The Papers of Jefferson Davis
 
The Papers of Jefferson Davis

Photograph by Montgomery C. Meigs, 1859 Library of Congress

 

Chronology

 

Secretary of War and Senator (1853-61)

Brackets indicate dates and entries that follow logically from information in primary sources but are not explicitly stated.  

1853
March 5
Arrives in Washington; meets with Franklin Pierce
March 7
Takes oath of office as secretary of war
June 1-15
Serves as acting secretary of the navy
July-September
Travels extensively in Northeast
 
1854
January-May
Leads administration efforts in support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
June 13, 15 
Son Samuel Emory Davis dies; funeral at home
August 28-September 4/5
Travels with president; speaks in Virginia
October 31
Visits United States Military Academy
 
1855
February 25
Daughter Margaret Howell Davis born
June
Visits Mississippi
1856
January 6
Varina Davis confirmed at the Church of the Epiphany, Washington D.C.
January 16
Elected senator by Mississippi legislature
October [16-19]
Visits West Point
 
1857
January 16
Son Jefferson Davis, Jr., born
March 4
Resigns as secretary of war; takes oath as senator
May-November
Visits Mississippi between sessions; speaks extensively
December 7
Congress convenes
 
1858
February 11-May 9
Ill, at home
July-October
With family, spends summer in and around Portland, Maine
October 11
Speaks at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts
November
Visits Mississippi
December 6
Congress convenes
 
1859
April 18
Son Joseph Evan Davis born in Washington while Davis is in Mississippi
May 7
Arrives in Washington
[late May-early June]
Undergoes eye surgery
[June-September]
Family vacations at Oakland, Maryland
October-November
Visits Mississippi
December 5
Arrives in Washington; Congress convenes
 
1860
February 2
Introduces resolutions on the relations of the states
February 29
Speaks in Senate on slavery and secession
March 31
Undergoes eye surgery
April 10
Returns to Senate
May 7
Address to the National Democracy in light of the southern walk-out at the Democratic Convention
July 17-September 5
Chairs United States Military Academy commission meetings at West Point
September-November
Speaks throughout Mississippi
November 6
Abraham Lincoln elected
November 10
Upon learning of Lincoln's election, writes candid letter to Robert Barnwell Rhett, Jr., concerning secession
November 27
Arrives in Washington
December 3
Congress convenes
December 20
South Carolina secedes
1861
January 5
Meets with southern senators
January 6
[Attends caucus of Mississippi delegation at Willard Hotel, Washington D.C.]
January 9 
Calls on President James Buchanan; speaks in Senate
January 10 
Delivers major speech in Senate
January 18 
Returns to Senate after illness
January 20
Writes Franklin Pierce about impending resignation
January 21
Delivers farewell address in Senate
January 22
Leaves Washington
 

How to Reach Us

The Papers of Jefferson Davis
Rice University--MS 43
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892
Phone: (713) 348-4990
Fax: (713) 348-4383
E-mail: davis@rice.edu