|Date(s):||December 12, 1889|
|Location(s):||NEW YORK, New York|
|Tag(s):||Jefferson Davis, Confederacy, Funeral, The New York Times|
|Course:||“Civil War and Reconstruction,” Juniata College|
In an article describing the funeral of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, The New York Times wrote, “it [the funeral] was one of such magnificence and taste that the recollection of it will never vanish from the mind of any beholder.” People from all over the South attended Davis’ funeral, which was held in New Orleans on December 11, 1889. Describing the procession, The New York Times noted, “The cortege was more than three miles long, and contained many thousand persons.
Due to the influx of people in attendance, the city of New Orleans delayed the ceremonies for Davis’ funeral from 11 AM to 12 PM. Around 3 PM, Davis’ casket and the rest of the funeral procession arrived at the gates of Metairie Cemetery. Once the procession had reached Davis’ temporary tomb, The New York Times observed the following: “the military formed in double lines around the mound at parade rest, the veterans grouped themselves inside this line, and outside of the glittering line of blue and gold soldiery were tens of thousands of the foremost people of New Orleans.” Once the ceremonies were over, a single-file line was formed in order that people could get one last look at the first and only president of the Confederate States of America.
Undoubtedly, Davis’ political career was the reason that so many people attended his funeral. Even before his time as president of the Confederate States, however, Davis had an impressive career in politics. He was a West Point graduate, a US Senator, a US Representative, and served as secretary of war. At one point in time he was even married to President Taylor’s daughter! During Davis’ time in Congress, he resigned from the US Senate in 1861 to show his support of Mississippi’s quest for secession. The act, along with his already stellar reputation, earned Davis notable fame in the newly seceded southern States. This eventually led to his election as the only president of the Confederate States on February 9, 1861.
Many historians have questioned the value of Davis’ leadership for the South during the Civil War. Historian Eric Foner argued that Davis lacked the ability to effectively manage the South’s economy and deal with obstructionist governors. Davis also lacked skill in diplomacy, which greatly hurt the South.
Despite his lack of skills, throughout the Civil War, and even in its final days, Davis never submitted to Lincoln and the North. Upon the fall of Richmond at the Civil War’s end, Davis was arrested by Federal troops and held in prison for two years. Though he was eventually released, Davis was never pardoned for his acts concerning the Civil War, nor did he ever apologize for any of them. Davis endured a lot of criticism for the defeat of the South throughout the rest of his life, but as seen by this article, people lauded his unwavering devotion to the South. Davis was eighty-one years old when he died.