First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis's Civil War

By Joan E. Cashin | Go to book overview
Save to active project

11
FASCINATING FAILURES

AFTER SAYING LITTLE about the war for most of the 1870s, Varina Davis broke her silence in a letter to her husband in1878. Again she spoke in the unorthodox voice. In February 1878, after Robert M. T. Hunter quarreled with Jefferson Davis over what had happened at the Hampton Roads peace conference in 1865, she reminded her spouse that even though she was a woman and was supposed to have no political opinions, she had said privately that she believed the Confederacy was doomed. Both Hunter and Robert E. Lee kept silent near the end about their desires for peace, which she thought was a “sorry spectacle.” If she had been in a position to stop the war, she “would have interposed” her “own body” between the soldiers of the two armies and “preached a peace crusade” even if her life “had paid for it.” Her husband had at least been consistent, she averred, believing in the Confederate cause until the very end. She suggested that he refrain from answering Hunter, observing, “You have not been a conciliatory man in your manners always,” and added that she gave him this advice only because she loved him. She avoided saying the obvious, that many soldiers died after Hampton Roads because her husband was determined to fight when almost everyone else knew it was over.1

In the spring of 1879, she spoke further about public issues when the Davises met a journalist while traveling by steamboat down the Mississippi. After the writer interviewed Jefferson—who declared

-227-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis's Civil War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 403

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?