The Fall of the Confederate Government (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)
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On May 10, 1865 Jefferson Davis was caught by Federal troops. It was not until he was in jail that he decided the war must really be over. In this second volume of his memoirs, Davis discusses the specifics of that war, offering his own vantage point of the brutal conflict in hopes that everyone else would come to see it his way.
During the war, Davis faced enormous problems: state governors who didn’t want to answer to a central government and generals who didn’t trust his military judgment. Under his leadership, the conduct of the war was fraught with disagreements, distractions, and questionable choices. Discussing in detail other important civilian leaders and generals on both sides, Davis attempts to deflect the charges of personal failure. He depicts the North as a savage aggressor, to which the South stands in both military and moral opposition.
dollars. Under the laws of war all this money would have been good prize, but not one dollar of it was touched, or indeed so much as a passenger's baggage examined. The Alabama now proceeded to run down the Spanish Main, thence bore eastward into the Indian Ocean, and, after a cruise into every sea where a blow at American commerce could be struck, came around the Cape of Good Hope, and, sailing north, ran up to the thirtieth parallel, where so many captures had been made at a former time. Of
sale to either belligerent party, may he not execute an order for it? That appears to be a matter of course. The statute is not made to provide means of protection for belligerent powers, otherwise it would have said, "You shall not sell powder or guns, and you shall not sell arms"; and, if it had done so, all Birmingham would have been in arms against it. The object of the statute was this: that we should not have our ports in this country made the ground of hostile movements between the vessels
repulsed every assault, and yielded Port Hudson only when the fall of Vicksburg had deprived the position of its importance. A chivalric foe would have recognized the gallantry of the defense in the terms usually given under like circumstances—such, for instance, as were granted to Major Anderson at Fort Sumter, or, at the least, have paroled the garrison. I had regarded it of vast importance to hold the two positions of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Though gunboats had passed the batteries of
desolation for hundreds of miles, whose steps were accompanied with fire, and sword, and blood, reminding us of the tender mercies of the Duke of Alva, I happened to be at Cash's Depot, six miles from Cheraw. The owner was a widow, Mrs. Ellerbe, seventy-one years of age. Her son, Colonel Cash, was absent. I witnessed the barbarities inflicted on the aged, the widow, and young and delicate females. Officers, high in command, were engaged tearing from the ladies their watches, their ear and wedding
armed with the rifled carbines. They advanced on this monster so terrible to our fancy, and a body of sharpshooters was sent ashore from the boat to meet them. . . . To save time I ordered up the howitzer, a few shells from which, fired with great accuracy, and bursting directly over her decks, caused an instantaneous withdrawal of the sharpshooters, and a precipitous flight under headway of steam down the river. . . . An opportunity was here offered for observing the deceitfulness of the enemy's