Monday, February 28, 2011

Remember The Past To Preserve The Future

After  our  Feb 21 blog  which reprinted the article by Grover Hall, one of our White House Association members  wrote to me: "I believe we must always study and reexamine our history, even if it is difficult. If we do not, we can easily be manipulated sometimes with disastrous results. For example, changing history is what the communists did to control and manipulate public opinion to bring about revolution."

She goes on to say: "I see our techno, 'hit the easy button' world, racing faster and faster toward this scary type of society. Kudos to you for reminding us to slow down and “read, mark and inwardly digest” the painful lessons of our past."

We all know that we are not "celebrating" but commemorating the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. How could we not remember, when 620,000 lives were lost on both sides? And how can we learn from the past, unless we study it? We should never be afraid to look back and have honest discussions about our past, the good, the bad and the ugly! We welcome your comments!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Battle of Cherbourg (1864) - Part II Of The Story of CSS Alabama

When the Alabama arrived in port at Cherbourg, France, she soon found herself boxed in by the Union warship the Kearsarge, with no place left to run. Captain Semmes chose to fight rather than see his worn-out ship rot away at a French dock.

The battle quickly turned against Alabama due to the superior gunnery displayed by Kearsarge and the deteriorated state of Alabama's contaminated powder and fuses. The Kearsarge was also armor-clad although this probably did not benefit her that much. Semmes, in the years that followed, claimed he would never have fought Kearsarge if he had known she was armor-clad.

A little more than an hour after the first shot was fired, Alabama was reduced to a sinking wreck, and Captain Semmes was forced to strike his colors and send one of his two surviving boats to Kearsarge to ask for assistance.

Kearsarge rescued the majority of the survivors but 41 of Alabama's officers and crew, including Semmes, were rescued by Deerhound, a private yacht which spirited Semmes away to England.

The battle between the Alabama and Kearsarge is honored by the Unite States Navy with a battle star on the Civil War campaign streamer. The remains of the Alabama were found in November, 1984, under nearly 200 feet of water off Cherbourg. In 2002, a diving expedition raised the ship's bell along with more than 300 other artifacts, including cannons, structural samples, tableware, and other items that reveal much about life aboard the Confederate warship. Many of these are housed in the Underwater Archeology Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command conservation lab.

If you want more on the subject, three is a book: The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter by Raphael Semmes. available from

The CSS Alabama Was A Grand Ship

A friend brought us a picture of the CSS Alabama last week which we are having framed and will proudly hang in our Relic Room. You may be interested to know that the ship was built in secrecy in 1862 by British shipbuilders in NW England. This was arranged by the Confederate agent James Dunwoody Bulloch, who was leading the procurement of sorely needed ships for the Confederate States Navy.

Ralphael Semmes took command of the new cruiser. It was composed of six broadside, 32 pounder, naval smooth bores and two larger and more powerful pivot cannons. It was powered by both sail and two 300 horsepower (220kW) horizontal steam engines. Alabama could make up to ten knots under sail alone and 13.25 knots with sail and steam power were used together.

She burned 65 Union vessels of various types, most of them merchant ships. During her raiding ventures, the captured ships' crews and passengers were never harmed, only detained until they could be placed aboard a neutral ship or placed ashore in a friendly or neutral port.

All together, Alabama conducted a total of seven expeditionary raids, spanning the globe, before heading back to France for refit and repairs and a date with destiny. I will tell about that in my next blog.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Much More About The War Betweeen The States

I am reprinting this in its entirity as it appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser in 1961. It is longer than our usual blog but I know you will find it of great interest. It was also reprinted in the Montgomery Independent last week.
By Grover C. Hall, Jr., Editor of the Montgomery Advertiser
Why should the South "celebrate" the centennial of its defeat?

Why should we freshen the memory of slaughter, torch, and hatred?

Why should the descendants of vanquished Confederates steep their galls in brine?

One hears these questions raised sometimes by persons who have the imagination of an ant.

The South is not "celebrating" its defeat. The North and the South are commemorating the origin of a tragic but noble heritage. We are, as Isaiah exhorted, looking to the rock whence we are hewn.
The North and the South, reconciled, are looking with pride and reverence to that which shapes us.

No combative spirit is aroused by this rehearsal of our past, which has inspired and informed the whole world. The North is as proud of Robert E. Lee as we Southerners. His home at Arlington is a national shrine. And the preceding President (Eisenhower) kept his picture upon his office wall to worship.

