no man who saw Mr. Davis
on that trying occasion but was impressed with his calm and manly dignity, his devotion to the public interest, and his courage.
It is apparent that one object of this statement is to try to produce the impression that Mr. Davis
, in the hour of extreme peril, had forgotten his great office and trust, and descended to the care of his personal baggage while the Confederate Government was dissolving; and that another of its objects was to show that, on this great occasion, he was irresolute, tremulous, nervous, and wanting in self-possession and dignity.
Nothing could be further from the truth; and I venture the statement that there is no one who saw him then, or who knew his character, who would not unhesitatingly contradict such a statement; and I venture the further suggestion that neither of these charges will ever be sustained, nor will any attempt ever be made to sustain them by any legitimate or trustworthy evidence, and that no man will make such charges who has respect for truth and a just regard for his own reputation.
It is just for me to say that early in the war Mr. Davis
allowed all his property to be destroyed or carried away from where it was in Mississippi
without making any effort to save it, and the fact was then noted as an evidence of his entire unselfishness.
It is further said in this paper that, “At nightfall everything was in readiness.
Even the gold still remaining in the Treasury, not exceeding in all $40,000, was packed away among the baggage,” etc. If it is meant by this statement simply that the money in the Treasury, gold and all, was taken with the archives and public property away from Richmond
by the proper department officers, the statement is correct; but if it is meant by this insidious form of a statement to be understood that this or any other public money was taken from Richmond
in Mr. Davis
' baggage, then the statement is wholly untrue.
It is also said in this paper, when speaking of the train which carried Mr. Davis
and other officers from Richmond
, that, “This train, it is said, was one which had carried provisions to Amelia Court-House
's hard-pressed and hungry army, and having been ordered to Richmond
, had taken these supplies to that place, where they were abandoned for a more ignoble freight.”
This whole paragraph is ridiculously absurd.
No supplies were then being carried from the South
— I mean after Lee
's retreat began.
And it was a train of passenger, and not of freight cars, which carried the persons referred to, and was provided for the express purpose of carrying them off. General Wilson
also says: “It is stated, upon what appears good authority, that Davis