52 Southern Historical Society Papers.
After the secession of the South and the outbreak of the war between the States, Mr. Davis having become the President of the Southern Confederacy, was treated to much vituperation by ignorant or foolishly prejudiced persons in the North, and under some such pressure, the Washington water-works being then under the control of the Department of the Interior, Secretary Caleb B. Smith, who presided over that branch of the govern- ment for the first three years of President Lincoln's first term, had Davis' name chiseled out of the inscription on the Cabin John Bridge, the mutilated remains standing there to testify to the contemptible outrage that had been perpetrated.
There has been some confusion caused by the statement that the mutilation was clue in obedience to an act of Congress, and that, therefore, another act would be required to restore the inscription. This idea is entirely erroneous, and, as the mutila- tion was a mere official act, it can be undone by official order.
During the recent Confederate Reunion at Richmond the sub- ject was brought up in a meeting of the Confederate Ladies' Me- morial Association, and at the request of Mrs. W. J. Behan, of New Orleans, Congressman x\dolph Meyer, of Louisiana, had photographs of the bridge and of the mutilated inscription taken, and they will be used in a memorial which is to be sent to the President, asking that the name of Air. Davis be restored to the place it occupied.
The Southern ladies have been very active and devoted in their efforts to secure this result, but there are people in the North who recognize that it would only be an act of justice to repair the useless and puerile but serious wrong that has been done, and in this connection the Picayune prints the following:
Bridgeport, Conn., June 15, 1907. To the President:
Ten years ago, when you were accomplishing some things in the City of New York that other people said could never be done, it was my privilege, as general manager of The United Press, to report progress to the country. This explains why I think there is one other thing you can do, which no one yet has ever succeeded in accomplishing.