Jefferson Davis collection
United States senator and the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Finis Davis (1808-1889) had a lengthy military and political career. After graduating from West Point in 1828, Colonel Zachery Taylor assigned Davis to escort Black Hawk to prison at the end of the Black Hawk War (1832). He sat in Congress as a Democratic representative from Mississippi from 1845 to1846. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Davis returned to the army and distinguished himself at the battle of Buena Vista (1846). Davis represented Mississippi in the senate from 1847 until 1851, when President Pierce appointed him secretary of war. He returned to the senate in 1857, but resigned with other secessionists in 1861. The constitutional convention at Montgomery, Alabama, selected Davis as provisional President of the Confederate States of America, and on November 6, 1861, the Confederacy officially elected him President. Davis held his headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, where he closely supervised the Confederate Army. Following the war, Davis was imprisoned for two years, and although he was indicted for treason, he was never tried. He spent his later years writing in defense of the Confederacy. He died in New Orleans in 1889.