Wednesday, January 18, 2012





Davis had this picture taken.
He claimed he bravely defended his children, and that  these were the exact clothes he wore when captured. 


Davis went far beyond denying he wore women's clothing, or ran away as his children were in danger -- he claimed he was heroic in his capture,  he stayed near his children to protect them.  

In fact, the way Davis presented it, the ONLY reason he was captured was his bravery, his devotion, his concern, for the protection of his children!

But everyone else, his wife, his nephew, the Union reports, had Davis running away from his children, his children were no where near  him.  And he wore the dress.

Varina says he attempted no disguise  --  but then spends pages describing the disguise, and says she put it on him "so he would not be recognized".   Thats right, the garments she claims she put on him, were so that he would not be recognized. 

  If Davis had on his normal clothing, as he insisted for the next 25  years, why would she claim in detail he had on three separate other garments? Why would the soldiers and his own nephew claim he had on women's clothing?

Was Davis own wife -- in her effort to spare him embarrassment no less -- lying to make him falsely seem to be dressed in three different female looking clothes?

And Davis apologist claim something Davis did not, that he had put on his wife's ratigan, or shawl, by mistake.   Davis emphatically said he only had his own clothes on, nothing about a ratigan by mistake. So where do Davis apologist get that story?  

They got it from the mother of invention -- necessity. They needed somehow to deflect blame.   The facts were clear, he did have on women's clothes, it was only 50 years later that Varina's letter described three separate garments.   But by then the "Ratigan by mistake" excuse was working for apologist, why change it?

Do you put on three separate women's garments by mistake? In the heat of the moment?  And run away in them? 

And remember, Davis claimed he did not run AT ALL. His apologist admit he did, but never tell you that Davis claimed  he stood by his children, brave as can be, and that he only was taken captive, for their sake!!

She also takes blame for putting various clothing on him. 

 She also says, in effect, well so what if he did -- it's a matter of "cavil" --- of small importance.  He did  it to "save a country that trusted him".  Uh huh.  He did it to run for his own safety, and he left his children behind.  

The dress is actually only a small part of the story, and that is not the cowardice.  The bigger issue is Davis presenting himself as hero, in epic terms. But this was par for the course for Davis, like the time, with a straight face,  he claimed it was common knowledge that  he was "more devoted"  and "gave more" than anyone else to the "principles of the Confederacy".

What were the principles? Davis boasted -- that blacks were "so inferior" they were not human persons, but property.   That's another topic, but Davis defined libertary in typical Orwellian blunderbuss -- liberty was the right to enslave.

You will never hear, in Davis biographies,  that he defined liberty as right to own slaves.  Nor will you find any information that he promised war if slavery was not spread into Kansas.

Nor will you find, in Davis biographies, that he claimed blacks were not human -- not persons -- for purposes of the Constitution, that they were "inferior beings"  that were being punished by God.   Davis claimed slavery was "a divine gift" from God to the white man, to do hard work as punishment, per the will of God.

You won't find any of that.   Just like you won't find in those biographies, any mention of Davis running away in a dress while his children were in danger. 



Davis had his picture taken after the war, in the exact clothes he wore -- according to him. That is why he had the picture taken!!

Remember that, Davis had his picture taken to prove what he wore.  See his picture that HE had taken, vs a drawing of what he wore from the eye witnesses.

Davis had the idea to take, and publish that picture.

One excuse his wife -- Varina -- gave for putting a garment over his head, was he had "lost his hat".   Just a small thing, one of many, but notice Davis claimed, emphatically, that he had  his hat.  That's the tip of the iceberg for differences of stories.

He had not lost his hat, of course, but Varina needed some excuse for putting garments over his head.  She explained that garment away, best she could, by saying he had lost his hat.

Davis was obsessed, said one biographer (who pretended to believe Davis) to convince people he did not wear a dress and run away.

We don't hear that today -- we just hear that those "Northern newspapers" exaggerated an "errant Ratigan" into a dress. Nonsense, in fact, the Northern newspapers did not point out that Davis was running away leaving his children in danger-- Davis is the one that insisted to bring them into the story, by claiming he defended them, and was only captured BECAUSE he was protecting them!

