Under construction  -- another Mark Curran history blog.

Why do I write this?  Because I got damn tired of waiting for others to do it.   


"If Jeff Davis wasn't the biggest coward in US history -- please tell me who was? "

Jeff Davis cowardice -- long dismissed as impossible slander against a man of "unconquerable heart" -- is not only factually true, it's much worse than just running away in his wife's dress.

In fact, the dress is the least cowardly part of it. 

The dress was not so creepy - but telling his wife (yes he did) to get herself killed was creepy.

Jeff Davis  told his wife  to get herself killed. She wrote that in her own book.  Not someone else's book about her - she wrote this book. 

Then he ran away in her dress. 

Yes, really.  He told her to get herself killed.

Then he ran away in her dress. 

Varina Davis letter about Jefferson Davis

Varina wrote about Davis running away in female clothing (she would not candidly call it her dress).

She tried to convince the soldiers that Jeff Davis was her MOTHER.    When she told the soldiers that Davis was her mother, she was holding him to her.  The Union soldiers were so close, one of them simply reached over, and pulled off his hood. 

It was not her mother.

It was Jefferson Davis. 

 Jeff Davis nephew said essentially
the same thing 

This is in addition to the Union officer's reports at the time. The union reports  showed Davis as wearing a dress and running away, along with other details.   (See below).

Yet the Union reports did not belabor the point -- simply mentioned he had on a woman's dress, and that he was running, and that they allowed him to get back into manly clothes.  

When you hear "experts"  claim this was all Northern newspaper  thing, remember this- they never tell you about the Union soldiers reports, never tell you about the nephew's journal, and never candidly show you Varina's letter.

Gee -- I wonder why not?

Not all of these "experts"  are deliberately covering for Davis cowardice.  Some of them just repeat the distortion --not unusual at all.  Much of history is exactly that - distortions repeated until accepted. 


You can accuse Varina and Jeff Davis nephew of lying if you want to -- but they were trying to protect Davis from shame and embarrassment.  They were not trying to embarrass him -- and they reported Davis was NOT in his normal clothing, and did nothing to protect anyone but himself.

Varina Davis and Tyler Wood said essentially the same thing factually as the Union officer's reports.   Everyone writing such documents had a different perspective, of course, but the facts were basically the same.

1) Davis was in women's attire and looked like a woman in that attire, until the hood was pulled back.

2) Davis running away, not protecting anyone.

3) Only Varina mentioned Davis told her to get herself killed.



The fact that Davis told  his wife -- in public no less -- to get herself killed, is one of the most astonishing sentences uttered during the Civil War. 

Yet Davis was actually boasting, when you know the context supplied by others, that he would go down fighting.  She should go down fighting too, because "for a Davis to surrender would bring shame upon the South".

Davis was playing to the crowd-- as he often did.

No wonder, as one historian said, Davis spent the rest of his life trying to prove he  was not cowardly and that he wore  his own clothes, and that he surrendered ONLY because his "dear children" could have been killed if he obeyed his own impulse and killed the first soldier to come near  him.

Even in surrender, Davis would try his best (and to an astonishing extent succeeded) to make history think he was brave and noble.  He was neither.    And very likely, if you could get his wife to write an honest letter as eyewitness to every Davis supposed act of bravery, you would find this same pattern.  


So the often heard bullshit -- often repeated bullshit -- that the "Dress story" was  "newspaper thing"  to shame a noble man?   That's total nonsense, no matter who repeats it, or why.

The very fact Varina spent much of her letter explaining Jeff Davis's  three female garments --- and when she wrote "I said it was my mother" ---obviate any rational assertion Davis wore his own manly clothes and acted bravely, as he asserted. 

In fact, the first newspaper reports of Jeff Davis running away in a dress came from SOUTHERN reporter who picked up the story first.  So no, this was not any plot, or repeated slander. If anything  Northern newspapers at the time had no idea Davis also told Varina to get herself killed -- and then he ran away in her dress.

It would take decades for that "detail" to emerge-  from Varina's own book.  Not a book about her, a book by her  He told her to get herself killed - then later he ran away in her dress.  Yes, he did. 





Why didn't we know of this before?  

Actually we have known it since 1890, when Varina Davis wrote her book -- she did not published it until he died.

We knew all of it, the dress story and that Davis told her to get herself killed,  since 1906, when Varina's letter to the Blairs was donated to library of Congress  by the Blair children.

It's been clear since 1906 to anyone who bothered to read it. 

If you happen to read the BS first -- that Davis was slandered, that he simply had on an "errant garment" over his shoulders -- it's likely you believe that.   Why would you not?

