"If Varina Davis had a clue her letter to the Blairs would expose Jeff Davis's creepy cowardice.....

.....she never would have written it.

 When Varina Davis and her husband were captured, her letter that week shows she ran to him,  held him,  and told the soldiers to leave "my mother"  alone.  A stunning detail, but there is much, much more.

Before Jeff Davis put on Varina's clothes (yes, they were hers)  Davis told his wife to force the Union soldiers to kill her. 

  Not sorta, not kinda.  This is not out of context or exaggerated in the slightest.  Not only did witnesses report this, but Varina herself, in her own book about Davis, wrote about it.   Witnesses said Davis told her why she should make the soldiers "kill" her......  "It would bring shame upon the South if a Davis is taken alive..... force your assailants to kill you." 

But Davis urged others to die (yes, literally, he did, including his own wife),  but he himself did no such thing.  When push came to shove, it is not an exaggeration whatsoever, so say he put on his wife's dress, left her and their children in danger, and ran away -- for his own safety, and only his own safety.


Why I make these blogs.....

I am not a historian,  my degree is in political science.   I am 66 years old, I live in central Illinois. 

My avocation, my passion,  is reading Southern newspapers, Southern speeches, Southern documents, Southern books, from before  -- before -- the US Civil War.   I started that hobby about 10 years ago.

My name is Mark Curran.  Here I am in China, learning Tai Chi, near Hong Kong. 

While reading these newspapers, books, speeches, and documents, I kept finding the most amazing things --  like Southern War Ultimatums of both 1856, and 1861.  Just one tiny example.....Jeff Davis cowardice was another. 

Holy shit.  It was not once, or twice, or even five times.  I was continually surprised at what I found, in SOUTHERN newspapers, SOUTHERN speeches, SOUTHERN letters, SOUTHERN books.

Did my history teachers read these things?   Did Eric Foner?  Did Bruce Catton?  Did 100 others see these amazing things -- like Lee's torture of slave girls, like Jeff Davis cowardice, like Southern War Ultimatums.


Southern WAR ULTIMATUMS -- by the South's leaders.  WTF?

 I was a political science major, but loved the history courses more than poly sci, and I never heard of Southern War Ultimatums, yet here there were -- loud, proud, and very central to US history.   Southern newspapers bragging of their War Ultimatums.

War Ultimatums to SPREAD slavery by force.   Jeff Davis himself boasting of going to war to SPREAD slavery into the North.

Not someone else claiming it later -- I am talking about SOUTHERN papers, SOUTHERN leaders, at the damn time, boasting of shit you think can not possibly be real

Not mentioned in US text books. Hardly mentioned, or not mentioned,  in the narrative of "historians" like James McPherson,  Eric Foner,  Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote, and many others.  Yet these men are where most of us got our information. 

Jeff Davis cowardice (yes, he was a personal coward, and more than once) is just an omission.   But more than omission, in this example, "historians"  like McPherson and Shelby Foote seem to go the extra mile to knowingly mislead (yes, really, as you will see) the public about Southern leaders.  

Why?  Why on earth just not show what the Southern leaders did, as shown by clear (yes clear) and unambiguous evidence?



 Davis told others, including soldiers, to fight to the death.   That may be part of a political leader's job, but Davis did this even after it was sheer folly, even murder, to order his men to their death.

For example, Davis humiliated and fired generals who did not do as he said, to attack a far superior and entrenched foe,   such as his orders to Johnston for attacks on Sherman.  Per Jeff Davis own speech before the attacks, 2/3 of the soldiers had already deserted,  they were simply gone. Davis wanted the remaining third to attack -- when they had been outnumbered even before the desertions.

Remember that,

 Johnston did not blatantly refuse, he did the best he could without getting the remaining 1/3 of his men (those who had not already deserted) killed.   Davis, in utter disgust Johnston, derided him publically in speeches, and fired him,  then put  Hood in charge.




To learn about Jeff Davis admitting that, already, 2/3 of his soldiers had deserted, and yet he wanted the remaining men to attack anyway, see his Macon Georgia speech, in the summer of 1864....

Hood promptly obeyed the orders -- sent the men to attack, and they were decimated.   Essentially, from that point on, the war was over, it was more vile to fight on.    Davis kept ordering others to attack, attack, attack, and told his wife to force the assailants to kill her, as her book makes clear. 

Johnston had done a masterful job -- Hood just ordered the men to their deaths.  And Hood only did so, because he was ordered to do so. 

To understand how creepy Davis was -- not only do you have to know his history of cowardice, but his insistence on others to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

On top of that, Davis ran away -- as his children and wife were in danger.

Of course "historians" who praise Davis know all this, but read them closely, especially Shelby Foote. Foote will simply omit much about Davis, such as  his cowardice.   Stunning how wonderful you can make Southern leaders seem, if you simply omit the basic facts.


In fact, Varina, as you will see, ran to protect Davis.  She told the soldiers -- as she mentioned in her own handwritten letter --to shoot her (Varina) if they must shoot someone, but leave her mother alone.

That's not some crazy story.  That is what Varina Davis wrote in a letter to the Blairs. And historians favorable to Davis have done all they could not to mention it, or draw  your attention to it.

Gee,  I wonder why? 


THIS IS NOT AN INDICTMENT AGAINST JEFF DAVIS -- his life was in danger.   He could have been shot (as he told his wife to get shot, rather than be captured).  Of course he did not have to tell his wife to die, or order his soldiers to attack and many needlessly die.... but as far as running to save his own life, he was obeying an instinct to survive.

But this  is an indictment of the "scholars"  who have stupidly or fraudulently defended Davis and men like him.   


Scholars and experts for generations have told us Jefferson Davis was a man of principle -- each scholar essentially repeated Jeff Davis own glorious words about himself. 

Repeating Jeff Davis own myths about himself, over and over, through generations.   Shame on the "scholars"  who could have, and should have, checked the facts that were, with a small amount of honest effort, available to any college sophomore history student, from 1890 on, just by reading Jeff Davis's own wife's letter and book.

The short story  -- Davis said he was brave that day, and defended his children.   According to Davis, he only allowed himself to be taken alive to save his children, who, he said, were nearby -- if he fought back, he children would likely be killed.    

He allowed himself the indignity and shame of being taken alive -- for their sake.    The absurd story by Davis himself, entirely false, is the basic story "scholars"  give us.

Some "scholars"  are just stupid about it.  Others don't seem to care.    But almost all these "scholars" have posited the demonstrably false lie for Jeff Davis, no matter if they meant to, or  not.  The idea that he ran like a coward dressed in his wife's clothes was absurd. A malicious slander by "Northern papers" .

His own biographers would hardly give the "story"  any attention whatsoever.   They (seemed) to quote his own wife's letter that made it clear -- Davis wore no disguise, he committed "no subterfuge".

But what about her full letter?  What about her book?   What about Davis's own nephew's journal?





A "newspaper  thing" is the dismissive cliche "scholars"  use to minimize words about this "slander".    Typically,  they don't even mention the issue till far back in a book, and then in a sentence or two. So of course they don't mention Varina's letter, at least in any honest way.

Nor do they mention that Union soldiers wrote reports.   The less ink they spend on the topic, the better. 

Most of the Davis biographies are  so flattering  it would be absurd if they admitted -- even to themselves --that Davis told his wife to get herself killed, ran like a coward when his children were in danger, and wore her dress.  That simply would not jibe with the "adorational" slant in the rest of the book. 

At least Davis did  have people chasing him -- and they would have shot him if he resisted or fought back.   What do the "historians" have to fear for simply telling the full story? 

Varina Davis told us what happened, in a letter that still exists.  You can see it yourself if you go to the Library of Congress and ask to see it!  

This might save you some time.   Here is what they have. 

Actually the first newspapers to run the "Davis in dress" story was from a Southern reporter, not Northern.   

This is not even the  most important information about Jeff Davis......

Think you know what Jeff Davis was up to in the Civil War?

This explains it -- he was boasting of it.  



Davis killing to spread slavery North and West -- as he bragged about at the time -- is much more important than his cowardice. 


 It was never Varina's intention to embarrass her husband, in fact she told the Blairs, in the letter, to destroy the letter, or it may latter embarrass him.   But they did not destroy it, and fifty years later, the children donated that letter, and other memorabilia, to the Library of Congress.

Varina tried her best in the letter to take the blame for Davis garments, and in some sentences she did absolved him of cowardice.

But the facts she related -- that he ran away,  that she ran to him and protected him from the Union soldiers, that she told the soldiers he was her mother  --  not only verify the soldier's reports of Davis in her dress,  but she went further that the soldiers did in some of the details. 




While Davis did get people to write -- later -- that he was wearing his own clothing and was brave, remember this. At the time, his own wife and nephew wrote differently. 

It was not just his own wife -- in writing -- that shows Jeff Davis in women's clothes.  See Davis nephew's journal -- he apologized for his role in dressing Davis in women's attire.


You can, if you like, dismiss Jeff Davis own wife and nephew-- Varina never would bluntly say it was her dress. So there IS wiggle room, if she had not written -- I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER.

Her sentence "I said it was my mother"  removes legitimate doubt   because it confirms the Union soldiers reports and newspaper accounts.

Would Varina write "I said it was my mother"  -- and defend Davis physically based on the ruse that he was her mother -- if he were in his own attire? 

At the moment Varina was actually holding Davis -- according to her and verified by Union reports -- Davis looked enough like a woman that Varina and her sister said it was her mother.

The soldiers could be sure who it was, or what gender.   They assumed it was a male, because the person wore manly boots and spurs, but otherwise was, ankle to to the top of the head, covered in woman's garments.

That is -- until a soldier just reached over, and pulled his hood off.


Varina's  sister and Varina BOTH told the soldiers he was her mother, and both pleaded with them to leave "her alone".    Her sister left no known letter,  but Varina did.  And the soldiers reported both women told them Davis was their mother.

If the union soldiers were lying (no one claims they were -- typically "historians"  who defend Davis don't dare tell you the Union soldiers filed reports)  it's inconceivable they would lie by saying much the same thing Varina did about Davis female garments, his actions, and his cowardice.


It's true, Varina never exactly said "Yes he wore my dress."  

Varina was all over the map about his garments in her letter, and even took the blame for the garments. And she suggested if if he had on "full woman's attire"--- it was not important!

If Davis had on his own clothing,  except for an 'errant" shoulder wrap, it would have been simple for her to indicate that.   Varina never -- ever -- would back Davis up on that point,  she was always coy, and evasive.

The overwhelming, and best, evidence to us, from Varina's letter, to the nephew's journal, to the Union soldier's reports and later public statements, makes it nearly absurd to claim Davis was not doing what his own wife wrote he was doing -- running away in clothing arranged, even when he was up close, to look like a woman.

Davis was not protecting his wife, or children. He was running away for his own safety as bullets flew.  Davis had to have been dressed in that attire overnight,  you do not throw on women's clothing in a few seconds as bullets are flying in the air.  Davis left the tent immediately, he said, when he heard the shots. 


As Varina told the soldiers Jeff Davis was her mother -- remember, that her account in her letter -- a Union soldier just reached over, and pulled the head covering off....It was Davis.

The Union officers all wrote reports of the chapter.  

If Davis had been brave, had only his normal clothing on,  why on earth would Varina not say so, then or later, unequivocally?

Varina wrote at length about her husbands garments -- why do that if they were his normal clothes?   She was as focused on what he wore, in her letter,  as about what he did -- run away.

Very odd that Varina would spend so much time and space writing about his garments, if they were his normal garments as he said.



  OF  "I said it was my mother"? 

We need to reiterate that Varina never blurted out, or wrote "Yes he wore my dress".  In fact she wrote "He wore no disguise"

So why on earth did she write "I said it was my mother".

Well, because she wrote page after page,  with much intensity, about his three layers of female clothing.   The "I said it was my mother"  clears up any reasonable confusion.

She even mentions she pu two of the items on him so "he would not be recognized". 

She writes some fairly incoherent lines essentially saying, well if he HAD wore "full women's attire"  it was "of no cavil" -- not a big deal.  (The word "cavil" is virtually never used now, and rarely used then).

"Too confusing" excuse....

If she had not written "I said it was my mother"  it would be possible to claim, as some have claimed, that "it  is too confusing to know for certain".  

But there is so much to confirm he wore female garments, and told her to get herself killed, and did not protect his wife or children, that it's not confusing. 

