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‘The royal family’: Jefferson Davis's children The second scene in the series from Davis's career brings to mind the private sorrows that fell to his lot. On June 13, 1862, while a hundred thousand Union soldiers pressed at the very gates of Richmond, his infant son, William Howell, lay at the point of death. The harassed statesman and devoted father wrote Mrs. Davis: ‘. . . My heart sunk within me at the news of the suffering of my angel baby. Your telegram of the 12th gives assurance of the subsidence of disease. But the look of pain and exhaustion, the gentle complaint, “I am tired,” which has for so many years oppressed me, seems to have been revived; and unless God spares me another such trial, what is to become of me, I don't know. Dr. Garnett will, I hope, reach you this morning. He carried with him what he regarded as a specific remedy. . . . My ease, my health, my property, my life, I can give to the cause of my country. The heroism which could lay my wife and children on any sacrificial altar is not mine. Spare us, good Lord.’ Yet he was subjected to peculiar trials. During the war a four-year-old son fell from a balcony and was instantly killed. Only two of his children survived him—Margaret, who married J. A. Hayes of Denver, Colorado, in 1877, and Varina Anne Davis, favorably known as a writer, honored at many a veterans' reunion, and beloved throughout the South as ‘Winnie, the Daughter of the Confederacy.’


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