ORIGINAL DOCUMENT SOURCES

VARINA DAVIS:
"I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"


VARINA DAVIS HANDWRITTEN  LETTER 



under construction -- I need an editor!
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Southern and Davis apologists can not  admit he ran away in wife's dress

-- that's just the start of it. 
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Running away in a dress was actually the smart thing to do -- and not, by itself, cowardly.

Do you know what said that?   US Grant wrote that, in his memoirs! As Grant said, Davis's life was in danger, there were over 40,000 Union soldiers, spurred on by a 100,000 dollars reward, to find him

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Varina Davis was with Davis, of course, and her letter to the Blairs is hilariously -- and purposely -- ignored by most Davis apologist.  At best, they refer to it disingenuously, and at worse, just pretend she didn't write it.

But it was much more than her letter -- her book too, has important details of their capture, and tellingly, she refused there, or any time in her life, to confirm Davis supposed heroism.

You see, Davis claimed to be the hero of the moment, and insisted to the Nth degree he was in his own manly clothes, and saved his children by his surrender.

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Varina's letter, and his nephew's journal, but confirm in every basic detail they mention, the Union soldiers reports about what Davis wore. It sure as hello was not his normal clothing.
'
And he sure as hello was not heroic.

Varina told the Blairs she told the soldiers that Davis was her mother. Yes mother.

Varina's sister also told the soldiers to "leave her alone" it's our MOTHER. 

  Both women, for a minute or two, tried to convince the Union soldiers that the  person Varina's has holding "with her arms around his head" was their MOTHER. 

DAVIS tried to pass himself off as a woman for several minutes,  it was  not an "errant wrap" it was on a "cloak put on by mistake".

He had on THREE, count then THREE female garments, head to foot.  He  had run away,  leaving his children in actual danger, while  he ran for his own safety.   

Varina's book shows too, what kind of coward Davis was, though it was not her intention to embarrass him.









DAVIS APOLOGIST CAME UP WITH EXCUSES

Davis apologist had many excuses -- none of which Davis used. Davis claimed he was heroic, in his own normal clothing, and saved the children.

Davis HIMSELF was very emphatic, to the point of hilarity. According to him, he had on his own clothes  and ONLY his own clothes. Nothing on by mistake. No errant garment.  
Davis even had his picture taken, with the exact clothes he had on (according to him).  Those clothes  are actually on display, as is the photograph he  had taken, of what he claimed he wore.  Sound like an errant female wrap, or two?

HONEY I SAVED THE KIDS

Davis also claims he saved the children's lives-- by bravely surrendering.   Davis was an expert in twisting anything to give himself glory, and this was no exception.  He was about to kill that first Union soldier, but that would have brought fire down upon his children.  Davis tried to act like he wanted to die rather than surrender -- he told his wife and others that, remember?

But he changed his mind, out of bravery! -- because of his children.  

Remember, this guy ran away -- in a dress, left his children in danger, and then claimed to be the hero.


An eye witness who came upon the scene after Davis was allowed to get back in his normal clothes, said Davis belittled his wife, claimed her for his capture.

Varina was specific -- he  had on three different garments, all female garments.  She stopped short of admitting one was her dress, though it was.   
    She called the long gown, from his neck to his feet,  a "dressing gown" he wore during fevers.

The part that makes it goofy to pretend Davis was dressed in men's clothes at all --  "I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"  Varina's letter -- her words, she told the Union soldier Davis was her MOTHER.  


Remember this -- it was not some bad Union soldier that wrote Varina's letter, she did. And she told the Blairs that she had called out "It's MY MOTHER"


Varina tries to suggest excuses, but  she didn't get to make a cover story with Davis -- nor did she have any idea her letter to Blairs would survive.  SHe told them to destroy it!

CANT MAKE IT UP The union soldiers let Davis get out of his female clothing. They let his wife help him, in the tent.  About 20 minutes later,  Davis  comes out  of the tent, but wearing  his normal very modern clothing.

 Varina emerges -- wearing the dress Jeff Davis just took off.    
Varina put on the dress -- the one Davis took off -- apparently to prevent the soldiers from taking it as a souvenir, which they surely would have. The soldiers did take about everything else they had, as souvenirs.  And Varina complained about that, for the rest of her life. 

Some claim the Union soldiers were ordered to make something up.  The author of  "Pursuit"  about Davis capture, insisted he had copies of telegraphs sent to all troop leaders in the field, telling them to carry a dress with them, and then make up  a story that he was caught wearing that dress.

Such bullshit. Later, the author, Clint Johnson, admitted he had no such telegraphs.


Furthermore, after I showed Johnson the letters from Varina, he admitted Davis did wear a dress, but insisted Varina would have talked him into it, he was "much too brave"  a man to do that.  But at least Johnson knew Davis ran away, dressed as a woman, and it was not some made up story.

Johnson thought I found something new -- he never heard of it, in any book he read. No kidding, genius.  You read books. Try reading original sources, like Varina's letter.

Johnson emailed me again, saying no, after thinking how honorable and brave Davis was, no way he wore a dress. Varina's letter must be forgery.

Typical of cult worship.

Yes, he wore a dress. And  he was a coward. And he made up stories of his heroism.

More-- this was not the first time Davis did such a thing. 

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If the soldiers were told to "make stuff up"  -- why then, in their own reports, did they hardly mentioned the dress and his cowardice, other than a few short sentences, stuck way down, in the middle of their reports?

Why did they speak about this for the rest of their lives.   We aren't even told about the "story" that Davis was in a dress. Oh it was quite a story for 50 years or more.  In fact, the Blair family -- who knew the Davis's well, always spoke as if Davis was in a dress and ran away, and they were good personal friends of Davis and his wife.  There was no if or buts about it, Davis did wear his wife's dress and ran away, leaving his children behind.


If the soldiers were out to humiliate him, why not lead off with the distortions?  Why not go on, and on about it?  
We know the soldiers were firing weapons, as Davis ran, because Davis nephew confirmed that, and confirmed Davis was dressed as a woman.

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Davis nephew, who was also there, admitted Davis ran away dressed as female.







Union soldiers reports were much the same, in every important detail, to Varina's letter.

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He literally told her to get herself killed (implying he would too)   but he ran away, left her and the children in danger, as bullets flew.
 

GET YOURSELF KILLED -- HE TOLD HIS WIFE.


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Davis implied they would all  die too, rather than be taken alive.  

By all die -- he meant them, not him. 



Davis had a history of tough talk, but then cowardice.  He once insulted a US Senator,  and that Senator rebuked Davis verbally.

Davis challenged that Senator to a duel -- knowing that in his state (Illinois) it was illegal to be elected if you were ever in a duel.  Davis fully expected the Senator to say he could not, because of the law.

Surprisingly, the Senator accepted the duel, and demanded an immediate duel at close range.


Davis had to squirm his way out of that -- and just like in other things about Davis, his apologist always claim Davis was the hero. Utter nonsense.

Davis was always a coward -- claiming to be heroic.  Just like the "dress" issue, Davis was cowardly, but claimed to be heroic.

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When you learn of Davis real history- - and Varina helped in that -- he was an exceptionally cowardly man, acting very macho.

In fact, once Davis was secure, he berated the Union soldiers with every threat and curse he could must, saying they were lucky he didn't kill them.

They all knew, of course, he was a coward, and his wife had just saved him.  She ran to him to save HIM, while he ran away and was letting his wife and children do the best they could.

Every Union soldier, by the way, spoke highly of Varina Davis the rest of their lives.  She was the lion, she was the brave one. Davis was the coward, and everyone there knew it.

Varina wrote her book  in a way that was not so shocking -- no mention that the children should die too.   She was not out to embarrass Davis, ever. Quit the opposite, she was trying to explain things, take the blame, and save Davis from the scorn and humiliation that the public would feel, if they knew the truth.

 Another witness mentioned that Davis said the children should not be captured either -- implying that death was preferable for them, as well.

 VARINAS LETTER

Varina jumps in front of Davis, holds him.

Tells the Union solders to shoot her, not Davis
Davis claimed he intended  to kill the first Union soldier, but only the proximity of his children prevented him from dying in a fight to the death.


She really did -- according to the soldiers -- dare them to shoot her.  She wrote that in her letter, and the soldiers reported it in their stories about what happened. 

