy, even if it were true, but what they said is false, and the bastards knew it.
Apparently they hate her because of her 20 page letter, and the fact that years later, she said the right side won the war.
The encylopedia refuses to consider her white! A very sly insult -- "some white Richmonders compared her to an Indian squaw" Yeah, the Richmonder who wrote the article.
What the hell are they talking about, her loyalties? She met Davis when she was 17 -- he was over twice her age. She had no loyalties, and she would spend every day of most of her life promoting Jeff Davis, serving him, saving him. She really existed, old school, for Davis.
Even the letter which rats Davis out, she is trying to protect him. She just wrote so much, so many details, that she essentially repudiated Davis own distortions --but that was not her intention. Had she known anyone other than the Blairs would read it, she would not have written it.
To throw that word "squaw" in there was not only false, it was malicious, and the writer at the Encyclopedia meant it to be.
So Davis sure enjoyed her and her skin.
Have you ever seen such an "Encyclopedia" article? I never have.
Read the full article, its really amazing.
They accuse -- as if its a crime -- her of writing to her family. She wrote her family That's right -- she wrote to her family, so that makes her unfit? Here is a clue, lot of people wrote their family -- people wrote letters all the time, but the way this encyclopedia portrays Varina, writing her family was an act of disloyalty. Very .
Varina could have easily written a tell all book about her husband years later -- she was nothing but flattering to and about him. Her letter was private, and even that tried to protect Davis.
Why bring up her looks at all? Robert E Lee has a homely as hell wife -- to be blunt --,but Varina was very good looking.. If a woman was not beautiful, why bring it up at all? This encyclopedia just enjoyed their digs at Varina.
Suppose Varina was homely? No, she wasn't -- but suppose she was. Why mention it? Because they hate her. Really, whoever wrote it, hates Varina. .
THE CAPTURE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS
Julian G. Dickinson, Late Adjutant 4th Michigan Cavalry and Brevet Captain, USV
Original Member of the Michigan Commandery, Insignia Number 3751
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Read January 8, 1889 (First Published 1899)
BELOW IS EXTRA STUFF WE ARE SAVING --- ignore
Being questioned by Col. Pritchard, he stated there had been several mounted men to the house ring the afternoon, from a camp near the village, to purchase forage and provisions, and the camp lay about a mile and a half out on the Abbeville road. Placing the freedman in advance for guide, and directing the utmost silence to be preserved in the column, we moved out on the Abbeville road. The night was rather dark, but clear and very quiet. We marched the distance of about a mile when we halted and made the necessary arrangements for the capture of the camp when light was deemed sufficient to enable us to discern its situation.
A detail of 25 men, under command of Lieut. Purinton, was sent to make a circuit of the camp and get into position on the road beyond, to station pickets, and take precautions for preventing the escape of the occupants in that direction, awaiting our advance and capture of the camp.
We rested until the first appearance of the dawn of the morning of the 10th. The order was then quietly given to mount, and placing a small force under command of Capt. Charles T. Hudson, as an advance guard, with directions to charge forward upon the camp, our column moved in support. The charge was uninterrupted by any picket of camp guards, and we speedily entered and enveloped the camp by a surprise so complete that no one seemed to have been disturbed.
The advance guard moved directly and quickly through the camp toward Lieut. Purinton's picket. Our main column halted for a minute in the road before entering the camp. On the right of the road, in line, facing a clearing or parade, stood three wall tents; beyond the clearing there was, what appeared to me to be, a swampy thicket; on our left, in the woods, at some distance from the road, was a miscellaneous collection of tents and ambulances. The extent of the camp could not, however, be distinctly seen from our position.
At this moment some of our men appeared to be straggling from the column and Col. Pritchard directed my attention to it and to the care of the camp, and as he moved forward with the column through the camp, I rode out and took a position by the roadside until the column passed me. I then rode across the parade, in front of the wall tents, on the right of the road. I saw no one about the tents and there was nothing indicating who occupied them, until, as I passed the tents d started to move into the road beyond, I saw a man partially dressed, emerging from a "shelter-tent." I at once rode up to him and inquired what force was there in camp. He looked at me seemingly bewildered. Not hearing him reply to me, I repeated the question, and while lingering for a response, I was suddenly startled by a familiar voice calling.
I turned and saw Andrew Bee, our "headquarters cook," who was standing close to the front of one of the wall tents and pointing to three persons in female attire, who, arm in arm, were moving rapidly across the clearing towards the thicket. Andrew called to me, "Adjutant, there goes a man dressed in woman's clothes."
