President Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis Quotes (24 quotes)

Last Updated August 8, 2011

With quotations by Davis first followed by others

 

Quotes made by Jefferson Davis

“there is nothing which I have found to require a greater effort of patience than to bear the criticisms of the ignorant.”

Jefferson Davis, Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist:  His Letters, Papers and Speeches, ed. Dunbar Rowland, 10 vols. (Jackson:  Mississippi Dept of Archives and History, 1923), 5:264

From “Lee and Jefferson Davis.” by William C. Davis. Lee the Soldier. Ed. Gary Gallagher.  Lincoln NE:  University of Nebraska Press. 1996. 299

“I credit President Davis, and his advisors at Richmond with the utmost zeal and much intelligence; but none of them with great practical, constructive statesmanship.”

Captain James Nisbet in the 21st Georgia at Sharpsburg says this about Davis

From Reading the Man – A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. New York:  Penguin Group, 2007. 386

Nisbet, James C. Four Years on the Firing Line. Chattanooga: The Imperial Press, 1914. 236

“I am alike happy, in the confidence felt in your ability, and your superiority to outside clamor, when the uninformed assume to direct the movements of armies in the field. In the name of the Confederacy, I thank you and the brave men of your army for the deeds which have covered our flag with imperishable fame.”  Jefferson Davis Sep 28 1862

Davis to Lee regarding Davis’s continued trust and confidence in Lee.

From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. 476   OR 19 (2)   633-34

 

“In the name of the Confederacy I thank you and the brave men of your Army for the deeds which have covered your flag with imperishable fame.”

Jefferson Davis Sep 28 1862

Davis in a letter to Lee congratulating the troops on the Maryland Campaign

From “The Net Result of the Campaign Was in Our Favor.” by Gary Gallagher.  The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.  20

Jefferson Davis to R.E. Lee to , September 28 1862, in Davis The Papers of Jefferson Davis, ed. Lynda Lasswell Crist and others, 9 vols. (Baton Rouge:  Louisiana State University Press, 1971.  8:408-9

“The feverish anxiety to invade the North has been relieved by the counterirritant of apprehension for the safety of the capital in the absence of the army, so long criticized for  a ‘want of dash’.”

Jefferson Davis Sep 28 1862

Davis to Lee regarding sentiment in the capital about invading the north

From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. 476  OR 19 (2) 633-34

 

“Stonewall Jackson of the West”

Jefferson Davis describing Patrick Cleburne

From Lee’s Maverick General Daniel Harvey Hill by Hal Bridges.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 1961. 199

Biography of Cleburne by Calhoun Benham in Kennesaw Gazette (Atlanta GA,) Jan 1-Nov 15, 1889

“the Federal forces are not hereafter, to be commanded by Pathfinders and holiday soldiers, but by men of military education and experience in war.”

JeffersonDavis describing the emergence of Halleck in the west

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983. 64

“a more pure vigilant and gallant soldier did not serve the Confederate cause.” Jefferson Davis Oct 31 1889

Final judgment of D.H. Hill written by Davis shortly after Hill’s death

From Lee’s Maverick General Daniel Harvey Hill by Hal Bridges.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 1961. 276

Davis to Joseph M. Hill, Oct. 31 1889, HFP

“Confidence in you overcomes the view which would otherwise be taken of the exposed condition of Richmond.”Jefferson DavisAug 26 1862

Davis though worried about stripping Richmond of troops nevertheless supports Lee’s Maryland Campaign

From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999.36

Davis to Lee, Aug 26 1862, OR, vol. 12, 3:945

“he was my friend…and in that word is included all that I could say of any man”Jefferson Davis describing his relationship with Lee

From “Lee and Jefferson Davis.” by William C. Davis. Lee the Soldier. Ed. Gary Gallagher.  Lincoln NE:  University of Nebraska Press. 1996. 304

“standing alone among the confederate soldiers in military capacity”

Jefferson Davis describing his relationship with Lee

From “Lee and Jefferson Davis.” by William C. Davis. Lee the Soldier. Ed. Gary Gallagher.  Lincoln NE:  University of Nebraska Press. 1996.300

Stephen R. Mallory Diary, n.d., Stephen R. Mallory Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, UNC, Chapel Hill

“The stake is too high to permit the pulse to keep its even beat”

Jefferson Davis Jun 1862

Jefferson Davis Ltr to his wife describing Lee’s offensive in front of Richmond in Jun ’62

From George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon by Stephen Sears.  New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988. 207

“To ask me to substitute you by some one in my judgment more fit to command, or who would posses more of the confidence of the army, or of the reflecting men in the country is to demand an impossibility.”

Jefferson Davis reply to Lee’s offer to resign after the Battle of Gettysburg

From Cavalryman of the Lost Cause by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. 313

OR 29 (2) 639-640

 

“…we are driven to protect our own country by transferring the seat of war to that of an enemy who pursues us with a relentless”

Jefferson Davis Sep 7 1862

From http://www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/upload/Battle%20history.pdf

“the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man.”

Jefferson Davis on the Emancipation Proclamation

From Counter-Thrust From the Peninsula to the Antietam by Benjamin Franklin Cooling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 2007.  266

“I recollect Captain Pendleton well and when were all younger esteemed him highly as a soldier and a gentleman.  I some days since directed that he should have rank as a colonel and be put in command of the batteries of your army.” Jefferson Davis Jul 13 1861

Jefferson Davis to Joseph Johnston directing the assignment of Pendleton to artillery command

From “We Don’t Know What on Earth to Do with Him-William Nelson Pendleton.”by Peter S. Carmichael. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. 280

Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 2 vols. (New York: Appleton, 1881) 2:148

“has not only succeeded in arresting the incursions of the Indians within his command but has greatly reduced its expenditures.” Jefferson Davis  1852 Secy of War Davis in the annual report to Congress on Sumner’s efforts in New Mexico

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008. 58

Trafzer, Clifford E. “Politicos and Navajos,” Journal of the West. 13 (1974) 13

 

Quotes About Jefferson Davis

 

“the President has been here some time endeavoring to settle difficulties among the generals. . . .He is not despotic enough for the times. His authority is not sufficiently felt to correct existing evils and his manners are cold and repelling. I hope he may be able to settle the difficulties so as to make the army homogeneous, but I doubt it very much…”

Lafayette McLaws Oct 14 1863

LM to Emily, October 14, 1863, Camp near Chattanooga, Tennessee. ASG-LM, 206-207

From A Soldier’s General Major General Lafayette McLaws by John Oeffinger. [online] Retrieved from http://asoldiersgeneral.com/lafayette.htm

“He was very low down after the battle of Sharpsburg….I remember the then Secretary of War told me that he said our maximum strength had been laid out, while the enemy was but beginning to put forth his.”

Robert Garlick Hill Kean Jun 27 1863

Kean head of the Confederate Bureau of War describing Jefferson Davis’s mood after Antietam

From “The Net Result of the Campaign Was in Our Favor.” by Gary Gallagher.  The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999. 19

Kean, Robert Garlick Hill, Inside the Confederate Government: The Diary of Robert Garlick Hill Kean, ed. Edward Younger (New York: Oxford University Press, 1957) 86

“ambitious as Lucifer and cold as a lizard”

Sam Houston describing Jefferson Davis

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983. 8

Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative, 3 vols. (New York, 1958-74) 1:13

“a recreant & unnatural son”

Sylvanius Thayer January 29, 1909

Thayer to George Cullum, 1855 quoted in Pappas, To The Point, p 161

From Reading the Man – A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. New York:  Penguin Group, 2007. 62

“I saw no exhibition of that fire which I supposed him to possess” Thomas Jackson meeting with President Davis shortly after First Manassas

From Stonewall Jackson The Man, The Soldier, The Legend by James I. Robertson.  New York:  Macmillan Publishing Co, 1997. 278

“compassion is always due an enraged imbecile”

Winfield Scott Early 1850s Letter to Davis

From Civil War High Commands by John H. and David J. Eicher.  Stanford:  Stanford University Press, 2001. 41

“He is not a cheap Judas.  I do not think he would have sold the Saviour for thirty shillings.  But for the successorship to Pontius Pilate he would have betrayed Christ and the Apostles and the whole Christian Church.”

Winfield Scott describing Jefferson Davis

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983. 8

Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative, 3 vols. (New York, 1958-74) 1:13

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