Only, Davis own wife and nephew candid writings show he was no where near his children, protecting them.   You can discount the Union reports if you want, but why would Davis wife and nephew lie?

Varina Davis was trying to take the blame for the garments, and explain them away.   She ran to him, to protect him, she writes, after the soldiers stopped him.  Leave her alone "ITS MY MOTHER"   she said, and she quoted herself in her own letter.

Remember that, this is not some evil historian later making up something she said.   This is Varina's letter, detailing his capture.   She is not out to defame him, even to the Blairs: she was trying to explain away the female garments.

Davis left his children, and ran for his own safety. And then insisted he was heroic.  No one his "biographers" only deal with this dismissively, as if it's so against his nature, it could not be true.,

 will not

Yes, as bullets flew, Davis ran for his own safety, leaving his children  behind.   See  his own nephews' record of that event.  Notice, "balls were flying"  as Davis left  his children, and ran away in a dress.

Who said so -- his own nephew, who was with Davis.

Davis spent 24 years trying to deny he ran away in a dress, he was emphatic, and actually had pictures taken in what he said he wore -- you see that picture above.

Yet his wife said, and his newphew said, he wore women's clothing, three layers of it. Davis would never know about his wife's letter, the Blairs did not release it till after he died. 

Norther Papers exaggerated the dress -- it was not a hoop skirt. This drawing showed Varina's sister
Varina's sister also tried to convince soldiers Davis was their mother. The Union soldiers most involved are show, along with Davis, Varina, and her sister.

No, Davis did not wear a "hoop skirt"-- a skirt used for dancing. But he did wear three layers of female clothing.  Davis was dressed in enough women's clothing, that his wife and her sister BOTH tried to convince the soldiers to "leave her alone"  it's MY MOTHER, said both Varina and her sister.

Only when a Union soldier pulled the head covering back, did everyone clearly see the face of Jefferson Davis.   His wife then held him in her arms, and incredibly, told the soldiers to shoot her -- Varina -- if he had to shoot someone.

So Varina came to Davis rescue.   

Who said Davis had on female clothing? Who said his wife came to him, comforted him, and protected him from the Union soldiers?




One of the funniest truths of the day, is that Davis was allowed to get out of his female attire.   It would have been better to make him keep the dress on, and take him to jail in that.  But they let him disrobe, with the help of his wife, in a tent.

Astonishingly, his wife put on the dress he took off, probably to keep the soldiers from taking it as a trophy -- they had ransacked the other clothes, for example, one wore Jeff's hat.

That's right, in her letter to the Blairs. His wife said she told the soldiers Davis was her mother. And she tried to take the blame for the female garments he had on.

Southern "historians" have claimed something Davis himself never did -- that Davis had on a "Ratigan" by mistake.   Davis said emphatically, repeatedly, that he had on his NORMAL clothing, no ratigan, no nothing, but his fine clothes. 

Museum of Confederacy picture -- notice, it says  "Suit worn by Jefferson Davis at time of his capture"


In fact, Davis actually had a picture taken, and put in one of his books, SHOWING those garments he said he wore!   Davis could not have been more clear -- he wore, he said, only his normal clothing.  He was protecting his children, in his normal clothing.

So where did "historians" get this "Ratigan" excuse?  Davis never said it.   But "Ratigan" is a way "historians" try to square the circle, to explain away something, and hope you believe it was a "difference of opinion" about who owned the shoulder wrap. 

Davis  had on a Ratigan, his wife's Ratigan, and two other female garments!   And remember, Davis insisted he wore his manly clothes and defended his children.  The facts show, he did not have male clothes on, and he was running away from his children.

 And notice, those "historians" forget to mention  Davis was emphatic about wearing only his normal clothing, and staying by his children to protect him. 

 Sam Houston, who knew him well said of Davis "He is ambitious as Lucifer, cold as a snake, and what he touches will not prosper". 

Yes, in the same latter, she says, absurdly, Davis "wore no disguise" but then describes the disguise at length!!  And says she put it on him "so he would not be recognized".

