Monday, January 31, 2011

Did You Know This About Jefferson Davis?

Did you know:
That Jefferson Davis was born on a farm in Ky?

That he was the 10th and youngest child of Samuel Davis (1755-1824) who was a descendant of a Welsh family that had settled originally in New Jersey, and he was probably a cousin of Samuel Davies (1724-1761) who was President of Princeton?

That Samuel Davis, his father, was born in Georgia, was a captain of infantry in the American revolution, and subsequently a planter?

That his father married Jane Cook (1759-1844) of Scotch-Irish stock?

That they moved from Ky to La and still again to Wilkinson County, Miss?

About his West Point years:
That he entered the U.S. Military Academy in Sept. 1824 and graduated no. 23 in a class of 33, in July 1828?

That Albert Sidney Johnston was in a higher class during Davis's cadetship?

And that Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston belonged to the next Junior class?

That he remained in the army seven years and served chiefly in Wisconsin, where a severe attach of pneumonia left him with a facial neuralgia that often incapacitated and sometimes blinded him?

That after 1831 he was never a man of robust health or of a normal nervous system?

More very interesting tidbits about this great man, to whom the South and indeed the Nation owe so much,  tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time Line Of Slavery

This "time line" of slavery is, in part taken from a talk prepared by Cameron Freeman Napier in 1993 and updated in 1997.   I have not researched this but found it interesting.
 She points out that there was slavery, as we know, in Biblical times.  History also tells us that  the Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, Africans, Arabians, Egyptians, American Indians (especially our southeastern tribes - Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek and renegade Seminoles) - all practiced the despicable and inhumane practice of slavery.

Then, thanks be to God, the following actions:
1791 - Slave revolt in Haiti
1833 - Britain freed the slaves, mostly in British West Indies in Caribbean
1848 - France freed the slaves, mostly French West Indies
1861 - Tsar freed the serfs in Russia
1861-65 American Civil War (War Between the States)
1863- Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
1865 - 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in United States
1867 - Spain freed the slaves in Cuba and Puerto Rico
1889 - Brazil freed the slaves there.

Mrs. Napier went on to write: Slavery has continued in other forms such as: Hitler's Concentration Camps, Stalin's Gulags; African tribal warfare; Sudan, Bosnia, Deaf Mexicans in New York (I don't know anything about this).

 I have read of the horrible trafficking of women and children in prostitution rings all over the world in our day and I would consider that a modern day form of slavery. It seems Satan continues to be alive and well in exploiting the week and helpless as He always has.

Western Expansion - A Call to War

Yesterday I gave the time line for some of the causes of the War, based on a paper Mrs. John Napier wrote and am continung with this line of thinking.

She says Western Expansion was one of the major causes of the War Between the States, not only because of the creation of new states and whether they would be slave or free, but the growth of transportation it required for people and goods.

Before the war, transportation of Western goods ran north to south, primarily by rivers, to New Orleans. Ironically, it was Jefferson Davis, when he was Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce, who authorized the siting of future railroads westward.

As a result, the West became an ally to the North, though the great surge of railroad building did not take place until after the War. Next, I will address the Time Line of Slavery from Mrs. Napier's paper.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Time Line: From The Causes of the War Between The States to the Civil Rights Movement

This information is taken from Mrs. John H. Napier, former Regent of the First White House of the Confederacy. She notes that from the beginning there was antipathy between the kinds of people who settled New England and the folks who settled the South (Puritanical Ethics vs. the Cavalier Heritage).

But I did say time line: 1845 Abolitionist Movement - James Russel Lowell's poem which became the hymn "Once in every man and nation" which became the abolitionist's cry along with Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn" (see the last blog) - rife with hatred for the south.

Then came the Temperance Movement and after that the Suffrage Movement; the Farmer's (Grange) Movement. And the 1800's-1861 the great battle between Free Trade in the North and Free Trade in the South over the matter of tariffs.

