Jefferson Davis letter
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Jefferson Davis letter

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889.
Title: Jefferson Davis letter
Dates: 1889
Extent: (1 folder) 0.05 cubic feet
Identification: MS 0610
Collection materials are in English.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was born in Kentucky. He attended Transylvania University for a short time before enrolling at West Point in 1824, at the age of 16. He graduated in 1828 and immediately joined the First Infantry. His regiment was engaged in the Blackhawk War of 1831. In 1833, he became a first lieutenant in the 1st Dragoons. Although successful, Davis resigned from military duty in 1835 and became a cotton planter in Warren County, Mississippi. He married Sallie Knox Taylor (Zachary Taylor's daughter) in 1835; she died three months later of malaria. In 1843, Davis participated in the Democratic convention as a delegate. That same year he became a Representative of Mississippi in the US Congress. He remarried to Varina Howell in 1845. Davis resigned from Congress and rejoined the army in 1846, becoming a Mexican War hero. In 1847, the governor of Mississippi appointed Jefferson Davis to the US Senate. In this position, Davis unsuccessfully argued for the right of slavery in the territories created by the Compromise of 1850. He resigned from the Senate in a gubernatorial bid in Mississippi, but lost the election. President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis as Secretary of War during his term, after which, in 1857, Davis re-entered the Senate. When the South seceded from the Union in 1861, Jefferson Davis hoped for a military appointment, but instead accepted the position of President of the Confederate States of America (a position he had not desired). He served as the CSA's only president during the Civil War. After the war, Davis avoided most public appearances. He traveled Europe and settled into civilian life. He died in New Orleans in 1889; his remains were transferred from New Orleans to Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the former Confederate States of America.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a letter from Jefferson Davis to George Paterson of Lincolnton, Georgia, written from Beauvoir, Mississippi, 1889. In the letter, Davis states that he agrees with Dr. Paterson's views for controlling flooding on the Savannah River. He refers to a book by Paterson and endorses his political views included in the book. This letter is a facsimile, copyrighted by Dr. George Paterson on Sept. 18, 1903. A typed copy is filed with the letter.

Index Terms

Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889.
Savannah River (Ga. and S.C.)
United States--Politics and government.

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], Jefferson Davis letter, MS 610, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Alexander S. Salley, 1955.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2013 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.