Originally created 06/03/04

Remember beloved Southern leader

Many historians have their own ways of tweaking the facts surrounding past events to support their interpretations of our history. Without exception, the "War of Rebellion" has received such refined treatment. I'm referring to the American Civil War, which wasn't a civil war in any regard. It was a group of sovereign states fighting against another group of sovereign states. ... As Northern politicians knew, the slavery issue had been, by them, used as a means to threaten Southerners when they scoffed at a higher export tariff.

At this point, a man of integrity and high character came forward and argued his case for the South. He stayed in the Senate for several weeks after his home state of Mississippi voted for secession before making his farewell speech defending the action. The man who led the Confederacy through the next four years would become the most hated man by some on one side and the most admired on the other.

After the war, Jefferson Davis was captured and placed in confinement at Fort Monroe, Va. His failing health became a major concern for his captors. Even the noted abolitionist Horace Greeley befriended him and sought Davis' release. A distant admirer, Pope Pius IX, sent him a crown of thorns he had personally made.

His kind and gentle nature was noted by a former servant who had hitchhiked from Florida hoping to see Mr. Davis one more time before his death. He made it there a day late, but Mrs. Davis allowed the old gentleman to be the first outside the family to pay his respects. Davis' funeral drew more mourners than any other political leader's death up to then. Anyone who knew him, without preconceived notions, spoke of his goodness and charity.

Born in 1808, his birthday is today.

Dr. Robert L. Gordon, North Augusta, S.C.


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