Inauguration of Jefferson Davis


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Inauguration of Jefferson Davis

Formation of the Confederacy

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The image to the right is an illustration from an original March 9, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly, the most popular illustrated newspaper of the day.  The illustration is captioned "Inauguration of President Jefferson Davis of the Southern Confederacy, at Montgomery, Alabama, February 18, 1861."


Jefferson Davis Inauguration

The Inauguration of President Jefferson Davis, Confederate States of America (Image takes you to an enlarged view)

Confederate Capitol

Photograph of the Inauguration of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States of America.  Probably the source image for the Drawing in Harper's Above

The image shows the original Capitol of the Confederacy in Montgomery.  The capitol was later moved to Richmond, but things started out in Montgomery.  The illustration shows many genteel Southern Gentlemen and Ladies in their finest suits and dresses arriving at the grounds of the Capitol building.  Even Black families can be seen approaching the event.  A soldier on horseback is seen patrolling the area, ensuring things don't get out of hand. Jefferson Davis can be seen in front of the building taking the oath of office. For your consideration, I present below the text from the March 9, 1861 Harper's Weekly in its entirety on the Inauguration of Jefferson Davis.


President Jefferson Davis's Inauguration at Montgomery

On Page 157 (this is the image above) we publish a picture of the Inauguration of President Davis, of the Southern Confederacy, at Montgomery, Alabama, on February 18, from a photograph obligingly placed at our disposal. We published part of the inaugural in our last number.  A lady who witnessed the scene thus writes to a friend in this city:

"The President is a pleasant-looking old gentleman, of about fifty years of age; he was escorted to the Capitol by the military, he being in an elegant carriage drawn by six white horses. After he took his seat on the platform in front of the Capitol, and a short prayer had been offered, he read a very neat little speech, not making many promises, but hoping, by God's help, to be able to fulfill all expectations.  He took the oath amidst the deepest silence; and when he raised his hand and his eyes to heaven, and said, 'So Help Me God!' I think I never saw any scene so solemn and impressive.

 He puts much in the mind of General Jackson in appearance and character, though he is much more of a gentleman in his manners than the old General ever wished to be.  He had a reception last night which I attended.  I walked about and exchanged greetings with my friends, but would not shake hands with the President, for I thought I would not be recognized today, and so would rather wait for a more private introduction.  The Vice-President is a constant visitor at the houses where I stay; he is very slight and delicate looking, has more the appearance of a dead man than a living one, until he begins to speak, when you forget entirely how ugly he is."

President Davis, at latest accounts, is traveling through his dominions.  He has been the Charleston.

Original Confederate Capitol as it looks today

- - - - End of Harper's Weekly Story on Inauguration of Jefferson Davis - - - -

Additional Jefferson Davis Resources on this Site

Up | Jefferson Davis Inaugural Speech | Jefferson Davis Pictures



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