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[577] Harnden, as seems to have been at one time assumed by the commission convened by the Secretary of War for the purpose of awarding the prize offered for the capture of Davis.

During the skirmish just described, the adjutant of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, Lieutenant J. G. Dickinson, after having looked on the security of the rebel camp, and sent forward a number of the men who had straggled, was about to go to the front himself, when his attention was called, by one of his men, “to three persons dressed in female attire,” who had, apparently, just left one of the large tents near by, and were moving toward the thick woods. He started at once toward them and called out “Halt!” but, not hearing him, or not caring to obey, they continued to move off. Just then they were confronted by three men, under direction of Corporal Munger, coming from the opposite direction. The corporal recognized one of the persons as Davis, advanced with carbine, and demanded his surrender. The three persons halted, and by the actions of the two who were afterward ascertained to be women, all doubt as to the identity of the third person was removed. The individuals thus arrested were found to be Miss Howell, Mrs. Davis, and Jefferson Davis. As they walked back to the tent, Lieutenant Dickinson observed that Davis' top boots were not entirely covered by his disguise, and that this fact led to his recognition by Corporal Munger.1

1 The following account of Davis' capture is taken from Pollard's work, previously mentioned:

But the last device of the distinguished fugitive, the only one in which he had shown any ingenuity, and had confessed his real anxiety for escape, was in vain, and he was captured three days journey from Washington. He had scarcely expected to fall in with any enemy north of the Chattahoochee river, the boundary of the ‘ Department of the Southwest,’ and there he had designed to part with his wife, and to commit her to her journey to the ‘Shenandoah.’ He was overtaken by a small body of Federal cavalry, originally sent out to post a skirmish line through that part of Georgia reaching to Augusta, but now diverted to his pursuit. The wicked and absurd story that Mr. Davis was captured disguised in female attire is scarcely now credited. He was aroused in the early gray of the morning by a faithful negro servant (the same who has since attended his broken fortunes), who had been awakened by the sound of firing in the woods. The President had not laid off his clothes, and, in a moment, he had issued from the tent where he had been sleeping. The woods were filled with mounted troops, ill-defined in the mist of the breaking morning, and, noticing that they were deploying as if to surround the camp, he quickly imagined their character and design, and returned within the tent, either to alarm Mrs. Davis, or there to submit decently to capture. She besought him to escape, and, urging him to an opening in the tent, threw over his shoulders a shawl which he had been accustomed to wear. His horse, a fleet and spirited one, was tied to a tree at some distance. He was within a few steps of the animal that might have borne him out of danger, when a Federal soldier halted him and demanded to know if he was armed.

In relating the encounter afterward, in his prison at Fortress Monroe, Mr. Davis reported himself as saying: ‘If I were armed, you would not be living to ask the question.’ If he did say so, it was a sorry bravado, and, as none of his captors appear to have recollected such words of defiance, we are permitted to hope that Mr. Davis' memory is at fault, and that he submitted to his fate really with more dignity than he claims for himself. While he was parleying with the soldier, Colonel Pritchard, commanding the body of cavalry, rode up, and, addressing him by name, demanded his surrender. Not one of his escort or companions came to his aid. He submitted, walked back to the tent, and, in the presence of his wife, asked Colonel Pritchard that she might continue her journey. The reply of the Colonel was that his orders were to arrest all the party. Mr. Davis rejoined with sarcasm: ‘Then, sir, what has been said is true; your government does make war upon women!’ These were the only words of displeasure or of bitterness in the dialogue of the capture. The unhappy prisoner, after these words, was coldly silent. Asking no questions of his fate, not intruded upon by any curiosity of his captors, conversing only with the faithful and devoted wife, from whom he was not yet divided, and whose whispers of affectionate solicitude, by his side, were all to lighten the journey, he rode moodily in the cavalcade back to Macon, where first he was to learn the extent of his misery, and to commence the dread career of the penalties he had accumulated by four long and bitter years of war.

(Pages 513 to 524 inclusive.)

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Jefferson Davis (11)
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Edward A. Pollard (1)
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