The person indicated was quite apparent, and I rode at once toward the party, ordering them to halt, repeating the order rapidly, they seeming not to hear, or not inclined to obey, until I rode directly across their pathway, when they halted. At that moment Corporal Munger, of Company C, came riding up from the thicket, and taking a stand in the rear of the party brought his carbine to a position for firing upon the man dressed in woman's clothes, at the same time applying to him an appellation that was in vogue among the troopers as a designation of "Jeff. Davis." I ordered the corporal not to fire, there being no perceptible resistance.
The person in disguise was Jefferson Davis, and his companions were Mrs. Davis and her colored waiting maid. The scene thus presented was rendered pathetic by the cries of Davis' family at the tents and by the heroic conduct of Mrs. Davis, who placed her arms around the drooping head of her husband, as if to protect him from threatened peril; she mad no other appeal to us.
Davis had on for disguise a black shawl drawn closely around his head and shoulders, through the folds of which I could see his gray hairs. He wore on his person a woman's long, black dress, which completely concealed his figure, excepting his spurred boot heels. The dress was undoubtedly Mrs. Davis' traveling dress, which she afterwards wore on her return march to Macon. At the time of the capture she was attired in her morning gown and a black shawl covering her head and stately form, while her waiting maid was completely attired in black.
Glancing from this party before me, and around the position, I was startled by the presence of several rebel officers who in the meantime quietly came upon the scene. The positions they had taken clearly indicated they were interested in the movement of their chief. I ordered Davis and his party to retire to their tents and then moved toward the rebel officers in question, requesting them to also retire. I was promptly obeyed.
I directed Corporal Munger to guard Mr. Davis and his party in their tents, and to take two men who came up with him for that purpose. I then rode forward to report to Col. Pritchard the episode that had taken place. In the meantime spirited firing had commenced, and the usual evidences of an engagement with an enemy appeared in the direction our column had advanced.
As I passed Davis' tent, in going to the front, Mrs. Davis called to me, and I dismounted to hear her request. She asked what we were going to do with Mr. Davis and whether herself and family would be permitted to go along with him. I informed her that I could not tell what would be done with any of them until I had reported to my commanding officer. She then very earnestly said that we must not interfere with Mr. Davis as he was a very desperate man and would hurt some of us. She further requested that I would see to certain things that she had in th wagon, and I promised to attend to that
As I moved into the road I met one of our officers from the front with something from the wagon, in the shape of a canteen of most excellent fluid, of which he freely offered me a share. I mete Col. Pritchard just returning from an unfortunate conflict with the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, that regiment having come upon our pickets and mistaking them for an enemy, retired and formed for a battle, which forced our column to form in line and skirmish with them, in the belief that we had met a force of the enemy. Col. Pritchard brought the engagement to a close by dashing into the lines of the 1st Wisconsin and notifying them of the mistake.
The fact was that the 1st Wisconsin and the 4th Michigan expected to find a desperate force of the enemy; the 1st Wisconsin, however, was marching without any knowledge of the locality of the camp, and without any expectation of finding it at that time, having been in bivouac most of the night, a few miles from our picket.
I reported to Col. Pritchard the capture of Jeff. Davis in his attempt to escape from the camp in female attire, and that I had put him under guard. In the meantime Mr. Davis put on his male attire - a suit of gray - and came out of his tent. When he saw Col. Pritchard he shouted out some inquiry, which he followed up with the old familiar charge, "You are vandals, thieves and robbers." He evidently had worked himself into a rage, for when I went to him soon after, getting the names of the prisoners, he refused my request for his name, and I was obliged to receive it from his wife, who spoke up proudly, in answer to my repeated question, "his name is Jefferson Davis, sir."
