This Week in the Civil War - #818
Twenty-six months after Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, died from typhoid the angel of death visited the other White House in Richmond, Virginia. Five year-old Joe Davis fell thirty feet from a rear balcony of the Davis’ home, breaking both legs and fracturing his skull. He died soon after Varina and Jefferson Davis, who were at lunch at Davis’ office some four blocks from the couple’s official residence, arrived. Joe apparently slipped away from supervision of his Irish nanny and climbed onto the balcony’s railing which was undergoing repair, but at lunchtime the workers were not present. Grief stricken, Jefferson Davis spent hours alone in his study, muttering constantly “Not mine, O Lord, but Thine.” In the midst of war, both Lincoln and Davis had to endure horrible, personal tragedy.