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In Their Own Words

May 17, 1865

Journal Entry on Jefferson Davis in Augusta as Prisoner

Gertrude Thomas recorded the passage of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis through Augusta as prisoner:

“… Coming home from church, I saw Major Sibley. He told me that Jeff Davis had been captured in Early County [actually Irwin County] on his way to Florida. Mr. Thomas and I were resting after dinner when Patsey came running in in great excitement, telling us that a fight was expected down the street that if anyone wished to go down town they must go on Broad instead of Greene St, that Jeff Davis was in town and a large crowd had gathered. Jeff Davis in Augusta and a prisoner. This was indeed the crowning point, the climax of our downfall. I buried my face on the pillow and wept bitterly… . Sunday night after Jeff Davis passed through we were seated in the piazzi. Tea being announced to be ready Mr Thomas called Jeff [their son] , and added ‘Come Jeff Davis, we will give you that name. It is all we can do in honor of Davis.’ ‘Very well,’ said I ‘it may be so since you propose it.’ This addition to his name was given under almost as solemn circumstances as he received the name of Jeff Thomas. I jestingly remarked that it might hereafter retard his political career… .”

Six years later, Mrs. Thomas would have occasion to meet Jefferson Davis and introduce his namesake to him.

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 268-269.