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Collection Title: Davis (Jefferson) Letters

Collection Number: M43

Dates: September 23, 1853, and June 13, 1880

Volume: 2 items

Provenance: P.C. Richards in February 1970.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, was born on June 3, 1808, in Christian (now Todd County), Kentucky, but his family moved to Woodville, Mississippi, when he was a child. Educated at the county academy, Jefferson College, and Transylvania University, Jefferson entered West Point in 1924. Following graduation in 1828, he was assigned military duty in Wisconsin where he Sarah Knox Taylor, daughter of General Zachary Taylor. In opposition to General Taylor's wishes, the young couple married and Jefferson resigned from the army. Sarah Taylor Davis died three months after their marriage and for more than six years Jefferson withdrew from public life. He re-entered politics in the mid 1840's, campaigning first for democratic representative from Warren County and serving later as a member of the Democratic State Convention. Davis was elected to Congress in 1845 and served until he received a commission from Mississippi's governor to command the Mississippi Rifles during the Mexican War. He served Mississippi in the United States Senate from 1847-1851 and 1857-1861; he also served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.

After the Civil War, Davis retired to his home, Beauvoir, in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he wrote The Rise and Fall of the Confederate States of America. He died in New Orleans on December 6, 1889.

Colonel Henry K. Craig, 1791-1869, served as Chief of Ordinance in Washington, D.C., 1851-1861.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of two letters. The first one, dated September 23, 1853, is from Colonel H.K. Craig, Chief of Ordnance, to Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War. The letter informs Davis about the death of Captain J.M. Morgan, commanding officer of the Baton Rouge Arsenal, and requests that Captain J.A.J. Bradford be appointed to that command. On the verso of the letter Davis rejected the proposed appointment.

In the second letter, dated June 13, 1880, Davis informs Frank Moore that he must reply in the negative to an earlier inquiry (content unknown), and further states that the acts, resolutions, and journals of the Confederate Congress have previously been published. This letter may have been written and signed in the hand of Davis' wife, Varina Howell Davis.

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