The captured party consisted of Jefferson Davis, accompanied by Mrs. Davis and their three children; John H. Reagan, Postmaster General; Col. Johnston, A.D.C.; Col. Burton N. Harrison, Private Secretary, and Col. F.R. Lubbock, A.D.C., of Jeff. Davis' staff; Major V.R. Maurin, of the Richmond Battery of Light Artillery; Capt. George V. Moody, Mollison's Light Artillery; Lieut. Hathaway, 14th Ky. Infantry; privates W.W. Monroe and F. Messick, 14th Ky.; privates Sanders, Ingraham, Wilbury, Baker, Smith, Heath and Alliston, of the 2d Ky. Cavalry; privates J.H. Taylor and A.W. Brady, Co. E. 15th Miss., private J.W. Furley, 13th Tenn., all of the late Confederate States army, and midshipman Howell of the Confederate navy, Miss Howell, a sister of Mrs. Davis, accompanied her. There were two colored women and one colored man, servants of the Davis family. Of the three children of Mr. Davis' family, the youngest was a babe and quite a favorite in our command (once on the march I saw it handed along the line); the oldest child was a little girl about ten years of age, and the other child was a boy of about seven or eight years. There was also with the party a little colored lad about the same age as young Davis, and the two created considerable amusement for us by their wrestling exercises. Burton N. Harrison, the Private Secretary, was the gentleman of whom I sought so diligently to elicit information immediately preceding the capture.
There was not the slightest show of any resistance on the part of any of the captured party, and they were all kindly treated by their captors. That their wagons and tents were searched thoroughly, I have no doubt. Lieut. James Vernor obtained a trophy of Davis' wardrobe, a dressing gown, which he exhibits, but whether Davis wore it as part of his garments at the capture is not known. It might possibly have been worn under his disguise.
Their horses were all taken by our men and considerable sums of money in gold were captured. The gold was taken, as I understood from Col. Johnston at the time, in the holsters of the rebel officers, where it had been carried for safety and convenience. Who captured the gold is somewhat of a mystery to this day. At the camp, immediately after the capture, Col. Pritchard was informed that one of our men, a Tennessean named James H. Lynch, was possessed of most of the coin and the Colonel searched him but found none of the gold; afterwards it is well known that Lynch distributed several pieces of gold coin among his companions and gave a few pieces to some of his officers. It is certain that the coin was never equally distributed.
In preparing for the return march their horses were all returned to the prisoners, and Mr. and Mrs. Davis and family were allowed the use of the ambulances, which they occupied most of the time on our return march.
On the 12th of May, returning, we met Major Robert Burns, A.A.G. of Minty's staff, from headquarters at Macon, who brought to us President Johnson's proclamation, offering rewards for the capture of Jeff. Davis and other fugitives. The proclamation was the first intelligence we received of the assassination of our President, Abraham Lincoln, and of the reward. I have now in my possession the copy of the proclamation which was handed to me at that time. It was issued on the 2d day of May, 1865, was published to the Cavalry Corps, M.D.M. at Macon, on the 8th day of May, 1865, and reached our command, as I have said, on the 12th day of May. Mr. Davis was securely guarded during our return march. Perhaps his guard was more strict than it would have been had he not given notice that he would make his escape if possible.
Before reaching Macon, Col. Pritchard received orders to make a detail form his regiment in readiness to take his prisoners to Washington, and after we reached camp, he proceeded upon that service and conveyed Jeff. Davis to Fortress Monroe.
The Secretary of War directed Col. Pritchard at Washington to obtain the disguise worn by Jeff. Davis at his capture, and Captain Charles T. Hudson undertook to procure it from Mrs. Davis. In his account of the affair, Capt. Hudson has related in a letter to Major-General J.H. Wilson, that Mrs. Davis stated to him that she attired Mr. Davis in her own dress, and she surrendered a certain garment which Col. Pritchard afterward described in his report to the Secretary of War as a "waterproof cloak or dress." Though I did not examine the texture of the dress worn by Davis at the capture, and cannot say whether it was waterproof or not, it was beyond all question a "woman's dress," and precisely like the dress usually worn by Mrs. Davis after the capture during our march back to Macon. I am very sure that not any gentleman's garment that could be described as a waterproof cloak was found or seen in the possession of Davis at his capture, or while on the march to Macon.
Burton N. Harrison, Jeff. Davis' Private Secretary, in his paper in "The Century," November, 1886, on this subject, states that Davis was not disguised at all, and that he wore a waterproof cloak which he usually wore on the march; and by further statement seeks to discredit other witnesses present at the capture, by assuring the public only one of our troopers was present there, the one who accosted him, and that he and Mrs. Davis and that one trooper, were the only persons who saw Davis at his capture; when the fact is, that while Davis was standing in his disguise in my presence, three of our troopers saw him, besides Andrew Bee, who pointed to Davis as "a man dressed in woman's clothes;" and there was present not more than two rods from the disguised figure, Capt. Moody and within about four rods from him, Col. Lubbock and other Confederate Army officers, who doubtless saw what took place.
My record of the event was made at the time in the line of my duty, and I then correctly and officially reported the fact of his disguise to my commanding officers.
