Jeff Davis creepy cowardice exposed by his own wife?


The fact  Jefferson Davis wore his wife's dress (yes,  he did) as he tried to escape was not cowardly -- it was smart.

The cowardice part of it -- he ran away as his wife and children were in danger, leaving them defenseless as bullets flew.

Oh,  and he told her to get herself killed...  yeah, that "detail".




Despite hundreds of books and "scholarly" articles showing Jefferson Davis to be a man of principle or  honor, his wife's book and letters show something different.

A cowardly deceptive and selfish man. 


In her book about Jeff Davis.  She describes Davis telling her, if they are surrounded, do not surrender. "Force your assailants to kill you"

Davis spin was that of course HE would not be taken alive.  He would go down fighting. 


For a Davis to be taken alive, Davis told  her in front of a crowd,  "would bring shame upon the South."

  While Varina did not explain context fully in her book, others did explain. Davis was boasting --- telling the gathered crowd -- that he would not be taken alive.

He would not bring shame upon the South.  He would force his assailants to kill him -- and he instructed his wife to do that same.

 Davis told her this in Richmond, where they waited for the gold to be collected that Davis took with him. Gold, by the way, that was collected for payment of ships running the blockade line, carrying medicine and food.

It was not his gold.  

But worse, Davis spin was that of course HE would not be taken alive.  He would go down fighting.   He was exceedingly aware he had told her that -- and had a history of extolling others to the utmost for "the principles we fight for"

He would even boast after the war he had "sacrificed more than anyone"  while bodies were still being buried.

And his speech to his wife --  it was really a speech to the people around,  trying to convince them how bad ass he was.

His wife knew better.  And so should you.


Telling your wife to get herself killed (while pretending you would do the same) is creepy. Not cowardly.


Here comes the coward part.  As Davis ran for his own safety -- wearing a dress was actually smart -- he left his wife and children to the danger of bullets flying in the air. He did not protect them, at all.

✔️He not only ran, it's clear from his own family's writings that his wife and children were in danger.

Would you run away as your wife and child were in danger?

  That's what so many "scholars" miss.     Davis was dressed in the female clothes since the night before (as you will see).  He was ready to get his own safety -- and his children? His wife?

They would have to do for themselves...  yet Davis told his wife to get herself killed rather than be taken prisoner.

Get the whole story.  Not a few disjointed and often stupid slogans. 


We learn from Varina that when Union troops came near, Davis ran away,  and did not protect anyone. Did not protect her, did not protec the children.

He ran away -- as shots were fired. Davis would later claim he heroically protected his wife and children. 

Davis not only protected no one,  as you will see, he already planned to run away.  How do we know?

Because he was dressed, head to ankles, in female clothing. You don't put on three layers of female garments quickly.  As you will see, he most likely  had those female garments on all night.

His wife, his nephew, and a "servant" - a slave-- helped him into his wife's clothes. He was so thin, it worked.

That is, it worked until the Union soldiers stopped him.


See Davis goofy explanation below.  Davis not only ran away,  he tried to take credit for being heroic, for NOT surrendering.

He was the first person to surrender.  No one surrendered and gave up before he did. Yet Davis not only insisted he did not ever give up,  he claimed he had "sacrificed more than anyone" for the Southern cause.

The bodies were still being buried -- Southern bodies -- who fought per Davis own orders to keep fighting.  Davis runs away in his wife's dress,  gives up instantly.

But he claimed in a speech latter, he had sacrified more than anyone.

Stunningly, stupid shits believe Davis -- about all of it.  About being brave, about not surrendering, about protecting his wife -- even about the South's right to spread slavery by force.  They believe it all.



Davis, in fact, fled Richmond on a false rumor of a breech in the slave built defenses.  There was no breech in the line, that was an error.  

In fact, Richmond editor lamented Davis and Lee fleeing that way, and lamented the massive desertions by troops since 1863.  Edward Pollard, at the time, thought the South would be forever shamed by Davis and Lee cowardly departure from Richmond, and the desertions.

Pollard would survive that bit of reality, and later wrote essentially the  opposite of what he wrote at the time. Human nature, and interesting as hell.

 It was while Davis waited for the gold he took from Richmond, ironically, that he gave his little dramatic speech to Varina to "force your assailants" to kill you.

