Jefferson Davis Was Captured
May 10, 1865
Davis (1808-1889), president of the Confederate states (the
South) during the Civil War, was captured when the Union Army
caught up to him on May 10, 1865, in Irwinville, Georgia.
His best general, Robert E. Lee, had surrendered on April 9 at
Appomattox in Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant, which
effectively ended the Civil War. When Lee surrendered to
the North, Davis and his Cabinet moved south, hoping to continue
the struggle until better terms could be secured from the North.
Davis recounted his capture in his book, The Rise and Fall of
the Confederate Government. He was accused of treason and of
planning the assassination of President Lincoln. Davis was
taken to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where he was treated harshly.
Although he was accused of high crimes, he was never brought to
trial. After two years in prison, he was released and
lived out the rest of his life in relative peace.
When Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederate States
of America in 1861, he believed in the right of Southern states
to secede and defended his belief until his death in 1889.
He spent his remaining years in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the
Beauvoir plantation. Davis never asked for, nor was he granted,
a pardon for his actions. However, in a speech at Mississippi
City, Mississippi, he said: "The past is dead; let it bury its
dead, its hopes and its aspirations. Before you lies the
future, a future full of golden promise, a future of expanding
national glory, before which all the world shall stand amazed."