Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/120
108 Southern Historical Society Papers.
The Picayune Bureau.'
Post Building, Washington, D. C, February 22, 1909.
CABIN JOHN BRIDGE.
Largely on account of the influence of the late General Adolph Meyer, following the adoption of strong resolutions by the Daughters of the Confederacy at Richmond in 1907, the Secre- tary of War to-day ordered that the name of Jefferson Davis, who was Secretary of War of the United States, is to be restored to the tablet in the great masonry arch at "Cabin John Bridge." It was erased during the Civil War, after he had renounced his allegiance to the United States and became President of the Confederacy. Announcement of this decision was made at the War Department to-day.
For fifteen years the question of restoring the name to the historic span has been agitated by Southern societies and men from the South prominent in the affairs of the nation. The efforts, however, failed of success until 1907, when General Meyer, co-operating with the Daughters of the Confedracy, induced Secretary Taft to have the matter of the erasure thor- oughly investigated. Major Spencer Cosby searched the records and reported in part :
"The argument of Mr. Phillips for the restoration of the name of Jefferson Davis loses force from the fact that he is mistaken in his principal point. Jefferson Davis was not Secretary of War when "Cabin John Bridge" was built, and I can find noth- ing in our records to show that he ever saw or approved the plans for that structure. He was Secretary of W 7 ar when work on other parts of the aqueduct was started, in 1853, but the plans which he then recommended for approval showed a bridge of five arches over 'Cabin John Valley.' The actual construc- tion work on the bridge was begun in 1857, shortly after Mr. Davis ceased to be Secretary of War."
The incident marking the erasure of Mr. Davis' name created quite a stir at the time, and has been a source of agitation ever since. The letters of the name were chipped from the stone