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16 Southern Historical Society Papers.
when he seemed to be deserted by all the world, stood heroically by him, clamoring for justice and fiercely defying and resisting the tor- rent of unmerited denunciation and abuse which was poured upon his defenceless head and who, after death had snatched him from her, true in death as she had been in life, devoted long and laborious years of her desolate widowhood to the writing of that memoir of her husband which stands as an exhaustive and triumphant vindica- tion of his memory, and will survive as one of the most valuable contributions which has yet been made to the history of a moment- ous era.
Immediately after his marriage Mr. Davis was elected as repre- sentative in Congress and took his seat in December, 1845. The burning questions of the hour were the Oregon dispute with Great Britain, the war with Mexico, and those arising out of the annexa- tion of Texas. Mr. Davis leaped at once, full-armed/into the arena of debate, and in several speeches of great power and eloquence, attracted the attention of the house and of the people, and fixed all eyes upon him as one of the coming men of the day.
His career as representative was cut short by the war with Mexico. In June, 1846, he was called to assume the colonelcy of the regiment of volunteers which Mississippi was raising for active service in the field. He immediately accepted, and repairing to Mississippi, com- pleted its organization and promptly joined the army then fighting under Taylor. The record of the brilliant exploits of Jefferson Davis and his Mississippi Rifles forms one of the most conspicuous chap- ters in the history of that war.
He returned, a wounded hero, amidst the acclamations of all his countrymen.
Within less than two months after his return, he was first appointed, and then received the unprecedented compliment of being unani- mously elected to the United States Senate, in which he took his seat in December, 1847.
In 1853 ne was called to the cabinet of President Pierce as Secre- tary of War, in which he served until the expiration of Mr. Pierce's term in 1857. At that time he had already been re-elected to the Senate and passed immediately from the cabinet to the Senate, where he served until the war.
Before adverting to the senatorial career of Mr. Davis, let us make a brief reference to the services of Mr. Davis as a member of the cabinet.