1820 - 1850 - Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Second  Compromise of 1850, limited slave states - as territories became states it was understood that one would be slave and the next would be free.

1840 - Free Soil Movement - Freeman, black or white wanted the right to farm without slaves anywhere.
1854 - Bleeding Kansas
1856 - John Brown's massacres of women and children. which enraged the South and delighted Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote (yuk) Uncle Tom's Cabin, a contributing factor to the WAR.

Western expansion, a contributing cause...for tomorrow's blog. Thanks Mrs. Napier for this information.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wal-Mart Drops Plans to Build Near Civil War Battle Site

 The web tonight said that under withering opposition from hundreds of historians, Wal-Mart has abandoned plans to build a Supercenter near the Civil War site where Robert E. Lee first met Ulysses S. Grant in 1864 in "The Battle of the Wilderness".

The plans were dropped one day before the case would have gone to court. Very fortuitous, I would say. An industry analyst said Wal-Mart's decision was based on Sam Walton's credo that Wal-Mart should never build a store where it wasn't wanted. Hello!!!

A victory for the preservation community and for historic sites. Wal-Mart and county officials argued that no significant battles occurred on the site but those opposed said that "among other things, thousands of wounded and dying soldiers occupied the then-open fields that included the Wal-mart site".

Its good that they came to a decision that would be in the best interests of all concerned. And after all, they can build another store not too far away, just hopefully not on "hallowed ground".

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thoughts on The Battle Hymn - "Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory" - NOT

Judge Walter B. Jones (1888 - 1963) was a well-respected Alabama judge, legislator and writer. He founded the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery which was named after his father, an alumnus of the Virginia Military Institute, veteran of the Civil War and Governor of Alabama for two terms. (I wrote about TGJ in my Nov 5 blog).

Judge Jones wrote an article that was in the July 5, 1948 Advertiser, about Julia Ward Howe's so-called "Battle Hymn". She was an Abolitionist who wrote the poem after hearing the troops singing "John Brown's Body".

I quote from Judge Jone's column: "John Brown was one of the most contemptible characters in American history though many who despised the South tried to make him a great martyr. History has shown he was a colossal fraud and a craven coward, and we must not forget the raid that he made on Harper's Ferry when innocent men were murdered and the United Stats Arsenal seized. Brown was convicted of treason and hanged Dec 2, 1859".

In the light of all this, Judge Jones says, "the Battle Hymn was the quintessence of concentrated hypocrisy". He further states: "None of the 'glory' Mrs. Howe pictured, ever came out of the war between the Union and the Confederacy, but masquerading in the guise of a humanitarian movement, the armies of the North, at the command of Abraham Lincoln, invaded and crushed the civilization of the South, confiscated its property and beggared its people."

He ends his editorial with these words: "The economic collapse which followed brought from the lips of a high-minded Northern visitor to South Carolina during the closing days of Reconstruction these words, 'There is nothing left to steal.' And that was the 'glory' Julia Ward Howe's eyes saw!

I can't stand that song, can you? Judge Jones, YOU ROCK!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

George Mason, Early Proponent of States Rights

George Mason was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A Virginia statesman, he drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776. He was a leader of those who pressed for explicit States rights and individual rights in the U.S. Constitution as a balance to the increased federal powers.

He did not sign the Constitution in part because it lacked such a statement. His efforts eventually succeeded in convincing the Federalists to add the first ten amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.

On the nagging issue of slavery, Mason walked a fine line. He was a slaveholder but found slavery repugnant. He wanted to ban further importation of slaves from Africa and prevent slavery from spreading to more states. However, he did not want the new federal government to to able to ban slavery where it already existed, because he anticipated that such an act would be difficult and controversial. Oh boy, was he ever right!

Here is a quote by him, May 1776, from his draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights: "All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights...among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

Cheers to Mr. Mason, who helped form the bedrock of our liberty in this country, a liberty that our Southern forebears tried to protect, and a liberty that we must be ever vigilant to safeguard today. Mason, You Rock!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Whats Your Favorite Name for The War of Southern Independence?

