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PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA) - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 07/29/1885 - HFSID 36520

 
THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY WRITES TO FORMER CONFEDERATE GENERAL JUBAL EARLY, REQUESTING INFORMATION THAT WILL "ANSWER [JOSEPH EGGLESTON] JOHNSTON'S SHAMELESS DRIVEL OF AN EVENT".
JEFFERSON DAVIS.
ALS: "Jefferson Davis", 1p, 5½x8¾ lined sheet. Beauvoir, (Biloxi), Mississippi, 1885 July 29. To General Jubal A. Early. Begins: "My dear Sir". In full: "I enclose a letter from Maj Barton who was an A. Adjut. Genl C.S. Army, and who formerly resided at Fredericksburg. I am not sure whether he is there now & I do not remember his initials - Will you have the goodness to complete the address of the letter & forward it to him. The envelope is left unsealed in order that you may read the letter, as it may be that you can give the information necessary to answer Johnston's shameless drivel of an event which it is difficult to suppose he has forgotten." After the Civil War, former General JUBAL ANDERSON EARLY (1816-1894), who had been known as "Lee's Bad Old Man", never surrendered, finding temporary exile in Mexico and Canada before being pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Early, who had participated in every major action of the Army of Northern Virginia, was known for his uncanny memory of events during the Civil War. Becoming President of the Southern Historical Society, he became the primary spokesman for the "Lost Cause" and considered the authority on Confederate history. In this letter, Davis is likely asking for assistance in information on an account possibly published in the memoirs of another Confederate General, JOSEPH EGGLESTON JOHNSTON (1807-1891). The account may refer to Johnston's position at the First Battle of Manassas, in which he found himself outranked by three other Generals. This offended Johnston, who considered himself the highest-ranking U.S. Army officer to join the Confederate Army. Johnston and Davis also clashed over the defense of the Warwick-Yorktown Line, which Johnston considered untenable. He urged a retreat toward Richmond, and he and his men retreated from the Peninsula on May 3, 1862. Under pressure from Davis, Johnston and his men engaged in a counter-attack at Seven Pines on May 31, 1862. Johnston was wounded and did not return to active service until November of that year. Later named head of the Army of Tennessee, he surrendered to William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865. We have found a reference to a Major John Barton, who lived in Fredericksburg, but have been unable to obtain additional information. JEFFERSON DAVIS (1808-1889), the only President of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865), had been Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Franklin Pierce from 1853-1857. A West Pointer and veteran of the Mexican War battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista (under Zachary Taylor), Davis was also an experienced legislator. He represented Mississippi in the House (1845-1846) and the Senate (1847-1851, 1857-1861), leaving the U.S. Senate after his state seceded. After the Civil War, Davis was charged with treason and other crimes and imprisoned at Fortress Monroe. Denied the trial he demanded, Davis' treatment brought outcries from admirers in both the North and the South, and he was finally released on bond. Beauvoir was Jefferson's last home. After being invited to the estate to write his memoirs, Davis bought the property in February 1879 and lived there until his death on December 6, 1889. In 1902, his widow, Varina, sold the central portion of the estate to the Mississippi Division, United Sons of Confederate Veterans, which operated Beauvoir as a home for Confederate veterans from 1903-1957. Interesting Civil War associations. Lightly creased (affecting signature), with folds. 2 file nicks at blank right edge, nicked at lower blank edge beneath signature. Lightly soiled, pinpoint-size stain at lower left blank corner. Tape on verso at upper horizontal folds (no show through). Overall, fine condition.


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PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA)  


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PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA)
Born: June 3, 1808 in Fairview, Kentucky
Died: December 6, 1889 in New Orleans, Louisiana





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