Davis was running away -- leaving Richmond defenseless, which he had sworn never to do. He and Lee left Richmond folks to the "gentle mercies" of the Union Army.

The Union Army entered Richmond at the request -- get this -- at the request of the aged mayor of the city, because the fires, started by Lee's orders, were burning out of control.

The Union Army put out the fires Lee's men started.  They burned the ammunition and supplies,  which caused hundreds of explosions,  and made part of the city look like a bombed out mess.   That came largely from Lee and Davis's own cowardice, and rapid departure from  a city fully protected by the massive earth works put in place (by slaves) in 1861, under Lee command.

Sadly "historians" largely simply buy Jeff Davis own deceptive account of his capture.

As if Davis  was going to say "Sure, I ran away in her dress.  And I ran away from Richmond on a false rumor of a breech in the line. Oh, and I left the people in Richmond defenseless, and left my own wife and children at the tender mercy of Union soldiers who were actually firing weapons."

As stupid as it seems "scholars" who get "both sides"  have decided Davis own explanation has to be true.

He was, after all, a noble man, right?


Per Davis -- he was going to attack the first soldier, and that the female garments were on him by mistake. Davis genius was simply to distort, and keep distorting, until he died.

If you are going to lie-- as Davis knew -- be consistent, and self confident.

Even his nephew later apologized for taking part in dressing Jeff Davis as a woman. Together with his wife's letter and book.

WTF historians?  Why do so many of you miss it?




Not long before Davis was captured, he idiotically ordered his troops to do profoundly stupid things -- replacing  his best general, Johnston, because Johnston was not attacking a much stronger Sherman stupidly.

Johnston was actually doing a noble job, though repeatedly ordered by the distant Davis to attack, Johnston halted Sherman dozens of times. Johnston by then had 70% desertion rates, that grew to about 90% desertion rates by time Davis surrendered.

Davis stupidity and eagerness for his smaller force to attack is a large reason there was the desertion rate that led directly to the Confederates losing the Civil War.

As soon as Davis Hood in place,  Hood like a fool,  and that decimated the CSA even worse.   The desertion rate went to 90. 

 Davis still wanted more attacks.  

The point to remember  here-- Davis wanted OTHERS to fight and die.

Even his wife -- he wanted her to force her assailants to kill her -- not to be taken alive. Don't ever forget that.

Then he ran away -- yes he did -- in her dress.


After the war was over, Davis gave a goofy speech, maybe the most goofy in US history.

Davis claimed he -- Davis -- had given more than anyone to the "the cause". Never mind that several hundred thousand lay dead, many still dying as he spoke. HE gave more.  

Other than Trump, who would insist he gave more than anyone to a cause as people were still dying from obeying that stupid shit?


Who tells their wife to commit "suicide by cop"  as Davis did.  There is no rational dispute about this -- Varina Davis wrote about it in her book. 

He actually told her -- her words, validated by  onlookers-- to get herself killed. KILLED.  Force them to KILL you.

Force. Them. To. Kill. You.

Those are his words, per her book. Force. Them. To. Kill you.

This isn't someone 50 years later telling you.

THis was his own wife. At the time. Putting it in her own book.


Not only did Varina write t his in her book,  others were there when Davis told her (he told her in front of a crowd).  The story of Davis telling his wife to get herself killed was a big deal to those who saw and heard him.

The inference was, of course, he would not surrender either.  He would not be taken alive.  He would not bring shame upon the South.

Davis  did not force his assailants to kill him.  He stood there silent wearing his wife's dress, as  his wife protected him.

For decades the standard "rap" about Jeff Davis running away in a dress,  even by history teachers, is that Davis simply had on an "errant shawl"  he grabbed by mistake.

Northern newspapers then pumped that up to absurd nonsense, to "slander" an honorable man.

Oh really?


Did you know that Jeff Davis himself wrote, "All cruel men are cowards."  

Varina Davis own hand written letter- - and her book published just after he died -- are amazing documents, on so many levels.   

For our purposes-- Davis creepy cowardice --we focus on her own words at the time.... not what some "slanderous" newspapers said. 

Varina's tried to spare  him embarrassment.   She even writes in one sentence that Davis "committed no subterfuge"  and wore no disguise.   Historians,  if they dare mention her letter at all,  use that sentence.

But read the whole thing letter.

