What’s Haunting Jefferson Davis?

Did you know?

Located in Irwin County is the site of the final camp of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America.  His capture and what led up to it has become one of the most historic events of the Civil War, and it happened right here in Middle Georgia.  What happened that night that some claim still “haunts’ the grounds? We’ll explore it, but first, the history.

Jefferson Finis Davis was born in Kentucky sometime in 1808, but he was raised in Mississippi.  Today, he is most known for being the one and only president of the CSA.  Due to that reason, his earlier political career and even being hailed as an American hero at one time is often overshadowed.

He began his political career as a U.S. Representative for the state of Mississippi.  Jefferson would go on to resign from that seat in 1846 due to the Mexican-American War breaking out (we will cover this war in the future, but it’s worth a google search if you’re interested.)  He would go on to serve as a Colonel (due to his West Pointe experience at just 18 years old, more than likely) and became nationally known as a war hero due to his (quote) bravery and heroism (end quote) displayed during that conflict.

Afterwards, he was picked to fill a vacant seat as a Senator for the state of Mississippi.  As a Democrat (yes, we know that doesn’t sound right, but times were different back), he fought very hard for the South and its right to “own slaves.”  During his time as Senator, he gathered other democratic southern senators to be in support of the South and its slavery “rights.”  Some would argue, that’s where the cracks of the Civil War began.  (Could it have all been political nonsense that got out of hand?)

After resigning as a senator, and a failed attempt at running for Governor of Mississippi, Davis was later chosen (1853) by President Franklin Pierce to become the Secretary of War for the United States.  Ironically, he made the army (which later became his adversary) bigger, stronger and even upgraded the weapons for the fighting force.  Think about that for a minute.

After about four years, he went back to the Senate.  By that time, the political landscape between the North and South was completely divided.  He had several “clashes” with other senators,  politicians getting heated with one another was not uncommon during that time (or today for that matter.)  Eventually, in 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union,  after a Republican named Abraham Lincoln was elected as President of the United States (his election was more than likely the straw that broke the camel’s back).  Davis resigned as a senator and was chosen by the newly-formed Confederate Congress to become their first president.  What followed next, as you know,  was the Civil War.

Now, as most of you know, that war didn’t end very well for the Confederates.  Meaning, it didn’t end well for Jefferson Davis.  After General Lee decided the gig was over,  Davis, along with his guard and wife, went on the run from Virginia, through the Carolinas, eventually down into Georgia.  The Union Cavalry was never too far behind him.  On May 9th, 1865, they took up camp in what was then known as Irwinville. 

That was the night “they drove old Dixie Down.”  During that evening, two different Union calvaries set up around the camp to attack at sunrise on May 10th.  The Confederates didn’t offer much resistance, but the Union calvaries couldn’t distinguish between the Confederate camp and themselves and fired upon each otherTwo Union soldiers died that morning at the hands of their own side.  They, According to Jim Miles, were the last two casualties of the Civil War and are now buried in Andersonville. Davis, along with his entourage and wife, were captured, the war was over.  It was time for a broken nation to heal.  (We will discuss what happened to them in a later story, believe us, it’s worth it.)

With all of that in mind, many people believe that those two soldiers never moved on.  Everything from footsteps, whispers, musket fire, screams of war and even cold spots have been reported on the grounds of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site.  Could those troops be stuck on an infinite timeline?  As always, we let you decide!

Hey!  We hope you enjoyed this story.  We wanted to get serious with you for a moment.  Please study the Civil War and what led up to it.  The issues that were pressing at the time and the way politicians worked then are something we should never forget.  Also keep in mind that history, sometimes, repeats itself Be kind to your neighbor and fellow Americans.  No matter your political view, remember we are all on the same team.  Our future, our children and the existence of this great Nation depend on it and it’s just another shining example of why history is important.  We encourage you to visit the Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Park and its website to learn more about this location.  Here’s the link: https://gastateparks.org/JeffersonDavisMemorial

Photo Courtesy of History.com



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