A Southern View of History:  The War for Southern Independence 




This section briefly introduces three prominent Southern heroes.  In addition it makes an attempt to help the student begin research on their own family history allowing them the possibility of identifying ancestors that were alive during this time period.  When a student makes a connection to a real person in history, it makes history more relevant in their lives.

Objective: To identify several Southern heroes and major events in their lives and to introduce the "how to begin" search for ancestors who were alive during the War Between the States.



A. Robert Edward Lee

(The following fact sheet is prepared by the Education Committee of the Sons of Confederate  Veterans (SCV) The fact sheet may be freely copied and distributed without permission or notice if published, please credit the Sons of Confederate Veterans.)


No finer example of a Southern gentleman and leader exists whose positive impact was so great during and after the War. His superb character as a Christian gentleman stood out in his life as a man, husband, father, citizen, soldier, and a leader. These qualities greatly impressed such notable men as Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt.  Fortunately General Lee left a wealth of sayings and personal wisdom of which only a fraction is present here in this educational sheet.




President Theodore Roosevelt described General Robert E. Lee as "the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth." 


Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote of Lee: "His noble presence and gentle, kindly manner were sustained by religious faith and an exalted character." Of his army, Churchill observed: "It was even said that their line of march could be traced by the bloodstained footprints of unshod men. But the Army of Northern Virginia 'carried the Confederacy on its bayonets' and made a struggle unsurpassed in history."


War-era Georgia Senator Ben Hill eloquently expressed a lasting Lee tribute: "He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness, and Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and loyal in authority as a true king. He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought; watchful as a Roman vital in duty; submissive to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as Achilles!"


LEE -HIS OWN WORDS & WISDOM-We can learn from the character of a man through his own words. General Robert E. Lee's wisdom and thoughts on various topics:


Character: As a general principle, you should not force young men to do their duty, but let them do it voluntarily and thereby develop their characters.


Choices: I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity.


Conduct: We have only one rule here (at Washington College) to act like a gentleman at all times.


Defeat: We may be annihilated, but we cannot be conquered.


Determination: We had, I was satisfied, sacred principles to maintain and rights to defend, for which we were in duty bound to do our best, even if we perished in the endeavor.


Dreams: All I ever wanted was a Virginia farm, no end of cream and fresh butter and fried chicken-not one fried chicken, or two, but unlimited fried chicken.


Duty: Do your duty. That is all the pleasure, all the comfort, all the glory we can enjoy in this world.


Education: The education of a man or woman is never completed until they die.


Faith: I trust that a kind Providence will watch over us, and notwithstanding our weakness and sins will yet give us a name and place among the 

nations of the earth.


Farewells: After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.


Forgiveness: Abandon your animosities, and make your sons Americans.


Honesty: The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.


Honor: A true man of honor feels humble himself when he cannot help humbling others.


Integrity: There is a true glory and a true honor: the glory of duty done-the honor of the integrity of principle.


Loyalty: If the Union is dissolved, the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share in the miseries of my people. Save in her defense, I will draw my sword no more.


Patriotism: These men are not an army-they are citizens defending their country.


Perseverance: We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.


Promotion: What do you care about rank? I would serve under a corporal if necessary!


Purpose: I am glad to see no indication in your letter of an intention to leave the country.  I think the South requires the aid of her sons now more than at any period in her history. As you ask my purpose, I will state that I have no thought of abandoning her unless compelled to do so.


Regrets: If I had taken General Longstreet' s advice on the eve of the second day of the battle of Gettysburg ...[then] the Confederates would today be a free people.


Union Atrocities: I have never witnessed on any previous occasion such entire disregard of the usage of civilized warfare and the dictates of humanity.


Vengeance: It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies.



Robert Edward Lee, general-in-chief of the Confederate States army, is placed by general fame as well as by the cordial suffrage of the South, first among all Southern military chieftains. By official rank he held that position in the Confederate States army, and his right to the primacy there is none to dispute. Considered as a true type of the American developed through the processes by which well-sustained free government proves and produces a high order of manly character, he fully and justly gained the distinguished esteem with which all America claims him as her own. Beyond the borders of this continent, which men of his caste long ago consecrated to freedom at altars that smoked with sacrifice, and extending over oceans east and west into the old world's realms, his name has gone to be honored, his character to be admired, and his military history to be studied alongside the work of the great masters of war. Happy, indeed, are the Southern people in knowing him to be their own, while they surrender his fame to become a part of their country's glory.

General Lee's lineage and collateral kindred constitute an array of illustrious characters, but certainly without dispraise of any, and without unduly exalting himself, it can be calmly written down that he was the greatest of all his race. Unaware he was of his own distinction. Unaware also of a common sentiment was each of his people who cherished an individual feeling in the years which followed his public service until the consensus came into open view, where all men saw that all true men honored his name and revered his memory.

Contrast of Lee with other men will not be instituted, because there were indeed others great like himself, and he more than others would deplore a contest for premiership in fame. The most that can be said in any mingling of his name with other illustrious characters has been uttered in the wonderfully felicitous and graphic sentences of Benjamin H. Hill, which may be repeated here, because of their brilliant and true characterization:

"When the future historian shall come to survey the character of Lee he will find it rising like a huge mountain above the undulating plane of humanity, and he must lift his eyes high toward heaven to catch its summit. He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and royal in authority as a true king. He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought; watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates; and grand in battle as Achilles."

It will be understood by all who read any biographical sketch of one so eminent as the Southern military leader thus portrayed in Mr. Hill's splendid words, that the facts of his life must sustain the eulogy. Fortunately this support appears even in the cold recital which is here attempted. General Lee was born at Stratford, Virginia, January 19, 1807, and was eleven years old on the death of his chivalric father, General Henry Lee, the "Light Horse Harry" of the American revolution. In boyhood he was taught in the schools of Alexandria, chiefly by Mr. William B. Leary, an Irishman, and prepared for West Point by Mr. Benjamin Hallowel1. He entered the National military academy in 1825, and was graduated in 1829, without a demerit and with second honors. During these youthful years he was remarkable in personal appearance, possessing a handsome face and superb figure, and a manner that charmed by cordiality and won respect by dignity. He was thoroughly moral, free from the vices, and while "full of life and fun, animated, bright and charming," as a contemporary describes him, he was more inclined to serious than to gay society.

He married Mary Custis, daughter of Washington Parke Custis, and grand-daughter of Martha Washington, at Arlington, Va., June 30, 1831. Their children were G. W. Custis, Mary, W. H. Fitzhugh, Annie, Agnes, Robert and Mildred.

At his graduation he was appointed second-lieutenant of engineers and by assignment engaged in engineering at Old Point and on the coasts. In 1834 he was assistant to the chief engineer at Washington; in 1835 on the commission to mark the boundary line between Ohio and Michigan; in 1836 promoted first lieutenant, and in 1838, captain of engineers. In 1837 he was ordered to the Mississippi river, in association with Lieutenant Meigs (afterward general) to make special surveys and plans for improvements of navigation; in 1840 a military engineer; in 1842 stationed at Fort Hamilton, New York; and in 1844 one of the board of visitors at West Point. Captain Lee was with General Wool in the beginning of the Mexican war, and at the special request of General Scott was assigned to the personal staff of that commander. When Scott landed 12,000 men south of Vera Cruz, Captain Lee established the batteries which were so effective in compelling the surrender of the city. The advance which followed met with serious resistance from Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo. Here Captain Lee made the reconnaissances and in three days' time placed batteries in positions which Santa Anna had judged inaccessible, enabling Scott to carry the heights and rout the enemy. In his report Scott wrote: "I am compelled to make special mention of Captain R. E. Lee," and the brevet as major was accorded the skillful artilleryman. The valley of Mexico was the scene of the next military operations, and here Lee continued to serve with signal ability and personal bravery. One act of daring General Scott afterward referred to as" the greatest feat of physical and moral courage performed by any individual in my knowledge pending the campaign." Having participated in the daylight assault which carried the entrenchments of Contreras, Captain Lee was soon afterward engaged in the battles of Churubusco and Molino del Rey, gaining promotion to brevet lieutenant-colonel. In the storming at Chapultepec, one of the most brilliant affairs of the war, he was severely wounded, and won from General Scott, in his official report, appreciative mention as being "as distinguished for execution as for science and daring." After Chapultepec he was recommended for the rank of colonel. The City of Mexico was next taken and the war ended.

