Broke his health.The health of Mr. Davis rapidly failed under the cruel treatment and severe mental strain. The chief medical officer, Dr. John J. Craven, on the 20th of August, 1865, reported that his general condition denoted a low state of the vital forces. After a long time the reports of his deplorable condition reached the ear of President Andrew Johnson, and on the 9th of May, 1866, he requested the Secretary of War to direct Surgeon G. E. Cooper to submit an early report respecting the health of Jefferson Davis. Dr. Cooper, after a special examination on the same day, reported as the result of the examination:
He is considerably emaciated, the fatty tissue having almost disappeared, leaving his skin much shriveled. His muscles are small, flaccid and very soft, and he has but little muscular strength. He is quite weak and debilitated; consequently his gait is becoming uneven and irregular. His digestive organs at present are in comparatively good condition, but become quickly deranged under anything but the most carefully prepared food. With a diet disagreeing with him, dyspeptic symptoms promptly make their appearance, soon followed by vertigo, severe facial and cranial neuralgia, an erysipelatous inflamation of the posterior scalp and right side of the nose, which quickly affects the right eye (the only sound one he has) and extends through the nasal duct into the interior nose. His nervous system is greatly deranged, being prostrated and excessively irritable. Slight noises, which are scarcely perceptible to a man in robust health, cause him much pain, the description of the sensation being as of one flayed and having every sentient nerve exposed to the waves of sound. Want of sleep has been a great and almost the principal cause of his nervous excitability. This has been produced by the tramp of the creaking boots of the sentinels on post round the prison room, and the relieval of the guard at the expiration of every two hours, which almost invariably awakens him.