It is true that descendants of Confederate forebears are forced to regret that the South did not win the war. It is true that they wonder if this was not the only war ever worth fighting. But they expect a Northerner to be glad his forebears won the struggle. They would regard him as a bounder if he didn't.

Yet Southerners are reconciled to the result of the war, and they are too busy marching to prosperity in their gracious land to brood over the crime of Reconstruction. The South had the highest standard of living before the war and has it in mind to regain that status.
The Reasons Why
There are three unassailable reasons for this commemoration in which North joins South:
 It was an extraordinary war in terms of battle.
 The result was extraordinary.
 We Americans in a great measure are creatures of the Revolutionary War and all our national wars. But we Southerners are more shaped by the Civil War than the others, and perhaps all the others together.
Battle Classics
As for the battle phase of the war, there were 23 Northern states with 22,000,000 people. The North's adversary was a confederacy of 11 states and but 9,000,000 people. Be certain that we do not say it to boast or gasconade, but it took the 22,000,000 four years to subjugate the 9,000,000--and there you have one measure of the singular nature of the war. All the world's military academies claim this war as their very own laboratory.

The war's result was extraordinary. It was so hard fought that it is painful to regard it even at this distance. The South was occupied afterwards in a fashion called villainous and cruel by Northern historians.

This War Settled Something
Despite that, the war was conclusive. It is infantile to say that "wars never settle anything". The war was followed by reconciliation in a remarkably short time.

Consider how the Irish continue to hate the British so long after the conflict.
Consider how the horror of the French Revolution settled but little and never until this day has France achieved the stable government we take for granted in this country.

Gratitude For A Heritage
But above all this, we Alabamians commemorate this centennial because it would be indecently callous if we didn't. We do it in gratitude for a heritage that the whole world admires and embosoms.

We commemorate for the same reason that Pericles made his immortal funeral oration on the Athenian dead, and for the same reason we decorate brave soldiers.
We commemorate for the same reason that we mark the graves of our mothers and fathers. The Confederate generation is not to us "the flies of a summer".
We are festive and smiling in the course of our week of pageantry here under the impatient bright sun of the Deep South.
But inwardly we are in solemn awe of the skill and valor of the men of the nation which survived only long enough to win deathless renown.
The Present Is Part Past
We commemorate because we understand what the great German poet Goethe meant when he said of memory:

"There is no Past that we can bring back to us by the longing for it. There is only an eternally new Now that builds and creates itself out of the elements of the Past as the Past withdraws."
We commemorate because we understand Justice Holmes' observation, "Continuity with the past is a necessity, not a duty."
A Southerner who can belittle or say ho-hum to this commemoration is a man who really hasn't got much respect for himself.

From the Montgomery Advertiser, page 1, Sunday, 19, 1961

February 19 Parade and Re-enactment of Jefferson Davis's Inauguration Big Success

Saturday was a big success and brought many, many reenactors, history buffs, and others to Montgomery and to the First White House of the Confederacy, where they were warmly welcomed and shown around the building and of course the - ta da - Gift Shop!!!

Lee Sentell and the Alabama Dept of Tourism had several new items for us to sell and these were very popular with our visitors. One was a beautiful bronze medallion with Jefferson Davis's picture on it, to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the "Wah," priced at $ 60.00.

Another of our new treasures is a boxed replica of the Alabama State Capitol ($90.00). A big seller yesterday was a print of the Inauguration of President Jefferson Davis. This was made from a lithograph which we have hanging in the First White House of the Inauguration, published in Baltimore in 1887, by Horn. This lithograph was issued a generation after the fall of the Confederacy, but was copied from wood engravings of the actual scene which had been published contemporaneously. A large one is only $ 5.00 and a small one just $1.00.

One of the items that we are most proud of is a replica of the stature of Jefferson Davis that stands in front of the Alabama State Capitol. This is something we carry all the time and is a very good "seller".

Another big seller on Saturday was WATER. It was a very warm 85 degrees and many of the men had been in the hot sun all morning in wool uniforms or coats and ladies in long sleeved dresses and hoop skirts.

The parade, speeches and reenactment of the Inauguration  received very good coverage in the Montgomery Advertiser on Sunday, for which we were extremely pleased. Wish you could have been there, but if you missed it, do come and see us soon at the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Commemoration Events in Montgomery Today February 19, 2011

As I wrote yesterday the Inauguration of Jefferson Davis took place in Montgomery 150 years ago yesterday, Feb 18, but today the Sons of the Confederate Veterans have organized appropriate events to mark the occasion.