Among the officers with Lee in Mexico were Grant, Meade, McClellan, Hancock, Sedgwick, Hooker, Burnside, Thomas, McDowell, A. S. Johnston, Beauregard, T. J. Jackson, Longstreet, Loring, Hunt, Magruder, and Wilcox, all of whom seemed to have felt for him a strong attachment. Reverdy Johnson said he had heard General Scott more than once say that his "success in Mexico was largely due to the skill, valor and undaunted energy of Robert E. Lee." Jefferson Davis, in a public address at the Lee memorial meeting November 3, 1870, said: "He came from Mexico crowned with honors, covered with brevets, and recognized, young as he was, as one of the ablest of his country's soldiers." General Scott said with emphasis: "Lee is the greatest military genius in America." Every general officer with whom he personally served in Mexico made special mention of him in official reports. General Persifer Smith wrote: "I wish to record particularly my admiration of the conduct of Captain Lee, of the engineers--the soundness of his judgment and his personal daring being equally conspicuous." General Shields referred to him as one" in whose skill and judgment I had the utmost confidence." General Twiggs declared" his gallantry and good conduct deserve the highest praise," and Colonel Riley bore "testimony to the intrepid coolness and gallantry exhibited by Captain Lee when conducting the advance of my brigade under the heavy flank fire of the enemy."

In the subsequent years of peace Lee was assigned first to important duties in the corps of military engineers with headquarters at Baltimore, from 1849 to 1852, and then served as superintendent of the military academy at West Point until 1855, when he was promoted brevet lieutenant-colonel and assigned to the Second cavalry, commanded by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston This remarkably fine regiment included among its officers besides Johnston and Lee, Hardee, Thomas, VanDorn, Fitz Lee, Kirby Smith, and Stoneman, later distinguished in the Confederate war. With this regiment Lee shared the hardships of frontier duty, defending the western frontier of Texas against hostile Indians from 1856 until the spring of 1861. In October, 1859, he was at Washington in obedience to command, and fortunately so, as during his visit occurred the John Brown raid. President Buchanan selected him to suppress the movement, which he did with prompt vigor, after giving the proper summons to Brown to surrender. Returning to Texas, he was in command of the department in 1860 and early in 1861, while the Southern States were passing ordinances of secession, and with sincere pain observed the progress of dissolution. Writing January 23, 1861, he said that the South had been aggrieved by the acts of the North, and that he felt the aggression and was willing to take every proper step for redress. But he anticipated no greater calamity than a dissolution of the Union and would sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. He termed secession a revolution, but said that a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets had no charms for him. "If the Union is dissolved and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people; and save in defense will draw my sword on none."

About a month later Lee was summoned to Washington to report to General Scott and reached the capital on the 1st of March, only a few days before the inauguration of Lincoln. He was then just fifty-four years of age, and dating from his cadetship at West Point had been in the military service of the government about thirty-six years. He had reached the exact prime of maturity; in form, features, and general bearing the type of magnificent manhood; educated to thoroughness; cultivated by extensive reading, wide experience, and contact with the great men of the period; with a dauntless bravery tested and improved by military perils in many battles; his skill in war recognized as of the highest order by comrades and commanders; and withal a patriot in whom there was no guile and a man without reproach. Bearing this record and character, Lee appeared at the capital of the country he loved, hoping that wisdom in its counsels would avert coercion and that this policy would lead to reunion. Above all others he was the choice of General Scott for the command of the United States army; and the aged hero seems to have earnestly urged the supreme command upon him. Francis P. Blair also invited him to a conference and said, "I come to you on the part of President Lincoln to ask whether any inducement that he can offer will prevail on you to take command of the Union army." To this alluring offer Lee at once replied courteously but candidly that though "opposed to secession and deprecating war he would take no part in the invasion of the Southern States." His resignation followed at once, and repairing to Virginia, he placed his stainless sword at the service of his imperiled State and accepted the command of her military forces. The commission was presented to him in the presence of the Virginia convention on April 23, 1861, by Mr. Janney, the president of that body, with ceremonies of great impressiveness, and General Lee entered at once upon duties which absorbed his thought and engaged his heart. The position thus assigned confined him at first to a narrowed area, but he diligently organized the military strength of Virginia and surveyed the field over which he foresaw the battles for the Confederacy would be fought. As late as April 25 he wrote, "No earthly act would give me so much pleasure as to restore peace to my country, but I fear it is now out of the power of man, and in God alone must be our trust. I think our policy should be purely on the defensive, to resist aggression and allow time to allay the passions and permit reason to resume her sway."

The Confederate government in May, 1861, employed his splendid talent for organization, an advantageous employment, indeed, but one that kept him from that command in the field for which he was eminently qualified. Subsequently the expeditions in the West Virginia campaign were attended with such peculiar disadvantages that General Lee had the mortification of observing a sudden and unjust waning of his reputation. Thus his service in the field for which he was best fitted was still further postponed, and he spent the winter of 1861 in command of the department of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, to which he was assigned by President Davis, giving his talents as an engineer to organization of a system of coast defense. From these duties he was called in March, 1862, to become the military adviser of the President, a position in which he gave constant attention to the movements of the enemy as well as to the Confederate means of defense, and was in readiness to assume any duty that might be assigned.

The severe wounding of General J. E. Johnston, at the battle of Seven Pines, and the illness of General G. W. Smith, next in rank, brought to him the command of the army of Northern Virginia, which he immediately led to successive victories over the great armies of McClellan, Pope, Burnside and Hooker, attaining for him. self, in a few months, a fame for generalship which spread over the world.

His subsequent career throughout the Confederate struggle was distinguished by his regard for the humane usages of war; his exhibition of great military skill; a spirited personal courage, as well as that nerve of leader. ship that impelled him to give battle whenever he saw an opportunity to strike an effective blow; a courteous bearing toward his officers and a tender concern for the welfare of the men in line; an untiring attention to details and an unexcelled devotion to duty. All these characteristics and much more were made apparent as the war wore on to its disastrous end.

The details which establish his reputation as a military genius are to be found in all the books which have been written on the Confederate war. Referring to them for special information we pass on to see him at Appomattox, nobly yielding himself and his army when resistance was no longer possible, and then departing for his home, to refuse offers of place that would bring profit and high civil position, and finally turning his glorious life into channels of beneficent influence.

With clear insight into all the merits of the cause for which he drew his sword in 1861, he wrote on January 5, 1866: "All that the South has ever desired was that the Union as established by our fathers should be preserved, and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth." Six months later he wrote: "I had no other guide, nor had I any other object than the defense of those principles of American liberty upon which the constitutions of the several States were originally founded, and unless they are strictly observed I fear there will be an end of Republican government in this country."

He lived only a few years after the fall of the Confederacy, and those years were nearly all spent in service as president of the Washington-Lee college. The anxieties of his military life had changed his hair to gray, but he was still in vigorous health. His nearest friends alone saw that his sympathy for the misfortunes of his people became a malady which physicians could not remove. With sincere purpose to observe his parole, and, after all military operations had ceased, to lend his influence fully to peace, he carefully avoided all things which would irritate the people in power. Rigidly preserving his convictions, as he felt he must do, he nevertheless promoted the restoration of harmony among the people of the whole country. Thus his life passed until he was suddenly seized with sickness on the 28th of September, 1870, at his home in Lexington, and on Wednesday morning, October 12th, he died in the Christian's faith, which he had all his life confessed. Demonstrations of sorrow as sincere as they were imposing manifested the great love of his own people in the South, but these exhibitions also extended into the North, and from the European press America learned how highly the eminent Confederate was esteemed abroad. "The grave of this noble hero is bedewed with the most tender and sacred tears ever shed upon a human tomb. A whole nation has risen up in the spontaneity of its grief to render the tribute of its love." His name will lure his countrymen to revere truth and pay devotion to duty, and until the nation ceases to be free the glory of his character will be cherished as priceless national treasure.


"With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword....." Lee in a letter to his sister, April 20, 1861


Lee returned to Richmond as a paroled prisoner of war, and submitted with the utmost composure to an altered destiny. He devoted the rest of his life to setting an example of conduct for other thousands of ex-Confederates. He refused a number of offers which would have secured substantial means for his family. Instead, he assumed the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, and his reputation revitalized the school after the war. Lee's enormous wartime prestige, both in the North and South, and the devotion inspired by his unconscious symbolism of the "Lost Cause" made his a legendary figure even before his death. He died on October 12 1870, of heart disease which had plagued him since the spring of 1863, at Lexington, Va. and is buried there. Somehow, his application for restoration of citizenship was mislaid, and it was not until the 1970's that it was found and granted.

