The Papers of Jefferson Davis
 
The Papers of Jefferson Davis

Photograph by Mathew B. Brady, c1860 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

Chronology

 

 Civil War

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

1861
January 23
Elected major general, Mississippi militia
February 1
Arrives in Vicksburg; leaves for Brierfield
February 9
Elected president of the Confederate States
February 11
Speaks at Vicksburg and Jackson
February 12
Resigns general's commission
February 13
Leaves Jackson
February 16
Arrives at Montgomery, Alabama
February 18
Inaugurated as president of the Confederacy; sworn in on front portico of the Alabama capitol
March 1
Varina Davis and children arrive at Montgomery, settle in First White House of the Confederacy
March 4
Abraham Lincoln inaugurated
March 11
Congress ratifies Confederate Constitution
April 12
P. G. T. Beauregard fires on Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina
May 26
Leaves Montgomery for Richmond, Virginia
May 29
Arrives in Richmond
May 31
Meets with Governor John Letcher, Beauregard, and Robert E. Lee
June 1
Meets Varina Davis and family at station; visits city defenses; confers with Letcher; speaks
June 16
Visits Manassas Junction, Virginia
June 27
With Lee, visits Virginia convention
July 21
Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), Virginia; Davis takes train to Manassas, arriving after the battle; tours grounds, addresses troops, and telegraphs news to Richmond; Joseph E. Davis and family arrive in Richmond for visit
July 22
Confers with J. E. Johnston and Beauregard
July 23
Returns to Richmond
August 1
Moves into executive mansion
August 10
Battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri
August 26-September 6
Confined to home by illness
September 30
Leaves for Fairfax Court House, Virginia
October 2
Confers with Beauregard, Johnston, and Gustavus W. Smith
October 3
Reviews troops; leaves for Richmond; Varina Davis and children have carriage accident
October 4
Arrives in Richmond
October 21
Battle of Ball's Bluff (Leesburg), Virginia
[October 30]
Writes reply to Beauregard's Manassas report
November 6
Election day
November 18
Sends address on the nation to Congress
December 6
Son William Howell Davis born
 