Strange indeed, if the Union soldiers, in their reports, happened to lie along the same lines as Varina Davis.   Tellingly, those "historians" who dismiss the "dress story" never mention the Union officers reports, never mention "I said it was my mother"  and never mention the nephews journal apologizing for helping Davis efforts at disguise.

Why won't they mention these things?  Because there is no way to mention them, and still insist Davis wore manly clothing. He did not. And no way to portray Davis as brave- - he was not. He was cowardly.

If you read carefully the "historians"  like Shelby Foote who show Varina's quote "He wore no disguise" -- they never, ever, ever show the full quotes,  and avoid like the plague "I said it was my mother".

And avoid like the same plague the nephews journal. 

And they don't even mention the Union soldiers reports. 

Gee, I wonder why?

It's almost as if Shelby had read her letter, and decided not to tell you her full comments-- or even point you in the direction of - the letter, his nephew's journal, or the Union soldiers reports.



Wearn this from Varina Davis own book  and Union reports --Davis told her to get herself killed. Let me repeat that, Varina was supposed to die rather than be taken alive.

"Should a Davis surrender, it would bring shame upon the South" is the kind of smack Davis said when telling his wife to get herself killed according to witnesses. And they were impressed with Davis bravery  -- the clear message at the time, to the crowd assembled, was that Davis himself would go down fighting.

Uh, not so much.


This article is as much about the willingness of "historians" to distort, even profoundly, the actions and character of Confederate heroes. 

Some "historians" like Shelby Foote well know Varina wrote, in her letter and book. He chose, as you will see, to be deceptive about it. 

Who can blame him?  Foote was a Davis devotee his entire life. 

This is another Mark Curran  post.

"Not my fault you didn't know this."

Me in China, wondering how goofy  history might be

all over the world.  By the way, I found in Chinese public libraries and book stores a wide variety of history books, from different viewpoints, for example,  some pro Mao, some against.   USA history text books about the Confederacy are horribly incomplete.  No mention of Southern War Ultimatums, no mention of Southern leaders many and repeated boast they were killing to spread slavery for GOD, just two examples. 


Waiting for the gold....

"Force your assailants to kill you"  Jeff Davis told his own wife. For a Davis to be captured would bring shame upon the South.

But when Davis himself came close to danger, in fact the first time he came into danger, he ran away in his wife's dress.  He did not protect her, nor their children.

He would later claim he only let himself be captured BECAUSE he was protecting his children. 

We know from his own wife that he protected  no one, was no where near his children.   So why, and how, did we get at least 100 "historians" to say Davis protected his own children, and wore his own clothes -- and that those bad Northern "newspapers"   were just committing slander?

All these historians I mention had easy - very easy -- access to Varina's letter and book.  It's hard to imagine they did not read both.

So -- if I can be candid -- what the fuck happened to these "historians"?   

Well, being  human, and therefore willing to believe and spread bullshit, is what happened. Even when the evidence to the contrary is overwhelmingly different than they claim. 


Few men in history uttered such words, but Jeff Davis said them loudly and in front of an audience.  Yes, he did.
He acted as if  he would go down fighting too, said others at the time. 

Davis told his wife to get herself killed rather than be captured, in front of about two dozen people, as they waited in a group for the gold that Davis had ordered brought to them, just before they fled Richmond.

Varina did not make this clear in her book, but others already made it clear, others who were there.  Davis told her this in a way that made it seem as if DAVIS himself would go down fighting.  It was a speech, really, about his own bravado.  His own dedication to "Southern honor".

Davis had a history -- especially the last year of the war -- to urge others to fight on, he urged his general to attack, and replaced those that would or could not attack the Union forces by then because of 2/3 desertion rates.  Yes, 2/3 of Confederate soldiers had deserted for about the past year. 

To order, for example, Atlanta troops to attack SHerman was nearly insane -- yet when Confederate general Johnston could not successfully attack Sherman, Davis denigrated him, fired him, and put Hood in charge.

Hood ordered his men to attack, many were quickly killed, and the Civil War, because of that, was essentially over. Yet, much like Hitler at the end of WW2, Davis, far from the battle, stood around and ordered soldiers to attack, stupidly to the point of madness.

Later -- later Davis would insist that he had suffered and sacrificed more than anyone else in the South. He had given more.  As he said that, bodies were still being buried. 

Remember that about Jeff Davis.

He told his wife to get herself killed.

He ran away in her dress.

He claimed to have sacrificed more than anyone. 

And as he was leaving Richmond, he told his own wife to go down fighting.

I can't help it that you are not told this kind of blunt facts about Davis.   This is what happened. 

This is what he did.


Varina omitted that detail too.  But Davis telling her to get herself shot was already well known in Southern gossip -- and Varina had to deal with that in her book.

He put on her dress, and ran way.  His wife and children were in danger (yes they were) as he ran for his own safety.

Now you know why the South can not possibly admit these facts. 

What did Varina say in her book about what Jeff Davis wore the day of capture?

Varina wrote about their flight from Richmond in exceeding detail -- fascinating reading, actually. An  hour by hour chronological report, basically.

If you know Varina's letter about Davis cowardice and dressing as a woman,  if you read her book, you can hardly wait to get to the part about  his capture.

What will she write is her book,  in which she tries to hard to show him as noble? 

How will she explain  his cowardice and lies?

How would she describe his actions at the very moment of capture?

She just skipped that.  She went right to the moment of capture, then ---- nothing. She goes on to the next chapter. 

She could have said he wore his own clothes. One sentence, 10 words would  have done it.  Easy.

She could have said he was brave. She could have said he protected the children.

She didn't say a word, not one word, to back Davis up about his supposed bravery, his manly clothes, etc,.  Yet in life -- she was asked many times by visitors, did Jeff Davis wear a dress?  Did he run away in a dress?

Do you know what she said to such questions?

She would smile, and say "Mr. Davis never wore a hoop skirt". 

Cute --right?  

 Everyone would laugh politely.  No one accused him of wearing a formal dancing garment.   She was telling the truth -- he never wore a hoop skirt. 

The Blair children, however, when they got older and donated the letters to Library of Congress, were very matter of fact. Yes of course Davis wore a dress.  Varina Davis actually came to live with them for two years, it seems,  after she wrote the letter to the Blairs asking for help.

You can be sure the Blairs and Varina -- within earshot of the children -- discussed what Davis did at capture. She had already written them the letter about the capture.... already all but admitted he wore her dress when she discribed three layers of female clothing, and of course, when she wrote  I SAID IT WAS MY MOTHER.