Following the war Lee returned as a paroled prisoner at Richmond.  Lee was almost tried as a traitor following the hysteria and anti-southern hatred resulting from the assassination of Lincoln.  No substantial charges could be brought against Lee, but he was left with his citizenship revoked and in effect with his civil rights being suspended for the rest of his life.


Lee devoted the remainder of his life to setting an excellent example of conduct for the southerners.  He refused a number of offers and promotional schemes  which would have given substantial financial rewards for himself and his family.  Instead he took the post of President of Washington University at Lexington, VA, where he served until his death in 1870. The school was later renamed Washington and Lee. 



Upon the surrender of the Southern army at Appomattox, the conditions of the terms for that surrender allowed the Confederate soldier to return home after taking an oath not to take up arms against the United States. Many general officers and high-ranking officials were stripped of their citizenship, requiring them to sign an amnesty oath before a notary public.


Robert E. Lee, had to wait five months before he could apply for his citizenship. Now serving as president of the Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, Lee would sign the amnesty oath on October 2, 1865. But Lee would die a man without a country, still awaiting word from Washington about his citizenship.


One hundred years after Lee's oath was sent to Washington, a clerk came across it while sorting through papers at the National Archives. By an act of Congress and with the endorsement of President Gerald Ford, Lee's citizenship was restored on July 22, 1975. It is believed an employee may have purposely misplaced it in 1865, thinking Lee did not deserve to be an American


Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 at Stratford, Virginia. Robert was the fourth child of a Revolutionary War hero Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Ann Hill Carter Lee. Young Robert, the son, was raised mostly by his mother. From her he learned patience, control, and discipline. As a young man he was exposed to Christianity and accepted its faith. In contrast to the strong example of his mother Robert saw his father go from failed enterprise to failed enterprise. In part the young Robert was led to try harder and succeed.  


Robert was accepted to the United States Military Academy and graduated 2nd in his class. But perhaps greater than his academic success was his record of no demerits while being a cadet which today has still not been equaled. Following his graduation Lee, like most top classmen, was given a commission as an engineer. Lt. Lee helped build the St. Louis waterfront and worked on coastal forts in Brunswick and Savannah. It was during this time he married Mary Custis the granddaughter of George Washington and Martha Custis Washington. 


In 1845 the War between U.S. and Mexico erupted. General Winfield Scott, overall U.S. Army commander, attached Captain Robert E. Lee to his staff. Lee was entrusted with the vital duties of mapping out the terrain ahead, dividing the line of advance for the U.S. troops, and in one case leading troops into battle. Lee was learning skills he would need 16 years later. There in Mexico Lee also met, worked with, and got a chance to evaluate many of those he would later serve with and against; James Longstreet, Thomas J. Jackson, George Pickett, and U.S. Grant. 


Following the Mexican War Lee returned to service as an army engineer. He spent most of this time near Washington D.C. and moved into Custis mansion (now overlooking the Arlington Cemetery). Thus was Colonel Lee was available for duty to put down a believed rebellion at Harper Ferry, Virginia the site of a United States Arsenal. Colonel Lee, and a young aide Lt. JEB Stuart, and a detachment of U.S. marines, were rushed by train to Harper's Ferry where they were able to capture radical abolitionist John Brown and his followers. 


Brown's attempt seemed to confirm all the worst fears of the south and when Abraham Lincoln was elected President South Carolina seceded and was quickly followed by 6 more deep southern states: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The old warrior General Winfield Scott asked Colonel Robert E. Lee to take command of the United States Army to put down "the rebellion".  Lee, however, offered his services to the newly elected President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. Mr. Davis accepted them and Lee was made a general in CSA service. At first General Lee was more or less advisor to President Davis and the Secretary of War.   Lee went on to serve the Confederate States of America until the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865. He was one of the most beloved leaders of the CSA.  

References and Details:


"Officers Of Civil And Military Organizations", Confederate Military History, Volume I

"Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

"R. E. Lee", by Douglas Southall Freeman

"Memoirs of Robert E. Lee", by A. L. Long

"The Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee", by Robert E. Lee Jr.



B. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson was one of those rare historical characters who are claimed by all people--a man of his race, almost as much as of the Confederacy. No war has produced a military celebrity more remarkable, nor one whose fame will be more enduring.  Next to Robert E. Lee himself, Thomas J. Jackson is the most revered of all Confederate commanders. A graduate of West Point (1846), he had served in the artillery in the Mexican War, earning two brevets, before resigning to accept a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute. Thought strange by the cadets, he earned "Tom Fool Jackson" and "Old Blue Light" as nicknames.


He was born January 21, 1824, in Clarksburg, Va., and his parents, who were of patriotic Revolutionary stock, dying while he was but a child, he was reared and educated by his kindred in the pure and simple habits of rural life, taught in good English schools, and is described as a "diligent, plodding scholar, having a strong mind, though it was slow in development." But he was in boyhood a leader among his fellow-students in the athletic sports of the times, in which he generally managed his side of the contest so as to win the victory. By this country training he became a bold and expert rider and cultivated that spirit of daring which being held sometimes in abeyance displayed itself in his Mexican service, and then suddenly again in the Confederate war. In June, 1842, at the age of eighteen, he was appointed to a cadetship in the military academy at West Point, where, commencing with the disadvantages of inadequate preparation, he overcame obstacles by such determination as to rise from year to year in the estimation of the faculty. He graduated June 30, 1846, at the age of twenty-two years, receiving brevet rank as second-lieutenant at the beginning of the Mexican war, and was ordered to report for duty with the First Regular artillery, with which he shared in the many brilliant battles which General Scott fought from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. He was often commended for his soldierly conduct and soon received successive promotions for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco. Captain Magruder, afterwards a Confederate general, thus mentioned him in orders: "If devotion, industry, talent, and gallantry are the highest qualities of a soldier, then is he entitled to the distinction which their possession confers." Jackson was one of the volunteers in the storming of Chapultepec, and for his daring there was brevetted major, which was his rank at the close of the Mexican war.

His religious character, which history has and will inseparably connect with his military life, appears to have begun forming in the City of Mexico, where his attention was directed to the subject of the variety of beliefs on religious questions. His amiable and affectionate biographer (Mrs. Jackson) mentions that Colonel Francis Taylor, the commander of the First artillery, under whom Jackson was serving, was the first man to speak to him on the subject of personal religion. Jackson had not at any time of his life yielded to the vices, and was in all habits strictly moral, but had given no particular attention to the duties enjoined by the church. Convinced now that this neglect was wrong, he began to study the Bible and pursued his inquiries until he finally united (1851) with the Presbyterian church. His remarkable devoutness of habit and unwavering confidence in the truth of his faith contributed, it is conceded, very greatly to the full development of his singular character, as well as to his marvelous success.

In 1848 Jackson's command was stationed at Fort Hamilton for two years, then at Fort Meade, in Florida, and from that station he was elected to a chair in the Virginia military institute at Lexington in 1851, which he accepted, and resigning his commission, made Lexington his home ten years, and until he began his remarkable' career in the Confederate war. Two years later, 1853, he married Miss Eleanor, daughter of Rev. Dr. Junkin, president of Washington college, but she lived scarcely more than a year. Three years after, July 16, 1857, his second marriage occurred, with Miss Mary Anna, daughter of Rev. Dr. H. R- Morrison, of North Carolina, a distinguished educator, whose other daughters married men who attained eminence in civil and military life, among them being General D. H. Hill, General Rufus Barringer, and Chief Justice A. C. Avery.

The only special incident occurring amidst the educational and domestic life of Major Jackson, which flowed on serenely from this hour, was the summons of the cadets of the Institute by Governor Letcher, to proceed to Harper's Ferry on the occasion of the raid of John Brown in 1859.

During the presidential campaign of 1860 Major Jackson visited New England and there heard enough to arouse his fears for the safety of the Union. At the election of that year he cast his vote for Breckinridge on the principle that he was a State rights man, and after Lincoln's election he favored the policy of contending in the Union rather than out of it, for the recovery of the ground that had thus been lost. The course of coercion, however, alarmed him, and the failure of the Peace congress persuaded him that if the United States persisted in their course war would certainly result. His State saw as he did, and on the passage of its ordinance of secession, the military cadets under the command of Major Jackson were ordered to the field by the governor of Virginia. The order was promptly obeyed April 21, 1861, from which date his Confederate military life began.

