If Jefferson Davis had not become “the idol of the army, ” as Waller Redd hoped, he had made his mark. General Arbuckle, who held the resignation far past the deadline, finally sent it to General Gaines with the hope that he had received a countermanding letter from Davis, “a young officer of much intelligence and great promise.” 1
Col. Zachary Taylor, who knew Davis even better, said that he had for him “personally and officially the highest opinion of respect and regard.” That was when the lieutenant was “attentive to his daughter” (but doubtless before the affair of the court-martial uniform). Taylor's daughter Sarah Knox, who had been in school in Cincinnati, came to Fort Crawford only in 1832, when her parents returned from a furlough in Louisville. The elder Taylor daughter, Ann Mackall, had already married army surgeon Robert Crooke Wood and was living in the “wilderness surroundings of Fort Snelling” with two children when Jeff Davis came courting Knox (as the family called her). Her little sister Betty (Mary Elizabeth) was nine, and her only brother, Dick (Richard), was seven. Knox was nineteen and uncommonly pretty. 2
Betty remembered her “great vivacity and charm of manner.” Her best friend thought she resembled her father, with his “splendid hazel eye and strong even teeth, ” except that her figure was exquisitely small. A cousin spoke of “wavy brown hair and clear gray eyes” and called Knox “witty … clever … graceful as a nymph, and the best dancer in the State of Kentucky.” 3
Jeff and Knox had so little time together that it must have been love at first sight, and overwhelmingly strong. Nine days after he reached Fort Crawford, Davis was sent to bring in BlackHawkand then, a week later, to take him downriver. He returned from his interrupted leave in January 1833 and served through the winter at the Dubuque mines. In 83
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Publication information: Book title: Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart. Contributors: Felicity Allen - Author. Publisher: University of Missouri Press. Place of publication: Columbia, MO. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 83.
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