|Jefferson Finis Davis
b. June 3, 1808, Christian County, Ky.
d. December 9, 1889, Biloxi, Miss.
West Point, Davis studied at Jefferson College near Natchez and
Transylvania College near Lexington, Ky. At West Point he did not
distinguish himself - he finished 23rd in a class of 32 (the year was
1828). After serving 7 years in the army, Davis left the military to
become a planter. In 1845 he entered politics and remained in that
vocation almost continuously (except for serve during the Mexican war).
He represented Mississippi in the Congress, was Secretary of War under
Franklin Pierce, and was then appointed to the Senate. When Mississippi seceded,
he returned home thinking he would be commissioned a military command but
instead found that he had been elected provisional president of the
Confederacy. Inaugurated February 18, 1861, Davis moved to Richmond, Va.,
and was devoted to the cause and developed a true nationalistic viewpoint.
However, he was also narrow minded and tended toward cronyism. When
Richmond was gained by Union troops, Davis and his cabinet fled. Even
after Lee and Johnston's surrender, he refused to accept the defeat. He
was captured near Irwinville, Georgia on May 10, 1865, and was sent to
Fort Monroe, Va. for 2 years. The federal government had intended to try
him for treason, but over time, Davis was paroled and the treason charge
dropped. Upon gaining his freedom, he traveled to Canada and abroad before
settling near Biloxi. There he wrote a book, The Rise and Fall of the
Confederate Government, in 1881.
|Back to Collection|
Generals Home Page || Photos || About the Collection || List of Generals || Bibliography
A project of the Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections Division
Content and Design: Heather Muller