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Ben Hill County Historical Markers

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Jefferson Davis Memorial Park
  • Location: US 129 at Central Avenue, Fitzgerald


On May 4, 1865, Jefferson Davis arrived in Washington, Georgia (178 miles NE of the Park), where he performed his last duties as President of the Confederate States of America. Shortly thereafter, with a small staff and escort, he departed enroute to the trans-Mississippi Department where, supported by those Confederate forces not yet surrendered, he hoped to negotiate a just peace.

After a difficult journey via Sandersville, Dublin and Abbeville, he camped a mile north or Irwinville (9 miles SW) in the present Jefferson Davis Memorial Park, unaware that, in Dublin, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry (USA) had found his trail and begun pursuit.

At dawn on May 10th, his camp was surrounded by men of the 1st Wisconsin and 4th Michigan cavalry regiments (USA) and he became a “state prisoner”, his hopes for a new nation – in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished “Constitutional Rights” – forever dead.

To visit the park, take State 107 from Fitzgerald to its junction with State 32, thence to Irwinville. To continue south after the visit, turn left in Irwinville on State 32 to its junction with US 129 in Ocilla.