You can take a few words from Varina's letter and make it seem like Davis wore no disguise -- she actually claimed he wore no disguise, but then she wrote at length about the three articles of clothing he wore that made him look enough like a woman that she told the soldiers he was her. 

 Like many things with Southern leaders, instead of the truth, Southern apologist put out 150 years of nonsense.   Most of them had no idea it was nonsense, since they were not there, of course. Some of it outright lies, but mostly a mix of lies and bullshit.  But history is often just BS repeated. 


Most people have no clue....

Ten days after Jefferson Davis was caught in 1865,  Varina Davis was under house arrest in a hotel in Washington DC. That is when she wrote this letter....

Turns out, Jefferson Davis told his wife to get herself killed.  He also ran away in her dress.

Unlike the spin by Southern apologists, Davis's female garments were NOT  some "errant garment".



Davis had three layers of female clothing, Varina described each one.  Even then she did not bluntly say "It was my dress, okay?" 

Let's be clear.  Varina was trying to spare Davis embarrassment.  Had she known Davis would insist he was brave, and that he protected the children, and that he wore only his manly clothes, and nothing else,  Varina would not have written that letter. 

But at the time she wrote it, he was in a jail cell, and she was in a hotel room.

Varina also would not have written it if she knew the Blairs would save it.  She actually told them -- in the letter itself- - to destroy the letter.

They did not destroy it.  In fact, the Blair children, babies at the time Varina wrote it, donated the letter with other memorabilia later in their lives, in 1910.


Varina described head to boot garments --  none of them male garments.  She described a "dressing gown"  and a ratigan and a shoulder wrap.  

Clearly Davis was not wearing his own manly clothes.  And just as clearly, he was not protecting his children. Davis insisted he wore only his manly clothes, and was protecting his children.

Interestingly,  at one point in her letter, Varina said essentially, paraphrasing here "Well what if he had put on all women's attire -- that's not a big deal ". (She used a term almost unheard of today --cavil.  She said it was "of no cavil" -- no importance)

Besides the three articles of clothing, she also describes Davis running away, quite on his own, and how she went to help him when the Union soldiers stopped him. 

She went to him, she grabbed him and held him to her body.  This was, according to her letter, at the moment the Union soldiers were yelling at Davis to identify himself or they will blow him to hell.

Varina -- she with the only bravery of the two -- not only grabbed Davis for his own safety,  she spoke up at that point.   She said it was her MOTHER.

Let me repeat that -- she said he was her mother.  That is from her letter, describing what she told the soldiers.

It's is my MOTHER.

If she had not written that sentence..

That is not something some historian made up later.   That is what Varina said in her letter.

  She and her sister both told the soldiers -- as Davis stood there  with Varina holding him -- that he was their mother.  So it was not just Varina who suddenly blurted it out.  Clearly they had dressed him as female fully intending to pass him off as such,  if they encountered Union soldiers. 

And it was a good plan, if it had worked. Perhaps if Davis had not run away, they would have mistaken him for a female and not pulled the head covering off, but who knows?

A Union soldier, just after Varina and her sister said it's their mother,  reached over,  pulled back the head covering to reveal the very well known face and scraggly beard of Jefferson Davis.


Much more you are not told.....

There is much more you do not know about Davis -- no one tells you.   Like Jeff Davis promise to invade the North (yes the North -- he will invade) and put all blacks there on the "slave status"  in perpetuity. 

This surprised absolutely no one -- because Davis had promised before to push slavery into the entire West, and into Kansas, even after KS rejected slavery by 95%.  So when Davis issued his "Address to People of the Free States"   he was just repeating what he had said and acted upon before. 

My point in this article is not to show Davis as a coward -- though certainly he was.

My point is to show the deception by many "historians" who know the things I show you here, but do not want to  pillory Jeff Davis's "good name".

Davis had no good name -- to people who knew the truth about  him.   


Davis told his wife -- get this -- to get herself killed. 

Let me repeat that. He told her to get herself killed. We know that for sure because she wrote that in her own book. '

Her.  Own.  Book. 

Besides Varina writing it in her own book, witnesses to the exchange  spoke of it for years.   Davis told her that,  for a Davis taken to be taken alive as prisoner,  would bring "shame upon the South".

Shame upon the South. 

Why would he say that?   Because Davis was acting macho.  He was playing to the small crowd that surrounded them.   The implication was that HE would go down fighting, he would not be taken alive, and he would fight to the death.

Varina did not put that part in her book.



The Union soldiers reported Davis was caught in his wife's dress as he was running away. He had left her and the children behind, as bullets flew in the air. 

