On May 4, 1865, Jefferson Davis arrived in Washington 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 where, undaunted by the tragic surrenders at Appomattox and Durham Station, he intended to unite the forces of Generals E. Kirby Smith, Taylor, Forrest, Maury and Magruder "to form an army, which in the portion of that country abounding in supplies, and deficient in rivers and railroads, could have continued the war until our enemy, foiled in the purpose of subjugation, should in accordance with his repeated declaration, have agreed, on the basis of a return to the Union, to acknowledge the Constitutional rights of the States, and by a convention, or quasi-treaty, to guarantee the security of person and property."
After a hard journey via Sandersville, Dublin and Abbeville, his party camped a mile north of Irwinville (178 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 the President of the Southern Confederacy became a "state prisoner," his hopes for a new nation, in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished "Constitutional rights," forever dead.
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