Supporters help keep open park commemorating Jefferson Davis’ capture

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and supporters last month agreed to financially support the Georgia park that commemorates the site where Jefferson Davis was captured at the end of the Civil War.

Officials said they might have to close the park because of the funding shortfall. According to WALB-TV, the Sons of Confederate Veterans have pledged up to $25,000 per year.

“The park had been losing money,” WALB-TV quoted Irwin County Commission Chairman Joey Whitley as saying. “The expenditures were more than the income, and tonight people stepped up to the plate, and they’re gonna offset the losses, so we’re good to go.”

After camping in Irwinville overnight, Davis was captured early on the morning of May 10, 1865, by Union cavalry. As Davis tried to elude his pursuers, he apparently donned his wife’s overcoat or shawl to keep warm, which led to a rumor that he was wearing women’s clothing at the time of his capture.

The park, built by the Works Progress Administration in 1939, includes trails, a small museum and a memorial marking the precise location of Davis’ capture. The park was operated by the state of Georgia until 2009 when Irwin County assumed control after the state opted not to fund operations, according to a 2009 report in the Tifton Gazette newspaper.

Davis was imprisoned for two years, and his citizenship was not restored until 1978. In signing the bill to restore citizenship, President Jimmy Carter said this “officially completes the long process of reconciliation that has reunited our people following the tragic conflict between the States.”

Irwinville is located about 170 miles south of Atlanta. According to the station’s report, a South Georgia lawmaker may as the state to give the park to Irwin County.

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