Paragraph after paragraph about the three female garments he wore.  

Yet Davis would insist he had on only his normal and very stylish "manly clothes" pictured below.

He did not have on a stitch of male clothing -- excpet for his boots and spurs.

Instead, he wore three female garments.   

In fact,  when Davis was allowed by the Union soldiers to get out of those female clothes,  his wife was allowed to help him change in a tent for privacy.

Davis emerged in his former manly clothes... but his wife emerged wearing (you can't make this up)  the very dress Davis had on minutes before.

Apparently Varina thought (with reason) if she had not put on that dress, the soldiers would have taken it as a souvenir.


If Varina had not written that "I said it was my mother".

If Varina had not written "I said it was my mother"  reasonable people could disagree.

But she not only wrote "I said it was my mother"  she told the soldier to leave "her mother"  (meaning Davis )alone.  If they had to shoot someone (she wrote this, too!) shoot her (Varina).

But leave her MOTHER alone.

Oh and her sister, who was with her, also told the soldiers Davis was her mother.  Both women insisted Davis, standing there mute, head bowed and face covered, was their mother.

So no, there is no reasonable dispute. You can say perhaps Davis wore someone else's female attire -- not his wife's.  But he had on three layers of female clothing, head to foot and his face covered.


 Running away in a dress is not cowardly -- but telling your wife to get herself killed, pretending you will go down fighting too,  is cowardly.  

Now you know why one historian-- a Davis "devotee" -- said Davis spent the rest of his life trying to convince others he was not cowardly that day.



It's exceedingly common, in class rooms, in text books that cover this,  even by archivest and so called experts, to claim the dress story was a "Northern newspaper" bit of slander.

Not so. Southern reporters sent in the first stories of Davis in a dress, NOT Northern.  Southern outlets reported the "dress story".

Yet over and over you hear that phrase -- a "newspaper" thing.   As if the person who says it bothered to even look.

But it was SOUTHERN reporter who got it first, and did report it.  Not Northern reporter.


Nor will you know that Varina's  letter overlaps with, and agrees with, the Union soldier's reports.

The amazing thing about Varina's letter, it lines up very will with the Union soldiers reports.  

This is the picture Davis had taken to "prove" what he wore at capture.  Notice anything?

Does that look like a full length "dressing gown" his wife tried to say he wore?   Would Varina tell the soldiers Davis was her mother,  and demand they leave her alone, if he looked remotely like that?




Davis protected no one -- in fact he ran away as his wife and children were in danger. That is what Davis tried to cover up. 

  So how do supposed "professional" historians and supposed scholars around the country miss this? 

✅ They assumed Davis was a honorable man.

✅They didn't  take the time to get the information to the contrary, which scholars should do. And educators should teach doubt as a wise too to determine the truth. 

✅ They are human, and we all have (oddly, especially professionals, ironically)  a "confirmation bias."    Human nature.

In fact,  in the book "Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis" supposedly looked at all the "evidence"  and then decided the issue because Davis said he wore the errant shawl.  A story repeated by his defenders.

As if Davis and his defenders were going to say "Yeah, Jeff ran like a coward, his wife defended him, and by the way, he wore her dress."

Swanson "decides" because Davis said he wore his own clothes, that he must have worn his own clothes.


Varina told the soldiers to leave her MOTHER alone-- if they must shoot anyone, shoot her - Varina. 

The biggest point is that Varina  revealed factually the same thing Union soldiers reported,  though her goal was to save Davis embarrassment, not expose his cowardice.  If the Union reports were lies and distortions, strange indeed Varina reported the facts much like they did.

If Blairs had just thrown that letter away, Davis apologist could get away with the deception by Davis -- who spent much of the rest of his life trying to make folks believe he was brave -- and brave that day.

But the Blairs did not throw away the letter.  Most of it survived.  And is, today, in library of Congress. You can go see it if you want.




Jeff Davis nephew, who was also there, essentially apologized for his role in Davis dressing like a woman, in his journal.



Can you imagine Lincoln running away as his children were in danger? 

  Davis insisted he wore these very clothes when captured.  In fact, he had the lower photograph taken precisely to "prove"  what  he wore, exactly, at the time.

These clothes are now on display-- also to "prove" what Davis wore.   Davis was obsessed, said one historian, for the rest of his life to prove he wore manly clothes and was not cowardly at capture.  Yet, he was. 




