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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This day in history

And by "this day," I mean yesterday. Wisconsin troops captured Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, 143 years ago yesterday.

1865 - Wisconsin Troops Capture Jefferson Davis

Just after dawn on May 10, 1865, Col. Henry Harnden of Madison and his squad of 30 volunteers from the First Cavalry arrested the President of the Confederacy. After Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9th, Davis fled south with his cabinet and family. Col. Harnden, commanding the Wisconsin First Cavalry at Macon, Ga., was ordered to scour the countryside for him. After four days of searching, early on May 10th they caught up with Davis and his entourage in the woods near Irwinville. As they approached, Col. Harnden's troops were attacked by soldiers in the brush. Returning fire, they killed two of their adversaries before discovering they were U.S. soldiers who had converged on Davis from a different direction. Hearing this friendly fire tragedy, the Confederate President tried to escape but Harnden "rode up, dismounted and saluted, and I asked if this was Mr. Davis. 'Yes,' he replied, 'I am President Davis.' At this the soldiers set up a shout that Jeff. Davis was captured." They included about 30 enlisted men from Wisconsin who helped bring the Civil War to its close that day.