Varina, his wife, wrote essentially the same story -- from her point of view of course - about the basic facts.  And she did not make it clear Davis left her and the children behind as he ran for  his own safety --but from context, that is exactly what happened.   Davis was running away, she and the children were in or near their tent.

Davis did not protect them, unless you think running away in a dress is protecting them.


Davis was the only one running away -  at least, there is no mention of anyone else running away, no matter how they were dressed.

Davis spurs (see below)  gave him away.  They were manly spurs, attached to very fancy boots.  Women did not wear manly boots and spurs.   The first soldier to  notice the figure running away also noticed the spurts. 


After Davis was captured  He was allowed to change out of the dress, according to the Union soldier's reports.   The reports also mention that Varina and Davis emerging from the tent, after she helped him  change clothes -- and Varina had on the dress Davis just took off, no doubt to keep the Union soldiers from keeping the dress as a souvenir. 



You can dismiss the soldiers as liars if you want to -- ironically the "historians" who defend Davis never even mention the Union soldiers reports.  

They don't even claim the Union soldiers lied -- they apparently don't want folks to know the soldiers wrote very simple, but complete, accounts of their chase and capture of Jeff Davis.  

The reports do not belabor the point that Davis wore a dress.  Just enough to get the job done -- they came into the camp, they saw a figure dressed as female running, and they stopped him.  Varina and her sister told them Davis was their mother, but they pulled back the hood, and there was Davis.

They allowed Davis to get out of the female clothing.  

Davis was silent at first, then started berating the Union soldiers, telling them they were lucky he had not killed the first soldier to come near him.   He was embarrassing himself, and trying to act macho.  They ignored him  in that regard, and he stopped that nonsense.  They let him get out of the clothes, whereupon  Varina had that very dress on -- the one Davis wore a few minutes before.


Instead, over and over, Southern apologist (or those who believe them) just claim it was a "newspaper" thing. 

 The apologists do not mention the soldier's reports.

The apologists  do not show her full letter -- usually, they don't even mention it. 

The apologists do not mention Varina saved Davis.



We know bullets flew in the air because Davis own nephew wrote that Davis was in a woman's dress (he gave no details) as the bullets flew,  and apologized for his role in it. 

Varina confirms she grabbed him, she kept him safe, she told the soldiers to leave her mother alone.



(everyone but me, fight on).

Essentially Davis position was this.  Everyone fight on, even his wife. Everyone but me.

He even ordered his soldiers to invade the North and capture free blacks in the North (yes he did).

Here is that order



Varina Davis did all she could to save Davis --  save him from the soldiers, and save him from scorn for his cowardice.

She did both.

But Varina would never ever say he acted bravely that day.

She would never say he wore his own clothes.

In the next 50 years of her life, in her own book even, she would never say he acted bravely.   Not once.  

When she came to the part in her book about his capture, she just stopped at that point. As if she had written something, but then just cut that part out. 

But she never would back him up on his lies.



From  her amazing letter... it's been in Library of Congress for over 110 years.    Including the part about "I said it was my mother" .

Her letter's authenticity is not in doubt. She had no intention of telling the public these things -- she even wrote, in the letter itself, to destroy the letter or it might cause him embarrassment.

The Blairs kept the letter. 


Davis nephew, who was also there, admitted Davis ran away, dressed as female, in his private journal, and apologized for his role in it.

 The full letter- - the nephew's journal -- and the Union soldiers report have essentially the same story, written from different perspectives.   Wood's journal admitted Davis tried to escape, and in a disguise -- the disguise of a woman. 


Davis told his wife to fight to the death in a bit of bragado.  He was running away from Richmond -- after he and Lee had both promised never to do so.  

For a Davis to be captured would bring shame upon the South, he told his wife at the time. In front of a crowd of people, no less.



It would not be human nature if folks did not put out the most flattering picture possible about their  "heroes". 

 We all do it, every nation, every group.   But Southern apologist have taken their worship of Lee and Davis to a entirely different level. 
At one point she suggested Jeff Davis  did "assume an elaborate female attire as a sacrifice to save a country" 

Varina suggested Davis was trying to "save a country"  and if he had on "elaborate female attire as a sacrifice"  it would "have been well".   

Then she inexplicably blurts out -- "I SAID IT WAS MY  MOTHER" 


Davis told his wife to "force your assailants to kill you" while they were in Richmond, waiting for his men to round up as much gold as possible before they fled South.   

The gold is yet another thing Varina mentions in her amazing letter.  Davis ran off with the gold from the Treasury -- and gold collected for the medical supplies.