And she also wrote that, essentially 'so what' if Davis did have on "full women's attire"  he did it because he so loved the South.   But the sentence that is so amazing was this one -- I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER


Davis claimed he was heroic - remember that.  A master at double talk, Davis would turn his own cowardice into claims of heroism.  He told people he resisted the urge to kill the first soldier with his bare hands, only because of his "tender concern" for his children.  More, Davis claimed he sacrificed himself for his children's safety, wearing his own manly clothes.

That's right, Davis account was that the ONLY reason he was taken, was he was protecting his children!! No -- he was not.  His wife has him running away, his nephew reported he was running away, the Union soldiers wrote that he was running away.

Varina tried to take the blame for it.  The nephew apologized for his role in the disguise. Also, Southern (not Northern) newspapers first reported he was captured in a dress.  Almost every "historian" who tries to protect Davis, claims "Northern newspapers"  tried to smear Davis.  No -- SOUTHERN newspapers reported it right way, and they had it right.

Short of a video of his capture, one of the most "nailed down" facts of that day, was that Davis was running away in female attire.   Yet Southern "historians" can not admit Davis would leave his children in danger, and run for his own safety, then lie and claim bravery.  They just can't admit that, or the entire Southern honor thing -- always goofy -- is shown as goofy.

  At least Davis had men chasing him -- I'd wear a dress too, though I like to think I would not leave my children in danger.

Remember that -- DAVIS LEFT HIS CHILDREN in a moment of danger to their lives.   And he knew that, that is why Davis was so adamant that he stayed by them, in his normal clothing.

So of course he would have to deny he wore a dress, who would not?   I'd deny it, too.

But the "historians" protecting Davis have known about Varina's letter, and the nephew's journal, for 100 years or more.  This is no secret to them.   

Why do they give Davis cover?  What's the danger to the Davis apollogist?   Because if Davis was a coward, who would run away in a woman's dress,  leaving his children in danger, the whole notion of a Confederate leadership of honor and bravery is a cruel charade.  And it is. 

Davis was more than willing -- he was eager -- to see soldiers fight to the death.   He would leave his children behind as he ran, he would not fight, he would run. 

Only this time, his wife ratted him out.

If you ever heard of the "vile slander" against Davis, that he ran like a coward while dressed as a woman, leaving his children behind, you probably only heard the part about the dress.

And even then, you were assured this was "made up slander" created by "Northern newspaper editors" trying to embarrass Davis. 

Supposedly Davis had on, by mistake, a "ratigan" -- according to his apologist -- but Davis himself would not say that. Davis himself said he wore his normal clothes!    So his own apologist don't take his own story -- they can't!!   Davis never could keep the story straight, and his wife had admitted to three layers of clothing, and his nephew said he was dressed as a woman, and the Union reports said he was dressed as a woman.

Varina, the Davis nephew, AND the Union soldiers all, unanimously, have Davis running away, he was NOT by his children protecting them, as Davis alone claimed.

Supposedly, Davis which those evil Northern newspapers played up, into a full woman's attire, and equally made up story of his cowardice.

Other Davis defenders, more clever, claim "it's just not knowable" what he wore.   It was not what he wore that mattered -- though he wore his wife's dress.  It was his false claims of heroism, and Southern apologist need for Confederate heroes to be brave and honorable, no matter how many slaves they whipped, no matter how cowardly they were in real life.

Davis cowardice, and Southern "historians" complicity in selling him as hero, is the issue here.  


Actually,  Southern newspaper in Macon, at the outset, carried news of Davis running away in a dress.  Not  -- not -- Northern papers.

Jeff Davis own wife wrote the most damning  and complete record of his cowardice, in a personal letter, to the Blairs. Davis nephew recorded details of Davis cowardice in his journal.  

It was not Varina Davis' intention to smear her husband -- quite the reverse.  Nor does she claim he was a coward.  Her letter goes on, and on, it would make a defense attorney wince.   

But her words validate, to an astonishing extent, the facts related by the Union soldiers.

Varina wrote -- in the letter itself -- for the Blairs to destroy the letter, but they did not. Fifty years later, their surviving children donated it, along with much other Blair memorabilia, to the library of Congress, mostly to show how well connected the Blair family was for 100 years, and indeed, they were.