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DAVIS STORY -- I WAS THE HERO

Jeff Davis story  was this -- he was the hero. 

 When Davis told folks about it,  HE WAS THE HERO, every possible moment, every possible way. 

 He  joined her party, to protect her. (Nonsense, as you will see)  Then,  when the Union soldiers entered the camp, he sprung to action, and was going to kill the first soldier, but the proximity of his children meant they would likely be killed.

So -- though he wanted to kill that first soldier, and go down fighting, Davis relented, for their sake.

He actually tried to make people think he was heroic, in his surrender. 

 Get a hold of that -- he surrendered, for their sake.  Actually, he told his wife to get herself killed, then he runs away in her dress leaving them all at the mercy of the Union soldiers, who were firing their weapons

Those children he claimed to have protected -- those were the children he left behind while he ran. 

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

Think Eisenhower would run away? Kennedy?   Roosevelt?  Washington? 

The reason Southern apologist can't tell you what he did -- his cowardice goes so deep, coupled with his deception, and was a pattern of false claims of heroism.

For the rest of his life, Davis tried to convince people he was the hero of not just his capture -- Davis actually insisted he had "given more" to the cause of the South than any other man.

He seemed oblivious to the fact hundreds of thousands of men died.   He gave more?


That tells you all you really need to know about how slick Jefferson Davis was -- and to an astonishing extent, Southern apologist have accepted his story as true.

They had to run with Davis BS.     To show folks what Davis was really like, his cowardice and false claims of heroism, would make a mockery of the whole "Honorable South" thing.
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DO HISTORIANS KNOW?

Do they know about Varina's letter?  And the other documentation of his cowardice?

Hell yes they know.   There is a lot they know ab about Davis -- besides this cowardice and lies, like his obsession to push slavery into Kansas AGAINST states rights.  His partnership with Atchison, who bragged he was in Kansas to kill and terrorize to spread slavery, and bragged that he worked for Jeff Davis.

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SOUTHERN PAPERS REPORTED IT FIRST

Contrary to many who repeat the nonsense that "Northern papers" made up the story to defame Davis, actually Southern papers reported Davis in a dress, first, not Northern.  Remember that if your history teacher smugly tells you this was all a "newspaper" thing.

From 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.

Varina's letter reveals slightly different -- that Davis was running away -- and she went to him, and held him, keeping the soldiers from shooting him!


This bit of comedy was in a North Carolina paper, too. 



It's not surprising that newspapers would report various details, according to what their reporters  heard.  It would have been very odd if all reported the exact same details --such as, was Davis in the tent, when captured, or some distance away?

But overall, the most credible reports, because they are verified by Varina Davis and Davis own nephew in the basic facts -- are the Union soldiers.

Jeff Davis himself is the ONLY person to insist he was the hero and saved his children.   His canard is so bogus, even his own apologist not only don't give that story -- they do not tell the public that Davis claimed to be heroic and saved his children.

Let that sink in --those who defend Davis, dare not even tell his own story. 

Remember this -- Davis himself used none of those excuses.  Davis insisted to the end of his life, emphatically, that he was in his own manly clothes, nothing else, and he saved his children's life, by surrendering.


So why do his OWN admirers not use his OWN story?  Because they know that is total bullshit, and he was in female garments, which they have to explain away, somehow.

 1. 2. 3. GARMENTS 

Varina actually describes the three garments,  three separate female type garments.   If she had not written that letter.. but she did write it, and the soldiers reports, therefore, are validated.



It's just accepted as true  - by far too many  -- that Davis rejoined his wife's group to save her.

There is no written information that we know of to the contrary, but Davis lied, literally, about everything else, why would he tell the truth about why he rejoined his wife's group?  

Davis himself was extremely clear, to the point of absurdity, as you will see.  He claimed heroism, and he claimed and had pictures taken to "prove" what he wore.

Davis had his picture taken in the exact clothes he wore, he said. Not similiar -- the very clothes he had on, he had his picture taken.   That proved it, according to him and his apologist.

To this day, that "proves" it.


Davis even had "affidavits" signed by people there, that he was in his normal clothing.   



