Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Finis Davis (abt. 1808 - 1889)

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President Jefferson Finis "Jeff" Davis
Born about in Christian County, Kentucky, USAmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Jefferson County, Kentuckymap
Husband of — married in Natchez, Mississippimap
Descendants descendants
Died in New Orleans, Louisiana, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Nov 2008 | Last significant change: 19 Nov 2018
05:01: Rachel (Davis) Autry removed a match of Davis-3329 and Davis-4. [Thank Rachel for this]
This page has been accessed 9,153 times.

Categories: Confederate Government Officials | United States Military Academy | Christian County, Kentucky | Transylvania University | US Secretaries of War | US Senators from Mississippi | Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia | Nominated Profiles | Namesakes US Counties | This Day In History June 03 | This Day In History December 06 | Mexican-American War | Wounded in Action, United States of America, Mexican-American War.

This profile is being managed by the US Presidents Project
16:33, 23 October 2018 (UTC)Lee-5956

Preceded by
22nd Secretary
Charles Magill Conrad

Preceded by
Jesse Speight

Preceded by
Stephen Adams

Preceded by
Office established
February 18, 1861
Jefferson Davis
23rd United States
Secretary of War
Dept of War

US Senator (Class 1)
from Mississippi
Seal of the US Senate
US Senator (Class 1)
from Mississippi


President of the
Confederate States of America
Seal of the CSA

Succeeded by
24th Secretary
John B. Floyd

Succeeded by
John J. McRae

Succeeded by
Vacant 1861 – 1870
Secession, Civil War
& Reconstruction

Succeeded by
Office abolished
May 10, 1865



Colonel Jefferson Davis served with the United States Army during the Mexican-American War
Service Started: Jun 1846
Unit(s): unknown
Service Ended: unknown
Colonel Jefferson Davis was Wounded in Action during the Mexican-American War.
Jefferson Davis was the son of Samuel Emory Davis and Jane Cook Davis. He was born in Christian County, Kentucky (in modern day Todd County) on June 3, 1807 or 1808. The exact date of his birth is unknown. He, himself did not know it:
"There has been some controversy about the year of my birth among the older members of my family, and I am not a competent witness in the case. having once supposed the year to have been 1807, I was subsequently corrected by being informed it was 1808, and have rested upon that point because it was just as good, and no better than another." [2]
The Davis family moved to Kentucky where Jefferson attended Transylvania University in Kentucky until the age of sixteen (1824), at which time he began attending the US Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from the academy in 1828.
Jefferson's first marriage was to Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States, and Margaret Smith Taylor on 17 June 1835. She died three months after they were married on 15 Sept 1835. He then married Varina Howell on February 26, 1845 when she was 17 and he was 35. They had six children but only three lived to adulthood.
Jefferson and Varina Davis

Jefferson Davis first appears in the political arena in 1843 as a delegate to the Democratic Convention.

On Dec. 8, 1845, he took his seat in Congress as a Representative for his district in Mississippi. In June 1846, he resigned his seat in Congress in order to re-enter the military at the beginning of the Mexican-American War, joining his regiment in New Orleans, Louisiana. He and his regiment set sail from New Orleans to Texas where, during the Battle of Buena Vista, he was shot in the foot.

When the regiment was ordered home in July 1847, President Polk appointed Col. Davis Brigadier-General. Arguing that the Constitution did not give power to the Federal government to appoint militia officers, he declined the appointment.[3] In 1853, President Pierce appointed Jefferson Davis as Secretary of War.

