The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library – Biloxi, Mississippi - Atlas Obscura
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The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library

Biloxi, Mississippi

A historic Civil War estate-turned-museum looks back on the Confederate States of America. 

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Located in Biloxi, Mississippi, Beauvoir is the estate where Jefferson Davis retired after he was released from federal custody following the Civil War. Today, the historic home serves as a presidential library and museum for the only president of the Confederate States of America.

The Confederate States of America was established in February 1861, but never recognized by any other government or nation. Its constitution legalized and protected slavery. After the Confederacy’s rebellion failed, David was indicted for treason and imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe in Virginia. In 1867, Davis was released on $100,000 bail, with several wealthy northerners helping pay for his freedom.

Davis initially traveled to Beauvoir to write his memoirs, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government and rented the small cottage on the property. It was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, but was soon rebuilt. 

The museum, house tour, and library cover a wide range of topics. The house tour is nostalgic of antebellum Southern life, devoted to the minutiae of the house, and artifacts from that time. In contrast, the museum and library provide an array of artifacts including Civil War memorabilia, flags, munitions, and uniforms.

The library provides reference materials and a quiet space to look up the names of regiments and soldiers from the Confederate Army. Along the sprawling grounds of the property, you can also view the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier, provided you adhere to the inscription outside the gates of the cemetery to “tread lightly.”

This was the place where the Civil War was reimagined. It is the birthplace of the the “Lost Cause” ideology, which holds that the Confederacy motivated by a noble cause and furthered the belief that slavery was justified because of the economic prosperity it supposedly brought.

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