Jackson's valuable service was given to Virginia in the occupation of Harper's Ferry and several subsequent small affairs, but his fame became general from the battle of First Manassas. It was at one of the crises of that first trial battle between the Federal and Confederate troops that he was given the war name of "Stonewall," by which he will be always designated. The true story will be often repeated that on being notified of the Federal advance to break the Confederate line he called out, "We will give them the bayonet," and a few minutes later the steadiness with which the brigade received the shock of battle caused the Confederate General Bee to exclaim: "There stands Jackson like a stone wall."

He was commissioned brigadier-general June 17, 1861, and was promoted to major-general October 7, 1861, with the wise assignment to command of the Valley district, which he assumed in November of that year. With a small force he began even in winter a series of bold operations in the great Virginia valley, and opened the spring campaign of 1862, on plans concerted between General Joseph E. Johnston and himself, by attacking the enemy at Kernstown, March 23rd, where he sustained his only repulse; but even in the movement which resulted in a temporary defeat he caused the recall of a considerable Federal force designed to strengthen McClellan in the advance against Richmond. The next important battle was fought at McDowell, in which Jackson won a decided victory over Fremont. Then moving with celerity and sagacity he drove Banks at Front Royal, struck him again at Newtown, and at length utterly routed him. After this, turning about on Shields, he overthrew his command also, and thus, in one month's campaign, broke up the Federal forces which had been sent to "crush him." In these rapidly executed operations he had successfully fought five battles against three distinct armies, requiring four hundred miles, marching to compass the fields.

This Valley campaign of 1862 was never excelled, according to the opinions expressed by military men of high rank and long experience in war. It is told by Dr. McGuire, the chief surgeon of Jackson's command, that with swelling heart he had "heard some of the first soldiers and military students of England declare that within the past two hundred years the English speaking race has produced but five soldiers of the first rank--Marlborough, Washington, Wellington, Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and that this campaign in the valley was superior to either of those made by Napoleon in Italy." One British officer, who teaches strategy in a great European college, told Surgeon McGuire that he used this campaign as a model of strategy and tactics, dwelling upon it for several months in his lectures; that it was taught in the schools of Germany, and that Von Moltke, the great strategist, declared it was without a rival in the world's history.

After this brilliant service for the Confederacy Jackson joined Lee at Richmond in time to strike McClellan's flank at the battle of Cold Harbor, and to contribute to the Federal defeat in the Seven Days' battles around Richmond. In the campaign against Pope, undertaken by Lee after he had defeated McClellan, Jackson was sent on a movement suited to his genius, capturing Manassas Junction, and foiling Pope until the main battle of Second Manassas, August 30, 1862, under Lee, despoiled that Federal general of all his former honors. The Maryland campaign immediately followed, in which Jackson led in the capture of Harper's Ferry September 15th, taking 11,500 prisoners, and an immense amount of arms and stores, just preceding the battle of Sharpsburg, in which he also fought with notable efficiency at a critical juncture. The promotion to lieutenant-general was now accorded him, October 10, 1862. At the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, Lieutenant-General Jackson held the Confederate right against all Federal assaults. The Federal disaster in this battle resulted in the resignation of Burnside and the reorganization of the army under General Hooker in 1863.

After the most complete preparations Hooker advanced against Lee at Chancellorsville, who countervailed all the Federal general's plans by sending Jackson to find and crush his right flank, which movement was in the process of brilliant accomplishment when Jackson, who had passed his own lines to make a personal inspection of the situation, was fired upon and fatally wounded by a line of Confederates who unhappily mistook him and his escort for the enemy. The glory of the achievement which Lee and Jackson planned, fell upon General Stuart next day, who, succeeding Jackson in command, ordered that charge which became so ruinous to Hooker, with the thrilling watchword, "Remember Jackson."

General Jackson lived a few days, he died eight days later on May 10, 1863, from pneumonia,  lamented more than any soldier who had fallen. Lee said: "He has lost his left arm; but I have lost my right arm." The army felt that his place could not be easily supplied. The South was weighted with grief. After the war, when the North dispassionately studied the man they ceased to wonder at the admiration in which he was held by the world. He was buried at Lexington, Va., where a monument erected by affection marks his grave. "For centuries men will come to Lexington as a Mecca, and to this grave as a shrine, and wonderingly talk of this man and his mighty deeds. Time will only add to his great fame--his name will be honored and revered forever."

References and Details:


Officers Of Civil And Military Organizations. Confederate Military History, Volume I

"Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

"Stonewall Jackson, "Southern Historical Society Papers.Richmond, Va., Sept., 1915. New Series, Vol. 2, Old Series, Vol. XL.

"Stonewall Jackson", Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. XXXVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1910.
"Stonewall Jackson" by Robert Lewis Dabney 1897


    C. President Jefferson Davis



Jefferson Davis was born June 3, 1808, in that portion of Christian county, Kentucky, which was afterwards set off as Todd county. His grandfather was a colonist from Wales, living in Virginia and Maryland, and rendering important public service to those southern colonies. His father, Samuel Emory Davis, and his uncles, were all Revolutionary soldiers in 1776. Samuel Davis served during the Revolution partly with Georgia cavalry and was also in the siege of Savannah as an officer in the infantry. He is described as a young officer of gentle and engaging address, as well as remarkable daring in battle. Three brothers of Jefferson Davis, all older than himself, fought in the war of 1812, two of them serving directly with Andrew Jackson, and gaining from that great soldier special mention of their gallantry in the battle of New Orleans.

 Samuel Davis, after the Revolution removed to Kentucky, resided there a few years and then changed his home to Wilkinson county, Mississippi. Jefferson Davis received his academic education in early boyhood at home, and was then sent to Transylvania university in Kentucky, where he remained until 1824, the sixteenth year of his age. During that year he was appointed by President Monroe to West Point military academy as a cadet. A class-mate at West Point said of him, "he was distinguished in his corps for manly bearing and high-toned and lofty character. His figure was very soldier like and rather robust; his step springy, resembling the tread of an Indian 'brave' on the war-path." He was graduated June, 1828, at twenty years of age, assigned at once to the First infantry and commissioned on the same day brevet second-lieutenant and second-lieutenant. His first active service in the United States army was at posts in the North-west from 1828 to 1833. The Black-hawk war occurring in 1831, his regiment was engaged in several of its battles, in one of which the Indian chieftain, Blackhawk, was captured and placed in the charge of Lieutenant Davis; and it is stated that the heart of the Indian captive was won by the kind treatment he received from the young officer who held him prisoner. In 1833, March 4th, Lieutenant Davis was transferred to a new regiment called the First Dragoons, with promotion to the rank of first-lieutenant, and was appointed adjutant. For about two years following this promotion he had active service in various encounters with the Pawnees, Comanches and other tribes.

His sudden and surprising resignation occurred June 30, 1835, with an immediate entrance upon the duties of civil life. His uncle and other attached friends were averse to his continuance in military life, believing that he was unusually qualified to achieve distinction in a civil career. For some time he hesitated and then yielded to their wishes. Perhaps also the attractions of Miss Sallie Knox Taylor, daughter of Zachary Taylor, commanding the First infantry, to whom he became affianced, contributed to the decision. The marriage between them has been often spoken of inaccurately as an elopement, but it was solemnized at the house of the bride's aunt, near Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Davis now became a cotton planter in Warren county at the age of twenty-seven, and while engaging successfully in this pursuit he devoted much of his time to studies that would prepare him for public life. His first appearance in political strife on a general field was in the gubernatorial canvass of 1843. He was sent as a delegate to the Democratic convention of that year and made such impressions by his speeches as to cause a demand for his services on the hustings. In 1844 his abilities were again in requisition as an elector for Polk and Dallas. In this canvass he took a firm position for strict construction, the protection of States from Federal encroachment, and incidentally advocated the annexation of Texas. The reputation which he made during this year as a statesman of the State rights school bore him into the Congress of the United States as the representative of Mississippi from his congressional district. Mr. Davis took his seat in Congress December 8, 1845, at a period when certain great questions were in issue, and with only a brief and commendable delay, took a foremost place in the discus. sions. The Oregon question, the tariff, the Texas question, were all exciting issues. It is especially noticeable in view of his after life that in these debates he evinced a devotion to the union and glory of his country in eloquent speeches, and in a consistent line of votes favorable to his country's growth in greatness. One of his earliest efforts in Congress was to convert certain forts into schools of instruction for the military of the States. His support of the "war policy," as the Texas annexation measure was sometimes designated, was ardent and unwavering, in the midst of which he was elected colonel of the First Mississippi regiment of riflemen. His decision to re-enter military life was quickly carried into effect by resignation of his place in Congress June, 1846, and the joining of his regiment at New Orleans, which he conducted to the army of General Taylor on the Rio Grande. He had succeeded in arming his regiment with percussion rifles, prepared a manual and tactics for the new arm, drilled his officers and men diligently in its use, and thus added to Taylor's force perhaps the most effective regiment in his little army. He led his well disciplined command in a gallant and successful charge at Monterey, September 21, 1846, winning a brilliant victory in the assault on Fort Teneria. For several days afterwards his regiment, united with Tennesseeans, drove the Mexicans from their redoubts with such gallantry that their leader won the admiration and confidence of the entire army. At Buena Vista the riflemen and Indiana volunteers under Davis evidently turned the course of battle into victory for the Americans by a bold charge under heavy fire against a larger body of Mexicans. It was immediately on this brilliant success that a fresh brigade of Mexican lancers advanced against the Mississippi regiment in full gallop and were repulsed by the formation of the line in the shape of the V, the flanks resting on ravines, thus exposing the lancers to a converging fire. Once more on that day the same regiment, now reduced in numbers by death and wounds, attacked and broke the Mexican right. During this last charge Colonel Davis was severely wounded, but remained on the field until the victory was won. General Taylor's dispatch of March 6, 1847, makes special complimentary mention of the courage, coolness and successful service of Colonel Davis and his command. The Mississippi regiment served out its term of enlistment, and was ordered home in July, 1847. President Polk appointed Colonel Davis brigadier-general, but he declined the commission on the ground that that appointment was unconstitutional.

