Where to Learn More

Axelrod, Alan. The War Between the Spies: A History of Espionage During the American Civil War. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1992.

Markle, Donald E. Spies and Spymasters of the Civil War. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1994.

Sarmiento, F. L. Life of Pauline Cushman. Philadelphia: J. E. Potter, 1865.

Jefferson Davis

Born June 3, 1808 Southwestern Kentucky Died December 6, 1889 New Orleans, Louisiana

President of the Confederate States of America

Jefferson Davis

Born June 3, 1808 Southwestern Kentucky Died December 6, 1889 New Orleans, Louisiana

I efferson Davis served as the president of the Confederate I States of America during its four years of existence. He was the South's political leader during the Civil War and the counterpart of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865; see entry). "On each side there was one man who stood at storm center, trying to lead a people who would follow no leader for long unless they felt in him some final embodiment [expression] of the deep passions and misty insights that moved them," Bruce Catton wrote in The Civil War. "This man was the President, given power and responsibility beyond all other men . . . Abraham Lincoln, in Washington, and Jefferson Davis, in Richmond."

Davis faced an extremely difficult job as president of the Confederacy, but he was well qualified to do it. He had proven himself as a military leader during the Mexican War (1846-48), and he was a respected U.S. senator who had also served as secretary of war. Davis also had some shortcomings that made his job more difficult. For example, he was stubborn, he found it difficult to admit when he was wrong, and he had trouble dealing with other strong personalities. Although he could not lead

"The Union is a creature of the states. It has no inherent power. All it possesses was delegated by the states."

Jefferson Davis. (Photography by Mathew Brady. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.)

the South to victory in the Civil War, Davis remained deeply committed to the Confederate cause until the end.

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