Robert Bradley of the Alabama Department of Archives and History gave a wonderful talk last week, as I mentioned in my Jan 21 blog. He shared with us a compilation of names that have been used to describe the 1861-65 War. He found this information in Merton E. Coulter's "A Name for the American War of 1861" (Georgia Historical Quarterly 36, June 1952,).

 The article gave an interesting overview of how people referred to the conflict, from contemporary soldiers and officers, through the post-war period and into the twentieth century. It all depends on your point of view, doesn't it?

Here are some of them: The Civil War, The Civil War in America, The American Civil War, The War for Secession, The War of the Confederates, The Confederate War, The Brother's War, The War for Southern Independence, The War of the North Against the South, and Mr. Bradley's personal favorite,
The War to Suppress Yankee Arrogance!

There were many others but I will close with The Late Unpleasantness, The War for Separation, The Yankee Invasion,  The Old Confederate War, The Lost Cause, and finally,  THE WAR.

Maybe you have a favorite not listed here. If so, please share it with us by making a comment!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What If The Confederacy Had Won The War?

Haven't we all wondered what would have happened if the Confederacy had won The War? For one thing, we would call it what it was, The War Between The States, not The Civil War.

Newt Gingrich recently written a book called Gettysburg. I understand that it is very good and I have ordered it. Does he contemplate in this book that the South wins the battle? If so I am eager to read it. What if....?

Dozens of authors have conceived and published intriguing and entertaining alternate histories of the War. Here a few recommended titles:
If the South Had Won the Civil War by MacKinlay Cantor (1961). He says two little shifts in the summer of 1863 could have made all the difference.

Two others are The Shiloh Project by David C. Poyer (1981) and The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, (1992).. I haven't read any of these but if a reader has or if they have read others books daydreaming that the South has won, we welcome your comments.

Ah, those few little words "what might have been".

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Making Of The Confederacy

"A Government of Our Own" by William C. Davis stands as  the definitive treatment of the formation of the Southern Confederacy.

Much as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes  fascinates us, so does this marvelous book - prodigiously researched and possessing a diverse cast of characters. The difference being that in "A Government" the characters are real.

There is Jefferson Davis, a military hero, who could not refuse the call to be President; Alexander Stephens, a frail, reclusive man, chosen to be his vice president; and many others, from brilliant orators to bombastic blowhards.

There were men like Robert Toombs, known for his bon mots, who might have been president if he had not had a serious drinking problem, and Thomas Cobb who wheeled and dealed in an effort to have his brother made president instead of Davis.

Arthur Conan Doyle had wonderful characters and grand and intriguing stories, but how can you beat the stories of real people in real life events? Especially when you have the tumultuous events of the making of the Confederacy, right here in Montgomery, Alabama!

And don't forget, W. C. Davis is coming to speak on May 5th for the First White House of the Confederacy Fundraiser Gala - check our website at for details. Everyone is invited if you make a donation to the White House Association for the improvement of the Relic Room.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dead in 10 Major Wars

I do not have the stats on the current war dead but from the Revolutionary War through the Gulf War, my records show 1,330,057 dead. Of that number the estimate for the dead in the War between the States was 650,000 around 49%. All others beside the Civil War  680,057 (not counting, as I said, the current war)

Isn't that amazing? The "uncivil War" aka the "late unpleasantness" was by far the most traumatic thing that ever happened to our great nation. That is why we commemorate the 150 year milestone, along with showing respect for our ancestors who fought so bravely.

And  Richard reminded us of a famous quote in one of his comments, "if we don't study history, we are bound to repeat it". Richard, I appreciate your comments, and the ones others have taken the time to write as well. I hope you blogger readers will take the time to read the comments. They are most interesting and informative.

