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the precarious means of striking a light, and when the kitchen fire was of nearly as great importance as the sacred flame of India, and kept up religiously by the cook.which is fat pine. The schools were kept in log-cabins, and it was many years before we had a County Academy. Mississippi was a part of the territory ceded by Georgia to the United States. Its early history was marked by conflicts with the Spanish authorities, who had held possession, and who had a fort and garrison in Natchez. During the administration of President Adams a military force was sent down to take possession of the country. It was commanded by General Wilkinson, for whom the county in which we lived was named. He built a fort overlooking the Mississippi, and named it, in honor of the President, Fort Adams. There is still a village and river-landing by that name. My first tuition was in the usual log-cabin school-house; At this time Jefferson and his little sister Pollie used to take a
nce to West Point. Of course I disliked to go down from the head class of one institution to the lowest in another; but I yielded and went to West Point, to find that I was too late; that all the candidates had been admitted in June or the first of September; that the classes were engaged in their studies; and that the rule was absolute as to the time of admission. But Captain (afterward General) Hitchcock, then on duty in the Academy, had known my family when he was on recruiting duty in Natchez, and asked a special examination for me. Chance favored me. There was just then a Mr. Washington, who had been permitted, on account of his health, to leave the Academy for a year or two. He had gone to France, and, because of his name, had received the advantage of the Polytechnique. He had returned to find that his class had been graduated, and asked to be examined on the full course. The staff were in session examining Mr. Washington. This chance caused me also to be examined, and to
him, and a tin cup of water, which was being handed to him at the same time, was struck out of his hand by another ball. He was three times commended in orders for extraordinary gallantry in action. His brother, Franklin Howell, was killed by a splinter on the President, and instead of the bad bust which Byron dreaded, was commended in orders, and his name printed John Howell in a book entitled The naval monument. After peace was declared my father came in 1815 in a flat-boat down to Natchez, to look at the country; he was then an officer on half-pay and on leave. Very soon after he reached there he became intimate with Mr. Joseph Emory Davis, who was practising law. They became so mutually attached that when, in 1818, Mr. Joseph E. Davis, attracted by the great fertility of the alluvial land on the Mississippi River, called by the settlers the bottoms, had taken up a section of the wild land, thirty-six miles below Vicksburg, in Warren County, in the State of Mississippi, he
rs. At last the conflict became incessant because indecisive, and after many bloody engagements, treaties signed and broken as soon as ratified, followed by massacres of the most cruel character, in which every imaginable atrocity was inflicted by the Indians upon their unhappy captives, General William Henry Harrison The same in whose honor I had in childhood seen many dough log-cabins baked and carried in procession, flanked by barrels of hard cider, to barbecues in the groves about Natchez, where rousing Whig speeches electrified the party. It was in praise of him, too, that the little children piped For Tippecanoe, and Tyler too, as they ran after the cortege. was directed by President Jefferson to make a treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, which was ratified in November, 1804, by which the United States bought the territory beginning on the Missouri River, thence in a direct line to the River Jeffreon, thirty miles from its mouth down to the Mississippi, thence up the Mississi
hill that rises above the river level is so called on the Mississippi. near Natchez, Miss. The ground sloped on each side, on the west to a dry bayou about one hundrwhat was then called Whig, as, indeed, were those of most of the gentlefolk of Natchez. Everybody took the National Intelligencer, then edited by Messrs. Gales & Seept a short road from Vicksburg to Jackson, and six miles of unused track from Natchez to the little town of Washington, which General John Anthony Quitman had been by her death, and after the funeral rode forty miles to see me for an hour in Natchez; and, taking a fresh horse returned to Woodville and kept his appointment to slk had closed with his election, in the spring of 1845, Mr. Davis came down to Natchez for his wedding. On the steam-boat he met General Zachary Taylor for the firsd. The Reverend David Page, of Trinity, the pastor of the Episcopal church of Natchez, performed the ceremony. After a breakfast to our friends, we left on a tour
g at each town on the Mississippi to leave those who had homes there or adjacent to it. Of course the coming of the boat was heralded, and a glad crowd pressed on board to welcome the Rifles. The last stopping-place was to be Vicksburg. At Natchez twelve young ladies, holding a garland many yards long, met the regiment at the Bluff, and crowned the officers with wreaths. Their banners were also wreathed with bowers. After some preliminary ceremonies there were speeches by the town's-peot a time for effective discipline. A cousin of mine went out with the six months men who were first enlisted, but unfortunately no regular discipline had been enforced, and they dropped out, one or two at a time, and came home. When he reached Natchez someone asked why he came home, and he answered that as the Captain and First Lieutenant had been mobbed and beaten by the men, he thought that it would be his turn next, so he left the file (one man) he was drilling and came home. After one
the handsome stranger and he had a long conversation. Major Lee had been offered the same place, and did not think it consistent with his duty to the U. S. Government to accept it. He came to advise with Mr. Davis and to say this. Less than two months afterward, General Lopez sat strapped in a garrote chair, and was executed with several Americans of good social position, who had been persuaded to join him. One of them, Clement Stanford, an exceedingly daring and bright young man from Natchez, and an enthusiast for liberty, was the uncle of the Dean of the Medical Faculty of New Orleans, Stanford E. Chaille, M. D. Very little of Mr. Davis's time was devoted to the claims of society. He was so impervious to the influence of anything but principle in shaping his political course, that he underrated the effect of social intercourse in determining the action of public men, and never sought to exert it in behalf of his own policy. In consequence, we went out but little, and sp
Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 1, Chapter 40: social relations and incidents of Cabinet life, 1853-57. (search)
General Jessup entered upon a flood of memories of the time when he was staying with some other officers, by invitation, at Kempton, with Colonel James Kempe, at Natchez, Miss. He laughed over and repeated a piece of doggerell to which each man added a line as it went round the table, and then proceeded to describe their host's e; but, said the dear old General, when we made him sing The Tough Old Commodore, he talked it and could not turn a tune. While there, Aaron Burr was arrested at Natchez, and he and his captors were also bidden to Kempton. There was a short parley among all the guests and the host, and it was decided to ignore Colonel Burr's c, sardonic and brilliant, but entirely impersonal in his conversation. The General turned to me and said, I wonder you did not know those people, as you lived at Natchez. Major Chotard was a charming young fellow also, who was on a visit there. I quietly answered I did not know them, but my mother did. Colonel Kempe was her f