under construction  -- another Mark Curran history blog.  "Tired of the bullshit"

Varina Davis letter about Jefferson Davis, at the time. 




Most people have no clue 

that Jefferson Davis was accused of running away in his wife's dress.   Well, that's the least cowardly thing Davis did that day -- and yes, Davis did run away, as his children were in danger, in his wife's dress.

From  her amazing letter...



It's  not complicated.

It's not "hard to know for sure".

Just read her full letter, and Davis's nephews Journal.

_____________________________

For some reason (stupidity)  there are people who act as if the "dress story"  where Jeff Davis ran away in his wife's dress, was "an exaggeration"   and "started by Northern newspapers.

Nonsense. First of all Southern reporters  first got the story, and put in on the internet of the day -- the telegraph.

Second,  Davis's wife and nephew actually wrote about Davis running away, in female clothing. While Varina stopped just short of admitting it was her dress,  her full letter makes it clear, he had on three female garments.  She will call his neck to ankle garment a "dressing gown".  

But the most amazing detail in her letter -- "I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"

NOT A "BIG DEAL" = OF "NO CAVIL "

Varina also wrote that  it was "of no cavil (not important) if he had on "elaborate female attire" -because he was sacrificing for his country.

"But if he had (worn female attire)  the failure is found only [a] matter of cavil (a trivial matter). 









Together with Davis's own nephews blunt apology for helping Davis wear  women's clothes,  (see below) and the Union reports,  it's undeniable Davis wore her dress. 

 See the Union reports -- they agree  with Varina's latter, including that she called out he was her mother, and that Davis was running dressed as a woman. The soldiers actually made little to do about his dress-- they validated it was a dress, described it, and noted that Varina (hilariously) put on that exact dress on her way back to Washington (doubtless to keep it from being taken by the soldiers as a souvenir.)

If Varina had not included the amazing words "I said it was my mother"  one could -by giving every doubt to Davis story of heroism, say it was complicated and confusing.

__________________________

Don't believe me that Davis told his wife to fight to the death?  Actually he did -- and she wrote about it, in her own book.





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.   Robert E Lee had already gone, with 95% of the military who had not deserted, but Davis wanted that gold.  

The gold is yet another thing Varina mentions in her amazing letter.

Davis told his wife -- theatrically, in front of others -- that for a Davis to be captured would "bring shame upon the South."  


Though the facts showing Jeff Davis not only ran away in a dress-- and told his wife to get herself killed -- are rock solid,  stunningly "historians" dismiss such accusations as silly or made up by "Northern newspapers".


___________________________

UNION SOLDIERS REPORTS

Of course the soldiers reported what Davis had on, in official reports, and for the rest of their lives.

See some below -- and why is it that those who claim the story was just made up by newspapers in the North, never even mention the Union soldiers reports, and their comments the rest of their lives?

  _______________________________________

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 SURVIVAL SKILLS 

 Davis survival skills -- he was a master at blaming others, causing problems, then claiming to heroically trying to "address" the hate and violence he got going (like sending over 1000 killers to Kansas in 1856).

Davis literally - not sorta, not kinda, not in a way, told his wife to get herself killed, then he ran away in her dress from danger.  That is not hyperbole, that is what happened. 

Interestingly, Davis and virtually all those calling for war and the spread of slavery by violence, survived quite nicely.  600,000 men laid dead, but those who were pumping up the hate and fear did not get a scratch on them.  That should be the lesson we learn from studying Jeff Davis
But when you get all the facts -like Varina's full letter, her own book, the Union soldier's reports, and Davis's nephews own journal -it's not so easy to fool others.

Sadly those that repeat the distortions seldom know it's a distortion, seldom know there are basic facts they do not know.

   _______________________________________


DISMISS UNION REPORTS

You can dismiss the Union officer's report  if you want. Interestingly those who slam the "dress story"  do not even mention those reports exist!    It is literally impossible, not just difficult, to know the overwhelming evidence of Davis running away in his wife's dress, because those who slam it do not even mention it.

Not that they are complicit in deceit -- they are mostly just repeating the BS they heard.

They heard the dress story was "a Northern newspaper story"  and an attempt to discredit this fine man. Nonsense, Southern reporters got it first and put it on the telegraph. Some Southern newspapers ran the story and the facts behind it.

But when you repeat the falsehood over and over, and over, that it was a "Northern newspaper thing"  people just believe it.  That's the problem with repeating bullshit, it turns into what people believe. 

The union soldiers  had utmost respect for Mrs. Davis -- she stood up to them and told them to shoot her, but leave "my mother"  alone.  The Union officer who accompanied her back to Washington had only flattering things to say about her until the day he died.