 In August, 1847, the governor of Mississippi appointed Mr. Jefferson Davis to the vacancy in the United States Senate caused by the death of Senator Speight, and he took his seat December 5, 1847. The legislature elected him in January for the remainder of the term, and subsequently he was re-elected for a full term. His senatorial career, beginning in December, 1847, extended over the eventful period of 1849 and 1850, in which the country was violently agitated by the questions arising on the disposition of the common territory, and into which the subject of slavery was forcibly injected. The compromise measures of 1850 proposed by Mr. Clay, and the plan of President Taylor's administration, were both designed to settle the dangerous controversy, while extreme radicals opposed all compromise and denounced every measure that favored slavery in any respect. Senator Davis advocated the division of the western territory by an extension of the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific ocean, because it had been once accepted as a settlement of the sectional question. A majority refused this mode of settlement. On this proposition to adhere to the old Missouri Compromise line of settlement the vote in the Senate was 24 yeas and 32 nays. All the yeas were cast by Southern senators. All nays were by Northern senators except Kentucky one, Missouri one and Delaware two. Mr. Davis thought that the political line of 36 deg. 30' had been at first objectionable on account of its establishing a geographical division of sectional inter-eats, and was an assumption by Congress of a function not delegated to it, but the act had received such recognition through quasi-ratifications by the people of the States as to give it a value it did not originally possess. "Pacification had been the fruit borne by the tree, and it should not have been recklessly hewn down and cast in the fire." He regarded this destruction of the Missouri Compromise line in 1849-50 by Northern votes in Congress as dangerous to the peace of the country. In his opinion at that time the theory of popular sovereignty in the territories "was good enough in itself, and as an abstract proposition could not be gainsaid," but its practical operation, he feared, would introduce fierce territorial strife. He now. saw very little in the compromise legislation of 1850 favorable to the Southern States. According to his view it "bore the impress of that sectional spirit so widely at variance with the general purposes of the Union and destructive of the harmony and mutual benefit which the Constitution was intended to secure." He did not believe the Northern States would respect any of its provisions which conflicted with their views and interests. His attitude, however, toward the measures of Mr. Clay was not positively hostile, though it was emphatically distrustful. But during the perilous discussions of those times Mr. Davis did not align himself with any disunionists North or South. He says for himself, "My devotion to the Union of our fathers had been so often and so publicly declared; I had on the floor of the Senate so defiantly challenged any question of my fidelity to it; my services, civil and military, had now extended through so long a period and were so generally known, that I felt quite assured that no whisperings of envy or ill-will could lead the people of Mississippi to believe that I had dishonored their trust by using the power they had conferred on me to destroy the government to which I was accredited. Then, as afterward, I regarded the separation of the States as a great, though not the greater evil." The votes and speeches of Mr. Davis accorded with the instruction of the Mississippi legislature, and his public record is entirely consistent with this avowal of his devotion to the whole country and his patriotic desire to preserve it from the evils of fanaticism. Reference to this Union sentiment is not made in this sketch or elsewhere in this general work as apologetic in its bearings. But it is in rebuke of those careless or vicious statements often made against Mr. Davis and other Confederate leaders that they were for many years engaged in a conspiracy to break up the Union.

Senator Davis entered upon his new and full term as senator from Mississippi March 4, 1851, from which date there were before him six years of honor in the position he preferred to all others. There was a strong probability also that if living he would be continued in the Senate, since the Southern States were accustomed to the retaining of their eminent men in office. No man had less reason than himself for conspiracy against the government. With this advantage and under the influence of strongly conservative feeling he canvassed the State of Mississippi in 1851, bravely advocating the policy of determined resistance to sectional aggressions, and insisting that the country should be defended from the perils of Congressional usurpation. His argument was that reverence for the constitutional reservations of power would alone save the Union, and upon this view he taught that statesmen who revered the Constitution most, loved the Union best. The overwhelming sentiment of Mississippi that year was to accept the compromise measures of 1850 as a finality, and consequently the State rights party which had been organized upon a vague platform proposing to devise some undefined method of securing guarantees against sectional usurpations, was defeated. Mississippi accordingly joined the other Southern States in acquiescence with the settlement of 1850 "as a finality."

The election for governor of the State was to occur later in the same year. Governor Quitman had been nominated for re-election, but his political antecedents so decidedly committed him to disunion as to imperil his success. Therefore he withdrew from the nomination, and Senator Davis was called on by the executive committee to take his place, because his conservative record accorded more nearly than Governor Quitman's with the recent ballot of the people. It was only six weeks to the day of the election, the State rights party had been lately beaten by a majority of over 7,000 votes, Davis was at that time too sick to leave home, and acceptance of the nomination required his resignation of the high office he then held secure for nearly six years. Nevertheless he accepted the trust, resigned the senatorial office and was defeated by less than one thousand votes. Mr. Davis retired for a short time to private life, from which he was called by President Pierce, who had been elected to the presidency in 1852. At first the tender of a place in the cabinet of the new President was declined, but on further consideration he accepted the office of secretary of war. Mr. Davis had ably supported Pierce in the race of the previous year upon the platform which emphasized beyond all else the finality of the compromise measures, and the cessation of sectional hostilities. He was therefore in this as in other respects in complete agreement with the President from the beginning to the closing of his administration The duties of the war office were discharged with characteristic energy and ability, and at its close his portrait was added to others of eminent men who had enjoyed the same distinction, and it remains suspended in its proper position to this day. A few years later the friendly and confiding letter of the President to Mr. Davis expressed his painful apprehension concerning the Southern movement for secession, accompanied with the kindest expressions of regard for his former able associate in the executive department of government.

Mr. Davis went now from the cabinet of President Pierce, March 4, 1857, to re-enter the United States Senate by the election of the legislature of Mississippi. He was there assigned to the chairmanship of the committee on military affairs, opposed the French spoliation measures, advocated the Southern Pacific railroad bill, and antagonized Senator Douglas on the question of popular or "squatter" sovereignty in the territories, while on the other hand he disputed the claim set up by the Free-soilers of power in Congress to legislate against those territorial domestic institutions which were not in conflict with the Constitution. During the Kansas troubles he aligned himself with those who endeavored to prevent the dangerous hostilities which the opening of that section to occupation had produced, and when the settlement of 1858 was made by the passage of the conference Kansas-Nebraska bill, he wrote hopefully to the people of Mississippi that it was "the triumph of all for which he had contended." At that moment he believed that the danger of sectional discord was over, that peace would reign, and the Union be saved through the policy pursued by the Buchanan administration. From this date, 1859, he was nationally acknowledged as a statesman in counsel, a leader of the people, ranking among the most eminent living Americans.

