(1808-1889)

Jefferson Davis was the only president of the Confederates States of America. The Confederacy consisted of the southern states that seceded form the United States and started the Civil War.

A gifted orator and a lifelong champion of state’s rights, Davis reluctantly joined the secessionist, as it’s lone supreme commander.

The Confederates needed a strong willed leader and Davis fit that mold perfectly. The disadvantages President Davis encountered, as leader of a brand new country that was rebelling from the country that he cherished was difficult.

At times his administration was seen as unorganized but efficiently chaotic. Conscription was one of the main points of disagreement for the new leader. Davis desired a full time volunteer army but what he settled for was a no choice induction defensive force.

Davis wanted to adopt the military offensive tactic but again the country chose to go on the defensive. Many scholars of the Civil War argue this point to no agreement. The truth is unless the armies of the war lined up again and reversed the roles that both sides actually played then the world will never know. What is for certain is that Davis held the position of President of the Confederacy the entire war and paid a high price for it.

Jefferson Davis president of the Confederate States of America

Jefferson Davis president of the Confederate States of America

Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky in 1808. His father fought in the Revolution and had many family members who also fought for the freedom of America. To say that Davis was destined to be a soldier would be putting it mildly.

Davis graduated from West Point in 1832 and enlisted in the war to fight in The Black Hawk War. In 1831, Davis battled Black Hawks under the leadership of Chief Black Hawk and after winning the battle, captured the Chieftain.

Davis’s fine treatment of the captured Indian leader left such a mark on the Chieftain that he would later speak highly of Davis. This sort of personal respect for his fellow man, Indian or white, made Davis a great leader.

Davis earned great distinction during the war and was elected as the Secretary of War for President Franklin Pierce. President Davis was twice married but his first wife, Sallie Knox Taylor, died surprisingly, after three months of marriage. She was the daughter of President Zachary Taylor. Davis later married Varina Howell in 1845.

As President of The Confederacy, Davis was seen as a great leader. His only blatant down fall was that he was president of a country at war within itself. It is very difficult for anyone to fully comprehend the position Davis must have felt as he was so torn.

After the war was lost and the Union forces had accepted the surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox, Davis was captured and placed in prison for two years. The crime was treason against the United States and Davis was said to show great courage as he was lead off to prison. Davis was subsequently released and returned to Mississippi. He would die on December 6, 1889 in New Orleans.