Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/45

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Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson Davis was born in that part of Christian County, Ky., which now forms Todd County on June 3, 1808. His grandfather was a colonist from Wales, and lived in Virginia and Maryland, and rendered important public service to both while they were colonies. His father, Samuel Emory Davis, was a Revolutionary soldier, as were also his brothers. During the Revolution his father served for a time with Georgia cavalry, and was an officer in the infantry in the siege of Savannah. Three of the brothers of Jefferson Davis, all older than himself, participated in the war of 1812; two of them were with Andrew Jackson, and were specially mentioned by him for gallantry at New Orleans. After the Revolution Samuel Davis removed to Kentucky, where he resided for a time, and, when Jefferson Davis was an infant, removed with his family to a place near Woodville, Wilkinson County, Miss. Jefferson Davis received his academic education in early life near his home, and then entered Transylvania College, Kentucky, but in 1824 left there to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point, having been appointed as a cadet by President Monroe; graduated in 1828, and was assigned to the First Infantry as second lieutenant; was engaged with his regiment in several battles in the Black Hawk War of 1831-32; was transferred to a new command called the First Dragoons, and on March 4, 1833, was promoted to be first lieutenant, and was appointed adjutant; was actively in the service, fighting the Pawnees, Comanches, and other Indians during the next two years; but on June 30, 1835, suddenly resigned and entered upon the duties of civil life. It is said that he was persuaded to this course by his uncle and other relatives who considered him unusually qualified to win distinction in a civil career. He married Miss Sallie Knox Taylor, the daughter of Zachary Taylor, then colonel of the First Infantry, and became a cotton planter near Vicksburg, Miss., being about twenty-seven years of age. His wife lived only a few months. In 1845, in the month of February, he married