Nor do these "experts"  show or refer to the reports by Union officers, who then, and for the rest of their lives, were very clear.  Davis was in a dress and running away, and was dressed as a woman -- in his wife's dress.



  Entire books have been written about the capture of Jeff Davis,each claim he wore a "ratigan" by mistake. 

  The detail  cited by these "experts" is stunning, pages long, and look like masterful academic pieces that can not possibly be wrong.

   Read them closely.  The ONLY -- ONLY proof they cite that Davis did not wear a dress are his own words.   Here is an example -- which goes into mind numbing detail about the disposition of the "shawl" for over 80  years.

Greg Bradsher, for example, went into mind numbing detail about letters written for information in 1940's.   Not one word about Varina's letter where she wrote "I said it was my mother".

But Bradsher posited that Davis said he just had on a woman's shawl by mistake, so no problem here.  Apparently "archivist" is another word for  "well if Jeff Davis said so, who am I to doubt that"?

Davis also said he "had given more, sacrificed more" than anyone else in the South, for "the cause".   As he said that, men were still being buried in the South, injured during the Civil War.  Men Davis himself had ordered into battle.  Davis said he sacrificed more than they did -- so Bradsher must believe that too.

And disbelieve his wife's letter about "I said it was my mother".

Do you think Bradsher they might take a glance at Varina's  letter?  How about the Union soldiers reports? Too much to ask.

 Maybe look at her book?

Davis said he was heroic- - so, he must have been!


How do we know it was his wife's dress?

Because when the Union soldiers allowed him to get back in his "manly clothes,"   Varina emerged from the tent (she helped him dress) she had on that exact dress. The dress Davis took off, Varina put on -- almost certainly so the Union officers did not take it as souvenir. 



See how she handled the actual capture

 Varina wrote right up to the very moment of capture -- then blank.  Just blank. Just nothing. 

  As if the tried to write it 100 different ways, without lying.  But there was no way to parse words enough to cover his cowardice, without telling a lie. It's almost as if she  decided that, rather than lie, just leave that point alone.

She never would outright lie for Davis. Not ever. 

Varina's book about Davis and the Confederacy, therefore, is of irreplaceable value, because she could spin, she could put things in the best possible light,  which is entirely normal. It would be bizzare if she did otherwise.

But lie?  Lot of folks have lied in their biographies about loved ones. Very normal.  Yet -- Varina would not do it.

 Her loyalty to him, however, was cult like, during his life.

If she published this during his life -- of course -- she would have had to explain to him why she didn't say he was brave that day.

Why she didn't say he wore his manly clothes.

She could not explain that without giving him pain.   That was not her style, or goal. 

Though he ran away and did not protect her or the children -- though he has been cowardly, even though he told her to get herself killed, she protected him as much as she could, his physical person, and his reputation, without lying.


A Mark Curran blog -- yes blog.  Blame my editor, she is supposed to get this into a dot.com   Contact me  anytime, by comment section below.   This is a picture of me screwing up Tai Chi in China.

I write these blogs about original documents I find -- documents that surprise me, because I have studied history for 50 years (I am 65 now).   And I keep finding original documents -- like Varina's letter, like Southern War Ultimatums, like news about Lee's slave ledgers, and no one mentioned them before.  WTF?

I wish others would write these things, I am terrible at this.  But someone should do this.  Write me anytime at HISTORY HOUND EMAIL

The letter donated to Library of Congress 1910,  from the Blair children.  It was Varina Davis's letter to the Blairs. 

Why the South will need 300 years to admit Jeff Davis was a very, very creepy coward.

There is no rational doubt about it -- Jeff Davis was cowardly that day and ran away in his wife's dress.  He also told her to force the Union soldiers to kill her.

Why is it so terrible for one man to be cowardly one day?

Because Davis had been telling people for years to die fighting for  his "cause".   Davis even bragged he had sacrificed more than anyone in the South --did you know that?

Davis talked a macho game -- but he was not about to fight to uphold Southern honor, or anything else. 



Yet we are told, over and over, even by "experts" that the whole dress story was made up  nonsense -- an exaggeration by newspapers. 

The "slander" of an honorable man.

Davis wore, we are told by these repeated experts,  a woman's shawl by mistake and that was blown up to to a dress.

Utter nonsense.  As Varina's letter made very clear, Davis had on layers of female clothing.


 Not many now care -- even "academia" doesn't care or  note -- about Davis taking all the gold he could as he left Richmond. In fact, he stayed an extra day to get the gold!  Lee went a head with the army, Davis stayed and got the gold!     Varina speaks of the gold then, and it was a BFD, because Davis just took it from private funds collected for the wounded, to get the supplies through the blockades made things very, very expensive.

Davis took that GOLD. As he waited for the gold to come to him,  he gave that little speech to his wife about "make them kill  you".

Ironic.  Golden.  


Varina would never admit -- she came close -- that he wore her dress. She even said if Davis had dressed "fully" as a woman,  if was of "no cavil" -- meaning, not a big deal.

If Davis  had done so, he did it because he so loved the South!  Had he worn "full women's attire"  it would have been as well.  Importantly she later lived with the Blairs, and their children would give her letter to Library of Congress after her death. 

And remember, in the same letter, she said "I said it was my mother". 

If Davis and Varina had been able to get their stories straight, of course Varina would not have diverged from it.  She would never have written the letter if she had known the Blairs would keep it, or their children would donated to the Library of Congress.



One "historian" -- a Davis devotee -- said Davis spent the rest of his life trying to convince others of his bravery that day.  The "historian"  apparently believed him -- Davis was going to go down fighting. 

Davis only allowed himself to be taken prisoners -- he did not force his assailants to kill him -- because his children were nearby. He was protecting his children.

Clearly all accounts show Davis no where near those children.   Davis own wife said he was running away.   The Union reports say he was running.

Literally no one  at the time, like his wife, like the Union reports, like the early newspaper stories, had Davis near those children. 

In fact, Davis would idiotically insist that he, more than anyone in the South, had suffered more for the "noble cause". 

While Davis said those words, there were still men being buried -- men Davis sent to attack Sherman's much larger force, and men Davis sent to Kansas to kill and terrorize there. 
But Davis had suffered more!

Davis He was quite clear - to the point of absurdity he was clear, he even took a picture to "prove" what he wore.

Picture Davis took of what he was wearing at time of capture. He lied, of course, as proven by his wife and nephew.


Varina Davis, wife of Jeff Davis, never intended to out him as a coward.  Yet she did.



Every Union soldier present at Jeff Davis capture considered Varina Davis a woman of "uncommon courage".    And they all considered Davis a coward.

Sure, sure, the Union soldiers could have made it all up.  One "Davis expert"  told me he had proof Union officers hunting for Davis, thousands of them, were ordered to carry around a dress and claim it was his dress, when captured. He said would show me that proof, but somehow never did.

The author of this book was dumbfounded to read Varina's letter.
He thought I found something totally new.

Hardly, this was in library of Congress before he was born, and her book was published before he was born.  All easily available to him at any time. 

At first Clint Johnson relented and said, yes, yes, it's clear Davis ran away like a coward, dressed as a woman.

Then Johnson said, no, Davis was simply too manly to act cowardly.   Johnson told me he had proof -- Union officers were all ordered by "Washington"  to carry around a dress  and when Davis was captured, claim they found him wearing it.

Funny thing -- Johnson never could show that proof.   Like other Davis cult members, he was eager to distort, even lie.  He knew there was no evidence of any such Union order.   And he had already admitted Davis did wear a dress and run like a coward.

He just couldn't get his head around it.


The facts glossed over - like Jeff Davis cowardice, his war ultimatums, are all but lost to history.   Lee's torture of slave girls, purchase of kidnapped women, all but lost.

Yet there was at the time an abundance of evidence, and testimony available, to show Lee's tortures, his treason, Davis treason, etc.

Luckily there is enough evidence remaining, it should not be debatable by reasonable people.  Davis and Lee were both traitors, and both personal cowards, and both vile human beings. 

Because we did not put men like Lee and Davis on trial, none of this evidence got into court. Lee's torture of slave girls, for example, and his own cowardice, his own War Ultimatums and killing sprees before the Civil War even started, are all but forgotten, or worse, showed as heroic. 

Of fall the mistakes US made after Civil War, putting Lee and Davis on trials might have been the worst.


What is a definition of a coward, when people are eager to kill you?


Davis did have people eager to kill him, if need be.   And he would have been shot if he resisted with violence.  This was still war, the Union soldiers had already been firing- - at each other -- in the morning fog.  

Other men have been cowards in such instances.   

But none that we know of told their wives to die -- as Davis did. 

None others ran away leaving their children in danger -- as he did.

None other claimed to be heroic -- as he did.

That's being cowardly.

 Yes, he told her to DIE rather than surrender.   That's not what some mean old "Yankee"  historian said.   That is what Jeff Davis own wife wrote in her own book.  She was not quoted -- that was HER BOOK.

Can you imagine Lincoln telling his wife to die?   And running away as his children were in danger?   We know of Lincoln's bravery on several occasions, the man next to him was killed instantly as he and Lincoln stood at Fort Stephens watching a battle out front. Lincoln did not flinch. Lincoln was also shot at twice before that, on rides from White House to Soldiers Home nearby.  He did not flinch, he kept riding that same route. 

And more -- much more -- Davis had repeatedly ordered soldiers to attack, via his generals.  Attack, attack.  Very Hitler like in this,  he would order absurd attacks, and if the general hesistated or did not carry it out, Davis berated him in public (See Macon Speech) and replaced that general.

Davis insane stupidity ended up costing the South the war,  as again and again Davis pushed his generals to attack, even when faced with larger forces, dug in. 

Confederate soldiers deserted by the thousands.  By summer of 1864--  you are not told this - about 2/3 of South soldiers deserted.

How do we know?   Jeff Davis said so, confirming Richmond newspaper accounts.  Jeff Davis himself caused the desertions, ordering not only the soldier to die rather than surrender, but told his own wife to do so.

Did Jeff Davis really want his wife to die?   No. Did he really want his soldier to die? No.

But he loved to make these speeches.  Remember that -- and you will know more than most "historians".  Most of what happened in the Civil War came about because FIRST men like Davis (and others) talked tough, promised to kill, ordered men to kill, and not because they were tough guys.

But because that sounded tough. That got the crowd to pay attention.

Now you know what causes most wars.  Don't forget it. 


To understand how creepy of a coward Davis was, you need to know something:   Davis regularly urged others to die -- yes die- - for the cause of spreading slavery.  Not keeping slavery, spreading slavery, as we show elsewhere by Davis's own boasting.

Urging others to die -- including his wife.

Remember this -- Davis  urged others to die including his wife. 



In another time, another place, Davis would have made a splendid Shakespearean actor.  As Francis Blair (Varina's letter was to the Blair family) wrote, Davis could get crowds cheering for war, but off stage was entirely unlike that.

Give Davis a crowd -- as he had the day he told his wife to get herself killed- - and Davis would get them cheering.  

The clear inference when he told his wife to get herself killed was that he too, he first, would not surrender.  "For a Davis to be taken captive would bring shame upon the South".


So Davis, his wife, and everyone who knew Davis knew that he told his wife to get herself killed, had to explain why he surrendered.    So he explained- - it was to save his children.

They were nearby, he was protecting them with his life-  and his intent was to kill the first soldier that came near, and go down fighting.

Only, as Davis, his wife, and everyone there knew well, Davis was no where near his children.  If anything Varina came to Davis personal rescue, and he protected no one.


If Varina's observations were right, the Union soldier was ready to put a bullet in Davis's head if he did not identify himself.  The Union soldiers had shot at each other, not minutes before this, and their men lay dead and dying at that moment.   They were in no mood for guessing games.   They knew Davis was a male, despite his female attire, because he wore his manly and quite expensive spurs.

Women did not wear male spurs. 

Confirms Union Reports

It is likely  Varina Davis saved her husband's life --by jumping in front of him, as she details in her letter.  Remember that, it is HER letter that clearly shows she jumped to his defense, when the Union soldier had stopped Davis, and Davis would not answer.  

She physically went to Davis, grabbed him, and held him to her -- that is what she wrote.

And she told the soldier to "shoot me if he had to shoot anyone".

Let that sink in.

Her letter exactly corresponds to the Union officer's report:  she jumped in front of Jeff Davis, then dressed as a woman,  and told the soldiers to shoot her (Varina) if they must shoot someone.