1862
January 19
Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky
January 21
Attends funeral of John Tyler
February 6
Fort Henry, Tennessee, surrenders
February 16
Fort Donelson, Tennessee, surrenders
February 20
Meets with J. E. Johnston
February 21
Writes Joseph E. Davis about recent occurrences
February 22
Inaugurated president; hosts reception, 8-11 p.m.
February 25
Sends state of the nation address to Congress
March 7-8
Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas
March 9
USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (Merrimack) fight to a draw in Hampton Roads, Virginia
March 21
Travels to army on the Potomac
March 22
Confers with Lee at Gordonsville and with Johnston in Fredericksburg; returns to Richmond
March 31
Meets with Johnston
April 2
Confers with Johnston and Lee
April 6-7
Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, where Davis's close friend Albert Sidney Johnston is killed
April 8
Island No. 10 off of New Madrid, Missouri, surrenders
April 12
With Lee and aides, rides toward York River Railroad station and returns; confers with Johnston
April 14
Meets with Lee, Johnston, G. W. Smith, James Longstreet, and George W. Randolph
April 24
David G. Farragut passes the forts below New Orleans, Louisiana; city taken by end of the month
May 6
Baptized and confirmed in Episcopal faith at St. Paul's Church, Richmond
May 9
Norfolk, Virginia, evacuated
May 10
Varina Davis and children leave for Raleigh, North Carolina
May 12
With Lee, visits Johnston's headquarters
May 13
Returns to Richmond
May 15 & 16
Rides to Drewry's Bluff, Virginia (site of May 15 battle)
May 17
Tours Richmond defensive lines; confers with Johnston
[May 24]
[Confers with Johnston in Richmond]
May [30]
Writes Varina Davis about military situation
May 31
Tours Seven Pines battlefield with W. P. Johnston and Joseph C. Ives; confers with G. W. Smith and Lee
June 1
With Lee, Letcher, Randolph, and W. P. Johnston, meets with generals on battlefield; visits J. E. Johnston
June [4-5]
Visits Rose O. Greenhow
June 15
Travels to Raleigh, North Carolina
June 18
Returns to Richmond
June 19
Writes Varina Davis about trip and about concern for the family
June 24
Visits Lee's headquarters
June 26-July 1
Present near battlefields during Seven Days' campaign
July 2
Visits Lee's headquarters; meets Stonewall Jackson
July [c8-27]
Varina Davis visits from Raleigh
July 13
Meets with Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, and other generals
August [15-20]
Varina Davis returns to Richmond
August 28-30
Battle of Second Manassas (Bull Run), Virginia
September 3
Lee writes of his intention to march into Maryland
September 17
Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), Maryland
September 22
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation announced
October 3-4
Battle of Corinth, Mississippi
October 8
Battle of Perryville, Kentucky
October 26-27
Confers with Braxton Bragg
November 3
Meets with E. Kirby Smith
December 7
Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas
December 9
Leaves Richmond for western tour
December 11
Speaks at Knoxville; arrives in Chattanooga
December 12
Arrives in Murfreesboro via Bridgeport and Dechard Station
December 13
Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia
December 14
Returns to Chattanooga, Tennessee
December 15
Leaves Chattanooga, accompanied by Joseph E. Johnston
December 17
Arrives in Montgomery, Alabama; meets with Governor John Gill Shorter; leaves for Mississippi
December 19
Arrives in Jackson; leaves for Vicksburg
December 20-22
Surveys Vicksburg defenses
December 25
Travels to Jackson with Johnston and John C. Pemberton
December 26
Addresses legislature in Jackson
December 29
Leaves Jackson
December 30
Arrives in Mobile, Alabama; reviews troops; speaks
December 31-January 2
Battle of Stones River, Tennessee
 
1863
January 1
Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect; Galveston, Texas, retaken by Confederates
January 4
Arrives in Richmond
January 16
Confers with Robert E. Lee
February [8-22]
Ill at home
March [5-8]
Ill at home
March [11-18]
Confers with Lee in Richmond
March [13-14]
Varina Davis leaves for Montgomery, Alabama
April 2
Makes impromptu speech during Richmond bread riot
April [7-22]
Ill at home
April 14
Varina Davis returns to Richmond
May 1-4
Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia
May 6
Confers with James Longstreet
May [7-11]
Ill at home
May 10
Stonewall Jackson dies
May 11-12
Attends Jackson's funeral ceremonies
May [14-17]
Confers with Lee in Richmond
May 16
Battle of Champion Hill, Mississippi; Pemberton retreats into Vicksburg and is invested by the 18th
May 18-19
Ill at home
June 19
Meets with Rose O. Greenhow before her departure for Europe (see Greenhow's letter to Davis, July 16)
July [1-8]
Ill at home
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 4
Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ends in surrender
July 9
Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, ends in surrender
August [24]-September [7]
Consults with Lee in Richmond
September 19-20
Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia
October-November
Inspects Braxton Bragg's army near Chattanooga, then makes tour with numerous public appearances through Alabama, eastern Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, returning to Richmond on November 7 (see speeches at Missionary Ridge and Wilmington)
November 19
Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address
November 21-24
Consults with Lee at Orange Court House, Virginia
November 21-24
Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee
December 14-15
Meets with Lee in Richmond
 
