William Jenks collection  1794-1884 (bulk 1794-1868)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Jefferson Davis collection (91 items) contains political correspondence of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America. The collection consists of 10 letters written by Davis, including three to Robert E. Lee, and one document signed by Davis. The remaining 80 items are letters to Davis from congressmen, governors, cabinet officers, generals, and local politicians. They offer a variety of opinions and advice on the Confederacy and the war effort related to both political and strategic matters. Other topics discussed include military and political promotions and appointments, Southern public opinion of the war, intelligence and updates from the battlefield, prisons and prisoners, political support in Europe, and Confederate finances.

Items of note include:

  • January 17, 1861: Jefferson Davis to George Lunt, stating that secession was forced upon the South by Northern aggression and not caused by Lincoln's election
  • September 3, 1861: Simon Bolivar Buckner to Davis recommending that they take decisive military action in Kentucky
  • November 2, 1861: James B. Chesnut to Davis explaining his part in the planning of the battle at Manassas
  • April 9, 1862: Stephen Russell Mallory to Davis concerning iron-clad ships
  • September 3, 1862: Robert E. Lee to Davis recommending that his army invade Maryland
  • October 8, 1862: Two letters to Davis concerning the suspension of habeas corpus
  • April 6, 1763: Joseph Christmas Ives to Davis containing an inspection report on Vicksburg and other forts
  • July 29, 1863: James Phelan to Davis on enforcing the Conscription Act
  • July 21, August 3, 8, 14, 1863: Letters concerning calls to remove John C. Pemberton from office
  • October 12, 1863: John H. Reagan to Davis advising that the army cut off Rosecrans in Tennessee and predicting Union gains if they fail
  • November 18, 1863: George W.C. Lee to Davis recommending that Davis visit Robert E. Lee and his army
  • June 11, 1864: Davis to the Confederate Senate concerning the destruction of the gunboat Cairo
  • August 9, 1864: Herschel Johnson to Davis explaining that the Confederate army must defeat Sherman and protect Atlanta, Georgia
  • February 2, 1865: Act written by Thomas Bocock and Alexander Hamilton Stephens to "regulate the pay…of certain female employees of the government," signed by Davis
  • March 28, 1865: George A. Trenholm to Davis arguing for the Confederate government to purchase cotton
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