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Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 1, Chapter 15: resignation from the army.-marriage to Miss Taylor.-Cuban visit.-winter in Washington.-President van Buren.-return to Brierfield, 1837. (search)
Chapter 15: resignation from the army.-marriage to Miss Taylor.-Cuban visit.-winter in Washington.-President van Buren.-return to Brierfield, 1837. Lieutenant Davis's service had been arduous, and from his first day on the frontier until his last, he had always been a candidate for every duty in which he could be of use, and his conduct had been recognized by the promotion accorded to him by his government. The snows of the Northwest had affected his eyes seriously; his health was somewhaseph E. Davis. This was accepted, and he, with his friend and servant James Pemberton — of whom he spoke in the fragment of his Autobiography given in this memoir-and ten negroes whom he bought with a loan from his brother, went to work on The Brierfield tract, so called because of a dense growth of briers which were interlocked over the land. The cane was too thick to be uprooted or cut, and they burned it, and then dug little holes in the ground and put in the cotton-seed, which made an unus
Chapter 16: Hurricane and Brierfield, 1837-45. Joseph E. Davis.-treatment of slaves.-life at Hurricane and Brierfield. During the eight years after this period Mr. Davis rarely left home, and never willingly. Sometimes a year would elapseBrierfield. During the eight years after this period Mr. Davis rarely left home, and never willingly. Sometimes a year would elapse without his leaving his plantation. Intercourse with his brother Joseph was well calculated to improve and enlarge the mind of the younger brother. Joseph Davis was a man of great versatility of mind, a student of governmental law, and took an let we alone. The James Pemberton of whom Mr. Davis spoke in the first chapter of his Autobiography, took charge of Brierfield, and managed the negroes according to his master's and his own views. They were devoted friends, and always observed ts, a shepherd of his people. He and his old wife had comfortable quarters; he had a quiet horse, and used to ride over Brierfield every day, and at the end of a nine months session of Congress he could, with the utmost accuracy, tell the course of e
name, looked at her and said, A --what, my dear? She responded, I said you were the best and dearest old General in the world. He praised my husband as An — a-incomparable adjutant, and the most — a — fearless and — a — dashing young — a — soldier of — a — his day, and I believed him; and confided to him, in a foolish little way, what I thought of Mr. Davis, and how much my husband thought of and loved him; and we found each other mutually agreeable. In about six weeks we returned to Brierfield, our home, and took up our abode in a cat and clayed house, situated in the centre of, and behind, a magnificent grove of oaks, and flanked by thrifty fig-trees; the Quarter houses being to the right and left of us. The building was one of my husband's experiments as an architect, and he and his friend and servant, James Pemberton, built it with the help of the negroes on the plantation. The rooms were of fair size, and opened on a paved brick gallery, surrounded by lattice-wo
aw her out, did not answer them. At last she flushed fiery red, and said, My name is McGruggy, an‘ I ain't ashamed of it, an‘ I am goin‘ to Cincinnatta, and I don't see but what I am good enough for that man to tell me whar he is a goin‘ --then, with a sniff, she turned to her little tow-headed daughter and said, Si-i-s, Davis ain't a aristocratic name, no-how. However, later, our mutual suffering brought us nearer together, and she gave me some fine apricot seed, which grew and bore at Brierfield for nine years under the name of The pilot's wife. Eventually a very small boat came alongside of ours with great puffing and ringing of bells; we were transferred to her as of lighter draft. She puffed and steamed all night, and in the morning had only reached the south bank, in sight of the boat we had left. Then her wheels ceased to revolve and we had to debark and continue our journey, at the imminent risk of our lives, on a rough wood-sled with oaken runners, sitting on our trunks
sailors. This same horse, when the rein was thrown over his neck at the battle of Monterey, instead of straying off, as was expected, to the regimental quarters, galloped into a reentering angle of Fort Teneria, and stood trembling, but perfectly still, until the battle was over. During our prolonged absence from home, of course many things had gone ill; but our faithful James had done his best, and, at all events, there was little opportunity, during Colonel Davis's short stay at Brierfield, in which to rectify mistakes. During this time, however, he made his will, and consulted James as to what he wished done in the matter of his liberty. James said he would prefer, in case of the death of his master, to take care of his mistress, but wanted his freedom if anything should happen to her. The will was framed to suit his wishes, and a bequest of land or money, as he might choose, added thereto. In the days that are no more, so confiding and affectionate was the relation o