But leave her mother alone.

Only, it was not her mother.  The Union soldier simply reached over, grabbed the hood, and pulled it back, showing the scraggly face and beard of Jeff Davis.

Maybe the biggest coward in US history. 

No -- the dress was not cowardly.  But running away in his wife's dress as she and the children were in danger is cowardly-- and why Southern "apologist" will spend another 160 years running away from the facts, just as Jeff Davis ran away in her dress.


Over and over we hear the canard that Davis wore no dress.

It was all a "newspaper" thing.  Few dared to even mention Varina Davis book and letter -- but when Davis groupies like Shelby Foote mentioned Varina's letter, he cleverly took her out of context, and of course did not show or mention the full letter.

Varina DID write --"Davis wore no disguise and committed no subterfuge"    but then Varina went on for two pages about the disguise and subterfuge.

Do you think Foote did not read the full letter?

Do you think Foote did not read her book?

Do you think Foote did not know of the Union reports about Varina and Jeff Davis?

Of course he knew.  But Foote adored Davis.  Wrote that Davis was an honorable man and  "anyone who saw Jefferson Davis greet his beloved children knew what a devoted family man he was" -- paraphrased.

Davis told his wife to get herself killed. He literally did nothing to protect his children as bullets flew.

And Foote knew that!


Authors like Clint Johnson said Northern troops carried around dresses when they looked for Davis, so when they caught him, they could claim he wore woman's clothing.  Said he had telegraph messages to prove it.

Then admitted -no, he had no telegraph evidence, and he even admitted, yes, Davis wore a dress

Clint Johnson thought I found some amazing piece of history, with Varina's letter.

Shit fire -- can you read her book??

And both her book and the letter about his cowardice have been available since 1909.

Some of these "experts" clearly knew about Varina's letter -- because the quoted it out of context and quite the opposite of what she revealed overall.  So they knew - they the "I said it was my mother" part.

And they knew she wrote he was running away and she protected him.

And they knew Davis lied and was protecting no one - certainly not protecting his children.

And they knew he told her to get herself killed.

This is actually rather typical for Southern apologist.  They will twist anything ad everything to pretend Jeff Davis or Robert E Lee were honorable, or brave, or honest men,

Neither was either, 


Maybe she knew?


Varina Davis lived longer after the capture of Jefferson Davis, than she did before he was captured.

In that entire time, in her letters, her book, in many conversations, she would never back him up on his stories of bravery.

She would never say he wore his own clothes, or was near his children.

Instead she would be coy, or clever, "Mr Davis never wore a hoop dress" she would tell people who asked, and everyone would laugh.  

Everyone knew what she meant, that Davis did have on something female. No one (except some cartoons) said he had on a formal dancing dress.

Varin'a's letter to the Blairs, written a week after their capture, was clearly written in haste -- with scratched out parts, and conflicting information.  She even asked the Blairs, in the letter itself, to destroy the letter, or it may later be used to embarrass him. 

The Blairs, friends of Lincoln and the Davis's, kept the letter, and their children, many decades later, donated that letter and much other memorabilia to Library of Congress.
And Southern "historians" have known every syllable in her letter ever since. 

Go read some of their clever explanations, such as Shelby Foote. He quotes Varina very carefully, and contrary to her full statements.  He had to, he was not about to admit his hero (Foote was a Davis groupie,to be blunt) was not just a coward, but a very creepy coward.   

He was not brave.

He did not wear his own clothing.

But the clothing was not cowardly by itself.  Running away as his children were in danger -- that was cowardly.

He left his wife in danger, too.

He ran. Varina saved him.   Remember that. 


It was a "newspaper thing"  and that was all there was to it? 

Not so. In fact, everyone who tells you it was a "newspaper thing"  seem blissfully stupid that SOUTHERN newspaper first reported Davis was captured in a dress.

Did Jeff Davis tell his wife to get herself killed, rather than be taken alive?

Yes. How do we know?  

She told us.

Force your assailants to kill you?

"Force your assailants to kill you."

Who in their right mind tells their own wife to force your assailants to kill you? This is from her book -- not what someone else wrote, she is the author. She wrote it.  Just like she wrote the letter revealing his cowardice (see below) Varina wrote this book.




Varina  is one writer of Jefferson Davis's entourage who would not lie for him.   She would parse words, yes, but never lie.

 She left out, for example, Davis repeated exhortations of soldiers and generals (and herself) to fight to the end.   

But if she wrote something, it was not a lie. 

Her entire book, two volumes, is amazing insight, once you realize she refused to lie. You simply can not get a better insight into the Confederacy as this -- she leaves out the tortures, the killing sprees, the boasting of killing to spread slavery. She probably did not even know of those things. 

But she never lied outright, that we know about. Davis, on the other hand, lied almost every time he spoke or wrote. 


Varoma could have written that Davis wore his own clothes. Very simple, a short sentence would do nicely.

She could have written that Davis acted bravely.  One adjective. 

She could have written that Davis protected the children, or her.

But she never did say such things, and she COULD have.

 She came up to the moment of capture -- and just stopped.  Simply did not describe the exact minutes of capture.


We show you the only reasonable explanation why Varina, in her book, nor in person in 40 years, backed up Davis claim of his bravery and how he wore his own clothes, and protected his children.

Varina never would lie outright for Davis.  She would parse words, she would put things in the best light for his reputation, but she never would lie. 



Varina probably did not know the Blairs kept the letter she wrote to them in 1865, but they did.  And in that letter she did reveal Davis cowardice and lies, though she did not intend to.

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


Jeff Davis wife's letter in Library of Congress

Contrary to what many "historians"  repeat, often smugly so, Jeff Davis reports of running away in a dress was not some "Northern newspaper"  thing.

In fact, the first newspaper to report it was from Macon Georgia,  hardly a Northern paper.

More,  Varina Davis, his own wife, wrote a letter inadvertently confirming, essentially, everything the Union soldiers reported. Yes, the Union officers wrote very detailed reports, and they reported Davis wore female clothing and was running away.

Interestingly, the Union soldiers only mentioned the dress, and his running away in a sentence or two.  

Varina wrote about his female garments in several paragraphs.   Plus, Jeff Davis own nephew, also at the capture, wrote about his disguise as a woman.

