In 1889, on this day the first President of the Confederate States, eighty-one year old Jefferson Finis Davis died in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jefferson F. Davis
1st Confederate President
February 18, 1961 - March 4, 1867He took office on February 18, 1861, and was elected as first president of the CSA in that election. His first official act was to appoint a Peace Commission to go to Washington. The plan was to offer payment for all federal property within the CSA and the portion of the national debt that the states owed. The Commission was not authorized, however, to discuss reunion. At the same time, though, he had made sure that federal troops stationed within Confederate borders were put on notice to vacate those posts.
A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaWhen US Army Major Robert Anderson abandoned Fort Moultrie and secretly moved into the unfinished Fort Sumter (both near Charleston, South Carolina), he had not intentions of surrendering to the new governments demands. By April, 1861, though, the fort was running out of supplies. When President Abraham Lincoln sent re-enforcements, the Battle for Fort Sumter began the War Between the States.
Part TwoThis War for Independence would wage for most of Davis' term as president. It saddened him as he saw men with whom he had served in politics and in battle fight each other to the death. He made frequent trips behind the lines to visit the troops and confer with his generals. Some analysts have even concluded that his decision to move the government to Richmond, Virginia, was the deciding factor in saving the Confederacy from destruction. His presence near the front lines would indeed prove the strongest factor in the determination and drive that kept the war out of the deep south until May of 1865 after the death of President Lincoln at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.
When General William T. Sherman had begun his march through Mississippi, however, he had stepped on "sacred ground" in the eyes of President Davis. The defense of Jackson became a priority as Davis personally traveled to within a hundred miles of the front. With General Robert E. Lee firmly in command of Virginia, and the Confederacy's best commanders facing Sherman in Mississippi, the Union forces were spread thin. Davis' choice to avoid crossing into US territory stood him well throughout 1865, though, and President Andrew Johnson began to send representatives to Richmond in January of 1866 to negotiate a cease fire.
Ambassadors from both England and France began to mediate between the warring Americans in March, and hostilities began to slow considerably throughout 1866. On August 8th, a ceasefire was declared, and all US troops withdrew across the borders that had been established by the individual states at the time of their joining of the Confederacy. An uneasy truce would hold for decades before an official "peace treaty" would be signed on May 8, 1885.