previous next

[581] to Washington. I made a full written statement of the facts for General Wilson, at the request of Major Van Antwerp, his aide-de-camp, and another statement to General John Robertson, Adjutant General of Michigan. The facts are beyond dispute respecting the female disguise. I know all about it, because I saw it, and, assisted by Corporal Munger, and others present, arrested Jefferson Davis when he was in such female disguise. Mr. Reagan did not then see him; but there were several Confederate officers present who did see the arrest, and made no effort to aid their chief.

The facts concerning the capture and the disguise are well remembered by those present, many of whom are now living in this State. The part I took in the immediate capture of Jefferson Davis I shall not soon forget. I think we acted with magnanimity and care toward the fallen chief of the Confederacy. He could have been detained at the spot where arrested, for the gaze of all his officers, family, and escort, but he was permitted to retire to his tent, and disrobe from his female disguise.

Jeff Davis, and all who were captured with him, well know that great kindness, and fair consideration, such as were due to a prisoner of his importance, were extended to him by every member of our command; and nothing was done or said, except what was necessary for his security and conduct. Though he called us vile names at first, I think he subsequently behaved himself.

Immediately upon the charge into the camp, Captain Charles T. Hudson, leading the advance guard, passed well through the camp, and our colonel following, swung round, enveloping the entire camp. In this movement, I met, in front of a small fly tent, Colonel Harrison, Davis' private secretary (as I afterward learned). I stopped, and made inquiry as to their force in camp, and, while he was replying, I heard some one calling me. I turned, and saw Private Andrew Bee, of L Company, who, pointing to three persons dressed in female apparel, at some distance, and moving away, called out to me, “Adjutant, there goes a man dressed in woman's clothes.” I started at once after them, calling out “Halt!” repeatedly, and reaching them just as several troopers, in charge of Corporal Munger, dashed up, bringing their carbines ready for use. The fugitives halted; Mrs. Davis threw her arms around her husband's shoulders, and the lady close to him formed a shield, which was respected. I noticed several Confederate officers near; one, a tall fellow, was, apparently, very excited.

Davis had on a black dress, and, though it did not fit fairly at the neck, it covered his form to the boots; the boots betrayed his disguise. A black shawl covered his head and shoulders. His identity was confirmed by the removal of the shawl from his face. I promptly directed him to retire to his quarters, and ordered Corporal Munger to place the men with him, and keep careful guard.

I then started to report to Colonel Pritchard, but Mrs. Davis called to me and I dismounted a moment to hear her. She asked me what we were going to do with Mr. Davis, and whether she and the escort would be taken with him. I replied that Colonel Pritchard would see to the disposal of the party. She then made some other requests relative to the preservation of her baggage. I think Lieutenant Perry J. Davis, our quartermaster, then came up, and I mounted and left her with him.

I reported to Colonel Pritchard, as promptly as I could, the circumstances of the capture, and what I had done as to the guard. In the meantime, Davis had disrobed and come out, the guard retaining him in custody, and when Colonel Pritchard and staff approached, he called to him. I was near to him, but do not remember the exact language used, further than that Davis characterized our command as “a set of thieves and vandals, for attacking a train of women and children.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Washington, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)
Michigan (Michigan, United States) (1)
Jeff Davis (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson Davis (7)
Pritchard (4)
George Munger (3)
Perry J. Davis (3)
James H. Wilson (1)
John Robertson (1)
John H. Reagan (1)
Charles T. Hudson (1)
B. N. Harrison (1)
Andrew Bee (1)
Antwerp (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: