“To Comfort, To Counsel, To Cure”: Davis, Wives, and Generals

Lesley J. Gordon

in Jefferson Davis's Generals

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780195139211
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848799 | DOI:

Series: Gettysburg Civil War Institute Books

“To Comfort, To Counsel, To Cure”: Davis, Wives, and Generals

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This chapter examines the wives and marriage of five prominent confederate leaders: Jefferson Davis, Joseph E. Johnston, Braxton Bragg, P. G. T. Beauregard, and Robert E. Lee. Considering these men as husbands, and their wives as individuals, allows for a greater understanding of the war's effect on personal relationships. And it provides a greater appreciation of the women sustaining, concerning, and troubling Jefferson Davis and his generals. These women's wartime stories illustrate both traditional and untraditional modes of female behavior. In the midst of war, they tried to be pious, loving, and supportive helpmates, but they were often savvy and outspoken military advisors. Varina Davis, Lydia Johnston, and Elise Bragg gave their husbands personal and professional guidance and reassurance; Mary Lee provided Robert unquestioning stability and many well-knit socks.

Keywords: Jefferson Davis; Joseph E. Johnston; Braxton Bragg; P. G. T. Beauregard; Robert E. Lee; civil war; Varina Davis; Lydia Johnston; Elise Bragg; Mary Lee

Chapter.  7452 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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