GA-077-3 Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park


On May 4, 1865, Jefferson Davis arrived in Washington, Georgia (178 miles NE of the Park), where he performed 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, supported by those Confederate forces not yet surrendered, he hoped to negotiate a just peace.

After a difficult journey via Sandersville, Dublin and Abbeville, he camped a mile north or Irwinville (9 miles NW) in the present Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park, unaware that, in Dublin, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry had found his trail and begun a pursuit.

At dawn on May 10th, his camp was surrounded by men of the 1st Wisconsin and 4th Michigan cavalry regiments and he became a Òstate prisoner,Ó his hopes for a new nation, in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished ÒConstitutional rightsÓ forever dead.

To visit the Park, take State 32 from Ocilla to Irwinville. To continue north after the visit, turn right in Irwinville on State 32 one mile, thence left on State 107 to its junction with US 129 in Fitzgerald. Museum. Open 9 to 6. Picnic grounds.

Georgia Historical Commission, 1957

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