With this standing among the counselors of the government, Senator Davis endeavored in the beginning of 1860 to lay the foundation for a policy which would prevent sectional agitation and unite inseparably all the States in friendly union. This policy was defined in a series of seven resolutions introduced by him in the Senate February 2, 1860, which were debated three months and adopted in May by a majority of that body as the sense of the Senate of the United States upon the relation of the general government to the States and territories. They were opposed en masse by senators who were allied with the new sectional policy upon which the presidential campaign of that year was projected. In the great conflict of that year he was mentioned extensively as a statesman suitable for the presidency, but it was fully announced that he did not desire the nomination. Regretting the breach which occurred at Charleston in his party, he sought to reconcile the factions, and failing in that, endeavored to gain the consent of Douglas and Breckinridge to withdraw their names in order that union might be secured upon some third person. On the election of Mr. Lincoln he sought with others who were alarmed by the situation some remedy other than that of immediate and separate State secession. He was appointed a member of the Senate committee of Thirteen and was willing to accept the Crittenden resolutions as a compromise if they could have the sincere support of Northern senators. His speeches in the Senate were distinguished for their frankness in portraying the dangers of sectionalism, but through the debates of that session he was careful to utter no words which could produce irritation. Mr. Stephens says that Mr. Davis indicated no desire to break up the Union. Mr. Clay, of Alabama, said, "Mr. Davis did not take an active part in planning or hastening secession. I think he only regretfully consented to it as a political necessity for the preservation of popular and State rights which were seriously threatened by the triumph of a sectional party who were pledged to make war upon them. I know that some leading men and even Mississippians thought him too moderate and backward, and found fault with him for not taking a leading part in secession." Mr. Buchanan sent for him on account of his known conservatism to secure his advice as to the safe course which the administration should pursue, and he promptly complied with the summons. Another fact bearing forcibly on his position while the States were preparing to secede is the meeting of Mississippi congressional. delegation at Jackson, called together by the governor, in which the course of their State was the subject of conference. "Mr. Davis with only one other in that conference opposed immediate and separate State action, declaring himself opposed to secession as long as the hope of a peaceable remedy remained." After the majority decided on separate State secession Mr. Davis declared he would stand by whatever action the Mississippi convention would take, but several members in that conference were dissatisfied with his course, suspecting that he was at heart against secession, and desired delay in order to prevent it. The State convention adopted the ordinance of secession January 9, 1861, and immediately after receiving the official notice Mr. Davis made an exquisitely appropriate and pathetic address to the Senate, taking leave of it in compliance with the action of his State, which he fully justified. "I do think," said he," she has justifiable cause, and I approve of her act. I conferred with her people before that act was taken, counseled them that if the 'state of things which they apprehended should exist when their convention met, they should take the action which they have now adopted." "I find in myself perhaps a type of the general feeling of my constituents toward yours. I am sure I feel no hostility toward you, Senators of the North. I am sure there is not one of you, whatever sharp discussion there may have been between us, to whom I cannot say in the presence of my God, I wish you well, and such I am sure is the feeling of the people whom I represent toward those whom you represent. I carry with me no hostile remembrance. Whatever offense I have given which has not been redressed or for which satisfaction has not been demanded, I have, Senators, in this hour of our parting, to offer you my apology for any pain which in the heat of discussion I have inflicted. I go hence unencumbered by the remembrance of any injury received, and having discharged the duty of making the only reparation in my power for any injury offered, Mr. President and Senators, having made the announcement which the occasion seemed to me to require, it only remains for me to bid you a final adieu." With these fitly spoken words, uttered with the grace of manner for which the accomplished orator was distinguished, and with a tenderness in tone produced by the occasion, the Senator vacated the seat which he had honored and stepped away from a position of commanding dignity and power sufficient to gratify his ambition. It must be seen that the sacrifice was great. Before him the experiment of secession to be tried, according to his expressed belief, alone by bloody war--around him, as his parting words fell from his lips, the associations of a nobly patriotic life rise up and engage his thought--within him a consciousness of rectitude in present motive, and magnanimity in feeling; while a record ineffaceable by any power attested the fidelity of his past life to the general welfare of his country. The change of all conditions became peculiarly and specially great as to him, because even contrary to his wishes he was destined to become the head and front of the secession movement. His virtues would be forgotten and his name maligned through the spite and prejudice not only of the ignorant masses, but of prominent men of warped intelligence.

He is to be fairly viewed after secession as the same man who had justly earned fame in the service of the United States, but whose relations to that country were changed by the act of the State to which he owed allegiance. Surveying him at this crisis in his life we take account of his hereditary virtues, his pride of patriotic ancestry, his training in the Southern school of thought, feeling and manner, his systematic education to graduation from West Point academy, his associations from childhood to manhood with men of culture and women of refinement. We observe his physical advantages--a fine figure, erect and strong--in bearing, graceful when moving and pleasing in repose; his features clearly classic and betokening firmness, fearlessness and intelligence. Far he was from any hauteur of bearing, and free from the supposed superciliousness of the misunderstood Southern aristocracy. We see his mind cultivated and fruitful by reason of native power, early education, extensive reading and long communion with great thoughts on affairs of vast importance. He had self command, gained by the discipline of a soldier, which fitted him to command others; certainly also a strong willed nature to that degree where his maturely considered opinion was not lightly deserted, nor his .well-formed purpose easily abandoned. He was not the man to desert a cause which he once espoused. He was liable to err by excess of devotion. Such men make mistakes, and the Confederate President was not exempt. The insight of his general character reveals him a conservative patriot, opposing all tendencies to anarchy or monarchy, faithful to constitutional agreements and supporter of popular liberties; in his public and private life above reproach; in religion a devout believer in the Christian faith and living in the communion of his church. Such is the man who had vacated his place as senator from the State of Mississippi.

Mississippi elected him at once to the command of her State forces, a position he desired, but a few weeks later he was called by election to the Presidency of the Confederacy--a responsibility which he had earnestly shunned.

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America and commander-in-chief of the army and navy, belongs to history, and his career is subject to full and fair treatment by just and intelligent men. The failure of his government to establish itself in permanency by the power of its armies will not be accepted as evidence against his own right to be reverenced, except by such persons as those who regard the triumphs of superior over inferior force as decisive of merit. Such persons judge men and their causes by an exploded savage theory which subjected the weak to the strong. The feudal system, Russian serfdom, and African slavery in the beginning of the horrible slave trade, rested on this basis. Men divested of that prejudice which constricts the reason will not decry the President of the Confederacy because it failed. Not the Southern people alone, but intelligent men of the finer mould of thought and feeling among all nations, are gratified by the cessation of the vituperous language of twenty-five years ago, with which even men of eminence as well as the lower sort declaimed against the exalted man who in public service for a like period of twenty-five years, filling positions in war and peace of great public trust, did not in the least degree betray the confidence which his people had reposed in him. That his career is open to adverse criticism will be conceded by his most reverent friends; but that his name, now that he is dead, should be made to wear the chains which generous justice broke from about his imprisoned living body, will not be claimed by the present generation of fair-minded Americans. It is reported that Mr. Gladstone said in 1861 of Jefferson Davis that he had "created a nation," while at the same time it was being urged upon England that he was attempting to take a nation's life. Neither statement was exactly true. Mr. Davis had not created a nation. He was but the executive head of a republic which the intelligent free people of a number of large and powerful States had created. Nor had he attempted the destruction of the United States, for that government remained the same living political organism after secession that it was before. The great English statesman was not a sympathizer with the Southern secession, but he saw with clear vision that a nation in fact had come into being whose greatness was reflected in the character of the ruler it had chosen. His administration was not restrained by his antipathies. With the true greatness of his own nature he could esteem the virtues which were conspicuous in the character of such a chieftain of such a people. Jefferson Davis and the people of the Confederacy being inseparable in the reflections of mankind, the South asks only that he and they shall be judged by honorable men who have the capacities of reason and gentility to render a just judgment.