 Varina  meant to explain away the dress, and take the blame for his three layers of female clothing (not just an errant "ratigan").

Southern and Davis apologist understandably don't want their readers to even know the soldiers reports of Davis in a dress, and his cowardly actions.  Typically, Davis apologist dismiss the "slander" as silly, in a few sentences, in the back of a book, replete with stories of Davis valor and bravery.


Davis himself immediately denied any cowardice, in fact, he claimed in detail that he was heroic at time of capture, indeed that he allowed himself to be taken ONLY because he was brave enough to be humiliated for the sake of his children.

In fact, Varina and her sister BOTH tried to pass Davis off as their mother. That's right, two women tried to convince the soldiers to leave Davis alone -- he was their mother.    Varina's letter says so, and so do the Union reports.

Davis ENTIRE story, even about why he was with his wife, he portrays himself in heroic terms. He joined his wife's party to protect her and the children.   He allowed himself to be captured to save  his children. 

Guess which narrative Southern apologist pretend to believe?   The one about his heroism.  The one obliterated by the facts at the time. They never tell you about his wife's letter, his claim blacks were inferior beings -- NOT human persons.  

They never tell you about his lies, his cowardice, and his claim God ordained blacks to be enslaved, and his goal of spreading slavery for God.

They never tell you Davis rejected "state's rights" to decide slavery issues, and promised war if Lincoln did not allow the spread of slavery into Kansas -- though Kansas had voted three times overwhelmingly against slavery.

Davis biographers usually pepper every page with -- guess what -- quotes from Davis.  As you see from above, Davis quotes are about as worthwhile on other matters, as they were about his own bravery and honor. 


Its not about the dress.  It's about Southern apologist need for an honorable brave Confederate leadership.

If not for the Blairs letter, Davis might get away with it.

At least Davis had men with guns chasing him.And of course, no one wants to be known for a cowardly episode where he leaves his children in danger. So Davis was not a coward for running away in a dress.  He was a coward because he pushed slavery by force and violence, and demanded the spread of slavery loudly and proudly.  He  had men fight and die -- but when he was in danger, he ran, and ran away in his wife's dress, leaving his children to their fate.

But why can't Southern and Davis apologist even admit Varina's letter exist?  The few that mention it, quote it out of context, and never mention the sentence "I said it was my mother"


Here is a quote from a book, published in the South, defending Davis, but reporting that it was SOUTHERN newspapers that first reported Davis in a dress. They attributed the SOUTHERN paper's report of Davis running away in his wife's dress as "lively imagination".

No imagination about it -- layers of evidence, including his wife and nephew -- show that "lively imagination" was factually correct.  The "imagination" was by Southern and Davis apologist.   

It would not be until 1906 that the 

SInce Southern apologist have to somehow deal with Davis capture, typically they simply insist the "Northern papers" made it up.  Utter nonsense, because the first newspaper reports about his cowardice came from the Southern newspapers!!   You won't hear that from those trying to save Davis reputation as a brave, honorable man (he was neither).    Nor will you hear anything about the official reports -- that were much like Davis wife's and nephew's reports, about Davis running away in a dress while  his children were in danger.  

Why not tell you about Varina Davis letter?   Simple, they don't want you to know.  

Same thing for the nephew's journal, etc.  There were all kinds of valid worthwhile first person accounts of Davis in a dress -- his own WIFE for one.  Why not tell you that?

 Davis quotes on slavery


The typical Davis biography,  buries the "dress story" deep in a final chapter, hardly addressing it at all, and dismissing any notion that he wore a dress.

And that is the way Southern "Historians" liked it, like Shelby Foote, and William Cooper, Felicity Hope, etc.  Each knew, or should have known, about Varina's 20 page letter. 

Davis had his photographed taken, published in his autobiography, that shows him in  the exact clothes he wore, according to him. Not look alikes -- these were the very articles he wore that day, including the very same hat. He was very insistent these were the exact garments he had on when captured.




The letter came from the Blair family, to whom it was written. 

You can be sure Shelby Foote, and everyone who wrote so persuasively about Davis as a man of honor and principle, knew that letter as well as they know any letter. And they knew about Davis speeches where he rambles on about being the most brave, and how he gave more than anyone to the cause.  