People have come from all over the map, many of them stopping by the First White House of the Confederacy, from the great city of Richmond, Virginia, the home of the Second White House and Confederate Museum, all the way to California, where a delightful couple dressed as "President and Mrs Davis" came in period dress.

Today the First White House will be open all day for those wanting to visit. The events planned by SCV will feature a parade up Dexter Avenue to the Alabama State Capitol Building and a reenactment of the swearing in of President Jefferson Davis and a selection of speakers at the Capitol Building.

At the White House we have several new items for sale including a beautiful medallion which has been struck to mark the Sesquicentennial. More about all the above tomorrow. Enjoy this beautiful Saturday!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jefferson Davis Inaugurated 150 Years Ago Today

Today was a very exciting day at the First White House of the Confederacy in downtown Montgomery, Alabama as hordes of visitors toured our House Museum, in which Jefferson Davis and his family resided in the spring of 1861, because today was the Sesquicentennial of the day he was inaugurated on the front portico of the Alabama State Capitol  on February 18, 1861.

 Because of this, there is lots going on this whole weekend. At noon today in "Old Alabama Town," well-known historian Mary Ann Neely gave a fascinating presentation on Jefferson Davis and the days that led up to the Inauguration, as well as the people involved.

At 1:00 at the First White House Tyrone Crowley and his wife arrived. Tomorrow he is portraying Jefferson Davis and will be taking the oath of office and will then give the speech Jefferson Davis delivered. Mr. Crowley, as a dress rehearsal gave the speech to us at the FWH. We were thrilled with his presentation and delivery. He will make a wonderful and forceful Jefferson Davis tomorrow at the Capitol.

In addition there will be a parade up Dexter Avenue to the Capitol and lots of SCV folks in period costumes. It will be a day to remember. The First White House will be open for visitors all day too, and we invite all to come.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reporting On The Man and The Hour Have Met Presentation By Ralph Draughon

Last evening, February 16, 2011, the long-awaited event commemorating the meeting between Davis and Yancey took place at the Dept of Archives and History building in the Montgomery, Alabama capitol complex which is next door to the First White House of the Confederacy. The White House Association co-sponsored the event with the Archives and we were so happy to do so.

Over one hundred interested history buffs eagerly entered the beautiful auditorium anxiously awaiting the address by Dr. Ralph Draughon, Jr. of Auburn, Alabama, a noted historian. The huge screen portrayed the crowd that had gathered at the Exchange Hotel when Jefferson Davis arrived and made brief remarks the evening of February 16, 1861, followed by William Lowndes Yancey who "brought down the house". with his own passionate address..

Dr. Draughon made a splendid talk, telling us the background of the term of the term "man and the hour". I had always thought Yancey coined the phrase, but Dr. Draughon told us that it was Sir Walter Scott that had used it, so it was not an unfamiliar concept to those hanging onto Yancey's every word.

 Dr. Draughon used a football analogy. The team were the Confederates, the new coach Jefferson Davis, and. Yancey, the head cheerleader. Dr. D. reported that Yancey did his job to perfection, and  I definately think Yancey would have been very pleased to hear Dr. Draughon's fascinating re-enactment of the speech!!!

To add icing to the cake, so to speak, the great-great grandson of Yancey and two great-great granddaughters were guests of Dr. Draughon, and everyone enjoyed meeting them during the reception. Also the Jefferson Davis punch was served and many wanted the recepie which was on the blog 12/29/10, printed with the permission of Bertram Hayes-Davis, great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis. Anyway, a great time was had by all last night and we all learned alot in the process of having fun!!! Isn't that what learning is all about?

Many thanks to Anne Feathers for orchestrating the reception and for the White House ladies who brought food. The crowd enjoyed each and every delicious bite, as well as the punch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yancey Meets Davis One Hundred Fifty Years Ago Today

Today is a significant one in our commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, because this was the day (Feb. 16, 1861) that Jefferson Davis arrived in Montgomery after a grueling trip by rail. Because the railroad bridges were out on the most direct trip to Montgomery, Davis had to go north, then east across Tenn and northern Alabama to Chattanooga, then southeast to Atlanta. It took a number of days!

At every stop people gathered to see their new President, and he had to address them. He lost count of the number of speeches he made. He was expected to arrive Feb 16, so Governor Moore had asked several local dignitaries, including Yancey, Watts, Pollard, Shorter, Mayor Noble and others to serve as a welcoming committee.

Pollard had a special railroad car fitted out for the occasion and the entire welcoming committee met Davis several miles east of West Point, Ga. Davis boarded this car, made yet another brief speech and off they went.

It was late evening when they arrived in Montgomery. Davis was escorted to the Exchange Hotel, and W.C. Davis reports in his book "A Government of Our Own" that the entire city was "agog" . Davis again spoke to the crowd. I have written about this in tomorrow's Montgomery Independent so will not go into details here.

After his brief speech he went inside, and the crowd called for Yancey who gave a stirring and impassioned speech, in which he congratulated them on having found the right man.  He told them this was their defining moment as Confederates. He said in a ringing voice, "The man and the hour have met".

These famous words will be discussed tonight at the Archives at 5:30 by Dr. Ralph Draughon of Auburn. You can find more about this event on our website at and we hope any who are reading this and are nearby will come. It is free and the public is invited!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis

Here is a quote from The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis. I think it is appropriate considering that he was inaugurated on Feb 18. 1861 one hundred and fifty years ago this week, right here in Montgomery.

He says: "When the war closed, who were the victors? Perhaps it is too soon to answer that question. Nevertheless, every day, as time rolls on, we look with increasing pride upon the struggle our people made for constitutional liberty.

The war was one in which fundamental principles were involved; as force decides no truth, the issue is still undetermined, as has already been shown. We have laid aside our swords; we have ceased our hostility; we have conceded the physical strength of the Northern states.

But the question still lives, and all nations and peoples that adopt a confederated agent of government will become champions of our cause. While contemplating the Northern states- with their federal Constitution gone, ruthlessly destroyed under the tyrant's plea of "necessity", their state sovereignty made  a byword, and their people absorbed in an aggregated mass, no longer as their fathers left them, protected by reserved rights against usurpation - the question naturally arises: on which side was the victory? Let the verdict of mankind decide."

At the First White House we have in the President's study, the very table on which he wrote "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government". I urge our readers to purchase this book from Amazon and read it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Historic Secretary-Desk Given To The First White House of the Cofederacy

The First White House is very excited to have been given a beautiful Secretary-Desk that was in the possession of Miss Mary Custis Lee, one of the four daughters of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who died about 1922, after which her personal estate was sold.

The Virginia origin of this piece makes it rare and very desirable on the current antiques market, where southern furniture enjoys strong popularity. Beyond, this, the Lee history of ownership gives it strong historic interest.

It is very appropriate for the First White House, because of the strong bond between President Davis and General . Lee. We are honored and very proud to have it and are extremely appreciative to the donors. We have placed it in the President's Study, and invite the public to come by and see it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Man And The Hour Have Met

William Lowndes Yancey "the firebrand," as he was called, greeted Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, 150 years ago next week, on  February 16, 1861. This event will be commemorated at 5:30 on Wed. Feb 16, 2011 with a program sponsored by the First White House of the Confederacy and the Alabama Department of Archives and History, at the Archives, 624 Washington Avenue .

Dr. Ralph Draughon, Jr.a native and resident of Auburn, retired from a career in historic preservation in Georgia, Virginia and Louisiana. As a historical advisor to a major archaeological firm, he participated in historical evaluations from Gettysburg to the Gulf of Mexico. He is a member of the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation as well as the Alabama Historical Association and the Alabama Historical Commission.

Dr. Draughon will discuss the speech given by Yancey when he greeted Davis at the Exchange Hotel 150 years ago, prior to Davis's inauguration as Provisional President of the Confederate States of America. A special treat will be Draughon's concluding the program by actually delivering Yancey's speech in 19th century oratorical style.

A reception will follow so that the guests will be able to greet Dr. Draughon and enjoy light refreshments, including "Jeff Davis punch".

The commemoration event is one in a series of programs affiliated with Becoming Alabama, a statewide partnership of state agencies, historical groups and cultural organizations to commemorate the coinciding anniversaries of the Creek War and War of 1812, the Civil War, and the major events in the Civil Rights movement. For more information on Becoming Alabama, visit

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

War Is Imminent

This wonderful House Museum that the Jefferson Davis family lived in during the spring of 1861 is a visual reminder and important teaching tool of the American Civil War which split our country for four bloody years and cost 620,000 lives.

When asked about the causes of the war, here is what my predecessor Mrs. Napier said: "the crisis had been long in the making. The slave-holding South saw political and economic power slipping away to the ever-growing industrial North and farmers of the West. The immediate cause was whether slavery could expand westward, although disputes about unfair tariffs and trade practices played a role."

After Lincoln's election in November of 1860 seven Southern states seceded and later four others followed.
They met in Montgomery to establish the Confederate States of America on Feb 4, 1861 and we all know the rest of the story.

Davis and Yancey met in Montgomery on Feb 16 and Davis was inaugurated on the 18th. (that's 150 years ago next week, dear readers!)  March 4, the first Confederate flag was raised over the Alabama capitol by Letitia Tyler, granddaughter of former U.S. President John Tyler. Mrs. Davis arrived shortly after that by steamboat.

Other important dates: April 11 - Telegram sent from Montgomery to fire on Fort Sumter. April 1, firing begins and the War starts. On May 27, 1861 the Confederate capital moved to Richmond. I have mentioned before that William C. Davis' book A Government of Their Own - The Making of the Confederacy is an excellent book to read about the happenings in Montgomery. And I am excited about what all is going on next week. I will write about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Controversial Confederate Flag Painting Removed

This just came across the Internet. I have not checked it out, but I assume it is true. It tells about an "art appreciation" professor in Georgia that has had his controversial, interpretive (?) Confederate flag painting removed from an annual faculty art show at his college.

Images were painted on the flag. According to the article, and I quote: " he said the painting does espouse a less-favorable view of the flag, but that's what comes to mind when he thinks about it- images that result from what he learned of the South while growing up in Venezuela and also while in college in Texas".

Hello - he goes on to say he wasn't expecting that kind of feedback. What I want to know is where in the world has he been?

And all of that aside, the 38 years I was selling flag,s I always heard that it was incorrect to add anything to a flag of a state, nation, or whatever. Of course I realize this was a painting and not a real flag, but I think that the same principle should apply. You can't imagine how many times people wanted to order a U.S. Confederate, State or similar type flag and have some lettering or design embroidered on it. Come on folks, it is not a tattoo, its a flag for goodness sake!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reconstruction - Yikes!

The War had been over for two years before Congress shocked the South with the passage of the first Reconstruction Act in March of 1867. According to an article in the Advertiser-Journal of February 19, 1961 the Reconstruction period did not end until eight years later with the wresting of the political control of the state by the Democratic Party.

The economic aspect for Montgomery meant one thing - a depression. As soon as the War was over, carpetbaggers flooded the city. Taxes in Montgomery quadrupled and businesses of all kinds decreased and real estate shrunk to less than one-third of its former value.

In less than two months after Reconstruction began, the market fell so flat that the local newspapers said it was unnecessary to quote. Many businesses closed and rent went out the wazoo. Food prices soared out of sight and soup houses were opened for the poor.

It was not until November of 1874 that a democratic governor was elected and the Democrats also gained control of the Senate and the House. It was many, many long years before a Republican was elected Governor again, and  I think I am correct in saying that the Democrats stayed in power in the Alabama State legislature until this past November when the Republicans once again gained a majority in both houses.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"I've Gone Away For To Stay A Little While"

There was a song during the War Between the States with lyrics "I've gone away for to stay a little while, but I'm coming back if I've gone ten thousand miles". Sometimes that happened (remember Cold Mountain?) but that was not always the case.

Take the letter my good friend Jean sent to me, from her ancestor in Texas who wrote  her niece in Alabama. It is dated August 13, 1861. She writes "When I receive a letter from any of you it is pleasure and grief mingled together and when I sit down to write...I cannot force back the tears when I think of friends, relatives and all departed never to meet again, for you must know that I can never return, and the prospect of any of you coming here is quite gloomy."

She goes on to tell about the times. "Times are growing hard...goods, groceries, everything is very high since the Maniac Lincoln (her words not mine) placed his Man of war in our parts...I wish we had a Navy that we could just blow them there to the four winds...England and France will join us if the difficulty is not settled soon. Our Gov. in his proclamation ordered all men having Northern sentiments to leave".

Later in the letter she says that McCulloth from Texas had about 600 Cherokee Indians with him. She said they could "put 10,000 Yankies to flight"! her spelling of yankees) One of this lovely lady's nine children was named Jeff Davis. Of course!!! I would not have expected anything else.

She sounds like a feisty one. Told about how they hung a man for horse stealing and said that he hung there until...wait, I don't want to go into that one - just had lunch! Well, my friend Jean, like so many of us, came from sturdy stock. No wonder Jean is such an amazing person. I look forward to meeting her relative when I get to Heaven!!! Can't wait to ask her some questions about living through The "WAH" !!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Charming Author Visits The First White House of the Confederacy

Susan Sully of Asheville, NC., author of Charleston Style, and Savannah Style, has also written New Orleans Style, Past and Present. In it she writes about the Strachan Family House, a Garden District Greek Revival Mansion.

Jefferson Davis was a frequent visitor to this house, which was built by Jacob Payne, friend of the President. Winnie Davis made her debut there in 1883 and attended Mardi Gras balls, reigning as Queen of both Momus and Comus.

Ms. Sully writes: "These glittering events took place well after the Civil War, in which Payne lost nearly all his property. They reveal how firmly the South in general and New Orleans in particular clung to its traditions despite drastic changes to the social and economic landscape".

This was the house in which Jefferson Davis died in 1889! There is even a picture of the bedroom in which he died. This is a wonderful book, written by a charming and beautiful woman, who graced the First White House in Montgomery with her presence for a brief time on her recent visit to Montgomery,when she gave a  fascinating  presentation for an organization whose object is to create interest in antique furniture, decorative arts, architecture and landscape design.

I wholeheartedly recommend any and all of Susan Sully's books. They are exquisite, and from them you can learn so much about how people live and lived in the three cities, Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans.

The Road To War

Yesterday in two weekly papers, the Montgomery Independent and the Alabama Gazette,  the Sons of the Confederate Veterans presented a 12 page supplement called The Road To War.

Kudos to them!!! This material is presented to the public in the interest of historical accuracy and as a public service by the Alabama Division, SCV. I hope they will put it on their website and when they do, I will let you know.
I have not read it all the way through but I understand it is very factual. Goody! That is what we need. It is taken from a series of articles by Leroy A. Simms, Managing Editor of the Birmingham News in 1961 (to mark the 100th Anniversary of The War).

Congratulations for a job well done. Everyone needs to read this supplement.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy Jefferson Davis Question On " Jeopardy" and No One Got It Right

I am a big Jeopardy (quiz show) fan and I tape it every day and watch it at night.Today's show one of the questions was " Who lived at Beauvoir and wrote The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government"?

I thought "how easy, a slam dunk" but NOT. No one got it right! In fact, only one contestant even guessed, and he was wrong. The other two contestants were mute...not even a clue. HOW SAD. And how ignorant, these so called smart people are (after all they do have to take a test to qualify) are of this part of our nation's history .

Well, that's just another reason for all of us to continue to tell the story, because obviously they are not being taught the things we feel are important, in our schools. And oh, in case you didn't know, the answer is, as we say at the First White House of the Confederacy, "Jefferson Davis".

Jefferson Davis and His Civil War Career

After the secession of Mississippi, Davis left the senate on Jan 21, 1861 and returned to Miss as commander of his own State's troops. Davis hoped for a military career in case of war. Instead, to his surprise and regret, he was unanimously chosen by the Confederate Provisional Congress as Provisional President of the Confederate States on Feb. 9, 1861.

He was inaugurated in Montgomery on Feb 18, and was formally elected by the people on Oct. 16, and again inaugurated, this time at Richmond, Va. under the "permanent constitution" on Feb 22, 1862. As we all know he was still President of the CSA when the Confederacy collapsed.

Davis and his cabinet sought to negotiate for a withdrawal of the Union troops from military posts in the South, and he did not order military operations to be opened at Charleston in April of 1861 until he was convinced that the Lincoln administration had sent an armed expedition to reinforce the garrison of Fort Sumter.

The easy victory at Bull Run on July 21 misled the South and even Davis into believing that its independence would be won without great effort. Thus he did not capitalize on the war ardour of the first months of the struggle.

Through much hard work coupled with good commanders, 1862 brought a number of brilliant victories in Virginia, but it was otherwise on the Mississippi. Unfortunately his greatest blunder was to decide on an offensive in the East instead of reinforcement of the army on the Mississippi. When Gettysburg failed, and the next day Vicksburg fell, the Confederacy was cut in half.