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Irwin County Historical Markers

Jefferson Davis


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Jefferson Davis
  • Location: Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park near Irwinville

JEFFERSON DAVIS

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, undaunted by the tragic surrenders at Appomattox and Durham Station, he intended to unite the forces of Generals E. Kirby Smith, Taylor, Forrest, Maury and Magruder “to form an army, which in the portion of that country abounding in supplies, and deficient in rivers and railroads, could have continued the war until our enemy, foiled in the purpose of subjugation, should, in accordance with his repented declaration, have agreed, on a basis of return to the Union, to acknowledge the Constitutional rights of the States, and by a convention, or quasi-treaty, to guarantee the security of person and property.” His family joined him near Dublin.

On the night of May 9th, after a difficult journey via Sandersville, Dublin and Abbeville, he camped at this site, unaware that pursuit was close behind. At dawn, his camp was surrounded by Union cavalry and the revered leader of the Lost Cause was taken to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, where, until May 13, 1867, he was held as a “state prisoner,” his hopes for a new nation, in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished “Constitutional rights,” forever dead.

077-6 GEORGIA HISTORICAL COMMISSION 1987