You won't get that information from those who claim Davis was dressed in some kind of "errant garment"  that the newspapers exaggerated for effect.   They probably have no clue, and are just repeating others.



Also interestingly, Davis never claimed he had on an "errant garment" like so many others.  Davis was very clear, he wore is own manly clothes, and nothing else.

In fact, Davis had his picture taken IN THOSE CLOTHES.  

As one historian said, Davis was "obsessed"  about proving he wore only his normal clothing and was protecting his children.  Davis even had his clothes bequeathed to be shown after his death, to further prove that is what he wore- - his manly clothes.

Obediently, the Museum of the Confederacy now shows Davis clothes -- the one he claimed to have worn (no, he wore his wife's dress).

Of course Varina's letter and book -- revealing Davis cowardice in her letter -- are well known to historians.    The authenticity is not in doubt whatsoever.  

Yet no  Southern "historians" or apologist mention her letter in an honest way -- nor could they.  To show her book and letter together show a "rather creepy" coward who eagerly sent others to their death, even his wife, but when he was in peril, he ran away, leaving his wife and children to their fate.

How can you admit that?   Shelby Foote, who was one of the worst people possible to help Ken Burns on Civil War documentary, was especially dishonest about anything to do with Davis, whom he worshiped.   

Sadly, for over 100 years, if anyone quotes Varina's letter, they quote her selectively, and never give you any hint she wrote very clearly that Davis was running away,  that he had on three layers of female garments, and that she told the soldiers Davis was her mother.

Varina's letter, if you quote it selectively, does say Davis wore no disguise, committed no subterfuge.....  but then she describes his disguise, even calls it a disguise, and describes his cowardly actions.

Varina was clearly hurried when she wrote the letter, frantic for the Blair's help, which she received. 


The most important part of her letter: "I said it was my mother"



Varina, upon marrying the much older Davis, adopted very belief uttered by Jeff Davis, unquestionably, it seems.

Slaves, Davis said "are the most contented laborers on earth"  and wrote that it was cruel -- yes cruel -- to blacks not to enslave them. 

Get your head around that. 

Varina's goal was always to protect Davis -- physically and his "good name".

She protected him the day of his capture, as you will see from her own words, and corroborating written evidence by others who took part in Davis capture.  Varina, according to the soldiers and her letter to Blairs, ran between Davis and the Union soldiers, and then told the soldiers Davis was her mother.

She even adds she held Davis to her, and that the soldiers demanded to know who Davis was.  Their curses were vile, she wrote, and the promised to kill Davis.

Bravery beyond measure -- 

Varina- - according to her -- told the soldier if he had to shoot someone SHOOT HER -- but leave her mother alone.

The Union soldiers confirmed that.  Every Union soldier that saw Varina do this forever respected her, and forever considered Davis a pathetic coward.

 Davis would not speak, so a Union soldier simply reached over and pulled off the head covering, which had made him look enough like a woman (along with the dress) that Davis could pass for a woman if no one pulled that head covering off.

The point is, facts  SHE revealed not only show Davis told her to get herself killed, also show Davis ran away in her dress.
If Varina has not written that letter, if she had never said or written that he wore his own clothes and was brave, that would have kept the secret.  You could have  rational dispute over whether the soldiers and newspapers and nephew all lied.

But Varina wrote the letter. 

She told the Blairs what she told the soldiers -- THATS MY MOTHER.

The soldiers said she tried to pass off Davis as her mother.  

So no, the soldiers did not lie.   Varina essentially confirmed every fact -- and went into more detail than they did -- about his female clothing.    She would never come out and say it was her dress,  but the details she did reveal were overwhelming.

He sure as hell did not have on his own clothes.

And no -- no -- he did not have on an "errant ratigan"  as some claimed.  Davis himself never claimed any such ratigan.  Davis himself claimed he acted heroically and was in his own manly clothes. He was very clear, very specific.  He wore his own clothes, and only his own clothes. Not some errant ratigan.

In other words, some tried to give Davis an excuse he never claimed.  Davis claimed to be heroic, he claimed he was near his children protecting them.

He was nowhere near those children.

He was not protecting anyone.

But Varina, to her credit, would never lie.  She would parse words, yes. but she would never outright lie.  She could have lied, at any time.  But she never did.  Varina for the rest of her life would never say "Davis wore his own clothes".

She would never say "Davis was brave that day, and protected the children".

She would never say any such thing.She could have, maybe she should have, but she never would. 


Days after he told her to get herself killed rather than be taken alive, Davis ran away in her dress.  He did not, as he would insist for the rest of his life, protect his children.  As you will see from Varina's own letter, he was nowhere near his children.  

He was running away.

The dress (yes, he wore her dress) was the least important part of the story.  Who in US history tells their wife to get herself killed,  then runs away for their own safety, regardless of what he wore?

And - he wore her dress.


Varina published her book after Jeff  Davis death.  The letter in which she revealed he ran away dressed in three layers of female clothing, she wrote a week after their capture. 

It was never her intention to embarrass Davis -- quite the opposite. Her intention was to protect his image as much as she could, given what he had done.  Her letter was to the Blairs in Washington.  She told the Blair's in the letter itself, to destroy the letter or it may embarrass him later.

They did not destroy the letter.

The Blair children, after their parent's death, after Varina's death, donated the letter and other memorabilia to Library of Congress in 1911.

 It apparently never occurred to her that the Blair's kept her letter, but they kept the letter.

  The Blair family always knew Davis told his wife to get herself killed and ran away in her dress.  It was not even debatable.   Varina had told them -- both in her book, her letter, and very likely in even more detail, in person.

One thing about Varina -- she could bend a story not to embarrass Davis, and of course she had her own viewpoint of everything that happened., but she never would outright lie for him.  This is what makes her book so fascinating and credible factually. 
So when Varina wrote to the Blairs that she tried to convince the soldiers that Jeff Davis was her mother -- and that she held him close to protect him after he had run away -- then you can take that to the bank.

Davis nephew's writing also confirmed Davis was dressed as a woman.   The Union soldiers confirmed in their reports Jeff Davis was dressed as a woman.   But no matter how he was dressed (he was dressed as a woman, head to ankles) he ran away leaving his wife and children in danger.

And he told his wife to get herself killed.

Yes, he did.

Yes. How do we know?  

She told us.

It's important to know the CONTEXT of both Varina's book and her letter.

Varina did not explain, in her book, that Davis told her to get herself killed in front of a group of folks,  as they waited for the gold Davis wanted that was being collected by his men at that very hour. 

The implication was that Davis of course would die too, rather than surrender.  "It would bring shame upon the South," Davis told her according to people who were there "for a Davis to be taken alive".

Davis was, in effect, giving a rah rah speech to the people surrounding them.  He had been urging, for months, more and more attacks on the Union Army, never mind  how nearly insane that was given that nearly 90% of the men had or soon would desert.  Jeff Davis himself had explained already in a Macon speech, almost a year prior, that 2/3 of the Confederate soldiers had deserted or gone awol (one of the most amazing and stupid speeches ever given).

Davis was running away from Richmond, after months of promising not to do exactly that.   The speech was as macho as Davis could make it.  He was, in effect, on stage, urging more and more fighting, but the fighting was always done by others.



In fact, Davis in the speech made no mention of the lives of the children, that we know of.   Should Varina surrender if it meant the children survive?   Interestingly, while Davis would later insist he only surrendered himself (rather than fight to the death as he claimed he wanted to), that he was protecting his children at that moment and to kill the first Union soldier would almost certainly cause the death of his children.

One tiny problem -- from his own wife, and his own nephew, Davis was nowhere near those children when he was taken alive.  He had left them behind.  He was running away for his own safety.



Why the South, even 150 years later, can not admit Davis was a coward....

No one in their right mind would think Lincoln would do such a thing, run away while his children were in danger.   The fact Davis was dressed as a woman (which he certainly was) pales into insignificance when you know he ran away in his wife's dress while she and the children were in danger.

Those who study LIncoln know he was actually shot at twice during the Civil War, not counting the bullet in his brain at Ford's theater.  The first bullet was one that went through his hat near the "Soldiers Home" Lincoln was riding to from the White House.   The other bullet killed the man standing next to him at Fort Monroe as Confederate forces tried a last assault on the US Capital.

Lincoln did not even flinch, either time. He did not even duck.  He stood watching the enemy.  

And he wore his own clothes.

So to admit what Davis did -- is a bridge too far for Southern apologists, and the big reason Shelby Foote and others dare not admit the evidence against Davis showing  his cowardice, not only from his wife, but his nephew.

You can disbelieve the Union soldier's account of Davis garments and cowardice if you like -- but strange indeed that if they were lying, Jeff Davis wife and nephew found essentially the same lies and wrote about them at the time.  What do you think the chances are that Jeff Davis wife and nephew conspired to align their stories to such a profound degree factually, if Jeff Davis were in his own clothes and acted bravely as he insisted?


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

The dress was not so creepy - in fact it was the only way Davis could realistically get through check points, if he dressed as a woman.  So he dressed as a woman.

But telling his wife (yes he did) to get herself killed was creepy. 

"For a Davis to be captured alive,"  he told Varina, "would bring shame upon the South."

Southern leaders and historians are well aware of it. His wife's book and letter not only show it, but other documents by Davis's own family, and confirmed by Union documents,  verify both his cowardice and his attire.

So why is the "dress story" so roundly dismissed as "A newspaper thing"?   Because that is what Davis and others insisted at the time.  According to one historian, Davis was "obsessed" with "proving" he was not cowardly that day.

Yet  he was. 

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 herself tells the Blairs, in writing, that she tried to convince the soldiers that Jeff Davis was her MOTHER.    She told the soldiers that Davis was her mother as she was holding him to her for his safety, according to her.

Varina even told the soldiers to shoot her - Varina -- if they had to shoot someone, but to leave her mother alone! 

The soldiers confirmed that, too, in their reports.  That's what's amazing about Varina's letter, she validates the Union soldiers reports to an astonishing degree, and they validate her letter, likewise.

 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).

Varina actually spent much more time, in writing, talking about Jeff Davis garments than the soldiers did.  They mentioned he wore a dress-- what color it was -- and they told how they let him change out of the dress.

When Davis and his wife came out of the tent where he was allowed to change - Varina had on the dress Davis wore minutes before!  You can't make this up.   Apparently she did not want the soldiers to grab that dress as a souvenir  


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.

The "dress story" was not something anyone else made up.  Varina's letter, the nephew's journal, and the Union soldiers reports all documented that Davis wore female clothing. Several layers of female clothing.


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) Varina told the world in her own book that Davis told her to get herself killed.




(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.  


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.


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.


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. 



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

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 the dress on (in a tent).

Yes, Jeff Davis wife put the dress (it was her dress) on after Davis took it off, undoubtedly to keep it from being taken as a souvenir.  The soldiers did ransack and take much of the Davis personal effects.


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


Did you ever hear he bought beautiful boys?


 Remember that if your history teacher smugly tells you this was all a "newspaper" thing.  Your history teacher would be wrong.

This is from a North Carolina paper...

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

Varina's letter -- and she should know better than second hand reports -- has Davis running away, and the Union soldiers reported Davis was running away.

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.

In fact, in public Varina was as eager and resolute to protect Davis physically and save his reputation as it is possible to be.   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 nature " 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!

FUN FACT  --- She lived in the North with Davis -- apparently they count DC as North. And though she lived with Davis in the North (DC) that's all it took for them to trash her. Where she lived!

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.  

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 or political hit piece rather than an encyclopedia.

Her skin was considered "unattractive" they said!  No, it was not, there is nothing in any letter, book, or newspaper at the time to say such a thing.

She had very sensual skin -- Davis sure went after it.  

She was beautiful and young, half his age, and he was very thin scraney and frankly ugly. Bad skin, a horrible face.

Robert E Lee's wife, she was homely.  Yes, she was, even when younger.  But no one dared say that about her.  Varina was very attractive -- but they wanted to trash her, so that's how they did it.

She looked rather Italian, a bit of Sophia Loren, likely, when younger. Body to die for, and obedient as a slave, to Davis. He got a young hot looking woman to do as he told her.  And she did as he told her, for the rest of his life.

Even if she was unattractive, which she was not,  why 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?

I would love to be a fly on the wall at Virginia Encyclopedia. You can be sure these guys hate her because she exposed Jeff Davis cowardice -- in a private letter - and later in life she realized how vile the South was.  She would later say the right side won the war.

That would piss off Virginia Encyclopedia folks for about 200 years.  


Connection between...




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.