When Pierce lost his second bid for President, Davis once again ran for the Senate. He re-entered in March 1857 representing Mississippi.[4] When talk of secession from the Union began, there was little to no agreement in Tennessee. That changed quickly after a combination of events, the attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, followed by President Abraham Lincoln’s April 15 call for 75,000 volunteers! That was too drastic! It accomplished what no need article or public meeting had been able to do.
Public sentiment turned dramatically against the Union. This had a profound effect on Middle Tennessee, which went from 51 percent against secession in February to 88 percent in favor in June. In a June 8, 1861 referendum, East Tennessee held firm against separation, while West Tennessee returned an equally heavy majority in favor. The change in middle Tennessee carried the vote and Tennessee seceded. Though against secession, Davis accepted his state's decision to secede.
This portrait of Jefferson Davis was featured in
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper on March 9, 1861.
On 18 Feb 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the first and only President of the Confederate States of America (CSA). It is in this role that Jefferson Davis is best known.[5]
Alabama State Capitol building
Jefferson Davis is sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861, on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol.
Red Bullet Wounded in Action ??
On May 19, 1865, Davis was imprisoned in a casement at Fortress Monroe Virginia. Irons were riveted to his ankles at the order of General Nelson Miles who was in charge of the fort. Davis was allowed no visitors, and no books except the Bible.[6]
Sketch of Davis in Prison
This casement was barely more than a grungy dungeon. He was singled out for punishment for the sins of the south. Once released, after the war, he refused to apply for a pardon stating that he had not repented. In 1976, President Jimmy Carter posthumously reinstated his citizenship:
In posthumously restoring the full rights of citizenship to Jefferson Davis, the Congress officially completes the long process of reconciliation that has reunited our people following the tragic conflict between the States. Earlier, he was specifically exempted from resolutions restoring the rights of other officials in the Confederacy. He had served the United States long and honorably as a soldier, Member of the U.S. House and Senate, and as Secretary of War. General Robert E. Lee's citizenship was restored in 1976. It is fitting that Jefferson Davis should no longer be singled out for punishment. [7]
Our Nation needs to clear away the guilts and enmities and recriminations of the past, to finally set at rest the divisions that threatened to destroy our Nation and to discredit the principles on which it was founded. Our people need to turn their attention to the important tasks that still lie before us in establishing those principles for all people.
In December 1889, Jefferson Davis contracted a severe cold and bronchitis as he traveled through New Orleans which was complicated by malaria. He died on 6 Dec. 1889 at the age of 81 years old.[8]
The newspaper in New Orleans read:
"Throughout the South are Lamentations and tears; in every country on the globe where there are lovers of liberty there is mourning; wherever there are men who love heroic patriotism, dauntless resolution, fortitude or intellectual power, there is an sincere sorrowing. The beloved of our land, the unfaltering upholder of Constitutional liberty, the typical hero and sage, is no more; the fearless heart that beats with sympathy for all mankind is stilled forever, a great light is gone---Jefferson Davis is dead!"
President Davis' body lay in state from 6 Dec to 11 Dec, 1889 at New Orleans' city hall. The U.S. War Department didn't recognize him and no United States flag flew at half-mast except in the South. He was the only U.S. Secretary of War not given the due respect and honor of the U.S. Government.
Jefferson Davis' Body, in State
Jefferson Davis' Funeral Procession
Temporary Internment
President Davis' body was removed to Richmond, Virginia , capitol of the Confederate States of America, by a special funeral train. Thousands were in attendance to witness the deposit of his casket into its final resting place. His final resting place is Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond Virginia.[9]

Works by Jefferson Davis

"The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government", Volumes One and Two
"A Short History of the Confederate States of America."


Four U.S. states have counties named in his honor: Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas.


  1. Resigned to run for Governor of Mississippi, vacant September 23, 1851 – December 1, 1851 when successor appointed.
  2. The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 1, pages lxv-lxvi.
  3. Wikipedia:Jefferson_Davis Wikipedia: Jefferson Davis.
  4. Rice University, The Papers of Jefferson Davis.
  5. Wiley, Bell I. (January 1967). "Jefferson Davis: An Appraisal". Civil War Times Illustrated 6 (1): 4–17.
  6. Jefferson Davis in Prison.
  7. Jimmy Carter: "Restoration of Citizenship Rights to Jefferson F. Davis Statement on Signing S. J. Res. 16 into Law. ," October 17, 1978. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
  8. Death of Jefferson Davis.
  9. Find A Grave: Memorial #260


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Images: 12
Jefferson Davis, President CSA 1861-1865
Jefferson Davis, President CSA 1861-1865

Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

Funeral Procession for Jefferson Davis
Funeral Procession for Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

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On 8 Jan 2018 at 21:51 GMT Eddie King wrote:

Myths about Jefferson Davis


On 25 Nov 2017 at 17:56 GMT Jim Parsons wrote:

Here is a link to his service as a Lieutenant on the American frontier in Indian territory. And as Colonel in the War with Mexico

Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point N.Y., Volume 1, pg 416

On 20 Dec 2016 at 19:36 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Background image of Battle Flag replaced with image of CSA 1st National Flag (also called the "Stars and Bars").

On 13 Sep 2016 at 13:48 GMT Mary Richardson wrote:

Hi you have many templates. But if you have another ancestor, there is a new Mexican American war {{Mexican American War For more information see the Mexican American War Project page. To use the template you need to add (2) more brackets to enclose the Mexican American War

On 8 Aug 2014 at 12:51 GMT Eowyn Langholf wrote:

This profile is the
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Jefferson is 23 degrees from Rosa Parks, 18 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 17 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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