I know wars are necessary but I wish we could be like that old spiritual song, "I ain't gonna study wah no moah."

From Fort Sumter to Fort Pickens

Every month the Archives and History Dept sponsors an event they call "architreats" and these are posted on their website as well. Yesterday Robert B. Bradly spoke about the War Between the States.

He is a fascinating speaker, so knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor. He reminded the audience that both Fort Sumter in Charleston and Fort Pickens out of Pensacola were taken by the Yankees at the start of the War.

Fort Sumter soon fell to the South, but even the indomitable Confederates were unable to take Fort Pickens. The difference these two Forts made in the war effort? Fort Sumter - 0 because it was not strategically advantageous for the Confederacy. But Fort Pickens - Huge, because this opened up the way for the North to take New Orleans and eventually the Miss. river and we know what that meant.
Boo - Hiss. It always ends badly!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday General Lee

As I said yesterday, today is Robert E. Lee's 204th birthday! We celebrated at the First White House of the Confederacy this morning with a speech by Commander Bill Rambo, Director of the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama. He was eloquent and very impressive in his Confederate Uniform. Thank you Commander, we appreciate your message!

We should have pictures on our website and on our facebook page by tomorrow and invite you to take a look. Our website is You can get to the facebook page from the website.

We had a big crowd and enjoyed three kinds of homemade (from scratch) birthday cakes, apricot, chocolate (death by chocolate) and pound. A good time was had by all. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us, and we were especially glad to have many first-time visitors!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What You May Or May Not Know About Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee was born January 19, 1807 -  204 years ago tomorrow, Wed. Jan 19, 2011

He was the fifth child born to Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee and Ann Hill (Carter) Lee

Graduated second in his class - the only cadet that graduated with no demerits to his name

Married Mary Randolph Custis (great-granddaughter of Martha Washington) - I bet you knew that!!!

The father of seven children - all three of his sons served in the Confederate Army

In U.S. Army as cadet and officer for a total of 35 years

Offered command of Union forces by Winfield Scott when the South seceded from the Union -you knew that, right?

Refused that offer and served in the military forces of Virginia after Virginia seceded - yes, you knew that!

Appointed Commander of the Regular Army of the Confederate States - knew that too, didn't you?

Brilliant military leader during the War Between the States - knew that!

Served as Washington College after the war - later named Washington and Lee University, thus honoring both favorite sons of Virginia, George Washington and Robert E. Lee - probably knew that!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jefferson Davis Appoints Thomas Hill Watts Attorney General of Confederate States

Who was this Thomas Hill Watts? (1819-1892). This illustrious man served as Alabama's governor during the later half of the Civil War, the most trying period in the state's history.

Though he had been a Whig and a moderate he served with William Lowndes Yancey, the fire-eater and arch-secessionist, as Montgomery County's representative to the Alabama convention of 1861. His metamorphosis seemed complete when he vilified the Lincoln Republicans.

He ran for Governor and was defeated by John Gill Shorter, who had stronger secessionist credentials. He then helped raise the 17th Alabama Regiment in which he served as colonel. A year later President Jefferson Davis appointed him Attorney General of the Confederate States. Watts held this cabinet post for almost two years, when he was (this time) elected Governor of Alabama.

During his time as Governor, he put the needs of the State above those of the Confederacy, which did not make him too popular with the "powers that be". At the war's end, Gov.Watts was imprisoned by the U.S., but was pardoned by Andrew Johnson in 1868.

Now here is the important thing: The First White House owns a pair of bookcases that belonged to Gov.Watts. They are massive, and  almost a "one - I should say two - of a kind! In the one on the right hang...guess what? (not books), but the original lace curtains which Mrs. Davis gave for use in the House.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Something You Didn't Know About the First White House of the Confederacy

I bet you didn't know that from 1921 until 1932 or so, the White House Association allowed Mrs. Alfred Tunstall of Greensboro to have a spare room at the southwest corner upstairs for her State Child Welfare Department. (That's where the "Westcott Room" is now). Mrs. Tunstall had gotten Legislative power to visit coal mines, jails, and alms houses to check on childrens' welfare.

