By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, are words of truth not
the fruit of a Godly, intelligent and free people?
June 3, 2008, is the Bi-Centennial Birthday of Jefferson Davis
and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, www.scv.org, have
proclaimed this year "The Year of Davis." Davis was also honored
in Georgia with a bicentennial birthday proclamation, signed by
Gov. Sonny Perdue with historical groups; Sons of Confederate
Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Children of
the Confederacy, joining State Senator Jeff Mullis and Georgia
Civil War Commission Chairman John Culpepper for the signing.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, distinguished Black-American, author,
editor, publisher and historian, was the father of Black History
Week that would become "Black History Month." Woodson
(1875-1950) believed that black people should be proud of their
heritage and other Americans should also understand it.
The Sons of Confederate Veteran do understand and are
planning a Davis Memorial Statue, depicting the forgotten story
of the Jefferson Davis family and Jim Limber, in Virginia. It
will be financed through private contributions from Southerners
and all who appreciate true American history.
Who was Jim Limber Davis?
In 1989, a magazine article caught my eye which I had to read
from beginning to end. The story was written by Gulfport,
Mississippi freelance writer, Mrs. Peggy Robbins and entitled,
"Jim Limber Davis." This is my summary of Mrs. Robbin's heart
This story begins on the morning of February 15, 1864, when First
Lady Varina Davis, wife of Southern President Jefferson Davis, had
concluded her errands and was driving her carriage down the streets
of Richmond, Virginia on her way home. She heard screams from a
distance and quickly went to the scene to see what was happening.
Varina saw a young black child being abused by an older man. She
demanded that he stop striking the child and when this failed she
shocked the man by forcibly taking the child away. She took the child
to her carriage and with her to the Confederate White House.
Arriving home Mrs. Davis and maid "Ellen" gave the young boy a bath,
attended to his cuts and bruises and fed him. The only thing he would
tell them is that his name was Jim Limber.
The Davis family was visited the following evening by a friend of
Varina's, noted Southern Diarist--Mary Boykin Chesnut, who saw Jim
Limber and wrote later that she had seen the boy and that he was eager
to show me his cuts and bruises. She also said, "there are things in life
that are too sickening and such cruelty is one of them."
The Davis' in their letters called Jim "a member of our gang of family."
The end of the War Between the States was coming and Richmond was
being evacuated. Varina and the children left ahead of Jefferson Davis.
The president and his staff left shortly before the occupation of Union
Varina and the children were by Jefferson Davis' side at his capture near
Irwinville, Georgia and again the family was separated. Jefferson Davis
was taken to Virginia to spend two years in prison. Mrs. Davis and her
children were taken to Macon, Georgia and later to Port Royal outside of
Savannah. At Port Royal their Union escort, Captain Charles T. Hudson,
made good on his earlier threats to take Jim Limber away.
As the Union soldiers came and forcibly took young Jim, he put up a great
struggle and tried to hold onto his family as they did to him. Jim and his
family cried uncontrollable as the child was taken. They would not see Jim
The Eleanor S. Brockenbrough library, of the Museum of the Confederacy
in Richmond, Virginia, is home to a picture of Jim Limber Davis.
For more information about Jefferson Davis go to: www.beauvoir.org that
is the web site for "Beauvoir" the last home of Jefferson Davis and his family
and presidential library. The historic site was damaged by Hurricane Katrina
but is being restored to its historic look. A reopening ceremony, for the house,
will take place at 10 AM on Tuesday, June 3, 2008, for the 200th birthday
of Jefferson Davis in beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi.