A True Estimate of Abraham Lincoln
and Vindication of the South
by Mildred Lewis Rutherford
The vilification of Jefferson Davis seemed necessary to make the glorification of Abraham Lincoln more effective:
The murder of President Lincoln furnished the final proof of the ghastly spirit of the rebellion. Davis inspired the murder of Lincoln.
Davis is as guilty of Lincoln’s murder as Booth. Davis was conspicuous for every extreme of ferocity, inhumanity and malignity. He was responsible for untold and unimaginable cruelties practiced on loyal citizens in the South.
If it seems too incredible to be true that rebel leaders were guilty of Lincoln’s assassination, it must be remembered that Lincoln’s murder is no more atrocious than many crimes of which Davis is notoriously guilty.(1)
Poor Jeff Davis began to feel like a wandering Jew — a price was put on his head. He dared rest nowhere for fear of meeting the fate of a traitor — afraid to risk an interview with Sherman and not daring to wait for Johnson’s surrender, he fled to Charlotte.(2)
The hanging of traitors is sure to begin before the month is over. The nations of Europe may rest assured that Jeff Davis will be swinging from the battlements of Washington at least by the Fourth of July. We spit upon a later and longer deferred justice.(3)
The failure of Jeff Davis has brought down on him the hatred and abuse of his own people. Were he here today nothing but execration would have been showered upon him.(4)
While I would not be bloody-minded, yet if I had my way I would long ago have organized a military tribunal under military power and I would have put Jefferson Davis and all the members of the Cabinet on trial for the murders at Andersonville. Jefferson Davis murdered a thousand men, robbed a thousand widows and orphans, and burned down a thousand homes.(5)
The judiciary has ample evidence of Davis’ guilt of Lincoln’s murder, and of the murder of our soldiers in prison.(6)
Boutwell, of Massachusetts, introduced the following resolution in Congress: "BE IT RESOLVED, That Jefferson Davis shall be tried on the charge of killing prisoners and murdering Abraham Lincoln."
Orders to kill Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet on the spot were found on the person of Dahlgren in Richmond, Virginia. However, was Davis ever found guilty of any one of the many charges brought against him? Could he be convicted of any one of the accusations ever brought against him?
Jefferson Davis’ trial was never allowed — it was called several times but was postponed and postponed. His complicity with the assassination of Lincoln was hooted at even by his worst enemies. The secret records of the Confederate government proved beyond doubt he was in no way responsible for the cruel treatment of the Andersonville prisoners but their own government was responsible.
1. Harper’s Weekly, 17 June 1865.
2. Cheney, History of the Civil War, page 359.
3. New York Tribune, 1861.
4. Major George W. Nichols, The Story of a Great March.
5. Thaddeus Stevens, House of Congress, 19 March 1867.
6. John Forney, Clerk of the Senate, Washington Chronicles.