On a February day in 1861 as Jefferson and Varina Davis were pruning roses on the lawn at Brierfield, their home south of Vicksburg, a messenger arrived informing Davis that he had been elected president of the Confederate States of America.
Mrs. Davis wrote, "He looked so grieved that I feared some evil had befallen our family. After a few minutes' painful silence, he told me, as a man might speak of a sentence of death...." He left the next day for Montgomery, Ala., for the inauguration, making his first speech as president-elect at the Vicksburg Wharf.
Davis was a graduate of West Point and a hero of the Mexican War. He served in the United States Congress, Senate, and was Secretary of War.
After the War Between the States, he was a greatly-revered Southern statesman and predicted for America "a future full of promise, a future of expanding national glory, before which all the world will stand amazed."
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