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This thesis is a historical analysis and an assessment of Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis’ life with special emphasis on his division’s performance during the Civil War.
The thesis will discuss Davis’ quick rise through the military ranks, which led to his eventual assumption of a corps command by the end of the Civil War. Davis’ career was not without controversy. He was a non-traditional soldier in an army that was very traditional. He was a tough disciplinarian and took training of soldiers seriously. He was also aggressive, feisty, and confrontational. It was these later characteristics that on occasion led him into trouble with his superiors and may have been determiners in his non-selection for promotions and specific assignments.
The thesis begins with an examination of Davis’ background and life from his birth through his participation in the Mexican War and the initiation of hostilities at Fort Sumter. Next, Davis’ Civil War experiences to include the Battles of Pea Ridge and Murfreesboro and details of Davis’ performance at the Battle of Chickamauga will be discussed. Thereafter, Davis’ march through the South with General Sherman and the remainder of his military career and life will be discussed. Finally, an analysis will be presented of who Davis was and why he did or did not achieve the potential that he thought he deserved.