Davis had THIS picture taken
to "prove" exactly what he had on.

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To understand Davis, you have to understand his history of urging others to fight even unto death, how he berated  his generals, and even the public, for not fighting hard enough, at any sacrifice.

It was at Davis urging that Lee went North.

It was at Davis urging that Hood attacked Sherman.

Davis fired the best general he ever had (yes, better than Lee)  Johnston.  Johnston was doing masterfully, fending off Sherman and protecting Atlanta.

Davis was furious, he wanted Johnston to attack.   Never mind that Sherman was much stronger, and never mind most of the Confederate men had already deserted (Davis himself admitted a month before that 2/3 of the Confederate soldiers had gone AWOL in his Macon Speech).

The stupidity of Hood's attack on Sherman is almost comical, if death was not involved.   Hood quickly depleted what was left of his Army, and lost Atlanta. Now, more soldiers deserted, they realized Southern leaders did not give a shit about them, at all.  And it's true -- Jeff Davis did not give a shit about the troops.  To him, it was always theater, and convincing folks he was brave, and  macho, though he was neither.


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Varina's letter has been in Library of Congress, since 1906.

The Blair children donated it.



THE GOLD

Another thing - the gold Davis took from Richmond, that was a "big deal" to Southerners at the time.  

You probably never heard of it.  General Johnston and others sure did, and wanted to know what Davis did with it.  Davis never could explain,  but apparently he gave it to many of the men with him, as pay to accompany him.   The BS you hear is that all these men so loved Davis, they would follow him anywhere. Bullshit.  

Davis stayed in Richmond for 8  hours, while he had gold gathered -- for  himself.  Lee already left with most of the remaining soldiers (80% of the soldiers had deserted by this time)



Davis was not leaving, without the gold.

Problem is, some of the gold had been collected for medical supplies for the wounded.  Davis took that too.  

It was while waiting for that gold, that Davis told his wife to get  herself killed, if they were surrounded.  

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            "I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"
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HELL YES "HISTORIANS" KNOW IT


"THESE ARE NOT THE LETTERS YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR"


Shelby Foote --  the guy who hustled Ken Burns into absolving any Southern leader of any blame whatsoever in the "CIVIL WAR" video series -- was practically a Davis groupie.


Foote idiotically dismissed any comments against Davis this way "Anyone who saw President Davis greet his children, could not possibly think Davis was anything other than a deeply honorable man".


Seriously -- as if Foote saw Davis greet his children. As if that matters.  As if Davis support of to the torture and killings in Kansas (long before the Civil War) did not matter. 




So why do "historians" like McPherson and Shelby Foote pretend not to know this? They know it very well.  But if they go into Davis cowardice -- at all -- the whole house of cards  about Southern honor, falls down.  



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There is a good reason "historians" pushing Davis as an honorable man, can't "go here".


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DAVIS HISTORY
OF URGING DEATH OR VICTORY 




MACON SPEECH. 1864.

Davis urged a crowd in Macon GA, which was mostly women, to send their sons and other men back to the rebel army.


He said 2/3 of the soldiers had gone AWOL or deserted,  and that if just half came back,  the South could not lose.


Really -- Davis did that. See his Macon speech.


Davis urged the women in the audience to be like the women that wrote him, offering their sons for the Confederacy. Yes, he made this shit up.


There were not such letters, and none appear in his massive archives.    Davis "historians" who are well aware of his Macon speech, hope no one noticed that.


We noticed.  Making up lies about women offering their sons -- after the older sons were killed?  Davis actually extolled the women in the audience to be more like that woman, a woman who did not exist.


Davis said that so many such letters came into his office, that he could not count them all. He specifically said the Confederate General standing next to him could vouch for this.


No, he could not. There was no such letters. Very typical Davis bullshit.


Davis also told the Macon crowd that 2/3 of his soldiers had deserted or gone AWOL.   Did you know that?


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ARTIST DRAWING OF WHAT DAVIS LOOKED LIKE
FROM EYE WITNESS REPORTS

DRESS WAS UNDERNEATH  ALL.
ENTIRELY WOMEN'S GARMENTS, EXCEPT FOR BOOTS





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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. 