She not only set up Alabama's first child welfare department but also Alabama's first adoption agency, all from the First White House of the Confederacy where Jefferson Davis and his family had lived in the spring of 1861 while Montgomery was the Capitol of the Confederacy.

Here is a funny story  - The Association was sponsoring an historical lecture of some sort downstairs and the Regent sent a note upstairs to Mrs. Tunstall: "Will you please be a little more quiet, we are teaching history down here?" To which Mrs. Tunstall replied, scribbled on the back of the note: "we are making history up here."

For years people would come in and say "I just wanted to see where my adoption took place!" See, I told you this was something you didn't know about the First White House!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Jefferson Davis Relics at the First White House

Bet you didn't know this! In 1902 the White House Association, which was founded in 1900, received from Mrs. Jefferson Davis the relics that belonged to the first and only President of the Confederate States of America. What a treasure trove of historical significance. But what to do with them? At the time the "Jeff Davis House" as it was called, was on the corner of Lee and Bibb streets, and owned by the Render  family who lived in Georgia.

The Association was allowed to have the relics on display on the third floor of the Alabama State Capitol for 20 years. Then the Association received the bad news that because of crowded conditions at the capitol, the relics had to be removed. The Association, which had diligently cared for them, met at the Capitol, packed everything, and laid all in a dry vault in the cellar of the capitol. They were heartsick!

But the ladies were intrepid. During these 20 years they had been working to raise the funds to buy the house and the property next to the Archives, and to have the house moved and restored.This was finally accomplished, thanks to a benevolent Governor and to their diligence.

 Once the house was moved and restored, the relics were placed in the house where they belonged. All the articles in the President's bedroom had belonged to President Davis and were placed according to a diagram Mrs. Davis had made. And...I bet you didn't know that a Confederate veteran, John Cheney moved into the house in 1921 to sleep there to safeguard the relics and to tend to things around the House. Isn't that absolutely amazing? History is so  fascinating. Wouldn't you just love to spend a night there today?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Montgomery During The War, Adept at Making Do

The Montgomery Advertiser has printed the last in a three-part series of John Napier's article that was printed in the Alabama Review and has been reprinted by permission. It was titled Montgomery During the Civil War. Basically most of us know little of life in Montgomery after the capital was moved to Richmond. This article is informative and will be reprinted in booklet form and sold in our gift shop at the First White House of the Confederacy.

General Napier remind us of the importance of the three railroads, that were directed from its office at the end of North Court Street. The Montgomery and West Point Railroad carried more than 200,00 Confederate soldiers in 1862-1863 and nearly 184,000 in 1864. In the fall of 1863 its trains once operated 20 hours a day for 21 days, moving Bragg's Army of Tennessee from Tupelo, Miss to Chattanooga.

Alabama River steamboats were important for wartime transportation. Even at the war's end, when Wilson had captured Montgomery, three steamboats laden with food were found on the Tallapoosa River. He says these boats were brought to Montgomery and burned in full view of the citizenry.

The 1861 Powder Magazine still stands in West End on Eugene street overlooking the river, and other important installations were Janney's Iron Works, the Alabama Arms Manufacturing Company, the Montgomery Arsenal that repaired weapons, and Leonard and Riddle that made saltpeter for gunpowder.

Shortages caused hardships but improvisation found  substitutes. Dried sweet potatoes were mixed with coffee to stretch it's use. Raspberry leaves or the red shank plant substituted for tea. Hats were made of bleached palmetto strips. Waxed tapers wrapped around bottles were used for lighting. Sorghum was substituted for sugar. The juice from garden poppies was used to make opium for hospital use.