1864
January 20
Family discovers fire, apparently intentionally set, in basement of the White House
February 20
Battle of Olustee, Florida
February 24-25
Confers with Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia
March 14
Meets with Lee, Braxton Bragg, and James A. Seddon in the morning; group joined by James Longstreet in the afternoon
April 8
Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana
April 30
Son Joseph Evan Davis killed by fall from White House balcony
May 2
Sends major message to Congress
May 5-6
Battle of the Wilderness
May 7
William T. Sherman begins march toward Atlanta, Georgia
May 8-21
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia
May 14, 16
Consults with P. G. T. Beauregard at Drewry's Bluff
May 23-26
Battle of North Anna, Virginia
May 29
Visits Lee at Atlee Station, Virginia
June 1-3
Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia
June 3, 5
Tours Confederate lines near Gaines's Mill
June 8
Inspects defenses at Bottom's Bridge
June 18
Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, begins
June 19
USS Kearsarge sinks CSS Alabama off of Cherbourg, France
June 27
Daughter Varina Anne Davis (Winnie) born
July 17
Replaces Joseph E. Johnston with John Bell Hood in command of the Army of Tennessee 
July 22
Battle of Atlanta, Georgia
August 5
Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama
August 6
Consults with Lee
August [16 or 17]
Nearly led into Union lines while visiting army near Petersburg
September 1
Atlanta evacuated
September 3
Meets with Lee and Bragg in Richmond
September 14
Confers with Lee, though "quite unwell"
September 20
Departs Richmond; consults with Beauregard at Burkeville
September 21
Speaks at Greensboro, Salisbury, and Charlotte
September 22
Arrives at Augusta; speaks twice 
September 23
Arrives Macon; speaks; visits Howell Cobb
September 25
Arrives headquarters, Army of Tennessee, near Palmetto, Georgia 
September 26
Reviews troops with Hood; speaks; meets with Ben Lane Posey; meets with William J. Hardee
September 27
Confers with S. D. Lee and A. P. Stewart; departs for Montgomery
September 28
Arrives Montgomery
September 29
Addresses Alabama legislature; converses with Richard Taylor  
September 30
Leaves Montgomery; speaks in Columbus
October 2 
Arrives in Augusta  
October 3
Speaks in Augusta; confers with Beauregard
October 4 
Speaks in Columbia 
October 5 
Speaks in Salisbury and Greensboro   
October 6 
Returns to Richmond; confers with Lee at Chaffin's Bluff  
October 9 
Attends funeral services for John Gregg
October 16 
Meets with Lee at Chaffin's Bluff; travels back to Richmond with Walter H. Taylor  
October 18 
Meets with John S. Preston and Samuel Cooper
November [1-10]
Confers with William H. Thomas  
November 8
Confers with James A. Seddon; later meets with Virginia delegation
November [10]
Meets with Hugh L. Clay     
November 10
Meets with David Clopton and Francis S. Lyon
November [13]
Meets with Caroline Barton 
November 14
Street conversation with several members of Congress
November 15
Sherman leaves Atlanta on his "March to the Sea"  
November [19]
With Seddon, talks with six members of Georgia delegation 
November 30
Battle of Franklin, Tennessee
December 4 
Attends funeral of Angus W. McDonald
December 6 
Visits with William N. Pendleton and Seddon 
December [5-21]
Ill with neuralgia 
December 14
Attends wedding of William B. Tabb and Emily S. Rutherfoord 
December 15 
Gustavus A. Henry calls on Davis at home  
December 15-16
Battle of Nashville, Tennessee
December 25
Attends services and orphans' Christmas party at St. Paul's, and party at neighbor's home
December 26
Confers with Williamson S. Oldham 
December 28 
Meets with Josiah Gorgas
December [29 or 30] 
Confers with Duff Green
 
1865
January 2
Hosts public reception at White House
January 3
Meets with James G. Martin
[January 4 
Meets with William T. Wofford and Warren Akin]
January 5
Confers with Gorgas
January 9
Interview with South Carolina delegation and with Akin
[January 9]
Meets with Georgia delegation; confers with William A. Graham
January 12 and 14
Meets with Francis Preston Blair, Sr. 
January 15
Fort Fisher, North Carolina, captured  
January [16-18]
Meets with Raphael Semmes
January [17-24]
Conversation with Duncan K. McRae
January 20
Converses with Thomas Bocock
[January 21]
Meets with Blair
January 22
Meets with Blair
January 24
Confers with A. W. Aston 
January 25
Meets with Governor William Smith and Michael G. Harman
January 27
Has breakfast with Graham and long interview with Alexander H. Stephens
January 28
Meets with Stephens and with William J. Bromwell 
[January 31-February 14]
Suffers from neuralgia
[February 1]
Meets with North Carolina legislative committee
February [1-8]
Confers with Oldham and Waldo P. Johnson
[February 2
Meets with Stephen F. Cameron]
February 6
Speaks at African Church
[February 8
Meets with Roswell S. Ripley]
February 20
Confers with Virginia delegation and with Jeremy F. Gilmer
February 23
Travels with John C. Breckinridge to Camp Lee; addresses returned prisoners of war
February 25
Meets with Virginia legislative committee, with Graham, and with Gorgas
February 26
Confers with Breckinridge, Lee, and James Longstreet
February 27
Inspects Camp Lee with Breckinridge and Lee; speaks  
February 28
Converses with Dr. William A. Smith and James A. Duncan
[late February 
Meets with Frank Stringfellow]
March [2-3]
Meets with Graham, R. M. T. Hunter, and James L. Orr
[March 8
Conversation with Graham]
March 11
With Varina Davis, visits George A. Trenholm
March 12
Long meeting with Breckinridge and Judah P. Benjamin
March 13
Entertains Thomas Conolly at White House in evening
March 18
Meets with Lee and John Goode and later confers with Virginia representatiaves, cabinet, and Lee
March 19-21
Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina  
March 19
Baptism of Varina Anne Davis at St. Paul's
March 20
Visits with Conolly at home of William G. O. Allen and later at White House
[March 24-April 1]
Confers with T. H. Holmes
April 1
Battle of Five Forks, Virginia
April 2
Receives word before and during church service that Lee cannot hold Petersburg and Richmond; leaves Richmond
April 3
Arrives in Danville, guest of William T. Sutherlin
April 10
News reaches Danville of Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia (April 9); departs Danville
April 11
Arrives in Greensboro; confers with Beauregard
April 12-13
Meets with Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston
April 14
Lincoln shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre
April 15
Leaves Greensboro; spends night at Jamestown
April 16
Spends night at Lexington
April 17
Spends night at Salisbury; [converses with John W. Headley and Robert M. Martin]
April 18
Spends night near Concord, guest of Victor C. Barringer
April 19
Arrives in Charlotte; speaks
[April 23-25
Meets with Zebulon B. Vance]
April 26
Leaves Charlotte; spends night at Fort Mill, South Carolina; Johnston finalizes surrender of Army of Tennessee
[April 27
Spends night at Yorkville]
April 28
Crosses Broad River at Scaife's Ferry; crosses Tyger River
April 29
Crosses Saluda River at Swancey's Ferry
May 1 
Spends night at Cokesbury
May 2-3 
In Abbeville, South Carolina
May 3 
Arrives at Washington, Georgia
May 5
Camps near Sandersville, Georgia
May 6  
Reunites with family near Dublin, Georgia
May 7  
Camps near Dublin
May 8 
Spends night near Abbeville, Georgia
May 9 
Reunites with family near Irwinville, Georgia
May 10 
Captured
May 13
Caravan of Federal troops escorting prisoner Davis and his family reaches Macon; meets with James H. Wilson
May 14 
Travels via Atlanta to Augusta; leaves for Savannah
May 16 
Arrives in Savannah; sails for Fort Monroe
May 19 
Aboard William P. Clyde near Fort Monroe
May 22 
Incarcerated in Fort Monroe

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The Papers of Jefferson Davis
Rice University--MS 43
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892
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E-mail: davis@rice.edu