d then my husband went to hunt the alligator that had probably taken it. Once he had a very remarkable success in punishing one that had killed two calves. The negroes found its hole, and Mr. Davis put a long cane down it until the creature seized it in its mouth. He then put the gun on a line with the cane and shot the alligator in the mouth. He was an immense animal, and a post-mortem examination justified the killing, for the last calf was found in part. The land is so fertile at Brierfield and in the adjacent country that golden-rod grows large enough for a strong walking-stick, and the heads of the bloom are like banks of gold on the sides of the road. In every slough the lotos covers the surface with its lemon-colored chalices, and the green leaves are nearly a foot across. We planted a little switch, or scion of live-oak, with an attenuated little root, in 1852, and now it shades ninety feet in all directions, and is over six feet in circumference. Possession crowns e
a few cases the Government agent was charged with the duty. The following is the form of certificate given for cotton burned June 10, 1862: This is to certify that — bales of cotton, belonging to---, was burned on his plantation this day. Provost-Marshal, Parish, La. The issues for which we were battling fortunately rendered us indifferent to the personal losses we were everywhere sustaining. Mr. Davis, after hearing of the loss of our property, the sacking of our house on Brierfield, the destruction of our fine library, the loss of all the blooded stock on the place, and the demoralization of the negroes, and their forcible deportation, wrote to me a long letter about the army, etc., and in a paragraph said: You will have seen a notice of the destruction of our home. If our cause succeeds we shall not mourn over any personal deprivation; if it should not, why, the deluge. I hope I shall be able to provide for the comfort of the old negroes. It is hard, in
to visit our family the most cordial manifestations of good feeling were made everywhere on the journey. One old Methodist minister stretched out his arms to Mr. Davis, and looking up reverently, said: Now, Lord, let Thy servant depart in peace, since I have seen his salvation. We found our property all destroyed, our friends impoverished, and our old brother very feeble, but cheery. As many of our negroes as could, came to see us, and Mr. Davis paid a few hours' visit to the rest at Brierfield and Hurricane, witnessed the destruction the enemy had worked, which had blotted out the labors of his life, and after a few weeks we returned to Lenoxville. Perhaps it was owing to the cumulative sorrow over the changes wrought in his life, but this journey did not work the expected improvement in his health, and his emaciation did not decrease. His physician feared entire nervous prostration would supervene. Our means were narrow, and we could not travel with our large family of litt
Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 2, Chapter 85: the end of a noble life, and a nation's sorrow over its loss. (search)
to himself all our sons and all my brothers; so that Mr. Davis, though too feeble for the effort, went at intervals to Brierfield, which was inaccessible, and always reached at night by the steamboats, our only means of visiting the island. He hed November IIth, saying my husband would not have a doctor, and was in bed, and I proceeded at once to take a boat for Brierfield. We met upon the river. Captain Leathers, whom we had known, as a boy, felt an intense interest in him, and had his forth followed him, with respectful sympathy for his people's sorrow. Our old slaves sent the following loving letter: Brierfield, Miss., January 12, 1890. to Mrs. Jefferson Davis, Beauvoir, Miss. We, the old servants and tenants of our beloved mh Dakota, December 7, 1889 Miss Varina: I have watched with deep interest and solicitude the illness of Mr. Davis at Brierfield, his trip down on the steamer Leathers, and your meeting and returning with him to the residence of Mr. Payne, in New O
rticular notice of the permanent Constitution will be more appropriate hereafter. On the next day (February 9) an election was held for the chief executive offices, resulting, as I afterward learned, in my election to the Presidency, with the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia as Vice-President. Stephens was a delegate from Georgia to the congress. While these events were occurring, having completed the most urgent of my duties at the capital of Mississippi, I had gone to my home Brierfield, in Warren County, and had begun, in the homely but expressive language of Clay, to repair my fences. While thus engaged, notice was received of my election to the presidency of the Confederate States, with an urgent request to proceed immediately to Montgomery for inauguration. As this had been suggested as a probable event, and what appeared to me adequate precautions had been taken to prevent it, I was surprised, and still more, disappointed. For reasons which it is not now necessa
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