There is no excuse for "historians"  to avoid or ignore or minimize these facts.  Yet to an astonishing extent,  they do, and eagerly so.

In fact,  "experts" who wrote entire books specifically on Davis flight from Richmond and his capture either don't have a clue her letter exists (Like Clint Johnson).

I contacted Clint about Varina's letter...only to find, he never heard of it.  That's an "expert".

He never heard of it?

It's been in library of Congress since about 1900.

Clint presumably read all information he could about the capture.  

He also never heard that Davis told her to get herself killed.

And that's in HER BOOK, where she described the capture, but did not even there say Davis wore his own clothes or was brave.

An "expert"  that wrote a best selling book, specifically about the capture.

He did not know about her letter.

How did he not notice that in her book!?


Clint thought at first I discovered some rare thing no one knew about. He suggested to me I get this information to other scholars. 

WTF?  Hardly,  her letter has been in the library of Congress for over 100 years.



Above are the surviving pages of the letter that Varina wrote. 

 It's in Varina Davis's handwriting,  and none of this is in dispute.  It's just virtually never mentioned - and often ignored, usually out of ignorance, but others, who know it like Shelby Foote and James McPherson, just ignore it in their writings because it would upset what they wrote.


Varina wrote her letter to the Blair family after she and Jeff Davis were captured, while she was still in federal custody.  

The Blairs had known Jeff Davis for decades.

Apparently the Blairs were quickly able to get her released, and she lived with them in Washington.


Davis was NOT a coward to put on his wife's dress.  It was the smart move - and others did such things throughout history. 

But he was a coward to tell his wife to get herself killed rather than surrender-- while he ran away.

He did not stick around to protect his wife.

He did not stick around to protect his children.  

His wife and children were in danger.  

There were people killed minutes before -- and his wife and children could have been shot in the confusion.

He ran.  His children and wife were not his concern.  His own escape was his concern.

That was the creepy part. Davis himself knew it was creepy, which his why he spent much of his life -- according to a biographer -- obsessed to deny that story.

The Union soldiers reports were exactly the same on this point as Varina's letter -- Davis was in a dress, he was running, she ran to his side, held "her"  and told her to leave her mother alone.

They reported -- and it's in Varina's letter -- that she told the soldiers to shoot her (Varina) if they had to shoot someone.

But leave her mother alone.

Shoot me  -- she said. But leave my mother alone.

Stunning.  For the rest of their lives every soldier there respected Varina Davis and her bravery in front of armed men, shortly after shots were fired and people were killed.

For Jeff Davis? His actions?  The soldiers reported he was "pathetic".   And as you will see, he was.

The cowardice was almost unthinkable -- but it was not the dress..


Remember this is her own letter.  Not what someone said later. 

Not from a witness. 

Not from some bad Northern paper.

Not second hand.

Not later. 

That's what Varina wrote. At the time, that is what she wrote.  And at the time, that is what Union soldiers reported officially.

 Not what some bad Northern paper wrote. 

Not was some slanderous historian wrote.  

That is what she wrote.  


Over and over "historians" and teachers dismiss Davis being a coward and running away in a dress is silly,  and a "newspaper" thing.  

A deliberate slander.  That's what they were taught, and teach. 

Varina was not trying to expose Davis's cowardice (see below).   This is important to know. In fact just the opposite.   She was trying explain away things she knew the Blairs would soon learn -- today we call that "spinning".

She was trying to put the best spin on it.


Varina revealed three separate female attire articles -- not just an "errant shawl."

Davis -- and essentially ever "historian" who came after -- just used Davis own "errant shawl"  excuse.

Yet none of those historians make clear that she told the soldiers Davis was her mother. And she told the soldiers to leave her mother alone.   And she specifically used those words -- my mother.  Leave my mother alone.

Her sister also told the soldiers Davis was their mother -- as Davis stood there, head down, not saying a word, dressed head to foot as a woman.  Well - not his boots. That's what the soldiers noticed -- the manly boots.

He was spotted because the boots were quite unlike women's boots.



 Varina, in her book, did not give the full quote when Jeff told her to get herself killed.

Others there when he told her to get herself killed DID complete the quote.....  

Davis told her to get herself killed in front of a group of people as they waited for soldiers to gather the gold Davis wanted (and got) as they were leaving Richmond.

