Fundraising for Jefferson Davis at UVa
    by Trevor J. Hazelwood

            John B. Minor received a letter from prominent leaders of the failed Confederacy in November of 1869. The authors of this letter were conducting a fundraiser to assist Jefferson Davis. The end of the Civil War in April of 1865 was followed by the arrest and imprisonment of the Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Davis was released from prison after only serving two years. Having been stripped of all his land and wealth, Davis was left quite poor. President Johnson pardoned Davis and all other confederates on Christmas Day in 1868 for those eligible who applied for it.[1] Davis, however, would not receive a general pardon until 1872 with the Amnesty Act that made him eligible for a general pardon but not full citizenship rights.[2] Davis no longer has to suffer punishment for his position as President of the Confederacy and his subsequent actions in that role.

            In 1869 Davis was struggling as many southerners were after the end of the Civil War. He was better off than most people who faced poor living conditions and poverty in the former Confederacy. During this time, however, a group of men began a fundraiser for Jefferson Davis to restore him to his former status as a planter. This group of men wrote to John B. Minor and other people sympathetic to “the cause,” referring to the former Confederacy. The authors of this letter stated “Mr. Davis was, for many years, a successful Cotton planter; and we desire to place him again in a position where his experience as a planter can avail him.”[3] Here the men who wrote the letter state directly their intentions and sympathy for Jefferson Davis. One author of this letter was Braxton Bragg a general in the Confederacy. These authors were prominent members of the former Confederacy and show their wantonness to continue the fight for independence by arguing for people support Jefferson Davis financially.

            These men must believe that John B. Minor has some interest in restoring Jefferson Davis to his former status as a cotton planter. A certain sentiment must be present for him to be considered as a recipient of this fundraising letter. This letter brings into question how Uva dealt with Reconstruction and how faculty such as John B. Minor interpreted the loss of the war. The men who wrote this letter such as Braxton Bragg show their support for the former Confederacy and are not ready to move on. These men must have thought John B. Minor held a similar view one sympathetic to the “cause” of the former Confederacy.


[1] “The Pardon of Jefferson Davis and the 14th Amendment.” National Constitution Center – NCC Staff, October 17, 2018

[2]  “The Pardon of Jefferson Davis and the 14th Amendment.” National Constitution Center – NCC Staff, October 17, 2018