I was just thinking about what I would have done after the War, had I been Jefferson Davis. What would you have done?
First of all, he might have escaped to Mexico, but he chose to try to keep the Confederate Government intact as long as possible. Then, that fateful day when he was captured, he had chosen to stay with his wife and family as long as possible, thus making escape impossible.
No choice then but prison. But after prison…with his health declining and his fortune gone, and no job, what then? I am sure people stepped in to help him and his family. I know he went to Canada, then to Scotland and elsewhere, hoping for a suitable job; he was truly a man without a country.
He became president of a life insurance company in Memphis for a while. I don’t know how successful that was, but fortunately a longtime friend, Sarah Ellis Dorey offered him a cottage on her estate, Beauvoir, near Biloxi, Miss. in 1876, and he accepted.
He must have found a home at last. Before Mrs. Dorsey died, he had begun buying Beauvoir, and when she died, she bequeathed it to him in her will. Finally too, he regained Brierfield after a long legal battle. In November of 1889, sadly he died. Then at last he received the acclaim of the people of the South, with the largest funeral ever witnessed of over 200,000 people.
Through it all, he exhibited dignity and grace. Again I ask, what would you have done? How would you have handled all the trials and heartaches that came his way?