Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart

By Felicity Allen | Go to book overview

X
War Department Days

While misunderstandings defeated him for the Senate, Jefferson Davis was finding himself “sufficiently content” in his post as secretary of war. His interest in his duties was increasing, his relations with other officials were “very agreeable, ” and he had “a field of usefulness wide enough to satisfy me, so far as I have any desire for public employment.” “I have commenced many things in the War Dept. and have become more involved in the general administration than I expected, ” he told Stephen Cocke. 1

He had to supervise the army, the military academy, and several large engineering projects as well: a survey of routes for a transcontinental railway, construction of an aqueduct to bring water to Washington, and additions to the post office, patent office, and capitol buildings. 2 In charge of the last four, he had Capt. Montgomery C. Meigs, to whom he gave absolutely free rein, “confident of the entire conscientiousness and propriety of your course.” 3 Meigs appreciated Davis's “kindness and confidence, ” and as he later wrote, “became much attached to him”: “Mr. Davis was a most courteous and amiable man in those days…. He was a man, too, of marked ability, and I quite looked up to him and regarded him as one of the great men of the time.” 4 None of the building projects were finished while Davis was in office. He recommended Meigs to the next administration and later to the Senate, but he could not prevent his dismissal from the capitol project in 1860, over difficulties with the architect. 5

For the capitol, Meigs was to “provide rooms suitable” for each house of Congress (the two wings, eventually) and to replace the low central dome with a much larger one. Davis worked closely with him on details of each project, down to the type of marble to use. Davis insisted on American artists for the capitol sculptures, but he preferred Italian

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Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Editorial Note xix
  • Jefferson Davis - Unconquerable Heart *
  • I - Capture 1
  • II - Home 31
  • III - School 45
  • IV - Army 57
  • V - Marriage 83
  • VI - Plantation and Politics 111
  • VII - Fame 137
  • VIII - United States Senator 159
  • IX - Victory in Defeat 184
  • X - War Department Days 202
  • XI - Struggles for Health and the South 225
  • XII - President 266
  • XIII - The Chief Executive 292
  • XIV - Commander in Chief 317
  • XV - The Year of Our Lord 1863 344
  • XVI - Double-Quick Downhill 372
  • XVII - Prisoners 412
  • XVIII - An Unseen Hand 434
  • XIX - Varina 461
  • XX - Sad Wandering 488
  • XXI - The Cause 511
  • XXII - The Hero 534
  • XXIII - Afterward 560
  • Appendix A - J. E. Johnston to J. Davis, on Rank 577
  • Appendix B - Proclamations by Davis for Days of Prayer 582
  • Appendix C - Devotional Material Used by Davis in Prison 584
  • Preface to the Notes 587
  • Notes 593
  • Select Bibliography 733
  • Index 761
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