What SOUTHERN and Davis apologist really don't want you to know. Or suspect.
It's impossible to know exactly why each Southern "historian" pretends Davis was honorable, brave etc. But likely, they have invested so much in the myth of Confederate honor, and principle, they can not possible admit Davis was a coward, a liar, and did the things we show below.
Like his killing sprees to spread slavery.
Like his pledge to re-enslave all blacks, and take more slaves by arms in the North, and make them slaves, forever.
All blacks -- promised Davis -- North and South, would be put on the slave status, forever.
If you admit Davis was duplicitous and deceptive about his bravery -- which he was -- the rest of this is easier to believe, and harder to avoid.
We are redoing this part of this blog..... sorry it's confusing, don't read it you don't want to deal with the mess.
Here is the basic truth about Davis, Foote and other Southern apologist know -- much worse than the dress, and cowardice,
Much Worse than Being a Coward. Davis killing sprees.
Davis paid David Rice Atchison to kill people in Kansas, 1856, for even speaking against slavery. See speech by Atchison himself, bragging about it.
PART OF DAVIS SPEECH ABOUT SLAVERY SOUT
DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT
Davis promised to invade the North, and make slaves of all blacks there. He also ordered any person with "black blood" ever freed, to be "re-enslaved" forever.
A man of honor. A man of "uncommon bravery" . A man utterly devoted to the bible, his family, and his country.
A man who sacrificed everything for that noble cause of states rights. A man of "Unconquerable heart".
Not so much, actually. Turns out the entire notion of Davis, and other Confederate leaders as a men of principle, may be fundamentally untrue.
Over the past 50 years, an estimated 5 million children have gone to schools named after Jefferson Davis or Robert E Lee.
Hundreds of millions have driven on Robert E Lee or Jefferson Davis highways, or seen monuments to the men.
Davis and Lee are shown as brave, even anti-slavery....
None of that is true. Davis insisted slavery was "A Divine Gift" and promised war if slavery was not spread into Kansas. Davis and Vice President Stephens even bragged his new nation -- the CSA -- was founded on the great truth of God's will for white men to punish the inferior black race, for sins Stephens insisted were biblical.
These were not two drunks at a bar -- these were the President and Vice President of the Confederacy, bragging about it. Things that were "glossed" over in our history books.
Lee had girls, the age of the girls in the schools named after him, whipped and even tortured in other ways, for trying to escape. Lee's father, White Horse Lee as he was called, had a girl that age hung, despite her pleas to let her give birth to her child, due soon.
The same document -- notice the last sentence. He says this to address the issue, so that in the future, there will be "no misunderstanding".
One of the most amazing events in US history was not that Davis wore a dress, but that his wife put that dress on, when he took it off.
That's right, Davis took the dress off, and Varina put that exact dress on.
It's in the soldier's reports. Briefly, but it's there. She emerged from the tent, with the dress Davis just had on -- probably to make sure the soldiers could not take it, as a souvenir, as they surely would have.
Much has been made that the garments Stanton recieved at War Department, did NOT have a dress -- just the Ratigan overcoat, that belonged to Varina. Well, the reason for this, apparently, Varina took that dress with her. So the fact Stanton could not display the actual dress doesn't mean much.
Other dresses, however, did end up in PT Barnum shows -- and the dress maker, Elizabeth Keckly, actually identified a Barnum dress as one she had made for Varina Davis.
The best proof Davis wore a dress was the overlapping confirmation by Varina Davis, who tried to take blame for his garments, though she stopped just short of admitting blunty he had on her dress, she gave every other indication that he was dressed as a female, and ran away.
Several soldiers mentioned -- briefly -- that Varina emerged from the tent wearing the dress Davis had taken off. Apparently to keep the Union soldiers from using it as a souvenir, which in fact, worked.
The soldiers did send the overcoat -- the "Ratigan" to Secretary of War Stanton. Much was made that Stanton never showed the dress. He could not show the dress, because Varina put it on!
The point is -- Davis is would insist, for the next 24 years, that he was heroic. Dressed in his manly clothes, he protected his children with his life, and would have killed the first Union soldier, if not for the proximity of the children, who would be in danger because of his bravery.
Davis, as he did on so many things, flipped reality on it's head.
He had to give a story -- that's the one he gave.
Posted by Seeker at 1:01 PM No comments:
Labels: 20 page letter, capture, coward, Davis Wife, dress, It's My Mother, Jefferson Davis letter, Varina,Varina Davis lettercc