CIVIL WAR OP-ED: Remembering Jefferson Davis: A True American Hero

By Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Calvin Johnson Jr.
Calvin Johnson Jr.

"Never teach your children to admit that their fathers' were wrong in their efforts to maintain the sovereignty, freedom and independence which was their birthright"---Jefferson Davis.

                                                       * * *

June 3, 2014, is the 206th birthday of Jefferson Davis,  who was born in Christian County, Kentucky, on June 3, 1808.

Memorials to Jefferson Davis include Georgia’s Stone Mountain memorial carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the Davis Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, the Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site a Kentucky State Park commemorating the birthplace of Jefferson Davis President of the Confederate States of America, and….

In 1931, a bronze statue of Jefferson Davis, sculptured by Virginia's Augustus Lukeman, was given to the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. by the State of Virginia?

Davis served the United States as a soldier, statesmen and Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. He was also the first and only President of the Confederate States of America.

Davis' father, Samuel Emory Davis, served in the Revolutionary War and participated in the siege of Savannah. Three of Jeff's older brothers served in the War of 1812, two under General Andrew Jackson. His father was from Georgia and mother Jane Cook Davis, daughter of a noted Baptist Preacher, was from North Carolina.

Jefferson Davis was a strong Unionist but also a strong defender of the United States Constitution. 

Davis was indicted for treason but was never tried because some felt this might have been an indictment against the United States itself. He was however unjustly imprisoned for two years in Fort Monroe, Virginia before his release in 1867.

 Here are a few of his accomplishments:

  • He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • Fought valiantly in the War with Mexico.
  • Served as United States Senator from Mississippi.
  • Served as U.S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.
  • Was first to suggest the transcontinental railroad to link Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
  • First to suggest Panama Canal Zone
  • Suggested the purchase of Cuba
  • Appointed Robert E. Lee as Superintendent of United States Military Academy at West Point.

Visiting Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis and Presidential Library, is a good way to better understand this man Davis. Read more about Beauvoir at: www.Beauvoir.org

Jefferson Davis' last marriage was said to be a good one to Varina, who gave him two sons and two daughters (Jefferson, Margaret, Winnie and Billy). Winnie was nicknamed (Daughter of the Confederacy) as she was born during the time of the War Between the States. Billy was killed by an accidental fall at the Confederate White House in Richmond and in 1864, an abused black child named Jim Limber was adopted by the Davis family. 

Jefferson Davis died between 12:30 AM and 1:00 AM on December 6, 1889. The news of his death hit the front page of most Southern and even Northern newspapers like this:

On December 13, 1889, the New York Times reported the Davis Funeral being the grandest ever seen in the South. The Sermon at Metairie, LA Cemetery was delivered by Bishop Thompson of Mississippi. Bishop Gallaber delivered a brief sketch of Jefferson Davis' life...And a Church Choir sang an old time favorite "Rock of Ages" to end the service.

Lest We Forget!

                                         * * *

Johnson is a speaker, writer of short stories, author of book “When America stood for God, Family and Country” and Chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee. http://www.facebook.com/ConfederateHeritageMonth

 

Comments powered by Disqus