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July 1865

The Casemated Former President

Having been previously captured in Georgia, Jefferson Davis is adjusting to his accommodations at Fortress Monroe in Virginia (left), as illustrated in a sketch by Alfred R. Waud (right). Named after President James Monroe, the facility became part of a coastal defense system that emerged after the War of 1812. The formidable masonry fortress on the Chesapeake Bay has a historical connection to Robert E. Lee, who served as an engineer prior to the Civil War and helped with improvements to it. Even the poet Edgar Allan Poe saw duty there for a time. Never out of Union hands during the war, the fortress now serves as quarters for the fallen Confederate executive in Casemate No. 2 as a prisoner awaiting his appearance before the bar of justice. He has already sought a relaxation of some of the restrictions imposed upon him and easing of the conditions under which he remains incarcerated. Until finally removed, a lamp has constantly lit his cell and guards have remained stationed in and around him, pacing on the works above and watching him continuously. Visitors to the post include Union general Emerson Opdycke, who declares that he is pleased to know that the “Arch Rebel” is there.

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