As horrible as that sounds -- why leave the gold in Richmond?  It was sure to be found and taken by the Union.

The point is, Davis waited for that gold -- and during the wait, he told his wife to get herself killed if she were about to be captured.

He did this to show off for the crowd that was standing around them.  He implied that he too would go down fighting, he would not be taken alive.

He told his wife not to be taken alive.

Then he ran away in her dress.

The written record does not suggest it -- it overwhelmingly proves it.  The records was written by Davis own wife, in her book, and in her letter.  


Of course the soldiers reported what Davis had on, in official reports, and for the rest of their lives. But they did not elaborate on the dress itself, other than mention it as needed.

Varina went into far more detail about the three layers of clothing he wore. None of them were his manly clothes.

Why spend so much time and anguish going over details of his clothes, if they were his normal clothing?  Why not just say "He wore his normal clothing"?

And why say  "I said it was my mother"  if he had on his normal clothing? 


It is not surprising -- or even unusual -- for folks to get history wrong.  Just leave out a few basic facts,  and you can make anything seem anyway you want.



 Davis was a master at blaming other. He left the war without a scratch,  without being near danger, except when he was captured, and he ran away in his wife's dress at that time.

600,000 men lay dead.  Davis, who did more than any other single person to cause the war,  had not a scratch on him. He was literally in his wife's dress, being held by her, at the final moment of  the war. 

Davis would later claim he had "sacrificed more than anyone" for the cause of the Confederacy.

Hundreds of thousands lay dead when Davis said that.


Davis shown is a shaw -- which is incorrect.

Actually it was three layers of female clothing, covering him completely, so completely Varina tried to pass him off as her mother.  The following drawing from the time is probably more like it.


Furthermore, Davis himself never claimed any such "shawl" and insisted he wore only his normal clothing. He was so insistent about this fact, he had his picture taking showing what clothing he had on. 



Southern apologist and "historians" like Shelby Foote and others, have done all they could possibly do, including omit all I am showing you here, to fool the public in the same way. 

Sadly apologist like Shelby Foote and others have backed up Davis distortions - and never, ever ever show the the full story. They could not. 

Foote is the "historian" who led Ken Burns in the documentary about the Civil War.   Burns, therefore, got a totally distorted picture of the Civil War.  He misled Burns on far more things than Davis capture, but those are for another blog. 

It matters who you get your information from.   It's always better to check original sources.

Remember -- Varina was trying to minimize Davis embarrassment.  That was her goal. She inadvertently spilled the beans, so to speak, on what Davis did and wore.  Had she known the Blairs would have kept her letter, she never would have written it.




Varina did write also, in that amazing letter, that Davis "committed no subterfuge, wore no disguise" .  It's rare that any Southern apologist will mention  her letter at all, but when they do, they mention this sentence. 

Yes, she did write that -- but in the next page and for several paragraphs, she described three layers of female clothing, and her head covering over his head "so he would not be recognized". 


In her amazing book about Jefferson Davis she spent over 20 pages describing their flight from Richmond, in almost minute by minute detail.

She comes right up to the moment of capture -- and then...... nothing.  



You think she forgot?    She was focused on that moment, in her letter to Blairs.  And she comes up to that moment in her book. 

Then -- nothing. 

She could have said  Davis was telling the truth.  One simple sentence  "Mr Davis wore his own clothes, and protected the children".    She would have been lying, of course, but she refused to lie.

She would never outright lie for Davis.  Spin? Yes.  Twist? Yes.  But claim he was brave? No. Claim he had on his own clothes? No.

Claim he protected the children? No.

It would have been so easy for her to write that in her book -- to agree with Davis.

She would not do so.  

one week after capture 

The authenticity of her letter and book are not in doubt.  No one claims she didn't write them.   Southern apologist wish she had not revealed this much.A cowardly and profoundly unprincipled man at the end, does not at all fit the romantic and false narrative commonly used for Southern leaders. 


Here is something else you never hear about -- Davis promising to send Southern troops North and put all blacks in the North "back on the slave status"  in perpetuity. 

 It was his reaction to Lincoln's Emancipation proclamation, and a fine example of Jeff Davis egomania and eagerness to send others to fight and die -- but him?  Not so much. Go on, read it. Amazing.

Davis says from now on, any free blacks, North or South, are to be "placed back on the slave status"  in perpetuity. 


If Varina was lying (why would she?) and the Union soldiers were lying -- how on earth did they both mention basically the same thing?


My name is Mark Curran.



I'm a wanna be screenwriter, and avid reader.

