Short Bios | Jefferson C. Davis

Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis
By Michael A. Peake

Jefferson Columbus Davis was born March 2, 1828, near Memphis in Clark County, Indiana. In 1846, 18-year old Davis served in the 3rd Regiment Indiana Infantry, receiving promotion to sergeant for conduct at Buena Vista. He was awarded a battlefield commission for gallantry in June 1848, as 2nd lieutenant in the 1st Regiment U. S. Artillery. Davis was a battery lieutenant when Major Robert Anderson ordered the consolidation of Union forces to Fort Sumter. Following the fall of Sumter, he became colonel of the 22nd Regiment Indiana Infantry and commanded a division during the Union victory at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. In May 1862, Davis was promoted to brigadier general and participated in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi. On September 29, 1862, Davis shot and killed Major General William "Bull" Nelson during an altercation in the lobby of the Galt House Hotel at Louisville. Although arrested, he returned to active duty as division commander in time for the battle at Stones River. He served in that capacity through the siege of Chattanooga, until assigned command of the 14th Army Corps with Sherman’s march through Georgia to Savannah, and north into the Carolinas to close out the war. After the war, he returned to the Regular Army as colonel of the 23rd Infantry, commanding troops during the 1872-73 Modoc Indian War in northern California. Jefferson C. Davis died in Chicago, on November 30, 1879. His body was returned to Indianapolis, Indiana, and buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

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Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-129704