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Chapter 32 - Museum of the Confederacy & White House of the Confederacy

Raleigh and Jimmy came out of the entrance of VCU’s Critical Care Hospital built on the rim of Shockoe Valley at the end of Clay Street.

 

They crossed over to the small brick plaza of the Museum of the Confederacy and walked between the anchor and a section of the propeller shaft of the CSS Virginia.

 

The White House of the Confederacy, the residence of Jefferson and Varina Davis during the Civil War, was a National Historic Landmark, but not for the nation Jeff Davis intended.

 

During the war, many Richmonders preferred calling it the Gray House from the color of its stucco exterior because they didn’t want it confused with Lincoln’s residence.

 

Raleigh and Jimmy took a seat back down on the bench.
Raleigh looked over at the Museum of the Confederacy.

 

Raleigh pointed to the first-floor window on the left. “Lincoln sat in Jefferson Davis’s chair and drank a glass of water. That was five days before Appomattox and eleven days before Lincoln would be dead.”

 

Jimmy stared at the pennies shining in the bottom pool of the little fountain in front of them, but his dad kept staring at the house.

 

Raleigh pointed to the right-corner room on the second floor. “That was the nursery. It was bedlam with the three young children the Davises brought with them to this house.

 

Varina Davis liked that room the best. She could overlook a garden with fruit trees and take in the sweeping view of Shockoe Valley. No fruit trees now, and no view with these hospital high-rises in the way.

 

“Varina bore two children in this house, the youngest one, Winnie, became known as the Daughter of the Confederacy. When Winnie grew up, she was engaged to a Yankee, but Varina talked her out of marrying the Northerner, and Winnie died at thirty-four.”

 

Raleigh shrugged then pointed over to the right end of the porch balcony. “Five-year-old Joe Davis died when he fell from that balcony. The death of that little boy was hard on Jefferson Davis. Winnie and Joe along with the other four Davis children are buried beside their parents in Hollywood Cemetery.”

VCU Health System

American Civil War Museum (White House and Museum of the Confederacy)

Lincoln's Visit to Richmond

Hollywood Cemetery