Jefferson Davis, Washington County
Marker Number 150-8
Year Erected: 1957 by the Georgia Historical Commission
Location: Marker is located at the intersection of Georgia Highway 57 and Georgia Highway 68 near Oconee. 32° 46.743′ N, 82° 55.606′ W
On May 4, 1865, Jefferson Davis arrived in Washington, Georgia (85 miles N), where he performed what proved to be his last duties as President of the Confederate States of America. Shortly thereafter, with a small staff and escort, he departed enroute to the trans-Mississippi Department, from which vantage point he hoped to negotiate a just peace. His party reached Sandersville (17 miles NE) about noon on May 6th, where the last official business of the Confederate States Treasury was transacted.
That evening, they camped near Ball’s Ferry (2 miles NW); but upon learning of a threat to his family, which was on a converging route some hours ahead, Mr. Davis decided to press on. After an all night ride over unfamiliar roads, he found them near the home of Mr. E.J. Blackshear, 10 miles north of Dublin, on the road leading south from this point.
After a hard journey via Dublin and Abbeville, they camped a mile N of Irwinville (93 miles SW) in the present Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park. At dawn on May 10th, his camp was surrounded by men of the 1st Wisconsin and 4th Michigan cavalry regiments [US] and he became a “state prisoner,” his hopes for a new nation, in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished “Constitutional rights,” forever dead.
Photo by David Brooker, November 1, 2020