If you leave out his cowardice, his pushing slavery by killing,  his war ultimatums, etc etc -- yeah, if you go by what Davis himself said, he was great.


Idiotically "historians" like James McPherson does much that, just omits everything horrible about Davis, and quotes him and his close suck ups, for  how wonderful he was.



McPherson's recent book on Davis could have been written, by Davis himself, entirely omitting things like his killing sprees, his war ultimatums to spread slavery, his use of killers in Kansas from 1856 on. 

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DAVIS ROLE IN KANSAS KILLING SPREES


JEFF DAVIS'S

 "GENERAL OF LAW AND ORDER" 

DAVID ATCHISON

 1856  Brags about killing to spread slavery against state's rights, Jefferson Davis backs him up.    The people in Kansas had no right to stop slavery, because blacks were "so inferior" they were not human beings, for the law, but property.
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There is not two cents worth of difference, between how Davis explained things, than McPherson. McPherson essentially mouths Davis -- literally, at times, just repeating what Davis said, for Davis own motivations.   Why not just let Davis write the book himself?

In a way, McPherson did let Davis write the book, there is no point, absolutely none, where McPherson finds any fault whatsoever with Davis actions. He simply does  not mention the cowardice, the killing sprees in Kansas, the war ultimatums, etc etc.

If you leave out all the vile things Davis did-- as McPherson does -- and then accept Davis own narrative -- as McPherson does -- what the hell is that?  It's not history, and shame on McPherson and any one who reviews that book, but does not say so.
'


  By the way -- Ken Burns stupidly got Foote to be his narrator and main "historian" for his Civil War Documentary.     Big mistake, Ken.


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TID  BITS VIRGINIA STILL HATES VARINA 


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 could possible 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 the North!

Actually Varina was HOT.  She was, to be blunt, stacked. And she was young, and Davis was over twice her age.  He ruled over her, she did what he said. Period. 

Later in life, after the war, after she was in Washington, the civil war done, she said she was happy.   That infuriated the encyclopedia!


Well she did live in the North -- with Davis! She lived with JEFF DAVIS in DC.

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!  Lee's wife was homely as a mud fence, did you know that? But she was loaded.  She had the biggest mansion in VA.   Lee married her -- yes he did -- for the mansion and her wealth, she owned over 200 slaves.

No one berates Lee for that, but Lee's wife was homely, Varina hot.

 Yet by time these hackers get done with her,  in an encyclopedia no less, Davis is the victim, she is ugly. Why do that in an encyclopedia? It's not true, but even if it were, why trash her in an encylopedia?

These folks in VA  who adore Davis and Lee, are still haters and liars, yes, they are.



Not only was she homely, her "political loyalties" were "suspect from the beginning," said the article. Really? No, they were not.

As if it was horrible to be against Southern killing sprees, torture of slaves, sale of children.  But Varina was not anti slavery in the least, and was docile and obedient as hell. 

Varina wrote to Northern relatives? Seriously, thats the charge against her. She wrote to Northern relatives.

"Spent years in the North". By North, they mean DC, and Davis lived there too,  she went there WITH DAVIS.

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!

No she had very sensual skin -- a little bit darker than pale white, she was of Native American heritage. She looked rather Italian, a bit of Sophia Loren, likely, when younger. Body to die for, and obedient as a slave, to Davis.

Even if she was unattractive  why mention that? Because they hate her.

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. 

The article claims she had "few marriage prospects".

How the hell do they know?


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". What evidence do they have?   Who the hell puts this kind of hachet job, in an encyclopedia?

Well, people in Virgina, who know Varina told the truth about his cowardice -- THEY do.   She only told the Blairs, she had no idea they would save the letter --- in fact, she told them to destroy the letter!

Their children donated it to library of Congress, 50 years later, after Varina and Jeff Davis were long gone.



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.

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. 

And Davis was one ugly man, yes he was. Lee, on the other hand was famous for his looks, but Davis was ugly.

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.


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  about her, was not only false, it was malicious, and the writer at the Encyclopedia meant it to be.

Have you ever seen such an "Encyclopedia" article? I never have.

Read the full article, its really amazing.

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.



THE CAPTURE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS


By

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.