Yet all the Union soldiers at the actual capture were disgusted with Jeff Davis manner and cowardice.   At first he acted like a child, and had his mother protect him, Then he was silent for a time -- then got "all brave" on the soldiers, once he was back in his normal clothing, and taunted them!  He told them they were lucky he didn't kill the first soldier than came near him.

He put on the macho act -- and they just ignored him, and rode on.   


You can dismiss the soldier's reports if you want to, that's fine. But it so happens Varina went into more detail about his cowardice and garments than they did.  
If the soldiers were all making something up, it's unbelievably odd that they would make up much the same basic facts as Varina Davis did -- that Davis was running away, that she told them he was her mother, and he had on three layers of female clothing. 


___________________________________________________

Davis shown is a shaw --
actually it was three layers of female clothing
and he was running away
and his head covering was complete
 -- had to be removed to see if he was male or female.


Yet "historians"  never deal with (really, never) her full letter, and you wonder if they even know how to find her full letter.  She never insisted he did not wear a dress, in fact in her letter she was coy and at one point wrote that even if he had on women's attire, it was "of no cavil " -- not an important detail.


This is closer, but the Dress was not flared.


  

You can not read her full letter, and her book, and Davis nephew's journal, and come to another conclusion.  Never mind the Union soldiers reports if you want - his wife and nephew showed his actions were cowardly, and his garments were female garments.

His nephew simply wrote "dressed as a woman".  

Varina would never bluntly state that -- but she did admit she told the soldier Jeff Davis was her mother.

It's important to understand this -- Varina herself wrote that she told the soldiers that Jeff Davis was her mother. 

In context (meaning the whole of the letter, and other documents) it's very clear Davis was running away in her dress.   It's possible that reasonable people could disagree -- IF she had not added the "I said it's my mother".

Notice never -- not once, in the thousands of times folks have claimed Davis did not wear a dress show her letter and highlight that amazing sentence  "I said it was my mother" 

Varina was not trying to expose Davis as a coward, quite the reverse, just as in person, in her letter she is defending Davis, this time his honor.    Varina described THREE -- one, two, three -- garments, all female garments. And described Davis running away.

Varina  described her own actions -- grabbing Davis to protect him, and at the moment she grabbed him, she told the soldier "It's my mother".  

Varina even indicated, that if Davis did wear such a disguise (as her mother) it would have been a small matter - "of no cavil" -- no big deal.

Maybe  you can spin her story a denying he wore a dress,  except the fact that she wrote "I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER" . 

It was not just Varina - Davis nephew admitted in writing  that Davis had one women's clothing, so he too validated the soldier's reports. 

Go on, read her letter.   Not just one part.  True, she never would say candidly he was dressed as a woman, but she said at one point, essentially, well so what if he had on "full women's attire"  he did it because he so loved the South.

Her letter matches -- to an astonishing degree --the facts presented by the Union soldiers in their reports. Davis was running - both Varina and the soldiers said that. She told the soldiers Davis was her mother -- she wrote that, and they reported that.  She held Davis to her body to protect him, she wrote that, and the soldiers reported that.

Davis insisted he never ran anywhere, and only resisted killing the first soldier who came near, because his children were nearby.  His children were back at the tent, where Davis had left them to run for his own safety.



DAVIS SAID NO SHAWL -- NO DRESS - ONLY HIS MANLY CLOTHES

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. 

Strange indeed -- Davis apologist just don't realize they are not giving his excuse! In fact he had no excuse, he just denied he wore anything at all, shawl or otherwise, unusual. That's left out of the pseudo "scholarly" refutation of Davis dress story.  


Remember, Varina described 3 different female articles of clothing -- not just one.  And she wrote "dressing gown"  -- one of the articles of clothing was a "dressing gown".   And of course that whole "I said it was my mother"  thing. 


_______________________________________

NOT JUST VARINA
NOT JUST THE SOLDIERS 
JEFF DAVIS NEPHEW RATTED HIM OUT 
Davis nephew, who was also there, admitted Davis ran away, dressed as female, in his private journal, and apologized for his role in it.





__________________________________


Jeff Davis himself would for the rest of his life  try to convince others he was brave that day.

And 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. 

Foote is the "historian" who led Ken Burns in the documentary about the Civil War.  Sadly, Foote was such a Davis apologist, Burn not only never learned about Davis cowardice at the end of the war, Foote never told Burns about Davis's War Ultimatums and killing sprees in Kansas, 1856 on.  

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.