For several years I read, several  hours a day,  Southern newspapers, Southern documents, Southern speeches, Southern books,  1845-1861 for a screenplay I wrote.  I also read books about those documents. 

If not for his wife's letter, his nephew's journal, Davis could get away with this cowardice, and for 150 years, he did.  But it's time to tell the truth about Jeff Davis per original documents.




Davis had this picture taken, above
to "prove" what he wore.

Look like three layers of female clothing to you? 

Davis revolver and spurs.

The fancy boots and spurs gave him away.
Women did not wear spurs.

Dressing as a woman was actually a smart idea 

 Dressing as a woman was actually a smart idea -- the Union patrols had a 100,000 dollar reward waiting for them, if they found him.   It might have been the biggest manhunt in US history.   

As a woman, sitting in a wagon with other women, Davis had a reasonable chance of passing through a checkpoint.  

"..... he told me to force the enemy to kill me" 


Not only did Jefferson Davis  run away in her dress, in her book Varina tells that Davis told her to get herself killed.

Davis running away in three layers of female clothing




 This information has been readily  available since 1906. 


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 it in (in a tent).

But Varina had something against outright lying.  She would be clever, but not lie for Davis.


See his wife's own book, quoting her husband.  


Did you ever heard of Davis claim slavery was a kindness?


Did you ever hear he bought beautiful boys?


Did you ever hear other Southern leaders had slave girls tortured, too, and defended it as a Godly directive, intended by God?


 Yet these are the things Southern leaders -- including Lee and Davis, actually wrote, and did. 


Click on the picture for an interesting insight to Jeff Davis and slavery. 



Varina told the Blairs -- in the letter itself -- to destroy it, or it would be used to "embarrass" Davis.

But 50 years later, after Varina died, after Davis died, the Blair children donated boxes of papers to the Library of Congress.

This was just one letter.   Who knows how many other letters she wrote like that, but were never donated to Library of Congress.



You can't make this up.  Davis wife emerged from the tent, after Davis changed, with that dress on, no doubt to keep the soldiers from taking it as a souvenir. 

 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!  Varina's own letter is the best evidence, of course.   By the time the rumor mill got to the North Carolina paper, things got distorted, but still reported he wore his wife's dress.

The newspaper had it slightly wrong -- that Davis was in the tent.   Varina's letter, which would be much more reliable, has Davis running, which matches the soldier's reports.

The point is - even Southern newspapers showed Davis was in a DRESS.  

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





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.

So why on earth -- seriously, why on earth, did Encyclopedia Virginia, trash her?    Remember, she did all she could for Davis.  She was stunningly devoted to him.  

But watch how they trash her --- even if what they wrote was accurate, which it is not, it is baffling that an "encyclopedia" would do this to anyone. 

They called her, essentially, unattractive and a woman after Davis for his wealth. 

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!

She lived in the North with Davis -- apparently they count DC as North. 

She did live in NYC after Davis died.  And she did make friends with people in the North, after Davis died.   How was she manifestly "ill suited" to be first lady, by things that happened 50 years LATER,  and in her old age?

But that's  how these guys work.  She lived in the NORTH.  


Varina was, to use a blunt term, HOT looking. 

Davis was over twice her age and he went after her, not the reverse. Then when married, she was as submissive as a fundamentalist.   He ruled over her, she did what he said. 


Later in life, after the war, after she was in New York, after she learned many things she had no idea about early in life living as Davis wife, she once admitted  "the right side won the civil war. 

  That apparently infuriated the encyclopedia of Virginia!

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

They seem to claim this because she wrote to Northern relatives.

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? 

Remember, she was NOT unattractive, but they claimed she was. 

Why on earth would you do that?  Robert E Lee's wife was unattractive -- she really was.  Why not mention that?

The article said her father was "unable to support his family". What evidence do they have?   Who the hell puts this kind of hatchet job, in an encyclopedia?


Connection between...


The same rigor - the same passion -- the same level of bs that has come out about Davis being heroic and brave,  is essentially identical to the passion and bs that came out about his "cause"

Davis cause, as you will see, until the South lost was simple.  Spread slavery into all of the West and further, into all of the US and beyond.

Had the South won -- and spread slavery as they boasted they would do,  these speeches and documents would be studied and boasted about like we study Gettysburg speech.

We will cover the South's stunning boasting about killing to spread slavery, their War Ultimatums, in another venue.   But this is a good indication of what Jeff Davis apologist do not want you to know, much like they don't want you to know about Davis telling his wife to get herself killed, then running away in her dress, and claiming to be heroic.




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 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 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.