But they didn't tell you about it. 

They know Davis demanded the spread of slavery by force into Kansas, even though Kansas voted overwhelmingly -- and fought - to keep slavery out.

But they didn't tell you about that, either. 



Davis myth is much like the Lee Myth --  the South depend on both men to be seen as brave, honorable, men of principle. Neither were.






The soldier's reports were matter-of-fact. They mentioned, but did not make, a "big deal" of his dress or actions. The reports mentioned the dress -- in two sentences, deep down in the report. 

It was Varina who went on and on -- and on - about the "dressing gown"  and tried to take the blame for him wearing it.

Remember, Davis said he had on his normal clothing.  No gown, no Ratigan, no running.    

Varina,  in one sentence,  she does say he "attempted no disguise" --but then went on and on about the disguise, and even said she put things on him "so he would not be recognized".  She was trying to save his dignity.

Maybe the most unreported fact is that  Davis was allowed to take off the dress, according to Union soldiers.   In the privacy of a tent, with his wife's help, Davis took off the dress,  but Varina put it on!   When Davis emerged from the tent, in his manly clothes, Varina had put on the dress Davis took off!!

You can't make this up.  She put on her dress -- that he had worn moments ago -- so the soldiers would not take it for a souvenir. 


Davis knew no figure in US  history is known to have run away in a dress, as their children were in danger, as enemy soldiers threatened.  It's unthinkable that Lincoln would, or Eisenhower,  for example.  

Southern apologists -- particularly Davis biographies  deal with the "dress story"  as a silly exaggeration, if not outright fabrication by Union soldiers. They barely mention the incident, usually in a chapter far in the back, in a "throw away" sentence, as if it's soooo not worth discussing.


One detail that was amusing -- Varina went into the tent to help Davis get out of the female garments. When she and Davis came out, Varina had put on the dress Davis took off!  Apparently so the soldiers could not take it for a souvenir.   

Much has been made that the Union soldiers did not send a DRESS back to Secretary of War Stanton, that Stanton only showed a Ratigan - the "shoulder wrap". 

That's true -- Mrs Davis put that dress on, the soldiers could not take it from her without insulting her dignity.   

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, literally, and other than the private letter, she defended him in public for her whole life.  She literally put herself in front of Davis when he was about to be shot.

What more can you ask for?  Seriously. 

But watch this --  Encyclopedias never take this tone -- whoever wrote this apparently hated Varina. And of course, they never met of course.  I found that fascinating!

                                                Southern Encyclopedias Hate Varina to this day!

Varina as a very good looking woman, and defended the Davis and the South.     But the was the above article spins it, they clearly hate her anyway.

Whoever runs the Virginia Encyclopedia savaged Varina in this article -- almost like a gossip piece rather than an encyclopedia..  Her skin was considered "unattractive" they said!!  No, it was not, this is some crap the encyclopedia made up.    Davis was homely and old looking by time he was 46, she was 17 when he met her!  To savage her on looks tells you all you need to know about that "encyclopedia"

The article claims  she had "few marriage prospects". There is nothing to back that statement,  Davis pursued her because she was attractive and a sucker for his BS.  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". 

     Nonsense, another attempt to slander her -- in an encyclopedia. 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 did NOT "quickly fall in love with him". In fact, she did not consider  him as a romantic partner at all -- he pursued  her.  Whoever wrote this just lied their ass off in that article. 

Really amazing to do that to the "First Lady" of the Confederacy.  Apparently they hate her because of her 20 page letter, and the fact that years later, she said the right side won the war.

Her "political loyalties" were "suspect from the beginning" said the article. Really? No, they were not. 

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. .



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)



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.

Detroit, Jan'y 9, 1889.


Late Adj't, 4th Mich. Cav., and Brevet Capt., U.S. Vol.

* I am indebted to Maj.-Gen. J.H. Wilson's report to the War Dept., dated Jan 17th, 1867, for the facts relating to this information, orders and operations, preceding the capture of Davis, as published on pp. 779-780, Harper's History of the Rebellion.


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.  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.