 The rest of the quote was -- force your assailants to kill you, because "for a Davis to surrender would bring shame to the South." 

The clear inference was that Davis himself would die fighting - she was supposed to forfeit her life so that no one could say any Davis surrendered.



Davis own nephew was pretty clear -- Davis was in disguise, and in disguise to pass as a woman. 



Davis would later somehow top that absurdity, by saying he had given more, sacrificed more,  than anyone to the "cause".  

  Never mind that,  as Davis said that,  men were still being buried from their injuries in battle -- ordered by Jeff Davis.

But he sacrificed more.


"When he had proceeded a few yards, the guards around our tents with a shocking oath called out to know who that was. I said it was my mother and he halted Mr Davis, who threw off the cloak with a defiance and when called upon to surrender did not do so, and but for the interposition of my person between his and the guns would have been shot"

While Varina says there that he "threw the cloak with a defiance," and refused to surrender,  the others said he just stayed there and let her hold him, until the soldier pulled back the  head covering.

The Blairs did not destroy the letter.



Davis did get "defiant"  later,  after he was back in his manly clothes, and on the way to Macon, and in handcuffs.

He gave the Union soldiers all kind of grief.   They just ignored him. 

They knew this was the tuff guy act, that he had to do for his own mental health.

You can find Julian Dickinson testimony here 


This is from the report to the Secretary of War, by  Col Pritchard, who was there at the capture, and was there after Davis took the dress off, and his wife put the dress on that he -- Davis-- had just taken off.

Davis dress -- at the time of capture -- was "precisely like"   the dress Mrs. Davis wore on the way to Macon. 

That dress --  the one Davis had on -- Varina kept on her own person the entire way back.  
This is from a North Carolina paper...

This North Carolina paper has Varina and Davis in the the tent, at same time, before capture.  According to this report, Varina was next to Davis,  as they emerged from the tent, both trying to convince the soldiers Davis was her mother.





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 made 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 the 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 met 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.


Davis loyalist insist Davis was not in dress, of course, but numerous people saw Davis in the dress.   The Union soldiers reports were  -- at the time -- very clear.  Davis was caught in a dress, and was allowed to change back into his normal clothing after capture.

Most "historians" like to claim this was all made up by Northern newspapers.  Nonsense,  in fact, the first reporter to even mention Davis capture in a dress, as from the SOUTH -- not the North.

Furthermore, at any time, after capture --  note something amazing here -- Varina would never say Davis wore his own clothes and was brave. She would never outright lie for him.

Parse words for him - of course.  See it in a way sympathetic to him?  Naturally.  But lie? Bluntly lie?   That she would not do.

All she had to do is (falsely) say Davis only wore his own clothes and was brave.She could have said at any  time -- "He wore his own clothes".   In fact according to a witness after the capture,  a Union officer who knew the Davis's before the war,  Varina said she dressed Davis in one of her dresses. 

 She was asked repeatedly, for the rest of her life,  if Davis wore a dress. 

Again and again she was coy, "Mr Davis did not wear a hoop skirt"  she said,  and everyone would laugh.

 Furthermore the Blairs, in whose house Varina ended up staying, not only had the letter about Davis ("I said it was my mother letter)  their children would say quite candidly Davis was in a dress.   Apparently it was an open secret in Blair household -- and Varina stayed there, perhaps for a year. 

Below are notes for my record..... not in any particular order, for my own reference later...
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.

Woods writing  per Woods writing per link

, the enemy were posting their sentries around the camp, when the P. came out of his tent with a gown & hood on & bucket on his arm, with Helen the mulatto nurse. They advanced some distance towards the stream, when one of the Yankee guards directed them in another direction as the balls were flying where they wished to go. They pushed on, Mrs. D. in her over anxiety saying from the tent, “they were only going after water”, “they were not afraid of the balls.” Another Yankee rode up, ordering them to halt, saying he knew who it was, recognizing a man, but not the P., still moving on, he ordered them to halt, pointing his Carbine at the P.’s head. Then Mrs. D. by her appeals, the children by crying, the servants by fear & howling destroyed all. Others rode up, the P. was obliged to make himself known. This attempted escape in disguise I regret exceedingly, only Mrs. D.’s distress could have induced him to adopt it.