Davis describes learning of Lincoln's death immediately after his arrival in Charlotte, writing: "I there received, at the moment of dismounting, a telegram from General Breckinridge, announcing, on information received from General Sherman, that President Lincoln had been assassinated."
Lincoln died April 15. Davis called the news "sad" and "evil." He decried revisionist history, which had already emerged, promulgated by a man "who invented the story of my having read the dispatch with exultation." The man was not present, said Davis, who called Lincoln's death "a great misfortune for the South."
The History of Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte by textile magnate David Tompkins, published in Charlotte in 1903 and available in the Carolina Room, describes the arrival of Davis and the cabinet, accompanied by 1,000 cavalry. Davis went to a home, where he was to stay, at the corner of Fourth and Tryon. Tompkins wrote: "Before entering the house, a telegram was handed to him, and as he read it, he exclaimed "Can this be true? This is dreadful. It is horrible." Davis entered the home, handing the telegram to a Confederate colonel to read aloud.
"Confederate officials were hospitably entertained during their stay in the city," Tompkins wrote. Another book The History of Mecklenburg County from 1740 to 1900 by J.B. Alexander, a doctor, was published in Charlotte 1902. It describes the last full meeting of the cabinet in the home of W.F. Phifer, a planter and slaveholder owner of a five-acre parcel bounded by Tryon and College streets near 12th Street."The last full meeting of the Confederate cabinet was held in the west room upstairs in the house," Tompkins wrote. "The cause of its meeting there was the fact that Mr. Trenholm, the secretary of the treasury, was ill and confined to his bed." At the April 26 meeting, George Trenholm tendered his resignation, Alexander wrote. Also in Charlotte, Attorney General George Davis asked to be relieved of his duties so he could be with his family. Thus, two or three subsequent cabinet meetings in South Carolina did not involve the full cabinet. Another Charlotte link to the Confederacy is that between 1873 and 1935, Anna Morrison Jackson lived on Trade Street. Her home at 507 Trade Street became a gathering place for Confederate veterans. They "came to bewail the changes brought about by years under military government and Republican rule," wrote Kathy Neill Herron, in a 1997 biography of Morrison and her family. "Anna wisely eased their anger and concern by telling the veterans to look toward General Robert E. Lee as their example (as he) lived pliantly and without malice after the war." One wonders what those veterans would have to say, were they to return to Charlotte during the convention. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/tedreednc. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed