Robert McHugh wrote a fine article on Jefferson Davis in the Daily Herald, the Biloxi-Gulfport Miss newspaper, "Jefferson Davis, An American Patriot". . It is good to see someone give this statesman the credit he deserves. The article was presented by Senator James O. Eastland in the U.S. Senate on June 9, 1971.
He mentions among his many accomplishments that Davis was chiefly instrumental in establishing the Smithsonian Institution; he instituted the federal civil service system; he began the movement to construct a canal across Panama; he designed a cantilever bridge to span the Potomac River; he envisioned the need for transcontinental transportation, ordering surveys on three routes to the Pacific, corresponding afterwards with the three railway lines built with governmental assistance (yes, they gave governmental assistance back then too).
As Secretary of War, Davis introduced a humanities program at the U.S. Military Academy, establishing an elite corps of officers and gentlemen; he sent a study commission to the Crimean War which put into effect new military tactics; he introduced the light infantry, the rifle musket and the Minnie ball. (Unfortunately all that was used against him when the War came).
McHugh goes on to say the following: " he won such wide respect as legislator and administrator that men from throughout the nation marked him as presidential timber. He never became President of the United States however. Destiny marked Jefferson Davis for another task - that of President of the Confederate States of America!"