 His administration of the government of the Confederate States must be viewed, as Mr. Stephens justly remarks, in the light of the extraordinary difficulties which had to be suddenly encountered by a new republic which was attacked at all points in the beginning of its formation. The errors of the administration are not so clearly observable as its wisdom. Possibly certain policies ably proposed by patriotic and capable advocates, but not adopted, might have been more efficacious than others which were pursued. It is conjecture only that a different policy would have gained the Southern cause. Possibly the offensive policy which was urged upon the Confederate President in the first months' fighting might have been better than the defensive which he was constrained to adopt. The financial system was not the best and yet some of its features were adopted or followed by the United States. Conscription was a hard measure, and perhaps the appeal for volunteers would have kept the army full. There were on these and other great problems differences of opinion, but there was rare unity in the Confederate purpose to succeed, and hence the government was maintained against forces of men, money and diplomacy leagued against it in such strength as to force the conclusion that after all the Confederate government was wonderfully well sustained for the four or more years of its existence. Nearly all the great reviewers of the Confederate civil administration and the operations of its armies agree in the verdict that both departments were well sustained by the intelligent and brave leaders at the head of affairs. The administration policy incurred special opposition at all the points above named, in regard to which President Davis in his writings concedes the fidelity and intelligence of his opposers, even admitting that in some instances his policy should have been changed. The difficult and delicate situations in which he was placed by the progress of military events often embarrassed him. His appointments were not always the best that could have been made, and his military suggestions were sometimes faulty because they were given at a distance from the field. But the constantly diminishing resources of his country, through the destructive agencies that eroded them at every point, caused the collapse of the government. President Davis did not publicly disclose any apprehensions of failure even to the last days of the Confederacy. So far as the antagonists of his government could determine from his open policy he had no thought of peace except in independence. But it is apparent from his actions in the winter of 1864 and 1865, especially after his interview with Lee and other officers, that he began to look about him for the way to peace. The commission sent to Canada to meet any parties from the United States who would counsel peace; his readiness to give audience to even such unauthorized but friendly visitors as Colonel Jacques; his two interviews with Blair and his letter to Blair to be shown to Lincoln; his appointment of Stephens, Campbell and Hunter to meet President Lincoln in an informal conference--all these indicated at the time and now more clearly disclose that the Confederate President would have consented to peace upon terms that would even subvert his presidency and consign him to private life. The defeat and surrender of the armies of Lee and Johnston dissolved the Confederate States in fact leaving nothing to be done in law but the abrogation of the ordinances of secession by the States which had erected them. As one result of the fall of the armies the President was made a captive by the military, imprisoned in chains, charged unjustly with crimes for which he demanded trial in vain, and after two years of imprisonment which disgraced his enemies was released on bond. A nolle prosequi was entered in his case in 1869, and thus he was never brought to the trial which he earnestly demanded.

After this release on bail the ex-President enjoyed an enthusiastic reception at Richmond, Virginia, and then visited Europe. President Davis would live his life, first abroad, to regain his health to some degree. He would end up living in Biloxi, Mississippi at Beauvoir. It was there that he wrote and published his "Rise And Fall of the Confederate Government." Though he did not often appear in public, he occasionally spoke at various Confederate monument dedications across the South where he received the adoration of a grateful people. He avoided ostentatious display, appearing before the public, however, in occasional address and writings. He counseled the South to recover its wasted resources and maintain its principles. Secession he frankly admitted to be no more possible, but he remained to the last an unyielding opposer of power centralized in the Federal government. Now and then public demonstrations revealed the attachment of the Southern people, especially two occasions in Georgia, one being the unveiling of the Ben Hill statue in Atlanta, and the other an occasion in Macon, Ga., during the State agricultural fair. These popular demonstrations were of such an imposing character as to evidence the undiminished attachment of the people to his personal character, and sympathy for him in his misfortunes. 

At 81, he went to Brierfield on some business, and became ill. Starting back home, he made it to the home of Judge Fenner, a long time friend. The death of the President occurred at New Orleans about one o'clock a.m., December 5, 1889, and the event was announced throughout the Union.  President Davis lay in state in the New Orleans City Hall, which like every business building in the city was draped in black, people came to show their respect for the deceased leader of the Confederate cause. Ten thousand people viewed his body on the first day, December 7th. Viewing hours were quickly lengthened to 10:00pm each night. At noon, December 11, the casket was removed to the porch where the funeral eulogy was presented to a sea of people filling every standing space as far as the eye could see. The funeral procession itself numbered 10,000. The crowd was the largest ever assembled in the South for a funeral, numbering over 200,000 people. The people of the North were shocked by the display of affection for President Davis, but were firmly convinced of the South's dedication to their now deceased leader and the cause for which he stood. The funeral ceremonies in New Orleans were such as comported with the illustrious character of the deceased chieftain, while public meetings in other cities and towns of the South were held to express the common sorrow, and the flags of State capitols were dropped to half-mast. Distinguished men pronounced eulogies on his character, and the press universally at the South and generally at the North contained extended and laudatory articles on his character.

       The burial place in New Orleans was selected only as a temporary receptacle, while a general movement was inaugurated for a tomb and monument which resulted in the removal of the body to Richmond, the capitol of the Confederacy. The removal took place by means of a special funeral train from New Orleans to Richmond, passing through several States and stopping at many places to receive the respectful and affectionate tributes bestowed by the people. The scene from the time of the departure from New Orleans to the last rites at Richmond was singular in its nature and sublime in its significance of popular esteem for the memory of the Confederate President. The funeral train moved day and night almost literally in review before the line of people assembled to see it pass. Finally in the presence of many thousands the casket was deposited in the last resting place in the keeping of the city which had so long withstood the rude alarms of war under his presidency.



References and Details:


"Officers Of Civil And Military Organizations" Confederate Military History, Volume I

"Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

"Life, Services and Character of Jefferson Davis" Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. XVII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1889.
"Is Davis a Traitor" by Albert Taylor Bledsoe

"The Life and Death of Jefferson Davis" by A.C. Bancroft

"The Rise And Fall Of The Confederate Government" by Jefferson Davis

"Life of Jefferson Davis", by Edwin A. Pollard

"The Real Jefferson Davis",  by Landon Knight

"Jefferson Davis", by William E.  Dodd
"The Life and Death of Jefferson Davis", by A.C. Bancroft


D. Our (Your) Ancestors  


Too often we limit our study of history to those who were famous.  Men and women, great as they were, were the celebrities of their era, and we tend to think in terms of them and how they impacted history.  While we do not wish to diminish the accomplishments of those famous statesmen and soldiers of the past, we would also like to remember our (your) ancestors.  Whether they were a solider, a sailor, a farmer, a shopkeeper, housewife, it makes no difference.  If they lived through the War of Northern Aggression in the South, and here we particularly are reminded of our Georgia ancestors, they were heroes in one way or another.   The hero is not always the one in the press, it may be the farm family that struggled to endure the shortages of all materials, including labor, trying to keep food on the table and send a little to the soldiers.  It could have been that soldier that spent months or years away from home fighting, suffering, sacrificing and sometimes paying the ultimate price in combat or to disease, but offering their life up for the freedom of the families, both current and those in the future.  It might have been the granddaddy having to bring out the shotgun and join a county homeguard unit to defend the area from Sherman's devastation, or the terrified child who ran to the woods, hiding food from the marauding bummers. Heroic acts were performed daily, without fanfare or even notice, but men, women and children, the young and the old, the privates and the generals and all in-between.  History comes alive for those who read and research it when they connect with those famous events through an ancestor.  For that reason we include the study of our (your) ancestors in this section.


A common question is: "How can I find out if an ancestor fought in the war and how do I find out about his service?"  


This outline is given to help get you started. Making a connection to an Confederate ancestor is an exciting way to bring history into focus. The first step has got to be learn your family’s genealogy.


The basic facts that you will need to know in order to do research on an ancestor are: name, state, regiment, and if possible, the company. Knowing what county your ancestor resided in during the 1860's would also be helpful.


Start your search by talking with your oldest living relatives. See how much information they can give you to build a family tree. Try to develop a family tree that extends back to the mid 1800’s. Males aged 16-40 on the 1860 census are prime candidates for CSA service. Begin your search with these men. Later you can check on older or younger men that may have also served.


It is important now to determine the state and county of residence so that Census records from 1860 may be located and reviewed for information. Census records can be found in local libraries, historical and genealogy societies, government archives and at LDS Family History Centers. Some are in books, but more common are microfilms. Paper copies of census records can usually be made. Develop a list of men whom you suspect may have served.


Contact that county to see if they have local historical society. Many counties have historical societies that have already documented local-county men who fought for the Confederacy. Many have "County History Books" which contain their men’s involvement with the WBTS. They'll have at least the local companies raised, and sometimes the roster and pension recipient list. Occasionally the battles their local soldiers participated in, their letters home, etc. may also be found.


Confederate regiments were frequently referred to by the commander's name even when in fact they had a numerical designation. You will find that many states have some sort of indexed listings of a soldiers. The National Archives has published a "Consolidated Index to Compiled Confederate Service Records" on microfilm which is available in many large historical libraries. The service records themselves are also frequently on microfilm at the library.


All Southern states have archived records of men who fought in the WBTS and also records of men who applied for pensions based on service to the CSA. Once you have a name or list of names you can visit or contact the state archives to view and/or obtain copies of service and/or pension records. Remember that not all records survived the war and the amount and quality of information can vary greatly from state to state.

