Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park


The 13-acre Jefferson Davis Monument Park at Irwinville, Georgia, features the Jefferson Davis Memorial Museum built in 1939 as a project of the Works Progress Administration. A fierce opponent of FDR, Governor Eugene Talmadge ensured that Georgia would receive credit for building the museum.  The land was deeded to the State by Judge Reuben Walton Clements with the wish that "no Yankee ever own this hallowed ground."

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission

"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"

"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

"[Near] Irwinville [is the] Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park . . . an area of some twelve acres commemorating the site where the President of the Confederacy was taken prisoner by Federal troops at the close of the war.  After seeing Davis arrested, the father of James D. Clements (who was later one of the actual donors of the park site) vowed to commit the land to the people of South. A stone marker designates the exact spot on which Davis was captured.

The Confederate Museum, of modified Southern Colonial [architectural] style, contains a collection of documents relating to the Confederacy and relics of the War between the States. A superintendent is on duty to answer questions.

The site of the park is pleasingly located near a trailing brook in a grove of Georgia longleaf pine. Paths interlace the adjoining woodland which is in the center of some of the finest farmlands in Georgia.

The Davis Monument, a granite shaft surmounted with a bronze bust of Davis, bears on its side a bas-relief panel depicting his capture.  Davis had left Washington, Georgia, where his last cabinet meeting was held, and with his   family was on the way to a Southern port. Early in the morning of May 10, 1865, he was overtaken by Union soldiers and sent to Fortress Monroe.

To the right of the monument a small stream can be crossed to the skirmish ground, a hillside covered with a growth of wiregrass and tall yellow pines. A brief engagement occurred here in the early morning of May 10 between a detachment of the Michigan cavalry, attempting to cut off the Davis party, and a body of Wisconsin cavalry on the same mission. Each mistaking the other for Confederate forces, opened fire, and harm was done before daylight permitted identification.  A marker indicates this spot."

(Georgia, A Guide to its Towns and Countryside, George G. Leckie, Tupper & Love, 1940, pp. 212-213)