Learning about the past: Jefferson Davis

Submitted by Catherine Long (diggergirl77@gmail.com)

Jefferson Davis memorial Irwin Google Maps satellite

Google Maps view of Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site, near Irwinville.

As I ventured out into traffic to navigate my way through Atlanta and the ubiquitous immobility of rush hour, I was thrilled to arrive several hours later unscathed and without any trouble—to the other side of Macon. I journeyed to join fellow colleagues for the August Board Meeting at South Georgia College in Douglas, Georgia.

During my leisurely drive (after leaving Atlanta), I enjoyed the agricultural surroundings and especially the opportunity to visit the Jefferson Davis Historic Site. This site is located in the small town of Irwinville and features a singular building that houses artifacts from the Civil War, related materials of the Davis family, a short trail and picnic facilities. I viewed the 18-minute film and discovered that the somewhat common story of Davis’ capture was not historically accurate. As Davis began his trek across South Carolina and into Georgia on his way to Texas, he met up with his family who was sent ahead. At the time of his capture by Union forces on May 9, 1865, it was reported that the soldiers found Jefferson Davis dressed in women’s clothes in an attempt to disguise himself.

The visitor learns that this was not an accurate account of history as shared in the Harper’s Weekly publication at the time. A firsthand account of the Confederate leader’s capture was provided by one of the Union soldiers. This led to the correct interpretation of the event and may be enlightening to visitors.

Taking a trip to south Georgia is a fun experience. I encourage you to visit these great historic sites across Georgia and examine the artifacts on display that shed light into the interpretation of the event. What a unique experience to see history come alive through the remains of the past.

The Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site is now operated by Irwin County and is open Wednesday–Sunday 9AM–5PM. Please call (229) 831-2335 to confirm hours and prices. To learn more about this Historic Site please click here.