Salt, a critical material before meat could be refrigerated, was scooped up along with dirt from smokehouse floors, boiled down and recovered from past meat curing. The folks of Montgomery were resilient, reminiscent, John says, of the not-yet remote frontier days!

Enlistment Ran High In Montgomery During Civil War

The Montgomery Advertiser yesterday ran the second in a three-part series about life in Montgomery during the Civil War, written by John H. Napier, III and originally in the 1988 Alabama Review magazine.

General Napier suggests that one out of four white persons - man, woman and child - in Montgomery had enlisted by mid-1862. Doubtless the excitement accompanying Montgomery's being the Cradle of the Confederacy stimulated recruiting, even though the capital had moved to Richmond in the late spring of 1861.

Napier suggests that the local ladies also claimed a share of the credit. He quotes a local spinster who in 1907 recalled that the womens' first efforts were naturally directed toward the army. "To them" he quotes, "a man who failed to see the glorious necessity for joining the army was almost a traitor".

He closes this portion of his article by saying that "we find the beautiful young women using the incentive of their beauty to further their country's cause!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday Passed By Quietly

As we noted in our last blog, yesterday was the 150 anniversary of Alabama's secession from the Union, and it seemed to pass by mostly unnoticed. Perhaps that was a good thing, judging by some recent articles that have appeared in newspapers and on the Internet throughout the country.

The Montgomery Advertiser was kind enough yesterday to print the first in a three-part series of columns on life in Montgomery during the Civil War, written by General John H. Napier, III. The material was originally in the Alabama Review, copyright 1988 and is used by permission.

The article was titled "Young Montgomery Became First Capital - Confederate Choice" and gives several reasons why the Confederacy chose Montgomery as their Capital. One reason was because it was the home of William Lowndes Yancey, "the high priest of secession" who had made the city a center of separatist feeling, according to General Napier.

A logo saying 150 was placed at the top of the article. General Napier's material is factual and educational and kudos to the Montgomery Advertiser for printing it. The second article appeared today. I will write about it next time, and I do urge you to read this series in the Advertiser.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alabama Seceded From U.S. 150 Years Ago Tomorrow

Alabama legislation in February 1860 was passed requiring the Governor to call for election of delegates to a convention to consider how to protect the "rights...of the state of Alabama" if the U.S. elected a Republican president, which happened with Abraham Lincoln's election in November.

This convention of state delegates was held in the historic House of Representatives in the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on January 7, 1861 to discuss secession. Several days of debate followed, and the vote was taken on January 11. When the roll call was finished there were sixty-one ayes and thirty-nine nays. The presiding officer declared: "The Ordinance of Secession is adopted. I declare the State of Alabama now free, sovereign and independent."

I read in an article by David White in the Birmingham News that "the hall was loud on Jan 11. After the secession vote, door to the chamber were opened and crowds swarmed into the hall." He was quoting from "The Alabama Confederate Reader" a book edited by Malcolm McMillan and published by the University of Alabama Press in 1963.

In a letter quoted from the book, a man named Jeremiah Clemens wrote: "If we are not already involved in a war, we soon will be. There is no hope of peace and he is but little better than a madman who dreams of a long exemption from invasion". And so it was.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Somebody's darlin'

There goes "somebody’s darlin' ", became a common expression during the Civil War when a soldier fell in the line of duty.
In that moment of recognition by the men fighting the war there was no great instinct to discuss the politics of the war or even complain about the food or the lack of plumbing or the cold.

A more severe cold had set in, and it was the overwhelming and relentless loss of life . Because of the great loss of life the names were not always immediately known. Thus, when a fallen brother was carried away, another soldier often identified him as “Somebody’s darlin’.”

A song of lament grew out of the abundant grief.

Words by Marie Ravenal de la Coste
Music by John Hill Hewitt

Into the ward of the clean white-washed halls,

Where the dead slept and the dying lay;

Wounded by bayonets, sabres and balls,

Somebody's darling was borne one day.

Somebody's darling, so young and so brave,

Wearing still on his sweet yet pale face,

Soon to be hid in the dust of the grave,

The lingering light of his boyhood's grace.

CHORUS: Somebody's darling, somebody's pride,

Who'll tell his mother where her boy died?

Southern Heroes of the Civil War

We love heroes, don't we? One of my favorites, as I have written before, is T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson. When he died by friendly fire, Gen. Robert E. Lee said, "I have lost my right arm".

When I googled Confederate Heroes, I read that 70 Southern Generals died during the War. Think of it: 70!
Men like Jeb Stuart, A.P. Hill, Albert Sydney Johnston, Pelham, Pender, Pettigrew, John Hunt Morgan and so many more.

They died in places like Shiloh, Spotsylvania, Antietam, New Market, Vicksburg, Yellow Pines, Petersburg, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Seven Pines, Atlanta, and even Appomattox.

 In McWhiney's book which I have mentioned before, Attack And Die, McWhiney quotes Confederate Colonel W.C.P. Breckinridge: "it was the fate of Southern armies to confront armies larger, better equipped and admirably supplied. Unless we could by activity, audacity, aggressiveness and skill overcome these advantages it was a mere matter of time as to the certain result."

The quote continues "It was therefore the first requisite of a Confederate general that he should be willing to meet his antagonist on these unequal terms, and on such terms make fight. He must of necessity take great risks and assume grave responsibilities"

This being said, it is no wonder that the Confederacy lost so many of these able and much needed Generals. Truly, as one of the Yankee Generals said " all hell"
But let me ask you - is it a "man thing"? I just don't see women wanting to go to war, although I know some do. Is it wrong to say "I'd rather bake a casserole?" Its a lot more rewarding if you ask me!

Descendants of Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis had only two siblings who left descendants named Davis beyond one generation, namely Samuel A. Davis and Lucinda (Davis) Davis. And as you know Jefferson and Varina's only child to marry and have children was Margaret who married Joel Addison Hayes, Jr.

Margaret and Joel had four children, two daughters and two sons. One daughter, Varina Howell Davis Hayes married Gerald Bertram Webb. they had four children The second daughter, Lucy White Hayes married George B. Young and they had five children.

Jefferson Addison Hayes-Davis, Margaret and Joel's oldest son, married Doree Dewitt. Jefferson had his name legally changed to Hayes-Davis so that the Davis name could continue.They had two children, Addison Hayes-Davis and Adele Hayes-Davis.

The fourth child and second son, William Davis Hayes married Elizabeth M. Davis. They had one daughter, Elise Hayes. I read that only four of Jefferson Davis' grandchildren survived to marry and have children. Thus, descendants of Jefferson Davis are a rare commodity.

We are so fortunate to know Jefferson's great-great grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, and his wife Carole. They have been wonderful friends to us at the First White House of the Confederacy. We always enjoy and appreciate their support. Bert was our special guest for our Spring Gala last April. He signed prints of the First White House which we sold as part of our fundraiser. We still have a few in our Gift Shop if you want to purchase one for yourself or as a gift for a Confederate aficionado. Contact us at 334-242-1861 to place an order.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Alabama Shakespeare Festival Presents Two Civil War Plays

Alabama Shakespeare Festival in partnership with the Alabama Department of Tourism is presenting two World Premier Plays marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

 The Flagmaker of Market Street will run Feb 4-March 19. The story line is this: Montgomery store owner George Cowles walks a fine line catering to the Confederacy while holding secret Unionist meetings in his back room. When asked to create the first Confederate flag he has to make a choice between upholding his convictions and living a lie.

Blood Divided,  showing Feb 18 - March 20, is about fifteen-year old Willie  Baldwin, who is enchanted by secessionist William Lowndes Yancey. The young man is disgusted by his father's moderate views about war. As tension grows between Willie, his family and freeman James Hale, Willie's rash behavior has unforeseen consequences.

