Yesterday I wrote about the electrifying news that swept the country “Jefferson Davis died at 12:45 a.m. today.” That was December 6, 1889. He was in New Orleans when he died and his body lay in state in over four days at city hall.
On December 11, the last day, it was estimated that nearly 70,000 people had viewed his remains in the plate-glass covered copper casket in which he lay. Despite the fact that the body was to be consigned only temporarily to a tomb in the Crescent City, the funeral was indeed impressive. Pallbearers were governors of nine Southern States. Many former Confederate soldiers, grouped by Companies, marched in the cortege, and several hours were required to move from city hall to Metarie Cemetery.
In the ensuing three and a half years there was much discussion as to where the body of Jefferson Davis should be permanently laid to rest. Eventually complying with the wishes of Mrs. Davis, then living in New York, it was decreed that he should be buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, the city which, as all you dear readers know, was the capital of the Confederacy.
Tomorrow I will write about the long, slow journey of the funeral train. Today it might be fitting to remember what he said when he neared the end. He said to “tell the world that I only loved America”