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The First.... - Jefferson Davis - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2013 01:31 pm
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Texas Defender
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....and only President of the CSA, Jefferson Davis, was elected on this date in 1861.
Here is an article chronicling his life by a Virginia publication. One small objection that I would make is that while Mr. Davis was once challenged to a duel, he never fought one.

http://encyclopediavirginia.org/davis_jefferson_1808-1889

I would point out for the sake of historical accuracy that while Abraham Lincoln was a member of a militia unit during the Black Hawk War, he was never in combat as the article implies.

Last edited on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 04:04 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2013 05:06 pm
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TD, wasn't he technically re-elected on this date in 1861, being technically elected by the Confederate Constitutional Convention February 9, 1861 over Robert Toombs? Gotta wonder if Toombs had won the position during the convention if Davis would have had a seat in the Confederate government and what that seat would have been. Secretary of State (flipping Davis for Toombs here as Toombs was the first Secretary of State of the Confederacy), Senator or Representative of Mississippi in the Confederate Congress, or Secretary of War. Or would he have gone on to just serve in the Confederate army, perhaps replacing Johnston at 1st Bull Run (1st Manassas) or Pemberton at Vicksburg.



 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2013 05:38 pm
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Hellcat-

On 09 February 1861, Jefferson Davis was in fact elected provisional president of the CSA. He took office on 18 February.

On 11 March 1861, a permanent CSA Constitution was adopted, and Mr. Davis remained the provisional president. On 06 November 1861, he ran for president without opposition. He received 97% of the vote and was officially elected for a six year term. His term actually ended on 05 May 1865, when the CSA Government was officially disbanded.

If Mr. Davis had not accepted the position as president, what he might have done for the CSA Government instead can only be speculated on. Since he had served as Secretary of War for the U.S. Government, he might have been considered for that job in the CSA Government. But I believe that he would have preferred a military commission.

There is no way that Mr. Davis would have been commissioned a full general in the CSA Army in 1861. Such appointments were made based on the officer's position in the Regular Army of the U.S. Mr. Davis never held high rank in the Regular Army. He led a regiment of volunteers in the Mexican War. After the war, he declined a position as BG in the Regular Army.

I would guess that Mr. Davis would have been satisfied to be made a MG in the CSA Army, and be given command of a division. I suspect that he would have proved competent to lead a division, and success at that level might have led to promotion and larger commands. But, of course, we'll never know for sure.

Last edited on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 05:40 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 03:09 am
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I'm not so sure Davis would not have been a general in 1861, TD. Lee never made general in the US Army and was appointed Brigadier General of the Confederate Army in May 1861. We can argue this may have been due to his position as Commander in Chief of Virginia's military forces prior to Virginia's entry into the Confederacy.

What about Jackson? The highest he ever reached in the US Army was Brevet Major, in fact without the two brevet promotions he would have been a 1st Lt. But by the end of June 1861 he was already a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. Now with Jackson it can be easily argued that he worked his way up to General. He started off as a major in the Virginia Militia and then became an infantry colonel in the Confederate Army. His promotion to General looks to come from his early activity in the war.

Beauregard also never rose above Brevet Major (or was I Brevet Captain, I'm getting conflicting points on his US Army ranking) in the US Army, he entered the Provisional Confederate Army as a Brigadier General.



 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 05:03 am
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Hellcat-

Jefferson Davis served in the U.S. Army for seven years before resigning his commission in 1835 as a 1LT. He also served in a 12 month volunteer regiment during the Mexican War. In my opinion, this does not compare to the records of the five men who were made full generals in the CSA Army on 01 September 1861.

Obviously, if Mr. Davis had accepted a commission as a BG in the Regular Army and served there instead of returning to politics, things would have been very different. He might then have been made the senior field commander in the CSA Army, a position later given to General A.S. Johnston (Ranking second behind the administrative general, Samuel Cooper).

As things were, I have no doubt that Mr. Davis would have been made a general officer in the CSA Army (BG or MG) if he had desired to be in 1861. But I very much doubt that he would have been made a full general at that time. That is not to say that he could not have been advanced to that grade eventually if he was successful and also lucky enough to avoid being killed or disabled during the war.

Last edited on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 05:28 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 05:32 pm
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Ok, I misread your post then. I read it as because he had never made General in the US Army he could not have made General in the Confederate Army in 1861 but that he could have been promoted to the rank later in the war. I was taking umbrage with that idea given there were others who never made General in the US Army and were promoted to General in the Confederate Army in 1861. And I'm not saying full General, I'm saying Brigadier General or Major General



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