The Papers of Jefferson Davis
September 1864-May 1865
During the last nine months of the Civil War, virtually all of the news reports and President Jefferson Davis’s correspondence confirmed the imminent demise of the Confederate States, the nation Davis had striven to uphold since 1861. But despite defeat after defeat on the battlefield, a recalcitrant Congress, naysayers in the press, disastrous financial conditions, failures in foreign policy and peace efforts, and plummeting national morale, Davis remained in office and tried to maintain the government—even after the fall of Richmond—until his capture by Union forces on May 10, 1865.
The eleventh volume of The Papers of Jefferson Davis follows the last tumultuous months of the Confederacy and illuminates Davis’s policies, feelings, ideas, and relationships, as well as the viewpoints of hundreds of southerners—critics and supporters—who asked for favors, pointed out abuses, and offered advice on myriad topics. Printed here for the first time are many speeches and a number of new letters and telegrams. In the course of the volume, Robert E. Lee officially becomes general in chief, Joseph E. Johnston is given a final command, legislation is enacted to place slaves in the army as soldiers, and peace negotiations are opened at the highest levels. The closing pages chronicle Davis’s dramatic flight from Richmond, including emotional correspondence with his wife as the two endeavor to find each other en route and make plans for the future in the wreckage of their lives.
The holdings of seventy different manuscript repositories and private collections in addition to numerous published sources contribute to Volume 11, the fifth in the Civil War period.
The books in the Papers of Jefferson Daivs series were made possible with assistance from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Lynda Lasswell Crist has edited The Papers of Jefferson Davis since 1979.
Barbara J. Rozek is the author of Come to Texas: Attracting Immigrants, 1865–1915.
Kenneth H. Williams is director of publications for the Kentucky Historical Society and editor of the Register.
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