ASF is celebrating its 25th season. Don't miss these two plays, as well as the Spring Repertory Season. Outstanding stuff, this Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Montgomery is very, very fortunate to have a first-class theatre, actors and staff,like we have at ASF, especially for a city the size of ours.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A House Is Never Finished

The First White House was built between 1832-1835. On Feb 21, 1861 the Provisional Confederate Congress authorized the leasing of an Executive Mansion foe $5000.00 a year (approx $ 65,000 today).

Mrs. Davis arrived by riverboat on March 4, 1861, the same day Letitia Tyler raised the first governmental flag of the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars" at the State Capitol. After declaring the House "suitable as a Gentleman's residence" and making arrangements for minor renovations, she returned to Brierfield, their plantation near Vicksburg  near Vicksburg.

Varina returned to Montgomery with their three children, Margaret, Jeff Junior and Little Joe, and a few personal possessions and the Davis family moved into the First White House of the Confederacy and lived there during the spring of our independence until the mother state, Virgina seceded and the capital of the Confederacy moved to Richmond, Virginia.

More tomorrow!!!

Jefferson Davis Even After A Century Of Rest

According to an article in the Civil War Times, Sept/Oct 1994, Jefferson Davis never seemed more alive than he does today. This was after a visit to Beauvoir where the writer, Brad Austin, was introduced to a Jeff Davis he did not expect to meet.

It seems Davis was not the serious, somber soul one had read about. Austin recollects being told that the President  filled the pockets of his dressing gown with ears of corn to feed his peacocks! One of these stately birds learned to mimic Davis when the President took his daily exercise on the veranda of the library where he wrote his memoirs.

Can't you just see him now, gazing out to sea as he wrote? I am so glad Beauvoir survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, aren't you? I hope to get down there this spring. As Austin writes, "history can be very much alive when you find out where it lives".

Monday, January 3, 2011

Negotiations Last, Bullets First

My friend Richard has mused that after reading Grady McWinney's book called Attack or Die, he believes if Beauregard could have held out in SC and if the first Confederate Congress could have taken a bit more time, we might have pulled off secession without firing a shot.
But, Richard points out, us Rebels are descended from the Celts, who don't take kindly to being told what to do!

I have just ordered McWinney's book and can't wait to read it. More reading and less TV for me this year!!! Resolution # ???

Richard says that Mass. and several other New England states discussed secession during the War of 1812, to which they did not send soldiers, and during the Mexican War, which they felt was a non-necessary war. So the concept of secession started much earlier and in the eastern states.

Then he says that when John C. Calhoun tried it in SC in the late 1820's, Andrew Jackson put 20,000 troops on the NC, SC border and Calhoun "rethought" his position. To quote Richard again, "he did it under a doctrine called interposition!!! Ain't history grand?!"

And to quote my friend again "hindsight is always 20/20"!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year From The First White House of the Confederacy

Happy New Year! The Davis family was not yet in the First White House as you know, in January of 1861. But Alabama seceded on January 11, 1861. South Carolina had gone first, on Dec. 20 1860. And when Mississippi seceded Jefferson Davis resigned his seat in the U.S. senate and returned to his plantation in Brierfield (January 21).

The States that had seceded met in Montgomery on February 4, and adopted a Provisional Constitution, then on Feb 8 chose Jefferson Davis as Provisional President and Alexander Stephens as Vice President. The Confederate states were thus born before Lincoln took office as President of the United States in March.

Davis received word of his election on February 10 and after accepting reluctantly he journey to Montgomery by riverboat and train, arriving on the 16th. He was inaugurated on the front portico of the Capitol on the 18th at 1:00 as Provisional President of the Confederate Stats of America.

On February 21, 1861 the Provisional Congress authorised the leasing of an Executive Mansion which we call today the First White House of the Confederacy..

2011 begins the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States as you know if you have been reading this blog. You can read all about it in William C. Davis' book, "A Government of Our Own".