When you have gathered the basic information, you can also obtain copies of your ancestor's service records by writing to the National Archives and requesting NATF Form 80. The address is:

Military Service Branch (NNMS)
National Archives and Records Administration
7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408


You may also request NATF Form 80 by sending e-mail to: inquire@arch2.nara.gov When you have the forms, fill one out as completely as possible and check "Military Service". It is recommended that you write in red ink next to the veteran's name "Please send complete contents of files". Several weeks after you send in the Form 80, the Archive will return the form indicating what they have located and how much it will cost to copy it, typically about $10.


The information from compiled service records from the National Archives may be the same, similar or different that the information from the state archives on the same soldier. The National Archives will not have pension records for Confederate veterans. Only the former Confederate state did awarded the pensions and their archives will have such records.


The National Archives will soon discontinue providing paper copies of Confederate service records. The records will be available but you'll have to buy a roll of microfilm for $34.00, take it to a microfilm machine w/a printer, look up your veteran and print your own copies. The National Archives cites many reasons for this "life altering" decision. They state that they're under funded and often months behind on filing requests for paper records. Also, while the original records are on microfilm, the staff found it easier to make copies from the original papers, causing continual damage to these records to the point that they're no longer in good condition. This new policy is being undertaken to preserve Confederate service records, Union border & western states, and the United States Colored Troops. As more Union service records are microfilmed, they will also be covered by this policy. 


Another source are the LDS Family History Centers. Most communities will have a Family History Center (genealogy library) within easy driving distance. Check your yellow pages. You can rent an entire roll of microfilm that covers your ancestor's regiment and records. You may view and copy the records at your local FHC. You may find other ancestors on this same roll of film as it was common for family and friends in the same county to join the same regiment. The cost to rent the microfilm is $3.45 for the initial period (I believe 6 weeks) and $3.45 for each of the renewals. A second renewal puts the roll in permanent loan status to your local FHC, so for $10.35 up front you can have the entire roll available for your own use (and anyone else who may be interested now or in the future). To look for a FHC in your state go to http://www.genhomepage.com/FHC/


Another option is to order paper copies of individual Confederate records from: BROADFOOT PUBLISHING COMPANY. (http://www.broadfootpublishing.com/ ) They are a private company with years of experience in Confederate and WBTS research. The charge is $25.00 plus $5.00 S&H. You can contact them at

Broadfoots Publishing Co.

1907 Buena Vista Circle,

Wilmington, NC 28405,


Washington Genealogy Library, Macon, GA:  (http://www.co.bibb.ga.us/library/G&H.htm#Queries)The library has graciously agreed to provide a Georgia CSA soldier service. Please follow the guidelines. Submit only 2 Soldier's names at one time. (Can reorder after receipt of research) 40 cent per page, plus postage, to be paid upon receiving material. GEORGIA RECORDS ONLY! Send E-mail to:  washingg@mail.bibb.public.lib.ga.us or write:


 Genealogy & History Room

Washington Memorial Library

1180 Washington Avenue

Macon, GA 31201


Finally there are some on-line data bases (see reference below)  that allow you, usually for a fee, to search by name and state for ancestors. There are also persons who register with state archives and for hire will conduct searches in genealogy. 


A second question often is "How can I find information about a particular regiment?"


Printed and Internet sources of information on regiments will be found under References and Details below:


In addition many "County History Books" contains their men's involvement with the WBTS. They'll have at least the local companies raised, sometimes the roster and pension recipient list. Occasionally the battles their local soldiers participated in, their letters home, etc. Contact the county of origin. Ask for contacts for the county historical society or local library or local UDC or SCV organizations.


Many books on individual regiments, brigades, divisions, and corps have been written. A search on the internet or in your local library or local book store may turn up works that will cover the history of the specific regiments of interest.


You can also try the "OR’s" Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. It is suggested that you use the index or obtain the CD-ROM that allows searches. This may be your only alternative for particularly obscure units. The index lists the regiments by state. It is a good idea to check the index for the name of the regiment's commander and perhaps for the brigade commander.


At some point it will be helpful to learn of the regiment's place in the army structure. In other words which brigade, division, corps it was attached to. Knowing other regiments in the same brigade can give you a picture of what the regiment may have experienced. Histories of battles or campaigns may not mention every regiment, but they may mention the brigade or division the regiment is in.


While it is not possible to answer every specific question that you might have here on this web page, it is hoped that we have helped you to get started in this exciting, honorable, and worthy cause. 


Gravestone Restoration:  (http://www.geocities.com/scvinfo/restoration.html )Learn how to properly clean and care for old headstones.


SCV Confederate Cross of Honor Grave Marker: (http://www.scv674.org/scvcross.htm ) Order one for your Confederate Veteran Ancestor.  This link will also explain how to obtain a CSA Veteran's headstone for your CSA Veteran at no cost to you.


While we are on the subject of the Internet, we must admit that there is an explosion of information found on line nowadays and it would be impossible for us to keep up with all the new additions, or the dropped links and discontinued pages.  For that reason we will only post here some of the more stable, long term sites and will leave the exploring of new sites to the researcher.  In the invent that a dead link is found within this document, try a search for the new URL using the titles or descriptions.  That in most cases will bring you to the source which changed their internet address.  Many researchers that have posted regimental histories. Use search engines to match up with regiments of interest. In particular here are some sites to help you in your research:



References and Details:


  Georgia and Confederate Military History (SCV Camp #674): (http://www.scv674.org/gamilhist.htm )Resources and links to many regimental histories and WBTS sites relating to Georgia and the Confederacy. This is a great source of information regarding regimental work and researchers on the web.

"In Search of Confederate Ancestors",  by J.H. Segars.

"Civil War Genealogy", by G.K. Schweitzer,

"In the Footsteps of the Blue and Gray: A Civil War Research Handbook", by Brian A. Brown

"Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor",  by B.H. Groene,

"Confederate Research Sources: A Guide to Archive Collections", by James C. Neagles

"Military Bibliography of the Civil War", (4 vols) by C.E. Dornbusch

Broadfoot’s Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865 16 vols.

"Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia 1861-1865", 6 Volumes by Lillian Henderson, (also available on CD-ROM)

"Compendium of the Confederate Armies",  by Stewart Sifakis, 11 vols

"Units of the Confederate States Army",  by Joseph H. Crute Jr.

"Confederate Military History", 1899 by the Confederate Publishing Company 19 vols, Edited by Gen. Clement A. Evans of Georgia, (also available on CD-ROM)


Internet Based:


National Park Service, Ancestor Research Tips and Links (http://www.nps.gov/frsp/ancestor.htm)


National Park Service Civil War Soldiers Index (http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm)


(Georgia Civil War Soldiers Index-GA-GenWeb project http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ga/military/civilwar/gsi.htm)


Georgia Civil War Rosters (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Lair/3680/cw/cw-ga.html)


Georgia and Confederate Military History (http://www.scv674.org/gamilhist.htm)


Confederate Regimental Histories:  (http://www.tarleton.edu/~kjones/confeds.html)


Military History Institute: Bibliography list for Regiments (http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usamhi/Bibliographies/CivilWarUnitBibliographies/)


National Park Service: Sources of Confederate Regimental Histories. (http://www.nps.gov/frsp/archive.htm#Confederate%20Sources)


Regiments of the Confederate Army Webring (http://r.webring.com/hub?ring=csregiment)


WBTS Researchers list CSA A-M (http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/unit4.html)


WBTS Researches List CSA N-V  (http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/unit5.html)


Confederate Research Center at Hill College (http://www.hill-college.cc.tx.us/museum/history.html)


Part 15 Questions:

In short essay format give and support an opinion for at least five of these questions:

1. Give a brief explanation of why General Robert Edward Lee is considered a Southern Hero and a role model for young people even today.

2. Give a brief explanation of why General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson is still today considered an honorable man and a Southern Hero.

3. Give a brief explanation of why President Jefferson Davis was a man of honor and is considered a Southern Hero.

4. Why would you consider your Southern ancestors who lived in the 1860-80's heroes?

5. What characteristics of the three men profiled in this unit do you most admire and why?

6. What lessons can people of today learn from the character of these three men?

7. Why is it that so few history books give much information on Southern heroes and patriots?

8. Give a short narrative of any ancestor that was a soldier in the Confederate Army.

9. Give a short family history of ancestors that were alive at the time of the war or during reconstruction.

10. Give a brief explanation of any other Southerner from the War Between the States era that you feel deserves remembrance today.