__________________________________



When he was in danger, Davis  ran, leaving his wife and children to whatever may befall them as the bullets flew (we know bullets were flying as Davis ran, from Davis's own nephew).

Yet Davis insisted he only thought of his children's safety -- he resisted his urge and plan to kill the first Union soldier and go down fighting, but the proximity of his dear children made him put their safety above his eagerness to die for his cause.

That's how Davis could twist his cowardice into a story of his heroism.  He was like that, he was good at that type of mental and verbal gymnastics. 


Jeff Davis ran away as his children in danger -- and he was wearing his wife's dress. 
____________


__________________________________

"COMMITTED NO SUBTERFUGE, 
WORE NO DISGUISE "

While Varina never described Davis as cowardly, she did relate facts that force that conclusion on any reasonable interpretation of events.

Yet 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". 

Overall, particularly the specific facts in her letter, it's abundantly clear -- Davis was running away, dressed as a woman, and she had to save him.

Her sentence that follows dispels all doubt "I said it was my mother" 

Had Varina not written "I said it was my mother"  one could claim it was simply "too confusing" to know if Davis had on women's clothing or not.

But she wrote that sentence -- "I said it was my mother." 

She was holding Jeff Davis to her -- to protect him -- when she told the soldiers Davis was her mother.

The soldier was close enough to simply reach over and pull back the hood.   So unless Varina was out of her mind, and given to speak absurdities,  clearly Davis was dressed enough like a woman that even within a foot or two away, she and her sister insisted repeatedly that he was her mother.


HAD TO BE PLANNED

You do not put on three layers of female clothing -- one went from  his neck to his ankles -- in a few seconds.  Davis not only had on the dress (Varina called it a "dressing gown")  and two other female garments by accident, either.

Yet Davis apologists insist to this day that Davis either put one garment on by accident, or put it on in haste.  Nonsense.

Furthermore, Davis himself never claimed to have on any garment by mistake!  Davis insisted to the Nth degree he had on only his normal clothing --he even posed in pictures later showing the clothes he claimed to have worn.

So whoever made up these excuses for Davis -- they should have gotten the story straight. Davis insisted he was in his normal clothings,

Remember this -- that's in her letter. Varina's letter, though written in haste and self contradictory at times, shows Davis was running away dressed as a woman.



--------------------------------------------------------------------



DAVIS INSISTS HE WAS BRAVE -- TYPICAL DAVIS BS.

Jefferson Davis insisted emphatically, to the point of getting affidavits signed by his friends who were there, to confirm he had on his normal clothing. 

 In fact, Davis even published a book and included a picture he claimed is exactly what he wore the moment he was captured.

This is that picture....

The "Museum of Confederacy"  even has the clothes, and claim (fraudulently) that they are the clothes he  wore when captured.

Here is a picture of their display. It's as bogus as Davis claims of heroism.


___________________________________________

Varina Davis lived another 50 years
_______________________________________


Varina Davis lived another 50 years, dying in 1906.  

Importantly, though she was asked repeatedly if Davis really wore a dress, she would never say yes-- but she would never say no, either. Newspapers reported she said things like "Mr. Davis never wore a petticoat"  and everyone would laugh.

No one ever said he wore a petticoat or a formal dress.


She never would validate Davis claim that he wore normal clothing -- nor his claim of heroism.  And she could have, any day in those 50  years, she could have said "Yes, he was heroic and he wore his own clothes".

WHAT DOES HER BOOK SAY
ABOUT THE DETAILS OF HIS CAPTURE? 

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.  She just stops a few seconds before their capture, as if she had written the details, honestly or otherwise, and then just thrown away those pages.  A very odd and sudden end to that chapter.

In a simple sentence, she could have said  Davis was telling the truth.  Or that Davis was brave, or that Davis protected his children.    She refused to do that.
_________________





WIFE'S LETTER.....
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.



__________________________________



Varina's letter matches the soldier's reports to an astonishing extent -- including the part where Varina runs to Davis, puts her arms around him and protects him.  Varina said the same thing, in different words.  

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.

________________________________________________________________''

HOW WOULD I KNOW?


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.

________________________________

REPEATING MYTHS

DO NOT MAKE THEM TRUE.



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.  
" I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER"

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






I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER


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.  

BLACKS ARE LUCKY TO BE SLAVES




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

No.  

Did you ever hear he bought beautiful boys?

No.

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

No. 

 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. 

__________________________________

PRIVATE LETTERS
DONATED AFTER HER DEATH

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. 




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 and "the right side won the civil war. 


  That apparently infuriated the encyclopedia of Virginia!


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.


 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.



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?





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.

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 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.